Despite a report from ESPN’s NBA insider Marc Stein that claims a deal is possible, the Los Angeles Clippers would be foolish to trade All-Star power forward Blake Griffin, even if it meant getting Dwight Howard in return.
However, with those talks failing to go anywhere, according to Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe, trading Griffin now to compensate for the failed deal would be the wrong long-term move for the franchise.
While Howard is the best center in the league when he is playing well, the inconsistencies in his game and off-court baggage wouldn’t warrant the kind of deal the Clippers would have to put together to appease the Lakers.
The proposed package would likely include Griffin, talented guard Eric Bledsoe and draft picks. With Howard on a max contract in a sign-and-trade deal, the possibility of being stuck with the center if he fails to live up to his huge expectations is too much of a risk to warrant the move.
Add in the fact that Griffin is getting better each year and is blossoming into a star in the NBA, and Clippers are better off looking elsewhere for more depth in the low post.
Griffin is only in his third season with the Clippers and has continued to grow into the kind of player that could contribute to a team’s championship hopes.
With the improving ability to rebound and the skill to finish around the net with authority—along with the vast strides he’s made on defense—Griffin has as much upside as any power forward in the NBA.
As great as the Los Angeles star played in the regular season to fill his role and help lead his team to the postseason, Griffin proved that he can be effective in the playoffs as well. The Clippers' young asset averaged 13.2 points, 2.5 assists, 5.5 rebounds and an efficient .808 free-throw percentage in just 26.3 minutes per game this year.
While there is no discounting the kind of presence Howard can bring to a franchise, the risk associated with a trade—especially one that would involve moving Griffin—outweighs the reward in this case.
Griffin is too valuable for Los Angeles to trade.