No one expected Blake Griffin to be traded. If anything, it would be DeAndre Jordan or Lou Williams, but in a trade that sent Blake Griffin, Willie Reed, and Brice Johnson to the Detroit Pistons, the Los Angeles Clippers received Tobias Harris, Boban Marjonovic, a 2018 first-round pick, and a 2019 second-round pick.
At first glance, this trade looks terrible. The Clippers essentially sold the face of its franchise and only All-Star caliber player away. However, a deeper look into the trade shows that this was actually a solid transaction for the Clippers. Even though they gave away a star talent, they received two very solid starters in Harris and Bradley. The Clippers have had a ruckus in terms of a consistent starting lineup and Bradley and Harris allows the Clippers to have two guarantee starters.
It’s true that the Clippers are competing for a playoff spot right now, but in all honesty, they are in rebuilding mode. They have been plagued by injuries this year and do not have enough talent to compete for a championship. Therefore, the 2018 first-round pick and 2019 second-round pick from the Pistons was a great acquisition; they are essentially two more chances at finding a solid starter or maybe even All-Star for the Clippers.
A lot of next year’s potential also depends on DeAndre Jordan and other free agents during the summer. Jordan, who has played with the Clippers his whole career, has the decision to stay or leave and at this point, either choice seems equally possible. However, assuming he stays and everyone else stays healthy, the Clippers would have Milos Teodosic at point guard, Avery Bradley at shooting guard, Danilo Gallinari at small forward, Tobias Harris at power forward, and DeAndre Jordan at center.
Though Teodosic is good at passing the ball and starting the offense, he has trouble creating shots for himself and is slow on defense. Gallinari is a solid offensive player but is also very slow. Bradley is a great energetic defensive player and is a good off-ball offensive player. Harris is solid at creating his own shot and is the best scorer in the starting lineup. Jordan is a great defensive player and rebounder. Overall, the Clippers have a decent starting lineup, but not one that is impressive. However, the Clippers’ bench would be solid. They would have Patrick Beverley back, who could sub in for Teodosic if Teodosic is struggling to guard his man. They have Lou Williams who has proven to everyone this year that he is a scoring machine. Players such as Wesley Johnson, Montrezl Harrell, and Austin Rivers would also be great role players.
All in all, this trade was solid for the Clippers. They clear up cap space by trading Griffin, giving them more money to sign free agents during the summer. If an All-Star caliber player decides to sign with the Clippers, they will be able to be a four or five seed in the western conference. The Clippers can use their draft picks to maybe pick a potential superstar. Though they are not a great team right now, the trade allows and gives more hope for the future and was therefore successful.