|2009 NBA Draft||NBA||Drafted 1st overall by L.A. Clippers.|
|8th July, 2009||NBA||Signed four year, $23,298,732 rookie scale contract with L.A. Clippers. Included team options for 2011/12 and 2012/13.|
|29th September, 2010||NBA||L.A. Clippers exercised 2011/12 team option.|
|14th June, 2011||NBA||L.A. Clippers exercised 2012/13 team option.|
|11th July, 2012||NBA||Signed a five year maximum value extension ($94,538,625) with L.A. Clippers. Included early termination option after 2016/17 season.|
|20th June, 2017||NBA||Exercised early termination option.|
|17th July, 2017||NBA||Re-signed by L.A. Clippers to a five year, $171,174,820 contract. Included player option for 2021/22.|
|27th December, 2017||G-League||Assigned by L.A. Clippers to Agua Caliente Clippers of the G-League.|
|27th December, 2017||G-League||Recalled by L.A. Clippers from Agua Caliente Clippers of the G-League.|
|29th January, 2018||NBA||Traded by L.A. Clippers, along with Brice Johnson and Willie Reed, to Detroit in exchange for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, a 2018 first round pick (#12, Miles Bridges) and a 2019 second round pick.|
|2007 - 2009||Oklahoma (NCAA)|
|June 2009 - January 2018||L.A. Clippers (NBA)|
|January 2018 - present||Detroit Pistons (NBA)|
June 29, 2018
PF - 6’10, 251lbs - 29 years old - 8 years of experience
In trading for Blake Griffin, the Pistons took on an absolutely enormous future financial commitment, a future financial commitment that no other team was winning to take on. In doing so, they have committed to an indefinite team structure of Griffin and Andre Drummond as the future core of their team. And in doing so, they have put themselves in a position where it simply has to work.
The price at the time made some sense. Tobias Harris was about to get expensive, Avery Bradley wasn’t working out as a Piston, Boban Marjanovic was an expensive limited bench piece on an expensive limited bench, the idea of cap space would only get them more expensive limited bench pieces, and the pick is not going to get anyone as good as Blake. The cost down the road is significant, yet the Pistons needed an infusion of talent, and this was the way to get it. And superstars, after all, are worth the big bucks.
But is that what Blake is? Is that what we see in those numbers; a superstar? Or do we see a fading star, a still good player who has tried (with some success) to adapt to the league around him, but who is already having to go away from the wrecking-ball basketball that once made him out so much so as to prolong his career, in doing so reducing his own impact on the game? Is Blake going to get back to what he was? Or is he an increasingly injured, increasingly efficient, increasingly limited player?
You’ll notice these are only questions, not answers. It remains to be determined. Early returns were not good. But those early returns came in a sub-optimal climate. We can say with some degree of confidence that it might work. But we can also say with absolute certainty that it will have to.
Player Plan: Four years and $142,306,920 remaining. Kind of committed to it now.
June 29, 2017
PF, 6’10, 251lbs, 28 years old, 7 years of experience
His adapting of his game from power to skill to fit the evolution of the NBA has been admirable and effective, and turning the long twos (from 45% of his FGA in 2015/16 to 28%) into threes this season was a positive trend. So was the career high in foul shooting. But of course, the injuries continue, and with them is going the regularity of his dominant athleticism. When healthy, Griffin is as good as ever, if not better; the rebounds are down and likely to stay down, but the diversification of the offensive skill set and his growing presence all around the offensive end of the floor make up for it. Yet Griffin keeps getting hurt, and the trend is worrying. Needs to be retained regardless, because the hope for the future comes from him.
Player Plan: As with Paul. Has exercised an ETO and will become a UFA. The price to re-sign him would be the max, almost certainly for five years. Pay it. That fifth year represents a big piece of leverage where there is otherwise not much to be had
December 3, 2013
Oklahoma City has a 25-year-old Russell Westbrook and a 25-year-old Kevin Durant. Los Angeles has a 24-year-old Blake Griffin and a 28-year-old Chris Paul. The primes for the Thunder two coincide; the primes for the Clippers duo do not. This is of prime importance when it comes to the timing of the push. Working on the assumption that the Clippers and Thunder both only have one such one- to two-year luxury tax bullet to fire — based on their never having paid the luxury tax before, and previous spending cuts, it is hard to conclude anything greater than that — the question becomes, when do they fire it?
While it is by only a small amount, small enough that they can still realistically get under it without losing any of the significant talents that make them competitive, the Clippers are nevertheless due to pay luxury tax this season for the first time in their history. They are doing so because they have the best point guard in the sport, at a time when he is as good as he is ever going to get. Channeling the aforementioned logic of being mandated to push when you have an MVP, which Chris Paul could well be, the Clippers have taken him on and still continued to build a team, doing so without the stinginess of Clippers teams of the past. Los Angeles has a legitimate championship contender for the first time in their franchise history, and thus they have their first ever what we might term "extraspending" window. When taken along with Paul's age, they would be foolish not to fire that bullet right now.
This proactivity also has the side effect of what it means for the second window, one which will open with Blake Griffin's prime. Griffin has an early termination option after the 2016-17 season, when he will be 28 years old and, barring disaster, at his best. As a maximum salary player, his price tag is not the bit that needs any negotiating — the Clippers need to sell Blake on their viability as a competitive, inviting team. That sales pitch began on the day he was drafted and continues to this very day. Griffin only has incentive to re-sign with the Clippers if the Clippers can prove (or at least strongly suggest) that doing so will give him the best chance at a title. As we have explored in previous pieces, loyalty can be bought with money, but it is best bought through success. Paying tax now is hugely important to this.
Perception of success, determination and winning comes through spending, and players who can afford to be picky value these perceptions strongly. Dwyane Wade reminded us of this when he briefly hit the market back in 2010, when he spoke of how loyalty plays a part in a player's decision to stay or switch. Loyalty and commitment can be demonstrated through spending — it follows that the more you spend, the more you are prepared to do to win, the more you can offer your players. In finally touching the tax, the Clippers finally start to send this message. It will be a strong message, should they follow through with it. And it is one they surely must do. If they cannot pay when they have a prime Chris Paul, then pleas to the extent of "stick with us, Blake, we'll do what it takes to win" seem painfully hollow.
Perhaps, then, the very existence of the second window is dependent upon the management of the first.