After losing in the first and second round of the playoffs over the past two years. The Los Angeles Clippers are working harder than ever, for maybe the first time ever, in making sure that never happens again with this core group.
Earlier today it was reported that the Clippers have been talking with the Boston Celtics for a trade that would send current in limbo Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Clippers. This would be a move that would kill 3 birds with one stone. One, pretty much ensure that Chris Paul stays, two, acquire a very well respected & accomplished head coach, and three, improve the team greatly as the Clips were a team built for the regular season but definitely not the playoffs which is why they tried to get Garnett before the trade deadline. Sounds like a great plan right? Well…….
Here we are hours later and there is a new trade rumor/possibility that has been talked about between the Clippers and two other teams. Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe to the Los Angeles Lakers for Dwight Howard. Yes, you read that right. Griffin and Bledsoe for Howard. This has been reported/confirmed by Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles not long ago.
Now in order for this to happen, Howard would have to agree to sign a new deal with the Lakers so that he can be traded. One would wonder “why and how would the Lakers be able to get Howard to agree to a new deal with them as he has made it clear that he wants to test the free agent market this summer?” Well….48 hours ago it was reported that Chris Paul and Howard have been talking about the possibility of playing on the same team together. However, other than the Atlanta Hawks, no other team has the money to sign both of them unless one of the two takes less money or there is a sign and trade. So with Paul most likely wanting to stay in LA with a very talented and young team. It would make a lot of sense for Howard to agree to sign a new deal with the Lakers so that he can be traded to the Clippers and team up with Chris Paul and make their dream of playing together come true.
It’s not clear who the third team is on this deal. It could be Orlando but that’s not 100% confirmed at this time.
What has been confirmed are two things, one, the two trade possibilities between either the Clippers and the Celtics or the Clippers and the Lakers are legit, and two, the Clippers are very reluctant to trade Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan to the Celtics for Doc, Garnett and possibly Pierce.
Nevertheless, they could still pull the Doc and Garnett trade by just trading draft pics, then they can acquire Pierce as a free agent as he can be bought out of his contract for $5mil. Pierce has $15 mil left on his current contract. But still…..the Celtics want a lot in compensation just for Doc and K.G. which the Clippers aren’t cool with as they don’t want to cripple their team for the future.
With that being the case, the Clippers would seem to be more interested in moving Griffin and Bledsoe to the Lakers even though at one point and time Griffin was “untouchable.” Something else that may sway the Clippers to pursue this possible deal with the Lakers is that they had a great interview with former Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins. Reports are that after meeting with Hollins over the past two days, the Clippers key decision makers walked away very impressed. If the Celtics continue to ask for a lot for Doc and K.G., the Clippers very well could say “thanks, but no thanks” and push to make this Howard sign and trade work.
Nothing can be done until July, so for now its just talk. But it definitely will be interesting to see what happens this summer with the Clippers as they are trying to continue to be a playoff/title contender for years to come.