Steve Ballmer: Blake Griffin Trade Necessary to Boost Clippers' Future

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2018

SHENZHEN, CHINA - OCTOBER 11:Steve Ballmer, owner of Los Angeles Clippers talks with Blake Griffin #32 of Los Angeles Clippers before the match between Charlotte Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers  as part of the 2015 NBA Global Games China at Universiade Centre on October 11, 2015 in Shenzhen, China.  (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)
Zhong Zhi/Getty Images

Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer said Saturday that the decision to trade power forward Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons was necessary in terms of making the team's roster compatible with the "modern NBA."

According to ESPN.com's Kevin Arnovitz, Ballmer said at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference that dealing Griffin was "a very difficult decision" but a needed one to spark "a greater distribution of responsibility."

"[Griffin] is obviously a superstar player. But if you look at what happened injury-wise, if you look at the kind of chemistry we were getting on our team, the thing you can see at the high level with the numbers when I started—one guy got all the assists, one guy got all the points and one guy got all the rebounds. It's not all quite that way, but I think in the modern NBA, we were seeing it more and more—there's a greater distribution of responsibility."

The Clippers traded Griffin to the Pistons on Jan. 29 along with Willie Reed and Brice Johnson for Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, a protected first-round pick and a second-round pick.

The Clippers signed Griffin to a five-year contract during the offseason after sending point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets as part of a sign-and-trade deal.

L.A. had employed the popular Big Three approach in recent years with Griffin, Paul and center DeAndre Jordan as the main focus at both ends of the floor.

That roster makeup didn't work, however, as the Clippers have not made it past the second round of the playoffs over the past six seasons despite qualifying for the postseason every year.

Only Jordan remains from that Big Three, and the rest of the roster is largely comprised of role players who share the overall burden.

Lou Williams, Harris, Danilo Gallinari, Austin Rivers, Jordan, Tyrone Wallace, Montrezl Harrell, Milos Teodosic and Bradley are all averaging at least nine points per game for the Clips.

L.A. is ninth in the Western Conference at 31-27, and it trails the New Orleans Pelicans by just one game for the final playoff spot.

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