While everyone—from casual NBA fans to supposed basketball experts— was talking about a probable Blake Griffin trade before the NBA’s trade deadline last February, Los Angeles Clippers coach and general manager was just laughing off those NBA rumors.
Rivers, who took over the coaching reins in Los Angeles in 2013, stated with conviction that the Clippers never considered trading away their star power forward when other NBA teams were making calls during the recent NBA trade deadline and when the NBA rumors were circulating days before the deadline.
“I love him. He’s a good player. He was only having an MVP year before he got injured. I laugh at some of the stuff about moving him,” Rivers said to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports on Sunday about the NBA rumors involving Griffin.
“I’ve said from Day One he is not going anywhere. Of course, every team should call. That’s their job. That doesn’t mean we have to listen and we didn’t.”
NBA rumors involving probable Griffin trades from the Clippers were one of the hot topics mid-February owing to the power forward’s involvement in a recent controversy where Griffin punched a team staff.
Because of the unfortunate punching incident, speculations were ripe that the L.A. squad was willing to break up the Clippers’ core that includes Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan.
However, Rivers was adamant then that the Clippers were not looking to move Griffin and on Sunday, he reiterated his stand that the power forward is part of Los Angeles’ long-term plans.
“There was some, but not a lot because we shot them down so quickly. Reading about some of these crazy rumors in the paper was comical to us,” Rivers added in the interview. “You can take the call, but you don’t have to listen. We like our team. We’re in the job of trying to make our team better, but we like our team.”
Griffin, who averages 23.2 points and 8.7 rebounds before the injuries this year, is pegged to re-join the Clippers at the tail end of the current regular season.
On the topic of challenging the Golden State Warriors for West supremacy this year, Rivers believes that the Clippers are “right there” with Stephen Curry’s team despite the dominating run by the Warriors this season. Rivers adds that they are not trying to “catch them” record-wise in the regular season but that beating the Warriors in the playoffs is something they are looking forward to.
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