One thing that never ceases to fail in the NBA is how quickly windows for title contention crack open and slum shut. If what Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding reports holds true, that sound off in the distance is another franchise’s hopes crashing around them.
When the Los Angeles Clippers
were gifted landed Chris Paul to play alongside Blake Griffin and burgeoning star DeAndre Jordan no one figured there’d be a scenario where they didn’t compete for a title, let alone fail to reach the third round of the playoffs.
Hell, when Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Serge Ibaka took the Oklahoma City Thunder all the way to the finals, the general consensus was they’d be back with a vengeance soon rather than later.
None of these things — either with the Clippers or Thunder — came true.
Now, with Blake Griffin hurling towards free agency like he used to roll to the basket a couple years and a few injuries ago, the Clippers could be looking at the same finish line that slapped OKC across the face last summer.
Here’s how Ding puts it:
That Griffin would also stay and reap the biggest payday he can seems likely, too—in theory. But more and more people around the league believe he would be open to a fresh start—perhaps with the Lakers or the Boston Celtics, who have coveted Griffin for years and would offer a new chance to win. The most intriguing fit might be if he were to go home to Oklahoma to join Russell Westbrook and the Thunder, but his interests in the entertainment industry make staying in Los Angeles a priority.
The first thing to point out here is how many scenarios Ding lists. In other words:
“Well he definitely would like to get paid like crazy, but the Lakers are an option and so are the Celtics and oh hey let’s throw the Thunder in for good measure.”
Ding covers all bases: pay day, Lakers, contending team in eastern conference and hometown. That’s how you lob rumors out there with optimal ability to look back and say you had it all along. This isn’t a knock against Ding, just get ready to hear a whole bunch of rumors that sound just like this one.
How Ding paints the picture should also serve to show what the Lakers are up against even with a free agent with the injury questions Griffin comes with. And this is all before pointing out how much he reportedly loves being a Clipper, and probably loves money.
If the Lakers do go in this direction and are able to convince Griffin, this would leave plenty of work to sort out the roster. Either Julius Randle or Larry Nance, Jr. would probably have to be dealt for lack of opportunity.
Griffin would probably want to win as soon as possible, so the front office would have questions to answer about the up-and-down careers of all of their young core and while that might sound daunting, he probably makes the Lakers look even more appealing for the already “hell-bent” Paul George.
There’s still 11 games to go in this season and the Clippers have the playoffs coming right around the corner. For Lakers fans hoping to land Griffin, it’s worth keeping an eye on how those playoffs go. Fresh starts usually follow the thunderous crashing of title hopes.