Woj just reported that the Blake Griffin era is over in Clipperland. Blake will be traded to the Pistons for a veritable haul: Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovich and a 1st & 2nd round pick.
I can see the logic for both sides on this deal. Detroit is currently tumbling in the standings after a nice start to the season and have struggled all year to get butts in seats in their new downtown arena. Blake gives them a household name to put on the marquee and – when healthy – game-changing production and playmaking. The Clippers have been a curiosity since losing Chris Paul, intriguing on paper heading into the year, but predictably stifled by injuries to Griffin, Danilo Gallinari, Patrick Beverley and others. Bradley fortifies their perimeter defense and gives them a replacement for Lou Williams if the latter ends up being traded before the deadline. Harris gives them the stalwart wing creator they’ve craved for years, something Gallinari couldn’t become. In the Doc-as-GM years, the Clips did a terrible job at replenishing the roster through the draft, so an extra first rounder is a nice cherry on top of this deal.
Assuming there are no other major trades for these teams (big assumption for the Clips), here are the crunch-time lineups I see going forward:
- PG – Milos Teodosic/Austin Rivers
- SG – Lou Williams
- Wing – Avery Bradley
- Wing – Tobias Harris
- C – DeAndre Jordan
- PG – Reggie Jackson
- SG – Ish Smith/Luke Kennard/???
- Wing – Stanley Johnson
- PF – Blake Griffin
- C – Andre Drummond
I’m most interested in how Blake and Drummond work together. Though not nearly the defender Jordan is, Drummond is much better offensively. He and Blake can become the top PF/C scoring combo in the league, especially after Boogie’s injury (sigh). The Pistons shooting guard spot is a morass, which leads me to believe they may not be done trading. They likely didn’t have enough assets to get the Clips to include Lou Will in this deal, but a player like that would answer a lot of the questions that remain in the Motor City.
Playoff implications – The Pistons are currently three games back of Philly for the 8-seed. This move almost certainly comes with the expectation from ownership and Stan Van Gundy that Blake will vault them back to the playoffs. It will be fascinating to see it play out. Finally some intrigue at the back end of the East.
The Clippers saw their playoff odds get measurably better over the weekend with Boogie’s injury (smdh) and they respond by trading their best player. An 8-seed is clearly not nearly as imperative for LAC as it is for Detroit. That said, they have no one really coming up behind them in the standings so any Pelicans or Nuggets free fall can leave the door open for Doc and Co.
I think the Pistons have a better shot than their fellow 9-seed at making it to the postseason this year. Especially if Blake and Andre find some chemistry.
Trade season starts early!