The Los Angeles Clippers need a shakeup.
The Clippers’ current core of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan hasn’t been able to push through and make it to a Western Conference Final or beyond. Complicating matters for this season is Griffin’s broken shooting hand, which he recently suffered when punching a Clippers staff member. He’ll be out of the lineup more than a month.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, one move the Clippers would consider over the summer to improve is a Griffin-for-Kevin Durant swap.
“If the opportunity comes to move Blake Griffin and replace him with Durant, the Clippers won’t hesitate, sources said,” Wojnarowski wrote.
“Teams are calling on Griffin trades now, but Clippers president and coach Doc Rivers seems determined to play the year out with Griffin and see how far the team advances in the playoffs. Eventually, the Clippers will determine how intrigued Durant might be in becoming a Big Three with Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan.”
Durant is a much better player than Griffin, there’s no doubt about it. The Thunder forward is one of the three or four best players in the league and still has plenty of prime seasons left in his career. There’s no reason for OKC to make this kind of move unless, as Wojnarowski notes, it learns Durant definitely isn’t re-signing.
The Thunder also have plenty of big men capable of playing the power forward position. The best of the group is Serge Ibaka, who plays exceptional interior defense along with an improved offensive game. OKC also has Steven Adams, Enes Kanter, Nick Collison and rookie Mitch McGary in the frontcourt.
If Durant were to leave in free agency, finding a wing player with elite scoring ability would be the best option for OKC, rather than a power forward with limited shooting range.
Even if a Griffin-Durant trade is unlikely to happen, it doesn’t hurt the Clippers to be aggressive. Los Angeles is in win-now mode based on its current roster construction and must make the most of Paul’s remaining good years. The veteran point guard is 30 years old and approaching the end of his prime.
Luckily for the Clippers, Griffin has another year left on his contract, so they have plenty of time to figure out what role, if any, he’ll play in the team’s future.
Thumbnail photo via Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports Images
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