The Los Angeles Clippers made an incredibly bold move recently. They traded away superstar Blake Griffin, Willie Reed, and Brice Johnson to the Detroit Pistons in return for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, a first-round draft pick in 2018 and a second-round pick in 2019. It was the wrong move.

Now, most NBA executives and writers have classified the move as fairly successful. The Clippers did get rid of their star but he is almost 29 with a checkered history of injuries. He hasn’t played more than 67 games in the last three seasons and has already missed significant time this year. Plus, he’s on a mega contract worth over $141 million that will end up paying him $39 million when he’s 33. Why would you tie yourself up in an aging frequently injured star who has not proven himself capable of winning championships anyway? One of the reasons is because they promised to stick with him.

The Clippers made headlines over the summer for resigning Griffin to a maximum deal, but it did not end there. They reportedly promised him that he would be Clipper legend. They even supposedly went as far as holding a mock jersey retiring ceremony for him. They promised he would be with them forever. Then they shipped him out for a couple of solid players and some draft picks. If that is not the definition of going back on your word, then nothing is. They lied to Griffin and they lied to the fans who thought they would be watching the greatest player in their franchise’s history for years to come.

What also made the trade unsavory was because this Clippers team was something special. Not special in the way that it wins a record number of games, but special because the players in it were so close to each other. Through longstanding injuries to Patrick Beverly, Danilo Gallinari, Austin Rivers, and even Blake himself, this team found a way to keep winning games and stay within playoff contention. There was this heartwarming article that talked about how together this team was. They knew they weren’t the most talented but they were hard-working, tenacious, and they were getting wins. It almost seemed like Doc Rivers was having a more enjoyable time coaching them than the ever did with the Chris Paul-Clippers. Yet they still decided to tank.

Ok so past all the sentimental issues of the trade, it was also bad business. The Clippers think they’re building a great future for themselves, but they do not realize that every team needs to have a superstar to win. How did the Cavaliers become a perennially dominant team in the East and the Heat before them? They went out and got superstars. None of them waited for superstars to come to them and they certainly did not get rid of the ones they had.

The Philadelphia 76ers have done an excellent job of capitalizing on a desperate fan base by continually touting their “process” as the road to the promised land. The 76ers should be given an award for keeping their fan base complacent with so many empty promises. The 76ers have been sub-500 since the 2004-2005 season, and have finished at least 14 or lower in the 16 team Eastern Conference for the last four years. Yet despite all those incredibly good draft picks they accumulated over the years, this is still a team that is only barely holding onto the last playoff spot in the East this year.

Tanking does not work, and trading away superstars for average players does not work. The Clippers betrayed the trust of a player who was formerly the face of the franchise. They decided to completely give up on a team that was fun and inspiring to watch. If this is the new culture of the NBA, then I want no part of it. Good luck Harris, Bradley, and Marjanovic you have got impossibly large shoes to fill.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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