We’ve all been there — working for a boss so bad you started plotting your way out from the first day you were on the job. We’ve all got the horror stories.
Clipper GM Neil Olshey has said Blake Griffin will be a Clipper forever. You can bet that is the desire of the front office (because he is a franchise player on the court) and owner Donald Sterling (because he fills the building and makes him a lot of money). On July 1, 2012 (under the current system), the Clippers can walk up and offer Griffin a max extension. You can bet they will.
And Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports Griffin might balk at that. Because Griffin is a stand up guy who sees Clippers players having to pitch in to get an ex-coach life-saving prostate cancer surgery because the team won’t cover it. Because he sees Sterling in court with former GM Elgin Baylor over a discriminatory firing lawsuit, where Sterling said he didn’t know Baylor was a player and sounded disinterested. At best.
Sources say rookie sensation Blake Griffin is closely monitoring Sterling’s struggles and is concerned, to say the least, about the owner’s unfortunate string of public embarrassments. Under current NBA rules, players on rookie contracts have little power to influence where they play. And from the standpoint of talent and assets, the Clippers are on excellent footing going forward. But Griffin will not be tied to the Clippers forever, and there are indications he will consider not only the Clippers’ ability to compete for a championship, but also the kind of owner he wants to play for…
David Stern steps in all sorts of situations (if a player was embarrassing the league like this you can be sure he would), but Stern still works for the owners. Even if the other owners want Sterling gone, to step in and push an owner to sell his team or give up control is not something the other owners are ever going to approve.
We’re years from this being an issue, and we don’t know what Griffin’s options would be under a new collective bargaining agreement. But it’s a situation to watch. The Clippers are positioning themselves well to build something special, but their own owner remains the most likely way that it all gets screwed up.