NBA Rumors: Latest Trade Buzz on Blake Griffin, Bradley Beal and More
The former Oklahoma star was essentially the consensus choice to go No. 1 overall in the 2009 draft. Indeed, the Los Angeles Clippers made the obvious choice in taking him. But he would miss the entirety of the 2009-10 season due to a knee injury. That has sort of set the tone for his career.
Griffin has shown flashes of brilliance. He made five straight All-Star teams between 2011 and 2015 and eventually developed into a 20-point scorer capable of handling the ball in transition and making plays for his teammates.
At the same time, injuries have taken their toll. he missed a ton of action in his final two-plus years with the Clippers. He was seemingly reborn in an All-Star campaign with the Detroit Pistons during the 2018-19 campaign, only to miss all but 18 games this past season.
Now 31, Griffin finds himself on a rebuilding Pistons team with a new general manager in Troy Weaver. Seemingly a top trade candidate, right? Well, sort of.
Here are the latest rumors regarding Griffin, plus the Washington Wizards' firm stance on Bradley Beal and Lou Williams' future in Los Angeles.
Pistons Engaged Wizards on Blake Griffin-John Wall Trade
Griffin might otherwise have been traded for another star who has dealt with injuries as of late.
Wizards point guard John Wall sat out the entirety of the 2019-20 season as he continued to rehab from a ruptured Achilles tendon. It was assumed he and Beal would be counted on to lead Washington back to the playoffs. However, that vision hit a bump in the road when Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported last weekend Wall "made it clear" he wanted out of D.C.
Although Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said Monday the team had no plans to trade Wall, per David Aldridge of The Athletic, it appears they have explored that avenue. As Charania noted in breaking Wall's trade request, Washington had apparently been discussing swapping Wall for Russell Westbrook. The Wizards also received interest from other teams.
Zach Lowe of ESPN reported the Pistons had an "exploratory call" regarding a Griffin-Wall trade. This would be another one of those deals that makes sense because of the relative closeness in salaries. But Lowe stated the Pistons "value" Griffin, and talks went nowhere.
The deal would make some sense from Washington's perspective. Griffin would fit its offense as an athletic big who can play fast, get out in transition and shoot the three a bit. He would also be something to watch in pick-and-roll with Beal.
But it is curious the Pistons were reportedly the ones to reach out to the Wizards. Derrick Rose is still on Detroit's roster, and the team used the No. 7 pick in the 2020 draft to select French point guard Killian Hayes. Trading for Wall would seemingly block the teenager from gaining valuable NBA experience, which hardly fits the Pistons' vision as a rebuilding team.
Perhaps the Pistons were wondering whether they could nab additional draft capital, considering Wall's contract is slightly more lucrative and has an extra guaranteed year.
In any case, Detroit will go ahead with Griffin on the roster, at least for now. He will be joined by Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee after the Pistons signed the former Denver Nuggets forwards.
Washington Shutting Down All Inquiries on Bradley Beal
The Wizards were apparently willing to discuss scenarios involving Wall. They have no interest in doing the same for teams interested in Beal.
Fred Katz of The Athletic reported Washington has "never shown any interest in trading Beal," adding the team has "hung up on rival executives who have dared to inquire about his availability."
It's unlikely this is hyperbole. Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports reported this past weekend the Nuggets were among the teams to ask about the 27-year-old in the days leading up to the draft. But it seems Denver never got anywhere past asking. No mention of Michael Porter Jr. or massive draft compensation.
The Wizards do not have a real onus to trade Beal. As Katz stated, the St. Louis native has not explicitly asked for a trade. He is committed to the process after signing an extension with Washington prior to the start of last year.
Beal has become one of the best guards in the league. He averaged 30.5 points, 6.1 assists and 4.2 rebounds this past season and practically dragged the Wizards to the "bubble," though he did not play in Orlando, Florida.
Washington has every reason to build around its star two-guard considering the strides he has made. Not to mention, Beal is also nearly three full years younger than Wall.
Perhaps things will change next year with Beal on an expiring contract. For now, though, he is staying put.
Clippers Expected to Move Lou WIlliams
Teams hoping to acquire an impact guard might do better asking about Williams.
Marc Stein of The New York Times reported "many rival teams also expect the Clippers to trade Lou Williams in their quest to create a fresh-start environment" for the upcoming season.
The 34-year-old has been one of the most productive Clippers of the last three years. He captured his third Sixth Man of the Year Award during the 2018-19 season. He also still managed similar volume and productivity this year even after the additions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, averaging 18.2 points and 5.6 assists per game.
But the Clippers are reshaping the roster. They traded Landry Shamet to the Brooklyn Nets as part of a three-team deal that brought back Pistons guard Luke Kennard. Stein also reported team officials felt Montrezl Harrell "had to go," resulting in L.A. signing veteran big Serge Ibaka.
Kennard's arrival is the move that could really signal the end of Williams' time in Los Angeles. The former Duke product took a big step forward in his third season, averaging 15.8 points, 4.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds while shooting nearly 40 percent from beyond the arc. His efficiency and sneaky playmaking off the dribble effectively make him a Williams replacement.
Moreover, Williams is on an expiring contract and, at $8 million, he is quite affordable. The Clippers are still looking for a point guard after striking out on Rajon Rondo and failing to trade for Chris Paul. They might use either Williams or Patrick Beverley (or both) to go after another playmaker in the backcourt.
If nothing else, L.A. could choose to trade Williams to recoup some of the draft capital lost in the George trade.
All stats obtained via Basketball Reference, unless otherwise noted.