Imagine a lineup consisting of Blake Griffin, Russel Westbrook and Dwight Howard. The Atlanta Hawks have what it takes to have a new Big Three in the coming years.
The Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder have vehemently stated that they want to keep their franchise players. However, they could just be waiting for the perfect offer.
It’s worth mentioning that both Griffin and Westbrook are on the last guaranteed year of their respective contracts. They can enter next offseason as unrestricted free agents. The Clippers and Thunder could lose them for nothing if they aren’t traded now until the trade deadline in February 2017.
Rocky Robertson of Soaring Down South reported that the Hawks have the personnel to trade for both Griffin and Westbrook. The team has young, promising talents like DeAndre Bembry, Taurean Prince, Walter Tavares and Tim Hardaway Jr. They also have dependable veterans such as Jarrett Jack, Kyle Korver and Kris Humphries.
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The Hawks will likely want to keep Dwight Howard. As such, the biggest trade pieces the team can offer are versatile power forward Paul Millsap and spitfire point guard Dennis Schroder.
Like Griffin, Millsap can opt out of his deal in the summer of 2017. Meanwhile, Schroder is similar to Westbrook in that both will be unrestricted free agents next offseason.
If the Clippers want to move Griffin, who has been sidelined by injuries and was involved in numerous off-court shenanigans, trading for Millsap would be a safe move. The 6-foot-8 power forward can score anywhere inside the half-court line and is a better career shot blocker than Griffin. Millsap averaged 9 rebounds per game last season — more than Griffin’s 8.4 boards a game.
As for trading for Westbrook, the Hawks will have to let go of Schroder. They can throw in Kyle Korver and Tiago Splitter into the mix to reach Westbrook’s salary numbers. ESPN’s Trade Machine sees the swap as a fair bargain.