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Shocking NBA Trade Deadline News: Teams Interested in Blake Griffin

The NBA truly is a crazy place.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

In a shocking turn of events, crazy rumors surrounding Blake Griffin have emerged this week.  According to various reporters, several teams around the league have interest in adding the Clippers' forward.  The interested parties so far include the Celtics, Nuggets, Hawks, and 76ers, but rumors indicate that other teams are also lining up to show their interest in Griffin.

It's quite shocking that teams are interested in a 27-year old PF who has been an All-Star in every season of his career until the current one (where he's played at an incredibly high level, but has missed time with injury.)  A guy who's averaged 22 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists a game in his career, and managed to step his game up in the playoffs last season with averages of 26 points, 13 rebounds, and 6 assists, all of a sudden, is a guy that teams want.  Shocking.

Here's the thing: the Clippers don't need to trade Blake Griffin.  The Hornets needed to trade Chris Paul.  The Nuggets needed to trade Carmelo.  The Magic needed to trade Dwight.  Those players wanted out, their teams were build around them, and the franchises were stuck between losing a superstar for nothing and starting a rebuild from scratch, or starting the rebuild with assets from a trade.  These teams took package deals for their stars that made them much worse at the time--some prospects, a handful of draftpicks, and expiring contracts.  And they started their rebuild (and it should be noted that all 3 of them are in pretty good spots right now with their new young cores).

It seems to me that many of the supposed trades presume that this is one of those situations, and it really isn't.  Blake Griffin's contract isn't up.  He hasn't asked for a trade and there's no risk of losing him for nothing this summer.  His value is at an all-time low because of his current injury and the punching scandal, but his talent level is at an all-time high as a transcendent, top-5 talent who performed at a top-5 level both in the post-season last year and in the regular season this year before getting hurt.  You simply don't trade someone of that talent level until he forces his way out, because there's no way to replace that level of player.  These names being thrown out--Danilo Gallinari, Paul Millsap, Kenneth Faried, Jae Crowder, etc.--they're all very good players.  They're also all unequivocally less valuable than Griffin.  Top picks are good and can yield amazing talents, but Blake Griffin is one of those talents, and picks always bring with them the chance of busts.

The other reason that the Clippers' current situation isn't comparable with those other teams is Chris Paul.  You can't start a rebuild while you have one of the best point guards in the history of the game under contract in his prime.  He's another player who is simply so good that you can't give up on him.  If the Clippers were to ever seriously entertain trading Blake, it would be a "win-now" move, where they'd add a very good starting SF and a very good replacement PF in exchange for their superstar.  They'd maximize the talent for "now", trying to break through in the next 2-3 years while Chris Paul is still on the team.  Go look at Denver's roster.  Go look at Philly's.  There aren't players there that help the Clippers more in the next 2-3 years than Blake Griffin does.  There aren't players in next year's draft that maximize Paul's window more than Blake Griffin does.  It's nothing against those players, but anyone who doesn't recognize that is severely underrating Blake.

So, in contradiction with the sarcastic headline I typed out of annoyance with these silly reports, it's not shocking that teams are interested in Blake Griffin.  In other news, I'm hearing that the Suns and Pistons are incredibly interested in signing LeBron for the minimum this summer, and Lakers fans would still like to trade Lou Williams and Nick Young for Russell Westbrook.

The only thing less shocking than teams like Denver and Philadelphia being interested in Blake is the fact that the Clippers are hanging up the phone when they call.