The NBA offseason is a time of signings, trades and new beginnings. It is also when basketball enthusiasts give their take on who goes where. One suggestion has Blake Griffin going to the Toronto Raptors.
The Raptors are one elite big man away from being perennial title contenders in the Eastern Conference. The Canada-based squad could acquire Griffin in a blockbuster trade involving the Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte Hornets and the Sacramento Kings.
Dan Favale of Bleacher Report noted that the Raptors would get Blake Griffin and Kosta Koufos in the multi-player swap. The Clippers would acquire Rudy Gay, Cody Zeller, Norman Powell, Jeremy Lamb and a 2018 top-seven-protected first-round draft pick from the Hornets.
The Kings would get Paul Pierce, Spencer Hawes, Delon Wright and the Clippers’ 2017 lottery-protected first-round draft pick. Lastly, the Hornets will inherit the contracts of Jonas Valanciunas and Patrick Patterson.
All four teams will benefit from the trade, especially the Raptors and Clippers. Masai Ujiri is still searching for that third superstar that could play alongside Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. Griffin might be the final piece of the Raptors’ puzzle.
As for the Clippers, Doc Rivers has already experimented with a small-ball lineup last year. He may want to use that setup permanently, albeit without Griffin.
Los Angeles Times reported that Rivers occasionally plugged Griffin at the center spot so he can create scoring opportunities for his four teammates. Sadly, the experiment never really took off. Griffin tore his left quadriceps in December. He missed a total of 45 games in the regular season as a result of the injury.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Raptors initially targeted Serge Ibaka. When that didn’t pan out, the team tried to trade for Atlanta Hawks power forward Paul Millsap.
Griffin is on the final guaranteed year of his contract. He has an early termination option for the 2017-2018 season. If the Clippers want to trade him, now would be the right time to do it. However, potential trade partners are still worried about his injury. The Boston Celtics would have acquired Griffin by now if it wasn’t for his questionable leg.