OUR SPORTS WORLD
I've never been a Clippers fan.
I grew up watching the Chargers, Padres, and Aztecs. But when it came to basketball, it was always the Lakers. I did go to two games, but I came to see Doctor J rock the rim and Kareem hit a Sky Hook. The San Diego Clippers were nothing more than cannon fodder to me. And for the most part, they played that way. When the team left San Diego for Los Angeles in 1984, all I could think was, "Damn, I should've gotten tickets for the Celtics too!"
I thought about those two games from my childhood when the Blake Griffin trade was announced. I thought about the ineptitude of the franchise over the years. I thought about the look of dismay GM Elgin Baylor had on his face as he sat at the draft lottery year after year. And I thought about their most recent years. The Lob City years. The good, but ultimately disappointing years of Griffin, Chris Paul, and DeAndre Jordan.
And I thought to myself, "Hmmm, they got it right."
Blake Griffin is a good, but not great player. He's a power forward with a game built on power, but prone to injury. He tried to be Batman, but was better off being Robin. The only superstar thing about him these days is his five-year, $171-million contract.
Griffin and that monster contract were traded to the Detroit Pistons for Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, a first-round pick and second-round pick. But the biggest thing the Clippers got back was cap space. If this was any other front office, I would be suspicious, but owner Steve Ballmer hasn't shown the skinflint ways of his predecessor.
Lawrence Frank is the GM, but it's also The Logo behind the deal. This is Jerry West, the master architect. And that makes it okay.
Now they'll have two picks that will likely be in the lottery. If DeAndre Jordan is dealt (and I'm sure he will,) that could give Los Angeles three 1st round picks. Compared to Philadelphia's painfully slow process, the Clippers could revamp their entire roster in just two years because of all that cap space. LeBron James and Paul George are free agents this offseason. Klay Thompson and Kawii Leonard are free agents in 2019.
The Clippers are swinging the wrecking ball. Luckily for them, they have someone in house with the right blueprints.