November 30, 2017
In recent years, the Los Angeles Clippers have been one of the more consistent teams in the Western Conference. They’ve managed to clinch a playoff berth for six-straight seasons under the likes of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan. However, making the playoffs became bittersweet as they failed to reach the Western Conference Finals. To add insult to injury, Paul bolted to Houston in the offseason and now Griffin is sidelined for about two months. No CP3, no Griffin, and an 8-11 record to start the season. Is it time for a rebuild in Los Angeles?
With the departure of Paul this past offseason, the rebuild seemed inevitable. Griffin was also a free agent, who many thought would sign elsewhere and it seemed that Doc Rivers had run his course as the head coach. Well, that wasn’t the case. The five-time NBA All-Star signed a five-year, $173 million contract to keep the Clippers in contention. Along with fellow big man, DeAndre Jordan, and newly added Danilo Gallinari, the Clippers were destined to stay relevant in the Western Conference. I guess destiny doesn’t live here anymore.
After injuries to Gallinari, Beverley, and Milos Teodosic plagued the team to start the season, it seems now that their most prized possession, Blake Griffin, will be on the shelf until February. On top of that, trade rumors have now surfaced involving the shot blocking, DeAndre Jordan. In his 10th season, the big man is averaging 10.1 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks. He has drawn interest from the Cavs, Suns, Wizards, Mavs, and Bucks. With the urgent need of a rim-protecting big man, these teams are likely to make a strong push before the trade deadline. Let’s not forget that Jordan is in his last year of his contract and is set to become a free agent in the 2018 offseason. So, if a decision to rebuild becomes clear among the front office, Steve Ballmer and Lawrence Frank might be forced to start with a DeAndre Jordan trade.
If the Clippers are able to ship Jordan off for young prospects or draft picks, their next move would be to find a suitor that is willing to take on Blake’s hefty 5-year, $173 million contracts. Let’s not forget to add his nagging injury concerns. Despite missing 83 games in the last three seasons, Blake provides a lot of value and upside to any team when healthy. Needless to say, there will be teams willing to take the rest of the power forward’s contract this offseason; or even before the trade deadline. By potentially getting rid of both Griffin and Jordan, the Clippers have a chance for a lottery pick along with the future draft picks and young players they might be able to obtain in those trade deals.
A rebuild for the Clippers is long overdue but it might finally be here!