Blake Griffin has recently been at the center of controversy after assaulting an equipment manager and injuring his hand. This most recent injury will side him for the foreseeable future after he was just about to return from a quad injury. Talks of the Clippers shipping Griffin out of Los Angles have been at the forefront of many discussions involving the superstar. Many teams have been linked to him as a potential landing spot for the five-time NBA All-Star but, one team not linked to the situation is the Sixers. Blake Griffin to Philadelphia makes the most sense for both teams.
Here’s the hypothetical trade:
Sixer receive: Blake Griffin
Clippers receive: Jahlil Okafor, the Lakers first round pick (top 3 protected), and the Thunder’s first round pick (top 15 protected)
Why this makes sense for the Clippers:
The Clippers are an aging team that has dramatically underachieved since the formation of “Lob City.” They have maintained a nucleus of Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, and Griffin while supplementing their roster with aging veterans that are well past their prime. Okafor can usher in the next generation while allowing them to remain competitive and continue to contented for a title. Griffin, meanwhile, will not be able to help the team make a playoff push because of his injury and likely suspension. This trade also nets the Clippers two first round pick and the ability to begin to develop a new, younger core. In the Western Conference, they are contending with the likes of Golden State, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City. As currently constructed, there is no reason to believe that they will beat any of the aforementioned teams in a seven game series. They have the third oldest team, on average, in the NBA (29.1 years old). Is there reason to believe they will come back stronger next year? No. However, if they come back next year with a savvier Okafor, and two potential first round picks, there is reason to believe the Clippers have a shot at upward mobility in the West.
Why this makes sense for the Sixers:
There is the obvious that the Sixers would be acquiring one of the most recognizable players in the NBA, but it is deeper than that; they would be maximizing the value of their assets. There are already talks about Okafor having to move because his playing style does not fit what the Sixers are trying to do. This is no longer up for debate; they are more effective when Nerlens Noel is playing center. Griffin would fit this style and allow Noel to play his natural position of center. There is no guarantee that the draft picks will have any value. There is a chance that the Lakes pick will be the fourth pick in this year’s draft, but they are on pace to overtake the Sixers for the worst record in the league. Also, the Lakers will be significantly better next year, so even though the pick becomes unprotected if the Sixers do not receive it this year, there is no guarantee that it will be a valuable pick. The Thunder pick will likely be in the 20’s and that something that is worth parting with for a player of this caliber. Griffin does not have a history of being a troublesome player and could help draw in potential free agents in years to come. He would be allowed to recover at his own pace without any pressure to return from injury.
There is no guarantee that the Clippers want to move on from Blake Griffin, but if they do, the Sixers have enough assets to give them a fair deal.