The 2017 NBA free agent class isn’t exactly laden with superstars, but there are a handful of All-Star players who will be available on the open market.
One of those players is Blake Griffin, who has informed the Los Angeles Clippers he will opt out of his contract and become a free agent on July 1. There certainly will be a number of suitors for Griffin, as he provides a unique skill set, including a strong interior presence and a respectable mid-range game.
With that in mind, here are the three best spots for Griffin to land in free agency.
Big things are happening for the Celtics, and Griffin could be wise to take his talents to Boston and be a part of it. The C’s shocked most of the basketball world by grabbing the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference last season, but they’re poised to be even better in the 2017-18 campaign. The Celtics are expected to be major players in free agency this summer, as Gordon Hayward reportedly is a primary target. And with the chaos going on with the Indiana Pacers, you can never rule out a trade sending Paul George to Boston, either.
Griffin’s game would blend well with the current Celtics roster. He’d likely play power forward, which allows Al Horford to slide into the center spot. His playmaking ability also would complement a Boston team that already moves the ball at an impressive pace. A “big three” of Isaiah Thomas, Griffin and Horford is impressive in its own right, but if you throw either Hayward or George into that group, the C’s would be a major threat in the East. Not to mention, Griffin has gone on record as saying he loves the diehard fanbase in Boston.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
Ever since LeBron James made his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, fans tend to expect players to have interest in playing for their hometown team. Griffin was born and raised in Oklahoma, and he played collegiately for the Sooners. But the novelty aspect aside, a free agent move to the Thunder would make sense.
OKC is desperate for additional star talent, as Russell Westbrook effectively carried the team on his back in his first season without Kevin Durant. Westbrook certainly proved what he’s capable of, as the Thunder overachieved to grab the No. 6 seed in the West, and Westbrook garnered MVP honors after averaging a triple-double for the duration of the regular season. If you were to throw Griffin in that mix, Oklahoma City could make a serious jump.
Griffin playing alongside Steven Adams would give the Thunder arguably the most formidable frontcourt in the West. And as previously mentioned, Griffin’s playmaking ability would alleviate some pressure off of Westbrook. This isn’t to say the Thunder would be at a level playing field with the Golden State Warriors if they signed Griffin, but they still would improve by a considerable margin.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
The Clippers might not be the best basketball fit at present for Griffin, but they certainly provide the best opportunity financially. Los Angeles can offer the star forward more money than any other team, as he’s eligible to sign a five-year, $175 million max contract with the team that drafted him No. 1 overall eight years ago.
If Griffin returns to L.A., he immediately would become the clear-cut face of the franchise, as the Clippers have agreed to trade Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets in a blockbuster deal. Losing CP3 obviously is a major hit, but the Clips aren’t in the worst spot.
The team still has DeAndre Jordan, and it’s likely to re-sign J.J. Redick in free agency. The Clippers also received a haul of players in the trade with the Rockets, including Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams.
So despite Paul’s departure, don’t bank on the Clippers going into a full rebuild, especially if they’re able to bring back Griffin.
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