The Los Angeles Clippers are not having the season they were hoping for. After the team re-signed DeAndre Jordan they were expecting to contend with the Golden State Warriors and that has not been the case. To make matters worse, Blake Griffin has himself surrounded in drama regarding his broken hand. After trading away Josh Smith, could Griffin find himself a target as well?
Griffin is officially out the next four to six weeks with a broken hand following a punch thrown at a Clippers' employee. According to ESPN's Mike Wells, Griffin has apologized for the incident in hopes of silencing the drama around him. Head coach Doc Rivers told the media that the whole problem is frustrating and losing Griffin right now is the not helping the team push in the Western Conference. To add to the drama, trade rumors are beginning to surface around Griffin as the Clippers eye change heading into the deadline.
There are no factual reports that say the Clippers are looking to trade Griffin, but the idea cannot be ruled out. The team has already shown they are willing to shake things up when they sent Smith to the Houston Rockets. Griffin is not getting dealt in the middle of the season. The Clippers are better with him than without him right now and he will be critical to the playoff push. However, FOX Sports writes that if the Clippers have another disappointing showing in the postseason than Griffin could be the first to go in a roster shake up.
A trade of Griffin continues to come up because the Clippers are 11-3 since the forward went down with the quad injury. Chris Paul and Jordan appear to be running the offense just fine without him. However, Griffin is in the prime of his career putting up great numbers that say the Clippers should retain him. According to Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times, Griffin might not be as welcomed back into the locker room as he might hope after the punching incident. If the core three players cannot top the Warriors or Spurs this season then he will be the first up on the trade block.
ESPN Insider suggests that trading Chris Paul could be a route the Clippers take. Lance Stephenson is already available. Right now the team is not going to break up the roster any more than potentially getting a deal for Stephenson or Jamal Crawford. Keeping Paul, Griffin and Jordan together is the team's best shot at beating the likes of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. All of that will change if the Clippers get shut out in the playoffs again. Griffin punching an employee does not help his case to stay put.
"We have to figure it out (in Griffin's absence) because we're in a tough conference, and we've kind of clawed our way up to the spot that we're at now, and now we have to keep clawing," Rivers said, via ESPN.com.