On the list of things that Kevin Durant will do this summer — and the clear frontrunner at the top of that list is re-signing with the Thunder, followed by going to the Warriors or anyone else — this is close to the bottom. Because Oklahoma City would have to be dragged kicking and screaming to this deal.
But for a Clippers team that wants to win a ring and may be losing faith this core can accomplish that, it’s intriguing.
The idea is a Blake Griffin for Durant sign-and-trade swap, and it’s something the Clippers would pitch, reports Adrian Wojnarowski for The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
Outside of those well-known suitors – Washington, Houston and Miami – there’s another California team determined to make a bid for Durant, league sources tell The Vertical: The Los Angeles Clippers. If the opportunity comes to move Blake Griffin and replace him with Durant, the Clippers won’t hesitate, sources said.
Teams are calling on Griffin trades now, but Clippers president and coach Doc Rivers seems determined to play the year out with Griffin and see how far the team advances in the playoffs. Eventually, the Clippers will determine how intrigued Durant might be in becoming a Big Three with Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan.
Again, the Thunder are working to retain Durant, not trade him this summer. And I’m with the crowd that thinks they will succeed, and Durant will re-sign with the Thunder on a two-year deal with an opt-out after one. That way Durant sees if the OKC core can get it done for one more season, he waits until the cap spikes to an estimated $108 million, he waits until he has 10 years in the league so his max salary jumps even more, and he becomes a free agent along with Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka (they can make a group decision on whether to stay or go).
However, if Durant came to Thunder GM Sam Presti and said “I’m gone, you can do this deal or lose me for nothing” then Presti would have no choice but to seriously consider it. Griffin’s Oklahoma City ties make this interesting as well.
There is another side to the Clippers in this — Griffin is their guy. He is the face of the team’s marketing program in L.A., he is the last player introduced, and he is the fan favorite. Griffin was the draft pick the Clippers didn’t screw up, he’s the guy whose talent and work ethic forced an organizational change from laughing stock to putting on its big boy pants (something Mike Dunleavy Sr. started to push for back in the day). That is not easy to trade away.
Although for Kevin Durant, Clippers fans would get over it.
Doc Rivers has admitted that he has wondered if this Clipper core can climb the mountain, especially when the Warriors have turned that mountain into Everest. He knows might have to rethink the big picture.
It’s just not likely to happen in the summer of 2016. Now, the summer of 2017 if the Clippers are in the same boat, that could be another story.