Out of the big-name players potentially on the trade block before Thursday’s deadline, Blake Griffin is the hardest to read. Sure, he’s recovering from surgery to repair a broken hand and is in the middle of an embarrassing PR episode involving a fight with a Clippers equipment manager. But he’s still a top-10 player in the league when healthy, and he’s still in his prime. The Clippers aren’t in a huge rush to trade him right now, but apparently, they’re not completely opposed to it.
From ESPN.com’s Zach Lowe:
Conflicting noise is spouting from Clipperville, but the smart money is on L.A. waiting until the summer to really get busy on the Griffin front. Doc Rivers wants to give this core one last postseason shot, and the Clips need Griffin just in case Kevin Durant picks them, triggering a Griffin-for-Durant sign-and-trade.
But the Griffin noise is real. He’s no longer untouchable. The Clips are listening, even right now, and they’ve rarely listened before. If they get wind over the next four days that they’re out of the Durant sweepstakes, they could accelerate the Griffin trade timetable. It’d take a monster offer to pry him away before the draft, but the ground is trembling (As I’ve written before, Rivers needs to think very hard about whether trading Griffin is a good idea).
The Durant-Griffin sign-and-trade possibility is interesting. It would be a win for the Thunder if Durant was set on leaving — they would get back another legitimate superstar, and an Oklahoma native at that, and possibly give themselves a better chance to keep Russell Westbrook in 2017 if Durant leaves.
But trading Griffin before this summer doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Clippers. His value will never be lower than it is right now, while he’s injured and in the midst of a PR nightmare. They’ll listen to offers, but it’s going to take more than what teams have so far been willing to give up, as it should. Unless something drastic happens, he’s going to remain a Clipper at least through the end of the season.