The Los Angeles Clippers were dealt a blow when power forward Blake Griffin broke his shooting hand after punching a team staffer two weeks ago.
The situation also revived the conversation about the team’s future.
Griffin is an excellent player, and he played like an MVP candidate for a while last season. The Clippers, however, have enjoyed very little playoff success with Griffin since he was drafted in 2010.
This also isn’t a young roster, and another disappointing postseason result might be enough for the Clippers to consider breaking up the team’s core in the offseason.
Ben Bolch of The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that while the Clippers have taken trade calls from other teams that are interested in acquiring Griffin, L.A. is “reluctant” to move him.
Griffin has missed the Clippers’ last 20 games, and they’ve gone 16-4 in his absence. How has Los Angeles racked up wins without arguably its best player? Chris Paul is having a tremendous all-around season, DeAndre Jordan has continued to be dominant on the glass, and J.J. Redick leads the league in 3-point shooting since Christmas.
Make no mistake, the Clippers are at their best when Griffin is in the lineup, not sidelined. That said, their recent success does suggest that he’s not as important to the team’s success as they might have imagined.
Griffin’s return, which might take a bit more than a month to happen, will make the Clippers a legitimate contender in the Western Conference. For that reason alone, it’s difficult to envision L.A. dealing the superstar forward before the Feb. 18 trade deadline. The Clippers are in win-now mode as currently constructed.
Thumbnail photo via Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports Images
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