It would be easy to say that the Detroit Pistons won the trade by acquiring Blake Griffin from the Los Angeles Clippers, but they didn’t.
On January 29th the Clippers successfully negotiated one of the NBA’s biggest fleecing for assets. They acquired guard Avery Bradley, forward Tobias Harris, center Boban Marjanovic, a 2018 protected pick and a 2019 second round pick in exchange for forward Blake Griffin, forward Brice Johnson and center Willie Reed. Clippers Chairmen Steve Ballmer issued a statement in the team’s press release:
“Blake Griffin had a tremendous impact on this organization and his legacy within the community of Los Angeles will be permanent. It was a pleasure getting to know and cheer for Blake. I wish him, as well as Brice and Willie, the best of luck. While change is hard, my confidence in our front office, led by Lawrence Frank and Michael Winger, along with the sage counsel of Jerry West, has never been higher. I believe today, more than ever, in our ultimate goal of winning an NBA Championship,” said Steve Ballmer.
In the 2009 NBA draft, he was selected with the first overall pick. Griffin had suffered a knee injury during the Clippers final preseason game, it was later confirmed he had suffered a stress fracture in his left knee which delayed his NBA debut and ultimately what should have been his rookie season.
The following year he exploded on to the scene winning Rookie of the Year and being voted on by the coaches to the All Star Game, first time a rookie was voted in by the coaches since Tim Duncan in 1998. That same weekend he participated in the Rookie Challenge and won the Slam Dunk Contest, the Clippers have finally found their star.
Finally they saw their terrible luck waltz away in the likes of Blake Griffin, all they could do now is build around him, enter the Chris Paul era. Without a doubt Chris Paul is one of the greatest guards to ever play the game.
His relentless style of play on both ends of the court is just what a young star in Griffin needed, let’s not forget to mention Paul is considered one of the greatest ”set-up” man in NBA history, so the offense will come easier to Griffin.
During Paul’s tenure on the Clippers, Griffin continued to impress with the All-Star guard running the show, still that is where the problem lied. The team now went to Chris Paul as their frontman instead of Blake Griffin, who they used the first overall pick on, and constant roster moves looking for that one missing piece.
Another interesting fact is that Blake Griffin is a very reserved individual and looks to stray away from anything too out of character. However, according to SBnation.com, Blake Griffin was suspended four games for involvement in an altercation with the Clipper’s assistant equipment manager, striking him in the face which led to Griffin breaking his hand. This was extremely out of character for Blake Griffin, spelling the beginning of the end for Blake in L.A. .
If there is anyone to thank for this fleecing however, it would be Griffin’s old running mate in Chris Paul. Paul made himself the leader of the team, Paul made himself the voice of the team, Paul was the L.A. Clippers and they went with it, forgetting who was the actual star of the show was, Blake Griffin.
The injuries continued to plague his career, he’s only been able to play over 70 games three times. He even missed the rest of the playoffs in 2017 after suffering a toe injury during a game three matchup against the Utah Jazz. Just like every season before, when Blake got hurt they always turned to Chris Paul to carry that team. Griffin was now exposed for what he truly was, a high-flying big who needs a distributing point guard to succeed.
Now of course, the Clippers did some damage during the time of Paul and Griffin, but expectations were never met. Chris Paul was fully aware of what was to come for the team and demanded to be traded to the Houston Rockets. The Clippers were now stuck in a sticky situation, traded away their starting point guard, Griffin still hurt from his toe injury and a mess of a roster.
The relationship between the Clippers and Blake Griffin has now become awkward, a man that was once the face of the franchise took a back seat to Chris Paul and now they look at him again to be the face of the franchise. It was a relationship that couldn’t be fixed, so the Clippers did what they had to and dealt their current best player in Blake.
With the injuries piling up ,the roster not being what it use to be it was time for a change and with Paul, the center piece of that whole operation gone, it was definitely time for a change. They gave the Pistons an aging big man, whose game is predicated off of his physical abilities, the same abilities that are affected after every injury.
The Pistons have nothing to offer Blake Griffin in the long run: it’ll be too difficult to move his contract with the history of injuries he has, he’s got a history of not showing up in the playoffs and this team doesn’t ease the tension of making it through the East. This was never a problem that was initiated by Griffin, but one that was started by Paul and the Clippers and ended by the Clippers.
We may have seen already seen the best of Blake Griffin, all eyes will be on him now. No Paul, no Doc, no DeAndre everything is now on his shoulders.