Blake Griffin Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz, Speculation Surrounding Clippers Star

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2014

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 15:  Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers complains to a referee against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 15, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  The Thunder won 10-98 win the series four games to two.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Clippers would love to have LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, but not if it's going to cost them Blake Griffin.'s Ramona Shelburne reported that the four-time All-Star is "untouchable":

Shelburne explained the financial steps the Clippers would have to take in order to grab one of this year's most coveted free agents:

The Clippers have $76 million committed in salaries for next season. That figure will decrease to $71.7 million after Darren Collison, Glen Davis and Danny Granger opt out of their contracts for next season, meaning the Clippers likely would have to trade some combination of prized young center DeAndre Jordan (one year, $11.4 million), Jared Dudley (three years, $12.1 million), Matt Barnes (three years, $10.1 million), Jamal Crawford (three years, $16.3 million) or J.J. Redick (four years, $27.7 million) to facilitate a deal.

Shelburne also noted that James considers the Clippers a strong contender in terms of his new destination:

ESPN reported in February that if James were to leave Miami, the Clippers would be among his preferred destinations because of the strength of their roster and his close relationships with Chris Paul and coach Doc Rivers. Paul is one of James' best friends and the two have talked about playing with each other since they were in high school, when they met on the AAU and prep all-star circuits. Paul is godfather to James' son Bryce and they were in each other's weddings.

Signing James or Anthony is now an option after the two stars opted out of their current deals.

First was Carmelo, per Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

LeBron followed a day later, per ESPN's Chris Broussard:

The Clippers won't be the only team pulling out all the stops in order to lure one of the All-Stars. Players of this caliber don't often hit the open market and the chances that both are available at the same time are even more remote.

Not every team can be the San Antonio Spurs. The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics demonstrated that gathering a small cadre of stars is the quickest way to build a title contender.

The Clippers without James or Anthony are one of the best teams in the Western Conference. They earned the No. 3 seed in the conference in the regular season before exiting the playoffs in the second round courtesy of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Put James or Anthony together on a team with Griffin and Paul and you've got, on paper, the team best positioned to dethrone the champion Spurs.

Fans knew to bunker in when the two officially became free agents. The rumors will be flying fast until they sign with new teams.

For the time being, though, Clippers fans can at least eliminate the possibility of Griffin playing elsewhere when the 2014-15 regular season tips off.