In news that shocked the NBA world, it was announced Monday that Clippers forward Blake Griffin had been traded to the Detroit Pistons.
Griffin was shipped to Detroit along with Brice Johnson and Willie Reed, while the Clippers received Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, and a first and second round draft pick.
Protections on Detroit’s 2018 first-round pick include 1-4 in 2018, 2019 and 2020, and unprotected in 2021, per sources.
It has been reported that Los Angeles is also still looking to unload Lou Williams and DeAndre Jordan before the Feb. 8 trade deadline.
Griffin, the No. 1 overall in the 2009 NBA Draft, has played his entire career with the Clippers. He and Chris Paul helped lead L.A. to six consecutive playoff appearances from 2012-17, the longest streak in team history. He won Rookie of the Year during the 2010-11 campaign, and is a five-time NBA All-Star selection and four-time All-NBA pick.
The trade came as a major surprise, considering the Clippers are fighting for a playoff berth. The Clippers are sitting at 25-24, just one game out of the final Western Conference playoff spot, and only two games behind seventh place Portland and sixth place New Orleans.
It also seemed strange that the Clippers would make this move after they re-signed Griffin to a 5-year, $171 million max contract extension in the off-season, and it seemed as if he’d be a Clipper for most of his career.
Even though they’re in the thick of the playoff race, this move signifies a total rebuild for the Clippers. If they’re trading the teams best player while the other two star players remain available, it would appear the Clippers are headed for the Western Conference cellar in an effort to rebuild or chase free agents, but after how long it took the Clippers to even reach regular playoff contention, I wouldn’t be surprised if this trade could one day be looked back on by Clippers fans as the worst in team history.