Don't do it,
Well, you can ponder it if Oklahoma City General Manager Sam Presti calls and wants to talk about
Otherwise, listen to your own words. You said you always want to end up with the best player in any trade.
That's probably not going to happen if you part with Griffin,
Griffin is the most dynamic power forward in the
Paul is the scowling soul of the team, not to mention still within his prime. The edge he plays with could push the Clippers over the lip of their recent playoff failures.
Jordan is a liability at the free-throw line and an asset everywhere else, always among the league leaders in rebounding, field-goal percentage and blocked shots. He also unleashed some unexpected post moves late in the season that could eventually make him the most imposing two-way big man in the league.
There's no need to remind us of the trio's past playoff failures. We were there. We saw it.
But maybe you should consider San Antonio counterpart
This team is right there. Swing that hammer one more time and you might like what happens.
You appeared inclined in recent days to keep your core intact, repeatedly saying you liked your team. Let's hope that's true and not a smokescreen intended to increase your asking price from other general managers.
This is not to say there isn't a need to improve the Clippers this summer. The roster is going to experience heavy turnover even if Griffin, Paul and Jordan stay. Here are some suggestions for nudging them along toward that long-awaited happy ending:
Make them stick
The Clippers' bench was one of the best in the NBA this season. The problem is that none of the reserves are guaranteed to return next season.
Doc Rivers joked after last season that getting Austin to come back wouldn't be hard because he just had to call his mother. Austin's gutsy performance in the Clippers' final playoff game gives new meaning to the term blood relative. He's a keeper.
Aldrich didn't carry much besides
Johnson largely did what he did with the Lakers, making some three-pointers and unveiling some active defense while also disappearing for a few games at a time. He's still worth keeping around at a bargain price.
Green showed during his last few playoff games that when he aggressively attacks the basket he brings a missing dimension to the Clippers' offense. Mbah a Moute added some defensive grit, though his limitations on offense might make him better suited to coming off the bench.
There's also the matter of
Target these guys
The Clippers will tote the financial equivalent of a cardboard "Help wanted" sign in free agency. They're expected to have the taxpayer midlevel exception of $3.5 million per year for up to four years, a biannual exception of $2.2 million for up to two years and as many veteran's minimum contracts as needed to fill out the roster.
That's not going to get them much, but it could land them a few of these guys under the right scenario:
Ish Smith: He could be seeking a larger role and a bigger payday after his best NBA season, but the Clippers could offer the chance to play for a winner, something Smith hasn't experienced recently after spending most of the last two seasons with Philadelphia and New Orleans.
Jerryd Bayless: The versatile guard is coming off a season in which he made a career-high 43.7% of his three-pointers as a part-time starter in Milwaukee. There's probably a spot for him only if Crawford doesn't come back.
Gerald Green: There could be a need for instant offense off the bench if Crawford departs, and Green could provide it. He's finishing up a bit of a down year with Miami but spent his first two NBA seasons playing for Doc Rivers, a connection that could help the Clippers should they pursue him.
David Lee: A former Golden State Warrior joining the Clippers? Why not. The two-time All-Star showed he's still got some game during his stint in Dallas. Besides, he'll want to beat the Warriors as much as anyone after they traded him last summer.
Stifle the trade winds
There's no need to make any moves involving the six players under contract for next season. Griffin, Paul and Jordan are too good,
So keep it together, Doc. You can send thanks next June.