Count the Los Angeles Clippers as one of the teams interested in Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant, who will hit unrestricted free agency after the current season.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports that the Golden State Warriors are one of the “frontrunners” in convincing Durant to jump ship during the 2016 offseason. However, “Woj” also added that the Clippers would pounce on the opportunity of a Durant and Blake Griffin trade, if it becomes available before the trade deadline this season or after the season.
“Outside of those well-known suitors – Washington, Houston and Miami – there’s another California team determined to make a bid for Durant, league sources tell The Vertical: The Los Angeles Clippers. If the opportunity comes to move Blake Griffin and replace him with Durant, the Clippers won’t hesitate, sources said,” Wojnarowski stated in his latest article.
The same report also stated that multiple teams are already inquiring about Griffin’s availability in the trade market.
Griffin is out of commission for the Clippers until around the end of March due to the hand injuries he sustained after punching a team employee in late January.
The incident has led speculations that Griffin may be traded later this season even as the Clippers have played well without Griffin in the line-up.
Los Angeles is 16-3 since Christmas Day and since Griffin suffered a quad injury back in December. The athletic power forward was scheduled to make a return from that injury in the same week he was involved in the punching controversy, which led to another long-term injury.
How realistic is a Griffin-Durant swap in a Clippers-Thunder trade this season?
Very unlikely at this point, especially with the trade deadline fast approaching in about two weeks and Griffin recuperating from his injury.
Both the Clippers and Thunder are also likely to make the postseason and both would want to see how they perform first in the playoffs especially against West powerhouse squads San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors.
Depending on their postseason showing, all involved will most likely reevaluate their situation and status by the time summer rolls; for both the L.A. and OKC franchises, if they are good enough to beat the top West teams and for Durant, if he wants to jump ship and join another title contender.
A sign-and-trade involving Durant and Griffin during the summer is possible especially if the Thunder believes there is no chance they can convince Durant to stay in OKC.
Trading him via a sign-and-trade– assuming Durant agrees– will assure the Thunder of getting back players and not losing their superstar for nothing.
And this is where the Clippers and controversial Griffin comes in. The power forward is set to earn $21.4 million in 2016-2017 and $21.37 million in 2017-2018 and a straight up trade of Griffin for Durant, who will earn the max contract, is possible under the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
Assuming the Clippers and Thunder both comes up short again in their goal of an NBA title this season; is it a good idea for the teams to swap their superstars— Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant— next season?
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