Doc Rivers Says Clippers Won't Tear Down Roster After Blake Griffin Trade

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2018

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers talks to players in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Brandon Dill/Associated Press

Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers said the team does not plan to tear down the roster before the Feb. 8 trade deadline despite having sent Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons on Monday.

"We make this trade, and then everyone thinks we're just trading everybody away. That's not true," Rivers told reporters. "But that's what's out there. Sometimes you can't control the narrative. You just can control your job, and that's what I have to do."

The Clippers traded Griffin, Willie Reed and Brice Johnson to the Pistons for Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic and first- and second-round picks.

The first-round pick carries protections for Nos. 1-4 in 2018, 2019 and 2020, according to ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski. It will, barring a major surprise, convey to the Clippers this June.

Wojnarowski reported the Clippers will shop center DeAndre Jordan and guard Lou Williams in the hopes of acquiring draft picks and young players who keep them competitive in the immediate future. Jordan and Williams can become unrestricted free agents this summer.

Lawrence Frank, who replaced Rivers as Clippers president of basketball operations in August, seemed more open to the idea of making moves.

"You never know," Frank said. "If you were to ask me the question a week ago whether we were going to trade Blake Griffin, the answer would have probably been different than [when] we're standing here today. You never know how it's going to unfold with the trade deadline looming. There will be a lot of activity, so we'll see how it plays out."

Frank and Rivers said the franchise had never intended to trade Griffin when it signed him to a five-year contract in July. The team's presentation to the five-time All-Star included a banner that said "Clipper for Life." Frank said the team's inability to compete near the top of the Western Conference played a major part in the move.

"We kind of evaluated our team. We know where we need to go and what we valued. As much as we valued Blake and all of his contributions, we knew there may be a ceiling on the group as presently constructed," Frank said. "And we were going to have to make some hard decisions, and we couldn't be afraid to be bold. We valued the players we were getting back in return; we valued the picks, and we also valued our flexibility."

Flexibility would be the only semilogical reason to keep Jordan or Williams at this point. Both will likely walk this summer (Jordan has a player option for 2018-19)—and understandably so. The Clippers may not be selling all their good players on a clearance rack, but it probably wouldn't take more than some combination of young prospects and/or first-round picks to pry away Jordan or Williams.

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