"Blake's ours and he's going to stay ours,"
Multiple teams have contacted the Clippers about acquiring Griffin since he punched a team employee, said a person close to the situation not authorized to discuss it publicly, but the team has no interest in trading its five-time All-Star power forward.
The Clippers have fielded calls involving various trade proposals but remain reluctant to part with a cornerstone of their franchise who, at age 26, was having possibly his best season before he was sidelined by a quadriceps injury the day after Christmas and subsequently a broken hand after a fight with assistant equipment manager Matias Testi.
Griffin repeatedly punched Testi on Jan. 23 at a restaurant in Toronto, leaving Testi with a swollen face and Griffin with a broken right hand that is supposed to sideline him well into March. Griffin underwent a scheduled procedure on the hand Thursday that did not change the timetable for his return.
Rivers has said Griffin and Testi would both be welcomed back to the team, with Griffin expected to rejoin the Clippers after the
Neither Griffin nor Testi accompanied the Clippers on their four-game trip that started Friday against the Orlando Magic at
Griffin, who has one more season and $20.1 million left on his contract, was averaging 23.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists while shooting 50.8% in 30 games before being sidelined by a partially torn left quadriceps tendon.
"Blake, to me, should've been on the All-Star team," Rivers said. "But I guess when you miss that many games, you can't be. But his numbers were epic. They were historic numbers that he put up."
Rivers said before the season started that he was continually monitoring whether the team's core of Griffin, Chris Paul and
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has changed his opinion on the issue of intentional fouling, and so has Rivers. Neither wants it to continue past this season.
Silver recently told USA Today Sports he was "increasingly of the view that we will be looking to make some sort of change in that rule this summer. … It's just not the way we want to see the game played."
That jibes with the take of Rivers, a member of the league's competition committee who wants the practice banned.
"I think it should happen and I've changed," Rivers said. "And I'm not saying that because it affects me but it's no fun."
Rivers was alluding to teams intentionally fouling Jordan (a career 42% free-throw shooter) for lengthy stretches, leading to longer and more boring games. The coach acknowledged that his presence on the competition committee put him in an uneasy spot because of a perceived conflict of interest.
"I really don't think I should have an opinion on it because it affects me and I think it just looks too disingenuous," Rivers said, "so I just try to recuse like when we're having the meetings, I'm like, 'Come on, ask someone else, please. I don't want to get involved.'"