It was first reported and eventually confirmed by Shams Charania that the Los Angeles Clippers had agreed on a trade to send star Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons. Details of the trade included Detroit sending Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, and a first- and second-round draft pick for Griffin, Willie Reed, and Brice Johnson. Initial reactions to the trade lashed out at the Clippers front office for trading franchise player Griffin after signing him to a long-term deal. In regard to the Pistons, people were confused how they thought losing two starters and a draft picks would propel them to any new height, despite bringing in Griffin. Detroit has fallen all the way to ninth place in the conference, and the trade seems to still leave them mediocre. While many takes have pegged the trade as a bust for both teams, I believe that each the Clippers and the Pistons potentially may benefit from the Griffin trade.
How The Clippers Benefit From The Griffin Trade
Clipper nation was not happy after the reports of this trade came out. Griffin had been one of the faces of the franchise since being taken first overall by the Clippers in the 2009 NBA Draft. Not only that, but Griffin had been playing at a very high level this year despite being battered by injuries, averaging 23 points, eight rebounds, and five assists per game. I understand why Clippers fans were upset with trading Griffin, who just signed a five-year deal with the team this past summer. Losing a star is never easy, but people need to begin thinking more about the Clippers future and stop holding onto the Lob City era. Griffin, despite his success, has been injury-prone his entire career and only played more than 80 games four times in his eight years in the NBA (including sitting out his initial rookie year) because of various injuries. Riding a star who is not always on the court leaves a team vulnerable now and down the road. Trading Griffin now was the right decision. With him, they were fighting for the eighth seed in the West, which is not good enough to hold on to Griffin.
The Clippers acquired two starting-caliber players in Avery Bradley and Tobias Harris and another first-round pick in next year’s draft. While Bradley may be out the door after this season, he may be open to staying in Los Angeles. Harris is under contract until at least next year and may be able to become a new star for the Clippers. Harris is averaging a career-high 18 points per game and shooting almost 41 percent from behind the three-point line. At 25, Harris still has time to blossom into an NBA star. Regardless of whether the Clippers also move Lou Williams and DeAndre Jordan, they will be headed in the right direction during their rebuild. With having two first-round picks next year and young players Harris, Austin Rivers, Montrezl Harrell, and Sam Dekker accompanied by veterans Patrick Beverly and Milos Tedosic, the Clippers will see a much quicker rebuild than other teams.
How The Pistons Benefit From The Trade
Opinions were mixed about whether Detroit made the right decision trading for Blake Griffin. The Pistons started off the 2017-2018 season hot, but have fallen all the way out of the playoff picture as of right now. While bringing in a star like Griffin can certainly help a team, did they give up too much to make their team only a bit better?
Actually, I think the trade will allow the Pistons to be able to get better over the next few years. Detroit’s front-court duo of Griffin and Andre Drummond are under contract the next three years, making the Pistons a much more attractive option for big-name free agents looking to team up with other stars over an extended period of time. Cashing in on a big-name free agent perimeter player to compliment the two would be ideal for Detroit. Moving Tobias Harris and Avery Bradley also allows young wing players Luke Kennard and Stanley Johnson continue to grow. While losing the draft pick hurts, it would not have been a great pick anyway. Detroit is taking a chance on themselves, which is not a bad decision while there are teams like the Warriors and Celtics dominating the NBA right now. Whether Griffin helps the team out will depend on his health and how attractive he makes it for teammates Drummond and Reggie Jackson to stay in Detroit, as well as getting attention from big-name free agents.