The Los Angeles Clippers have reportedly been trying to deal Blake Griffin before Thursday’s trade deadline, but head coach Doc Rivers says that won’t be happening.
If that is the case, just how much of the preliminary chatter about the Clippers wanting to deal Griffin was true?
“Well, look, if teams call about Blake Griffin, the Clippers are going to listen to them and see what those offers look like,” Yahoo! Sports NBA senior writer Chris Mannix said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “But everything I’ve been told over the last week to 10 days has reflected what Doc Rivers said publicly – (that) they’re not trading Blake Griffin. Right now, teams are calling on Blake and they’re trying to buy low. They’re looking at Blake coming off the hand injury, the issues in the locker room, the way the Clippers are playing in Blake’s absence – they think they can get a sweetheart deal. Well, the Clippers aren’t interested in that. Moreover, Doc Rivers, right or wrong, firmly believes that this team – if it can be reconstituted by the time the playoffs roll around – that they’v got a reasonable chance of being a dark horse in the Western Conference. So all these factors, you add them up, and I would be shocked at this point if Blake Griffin is traded before the deadline.
Griffin, 26, has not played since Christmas. He is averaging 23.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 30 games this season. The Clippers (35-18) have gone 18-5 in Griffin’s absence and are currently the fourth seed in the Western Conference.
Even with a healthy and rejuvenated Griffin, though, how would the Clippers – or any team – beat Golden State in a seven-game series?
“Well, it’s hard,” Mannix said. “I don’t think there’s a silver bullet to any of that. You have to be able to play small. That’s why I think a team like Oklahoma City probably stands the best chance in that type of matchup because they can go with a smallish lineup with Serge Ibaka playing 5 and Kevin Durant playing 4. But I don’t know. You’re asking what it’s going to take to beat the Warriors. Four teams have done it this season, and they’re the defending champs from last season. So I don’t know. You have to match up with them in a small lineup and be able to go shot-for-shot with them. The only team I can see doing that in the West is Oklahoma City.”
The third-seeded Thunder (40-14) have won 14 of 16. They lost to at Golden State, 116-108, on Feb. 6.