Report: Clippers offered Blake Griffin to Nuggets, who rejected trade

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The Clippers and Nuggets reportedly discussed a Blake Griffin trade.

The Clippers’ spin: Denver called, and the Clippers quickly said no.

Spin from the other side?

Chris Broussard of ESPN on SportsCenter:

I was told that the Clippers actually called Denver and offered Blake Griffin and Lance Stephenson for Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, Nikola Jokic and Will Barton. And Denver turned it down.

Doc Rivers, I talked to him about that very deal. He said not true. There’s no way Blake’s getting traded.

It would have made sense for the Clippers to make that offer.

Gallinari is a versatile and underrated forward who’d provide the spacing the Clippers get with Griffin sidelined while significantly boosting their talent. Faried would provide a reasonable, though lesser, alternative to Griffin’s lob-finishing when the Clippers want a player of that style. Jokic is in the running for most impressive rookie, non-Karl-Anthony Towns, non-Kristaps Porzingis division. Barton is a high-flying wing who could win Most Improved Player and plays a position where the Clippers need more talent.

This is the type of monster haul that would justify trading a star like Griffin.

For similar reasons, it’s too much for the Nuggets to give up. Plus, they have the added problem of trying to re-sign Griffin in 2017. Keeping him in medium-market Denver would be challenging as is. Doing so after stripping the roster to acquire him would be far too daunting.

So, did this trade offer really happen?

Maybe.

I believe Griffin won’t be traded, because Rivers said Griffin wouldn’t be traded. It’s not that I believe Rivers is above misleading the public. But going back on his word would make Rivers look bad. I don’t think he would have said Griffin would remain a Clipper unless he were certain that’d be the case.

However, it’s quite conceivable Rivers made that declaration only after seeking massive return for Griffin and finding no takers.

It’s also possible the Nuggets, upset that the Clippers so quickly shot down the first Griffin report, leaked misinformation in retaliation.

The Clippers, maybe concurrently with other scenarios, could just be gauging Griffin’s value for a potential offseason trade. In the meantime, they certainly don’t want him feeling too uneasy about his future in Los Angeles.

There’s a lot to read between the lines, but at the simplest level, this trade would be good for the Clippers and bad for the Nuggets

Spurs’ LaMarcus Aldridge nails three from one knee during warmups (VIDEO)

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Take that Stephen Curry.

Gregg Popovich would pull him so fast he’d look like a fidget spinner if he tried this in a game, but during warmups before Game 4 Monday night LaMarcus Aldridge knocked down a deep three from one knee.

If Aldridge is taking a lot of threes that’s not a good sign for the Spurs, but we’ll see if he can have a big night and keep the Spurs alive in this series.

Stephen Curry drains shots from near half court during warmups like they’re layups

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Stephen Curry‘s pregame warmups draw people into the arena early, it’s a show in and of itself.

Before Game 4 Monday night, Curry was taking a couple shots from the center-court logo. And draining them. Like layups. Because he can.

We’ll see if he can put on that kind of show when the game tips off.

Gregg Popovich makes it official: No Kawhi Leonard for Game 4

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This was expected. It still sucks to hear.

Kawhi Leonard is out for Game 4 vs. the Warriors Monday night.

Leonard has sprained his left ankle in Game 5 against the Rockets and sat out Game 6 of that series (a San Antonio win), then returned for Game 1 against the Warriors. He re-injured his ankle twice in that game — once stepping on David Lee‘s foot, once when Zaza Pachulia slid under him on a jumper and took away his landing space. Leonard left that game with his team up 23 points, but the Warriors rallied back to win Game 1 and have controlled the series ever since. Leonard has not returned to the series.

San Antonio will play with pride on Monday night, but it may not be enough. You can bet the Warriors were reminded all day about taking their foot off the gas after what happened with Cleveland Sunday.

Report: Orlando hires Toronto GM Jeff Weltman to be president of basketball operations

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In Toronto, Masai Ujiri is the head of basketball operations and the guy with the hammer on deals. Jeff Weltman was his right-hand man and team GM.

Make that was his right-hand man, Weltman has been hired by the Orlando Magic to run its basketball operations, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

The Orlando Magic have hired Toronto Raptors general manager Jeff Weltman as the franchise’s president of basketball operations, league sources told The Vertical.

Weltman met with Orlando CEO Alex Martins and ownership on Monday, finalizing a five-year deal, league sources said.

Orlando officials had been intrigued with Cleveland GM David Griffin, but moved steadily toward Weltman as they became further engaged with his candidacy in recent weeks, league sources said. Weltman has been deeply involved in every aspect of the Raptors’ front office under president Masai Ujiri as Toronto became a perennial Eastern Conference contender.

Making a move now is smart in this sense: The Magic have the No. 5 pick in this draft and would want the guy making the big picture decisions about this roster on board to make this selection.

That roster already has some quality pieces — Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic, maybe Elfrid Payton — but has underachieved. There were questions about the culture and a lack of accountability, and that blame ultimately fell on GM Rob Hennigan and he was let go. Frank Vogel is locked in as

Frank Vogel is locked in as coach, so how well Weltman and Vogel work together — and share a vision — will be key.

Weltman is well-respected around the league. He spent five seasons as an assistant GM in Milwaukee, and has been with the Raptors since 2013 as that team has risen up the Eastern Conference standings and had its best run in franchise history. He also has worked with the Clippers and in Denver. He’s been one of those guys expected to get a chance in the big chair for a few years now.

He’s got it, and it’s an interesting challenge in Orlando.