The Los Angeles Clippers’ front office isn’t afraid to shoot its shot.
Word broke in early January that the Clippers offered Blake Griffin to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a package built around Karl-Anthony Towns. Though many didn’t think much of it then, Los Angeles ultimately dealt its five-time All-Star to the Detroit Pistons on Monday, suggesting, if proving, this move had been in motion for quite some time.
Now we have even more evidence the Clippers gave this Griffin deal a ton of thought—despite what head coach Doc Rivers might say.
Did the Clippers get as much as they could for Blake Griffin?
Young: “They offered him around to everybody.”
Windhorst: “I don’t know if that’s true.”
Young: “I know that they made calls to Oklahoma City for Paul George. I’m pretty sure they made calls to Minnesota for players. So they tried to get some bigger-name players. It just wasn’t happening.”
Thunder fans are free to read into this as they see fit—as evidence, perhaps, that the franchise is confident George will re-sign this summer. But Oklahoma City’s rebuke is more about dollars and sense.
Griffin-for-George wouldn’t have worked straight up. The Thunder would have been required to send out more salary. And while they may have been happy to ship out Kyle Singer, flipping a younger George who will end up making less in his next deal for Griffin’s four-year, $171.2 million wouldn’t have ever sat right.
Beyond that, the fit just doesn’t track. The Thunder already lost Andre Roberson for the season. Imagine what their defense would look like with Griffin, Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook in the same starting lineup.
Regardless of what George does this summer, Oklahoma City made the right call. Having flexibility in the event he leaves is more valuable than rolling the dice on a sort-of-injury-prone power forward the Clippers were clearly desperate to get off their books.