Jan 20, 2011, 11:26 AM EDT
We all keep doing it. We watch the Clippers do something like dismantle Minnesota Wednesday night, we see them beat the Lakers and Heat, we look at their franchise player in Blake Griffin, their young core of talented players, and we ask…
How are the Clippers going to screw this up?
The Clippers GM told ESPN Los Angeles they are not going to bungle this chance — Blake Griffin may be three-and-a-half years from free agency but he will forever be a Clipper.
“I can guarantee you he will only ever be a Clipper,” general manager Neil Olshey said of his prized rookie. “If [Oklahoma City Thunder general manager] Sam Presti arrived on Kevin Durant‘s doorstep at midnight on July 1st with an extension, understand that Blake Griffin lives two blocks away from me in Manhattan Beach so it’s going to be a much shorter commute for me….”
“When it comes time for him to be a free agent, we won’t be losing,” Olshey said. “We’re not losing now. We’re 10 out of 14 now with our All-Star center [Chris Kaman] sitting around in a suit. The future looks pretty good. The only question will be, in two or three years with Blake, is how much more we’ll be winning.”
No, there are a lot of questions. Ones based on the Clippers history. Like, in three years will Olshey still have his job? Who will be coaching the team? Will Vinny Del Negro still be in court trying to get paid from his Clipper contract?
More importantly, will Donald Sterling have penny pinched and embarrassed Griffin to the point he wants to leave? Will things like the owner heckling the team’s point guard, or the owner bringing visitors into the team locker room while making inappropriate comments, finally be too much? Will Griffin, like Lamar Odom did years ago, come to the Clippers and beg them not to match an outside offer so he can leave?
I want to believe in the Clippers players wearing the uniform. We all do. But too many years of history of what name across the front of the uniform has meant, what ownership has done, make it impossible. Not to go all Missouri, but the Clippers have to show me. And not just with a good 25 games.