Report: If Clippers break up core, Blake Griffin first player on trade block

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Before the season even began, Clippers president/coach Doc Rivers said he’d consider breaking up his Chris PaulBlake GriffinDeAndre Jordan core if the team didn’t advance deep in the playoffs.

Who would be the first to go?

Griffin if the Clippers can use him in a sign-and-trade for Kevin Durant, of course. That’s a huge upgrade.

Otherwise?

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports on Griffin:

Even without Durant, this franchise will make hard decisions on his future if it doesn’t make a deep playoff run this spring. And league sources tell me that will start with looking hard on the market for deals involving Griffin.

It always depends what a team could get in return, but this strikes me as a likely mistake.

Griffin’s stock has fallen significantly. He suffered an ugly hand injury punching out a team equipment manager, and the Clippers have looked just fine in his absence. They’re 17-13 with him and 15-4 without him.

But it has reached the point Griffin is now underrated.

Griffin isn’t the first player to lose his temper and hit someone. The incident with Matias Testi is troubling, no doubt. But from a trade-value standpoint, how Griffin acts in the future should be far more important than his prior actions. With his reputation – and so many endorsements – on the line, it’s reasonable to hope Griffin learns from this and shows more restraint going forward.

It seems the opposite view is more common, though. Many are ready to assume Griffin’s future based on his prior actions – maybe even including the Clippers.

Likewise, the Clippers hitting a soft spot in their schedule with Griffin sidelined has deflated his value too far. Before a quad injury, he looked like an MVP runner-up candidate – a fine accomplishment in a season where Stephen Curry is running away with MVP. There’s something to be said about better spacing around Paul and especially Jordan, but Griffin is still an excellent player.

Griffin is also just 26 and locked up for another season after this one – factors that should raise his value. So should the fact that Griffin has worked to expand his game since entering the league as a dunking specialist. He’s an elite big-man passer,improved defender and far better shooter.

I wouldn’t want to sell low on a player like that.