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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Blake Griffin Traded to Detroit

Blake+Griffin+during+his+time+with+the+Los+Angeles+Clippers.

Blake Griffin during his time with the Los Angeles Clippers.

The L.A. Clippers roused NBA fans after completing a blockbuster trade with the Detroit Pistons. The Clippers swapped Blake Griffin, Willie Reed, and Brice Johnson for the Pistons’ Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, a first-round draft pick, and a second-round draft pick.
The marquee pieces of this trade are, of course, Griffin and the draft picks. This past off-season, Griffin signed a five-year, $175 million deal, which appeared to affirm the Clippers’ commitment to the nine-year forward. Griffin has been plagued by a myriad of injuries in recent seasons, which is likely the main contributor to the Clippers’ decision to trade him mid-season. Griffin only missed four games in his first four season in the league. However, he has missed 99 games over the last four seasons. His latest injury, a sprained MCL, is believed to have sparked the exploration of a potential trade. Griffin was average 22 points, eight rebounds, and five assists per game. These stats had him rated as the sixteenth most efficient player by an ESPN metric and a top-four scorer among power forwards.
So, injuries aside, Griffin was not having a bad season. On the other hand, the Clippers are falling short of their season’s expectations as they are a half game outside the playoff race. The team has very interesting decisions to make this off-season, but attaining success during the remaining half of the season is the first priority.
With two draft picks, the Clippers can go several directions this summer. It’s not clear whether the team will look to kickstart a complete rebuild and entrust the process to their new general manger, Jerry West. West has done some phenomenal team construction through his managing career. He put together the dominant L.A. Lakers team with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, rebuilt the Memphis Grizzlies to be a comparative team in the West, and he played a role in organizing the current Golden State Warriors team. With this impressive track record, West will likely get immense authority over the Clippers’ trajectory this summer. However, I don’t see the Clippers going through a lengthy multi-year rebuild. With the title of richest team owner in all sports going to Steven Ballmer, the Clippers have the funds to immediately become a formidable team in the Western conference again.    
The departure of Griffin reassigns the team’s biggest asset to DeAndre Jordan. Coincidentally, Jordan’s contract ends at the end this season. This mean that the Clippers can let Jordan become a free agent to clear cap space to sign a few max contract players.
It’s rumored that the Clippers wish to keep Jordan beyond this season, which would be a wise move since there aren’t too many all-star centers available in free agency. While resigning Jordan, the Clippers can still pursue two max contract players this summer. The best players potentially available for signing are Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Paul George, and DeMarcus Cousins. Then, there is a string of good players that could be a compliment to a superstar signing such Aaron Gordon, Isaiah Thomas, Clint Capela, and Jabari Parker. The most appropriate course of action for the Clippers would be to clear as much cap space as possible by letting go of a handful of players. Then, sign one or two of the top free agents available.
The Clippers will be competing with the Lakers to bring players to an enticing L.A. market, but the Clippers hold the edge since they are more likely to win an NBA championship with the right additions. The Clippers have several projective player choices, but there is no doubt the with Jerry West at the herm and the astronomical financial banking of Steve Ballmer, the team can regain its status as a NBA title hopeful.