Blake Griffin is likely to join hometown team Oklahoma City Thunder in free agency next summer. However, Griffin could be a part of the Thunder by the start of the coming season, per sources.
According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, the Clippers would entertain thoughts of trading Griffin if the all-star forward made his intentions clear about his impending free agency.
“With (Russell) Westbrook on-board, there is a new rumor in Oklahoma City to watch and that is the Thunder’s potential pursuit of L.A. Clippers forward Blake Griffin,” Kyler reported over the weekend.
Blake Griffin can’t be lost for nothing
Kyler reckons that the Thunder don’t have a shortage of assets to acquire Griffin.
“The Thunder have a truckload of assets to offer in trade, or simply the ability to be the threat in free agency next July that the Golden State Warriors were this summer.”
Next year, the Clippers have an extremely busy offseason with Griffin, Chris Paul and J.J. Redick all entering free agency. Los Angeles cannot afford to lose the critical trio for nothing, and therefore could be forced to trade at least one of them this summer.
If Griffin informs Clippers president Doc Rivers of his intention to join the Thunder next year, it’s almost investable that a trade would go down. Wouldn’t Rivers rather secure assets instead of losing Griffin for nothing? The Thunder lost Kevin Durant for nothing this summer.
Recently, Rivers maintained that both Griffin and Paul intend to finish their careers with the Clippers. However, that’s exactly what Kevin Durant maintained for the longest of time about his desire to stick it out with the Thunder.
Enes Kanter a good fit with LA?
According to one insider, the Clippers would consider a trade surrounding Enes Kanter, since the Turkish big man has three years left on his contract, and would be a like-for-like replacement for Griffin. Last summer, Kanter signed a four-year $70 million max contract to remain in Oklahoma City.
Though Kanter is viewed as a liability on defense, his efficiency as a scorer and rebounder cannot be overlooked. Last season, Kanter averaged 12.7 points and 8.1 rebounds from just 21 minutes of playing time. His Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 24.09 was top 10 in the league.
Per ESPN’s trade machine, a direct swap between Griffin and Kanter is feasible. However, Thunder could throw in Mitch McGary or Kyle Singler to sweeten the deal.
If Russell Westbrook and Blake Griffin came together this coming season, there would be a significant power shit in the Western Conference. It would no longer be a foregone conclusion that the Golden State Warriors are the best team.