To start, understand this is all pure conjecture. There is no clear indication Blake Griffin is available, and trading an All-Star in his prime would be a highly questionable move, but there are a few compelling reasons the Clippers could be looking to move on from the 26-year old superstar PF. Among them:
- The Clippers roster, as currently constructed, is a tier below the Warriors and Spurs in the Western Conference. It's hard to imagine a scenario where they could even make the conference finals, barring a major injury to one of those teams. Is it time for a reset?
- While nothing he's done has been severe, Griffin has a bit of a history of immature behavior. A player breaking his hand in the course of assaulting a team employee is difficult to fathom. They might see him as lacking the proper mentality to be a dependable franchise player and champion.
- They're winning without Griffin, going 15-5 in the last 20 games since he's been out. The Clippers aren't true contenders without Griffin but, again, they're also not true contenders with him.
- Trading him would return quite a handsome booty. The Clippers could land young talent, draft picks and improve their depth around Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and company.
In this deal, the Suns would be giving up a beloved fan favorite, a mature, consummate professional and fine young man who appears to have a bright future with the team. But enough about Markieff Morris.
Of course, the centerpiece here would be baby-faced sharpshooter Devin Booker. Fresh off his 3rd place finish in the NBA All-Star weekend's 3-point shooting contest, Booker looked right at home battling Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson for the crown. He could almost pass for being the third Splash Brother (Splash Cousin?).
19 year old Booker certainly looks like a future star: a spectacular shooter who's rounding out the rest of his game quickly as a young rookie. His maturity, poise and basketball IQ are extremely impressive for a teenager. The Suns are a train wreck this season, but the chaos surrounding Booker doesn't appear to be fazing him at all.
Yet still, the hope for Booker is that he develops into a superstar one day. Griffin is one today, and he's in his athletic prime at age 26. To land a player such as Griffin in trade would require giving up a high end prospect like Booker and, frankly, even that might not be enough.
As much as we Suns fans love Booker and the promise he shows, he's in no way guaranteed future stardom. You have to give assets to get assets. Remember, the Cavs gave up prized prospect Andrew Wiggins to acquire Kevin Love, and Griffin is probably a better player than Love.
Throwing Morris in the deal is obvious, as he needs to move on and could take over as Clippers starting PF. It's easy to envision Morris being revitalized with a change of scenery. Teletovic would provide them a stretch big off the bench for the rest of this season, then an expiring contract. The Clippers would undoubtedly miss Griffin, but their roster would be deeper and more balanced.
The Suns, meanwhile, could open next season with a lineup of Bledsoe, Knight, Warren, Griffin and Chandler/Len, depending upon with other moves they make. A superstar to build around has been what the team's missed for the last 5 years. Bledsoe and Knight aren't such players, nor are Len or Warren. Booker might be someday, but isn't today.
What do you think, Bright Siders? Is this something the Suns should pursue?