In the first blockbuster move ahead of the 2018 trade deadline, the Los Angeles Clippers are set to trade All-Star power forward Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons on Monday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. In return, the Clippers will reportedly receive Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, and a first-round pick. They will reportedly include big men Willie Reed and Brice Johnson in the deal.
The Clippers and Pistons have agreed on a deal to trade Blake Griffin for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, a first-round and a second-round draft pick, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 29, 2018
Clippers are includig Brice Johnson and Willie Reed in the trade, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 29, 2018
Griffin is averaging 22.6 points — the second-highest scoring clip of his career — along with 7.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game.. But as he has thrived, the Clippers have not. The Pistons have also fallen from the playoff standings, and now currently sit three games behind the 76ers at ninth in the East.
The trade is a mid-season reset for both teams.
Why this trade makes sense for the Clippers
After trading Chris Paul to the Rockets over the summer, Los Angeles has fallen from the playoff race. The Clippers are currently ninth in the Western Conference, and surpassing the Nuggets for the eighth seed would only ensure postseason doom at the hands of the Warriors, or possibly even Paul’s Rockets.
The Clippers are middling, and there’s no clear path to playoff contention in sight. With the loaded 2018 NBA Draft just a few months away, winning games can only hurt Los Angeles’ odds at a successful rebuild in the post-Lob City era. Moving Griffin now kills two birds with one stone: It takes an All-Star off the court and likely gets a first-round pick in a draft class GMs are salivating over.
It also pushes the reset button on a team that has fallen below expectations. For a variety of reasons, including several devastating postseason injuries, the Clippers have never made it past the second round of the playoffs. And after Paul found his way out of Los Angeles, the clock ran out on Lob City.
Why this trade makes sense for the Pistons
Unlike the Clippers, the Pistons should be contending for a playoff push, and acquiring Griffin gives them the talent to do just that. Detroit deals away several of its moving parts in the trade but it lands a second star in the front court next to Andre Drummond.
Detroit surged early in the season but has since regressed into a team on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff hunt. But the Pistons now have one of the more formidable 4-5 punches in the league and should be on the way to pushing for the No. 8 seed in the East that Philadelphia. Griffin doesn’t fit the mold of the traditional stretch-four Stan Van Gundy usually likes next to his big man, but if he can get the Griffin-Drummond pairing to work, the Pistons should be back in the hunt in no time.