More Likely: Clippers Trading Blake Griffin or Losing DeAndre Jordan?
The Clippers collapse has the franchise back where it was when they trailed San Antonio 3-2 last month. How can this team with three stars improve and finally get to the Conference Finals and hopefully, the NBA Finals?
There are two massive problems: 1) The team is capped out, and can’t make any major additions unless a) they trade one of the big three or b) DeAndre Jordan walks in free agency and 2) They don’t have any picks in the 2015 draft.
So what’s a franchise to do? Do you blow it up, or give this nucleus a fifth straight year to make the leap? The half-full crowd of Clippers fans will argue they led the Rockets 3-1 and were up 19 points late in the third quarter and just 14 minutes away from the Western Conference Finals.
The half-empty crowd: Dude, the Clippers just became the first team in nine years to choke after leading a series 3-1, and they got lucky to rally from down 3-2 to beat the Spurs in Game 7 on a last second shot.
The Clippers have JJ Redick on the books for two more years at $14.3 million. He was atrocious in the final three games of the series, and was lit up by James Harden in Game 7 after playing him capably games 1-4. Spencer Hawes, who could barely get on the court against the Rockets, has 3-years and $17.1 (!) million left on his deal. Doc has expressed interest in bringing back his son, Austin Rivers, who played the best basketball of his career in three wins against Houston … but was a disaster in the losses. Matt Barnes has one year left on his deal.
Not much you can do there. But you could take out a stick of dynamite and …
It sounds dramatic, but you’ve got to gauge his value on the trade market, especially after a postseason in which Griffin averaged 25.5 ppg, 12.7 rpg and 6.1 apg. Could you reel in a haul for him in terms of picks and players?
Losing DeAndre Jordan via free agency would be a disaster – on a team that plays no defense, he’s all they have. Few players are as effective blocking shots and rebounding as he is. But also, there’s some talk he and Chris Paul didn’t get along this season. Obviously, that’s not good. Keeping Griffin and losing Jordan would be disastrous. If Jordan walks, there’s no replacement on the horizon, or anything close.
Doc Rivers is understandably taking heat because of his shaky 2014 summer as GM and the Houston collapse. So what’s he going to do to improve this team, with Chris Paul having just turned 30, and the title window shrinking?
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