Then-Clippers general manager Neil Olshey declared of Blake Griffin in 2011: “I can guarantee you he will only ever be a Clipper.”
The next year, the Clippers announced they reached “a deal in principle” to retain Olshey.
A few days later, he became the Trail Blazers’ new general manager.
Could history repeat itself with Griffin surprisingly following his old GM to Portland?
Yahoo Sports’ Marc J. Spears on John Canzano’s Bald-Faced Truth radio show talking about the Trail Blazers:
This is a rumor. Let me say that three times. This is a rumor. This a rumor. This is a rumor.
Obviously, there’s a connection there with the GM. And you wonder, if LaMarcus is interested in the Clippers, playing with Chris Paul. Could Neil Olshey get his old superstar with the Clippers in Portland?
I think you get to a point where – Neil is smart. You’ve got to have a come-to-Jesus meeting with LaMarcus and say, “Hey, do you really want to be here or do you think you want to go. Because f you really want to go, help us – the same way Steve Nash helped the Suns. Don’t just walk away. Try to help out Portland in the process.”
Spears knows things, which is why we’re passing along this particular rumor. But it seems more like a Portland pipedream than a rumor.
The Trail Blazers could lose LaMarcus Aldridge in free agency this summer, and if they do, they’d surely prefer to remain a playoff team. Damian Lillard is too good to allow Portland to undergo a significant rebuild through tanking. Griffin would keep Portland in the Western Conference’s upper echelon.
But why would the Clippers deal Griffin in an Aldridge sign-and-trade? Griffin is better and younger than Aldridge and would be paid less if Aldridge signs a max contract this summer.
And why would Griffin consent? He’s under contract without a no-trade clause, so he wouldn’t have any formal power to block a trade. But his stature gives him a voice in this process, and it’s difficult to see him wanting to leave a bigger market and better team, especially given all his endorsements. Likewise, Paul has the stature to influence a decision, and he shouldn’t want the Clippers to downgrade at power forward.
Nash helped the Suns, who got two first-round picks in a sign-and-trade with the Lakers. (One of the first-rounders, the top-five protected pick now owned by the 76ers, is more valuable than Nash ever was in Los Angeles.) Aldridge might similarly try to help Portland.
But the Clippers sure don’t have any loyalty to the Trail Blazers, which makes this seem far-fetched at best.