Last summer, the Clippers called Blake Griffin “Clipper royalty.” They courted him in free agency by raising an actual banner to the rafters, staging his future number-retirement ceremony. They then signed him to a five-year near-max contract. Already eight years in with L.A., he said he wanted to spend his entire career with the Clippers.
The union lasted just a few more months.
The Clippers shocked everyone by trading Griffin to the Pistons this week, a move allowable only because Griffin didn’t have a no-trade clause in his contract.
Actual no-trade clauses (as opposed to automatic veto rights based on being on a one-year contract with Bird Rights coming after it, like Nikola Mirotic has) are rare because the eligibility requirements – eight seasons in the NBA, four with the signing team – are so strict. But Griffin qualified.
Does he regret not securing a no-trade clause?
Griffin at his introductory press conference:
No. I want to play for an organization that wants me to play there, and clearly, this was an organization that wanted me to play here. Being stuck in a no-trade clause, it was something that was brought up, but it wasn’t something that we actually went about, obviously. This is where I want to be. This is a place that wants me, and that’s the type of organization I want to play for. I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a place that it wasn’t working.
Griffin is spinning a little to show positivity toward his new team, which definitely wants him.
A no-trade clause wouldn’t have banned the Clippers from trading him. He could have waived it for any trade, including this one with Detroit. Nothing would have stopped Griffin from deciding he was no longer wanted in L.A. and would be better off with the Pistons, as he now says is the case. Or he could have chosen to stay with the Clippers. It would have been his choice, even if the outcome would have been the same as reality.
But contracts are negotiated, and Griffin got plenty:
- Near-max starting salary
- Max annual raises
- Five years guaranteed
- Player option
- Max 15% trade kicker
Securing a no-trade clause would have probably meant giving up something else. There’s no harm in having a no-trade clause, but if Griffin didn’t want to stay with the Clippers if they wanted to trade him, he was better off getting more favorable terms in other facets of the contract.