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Could Clippers embarrassing owner drive Blake Griffin away?

Mar 19, 2011, 11:40 AM EDT

Los Angeles Clippers v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

We’ve all been there — working for a boss so bad you started plotting your way out from the first day you were on the job. We’ve all got the horror stories.

Clipper GM Neil Olshey has said Blake Griffin will be a Clipper forever. You can bet that is the desire of the front office (because he is a franchise player on the court) and owner Donald Sterling (because he fills the building and makes him a lot of money). On July 1, 2012 (under the current system), the Clippers can walk up and offer Griffin a max extension. You can bet they will.

And Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports Griffin might balk at that. Because Griffin is a stand up guy who sees Clippers players having to pitch in to get an ex-coach life-saving prostate cancer surgery because the team won’t cover it. Because he sees Sterling in court with former GM Elgin Baylor over a discriminatory firing lawsuit, where Sterling said he didn’t know Baylor was a player and sounded disinterested. At best.

And that was just the stuff from the last week. There’s more.

Sources say rookie sensation Blake Griffin is closely monitoring Sterling’s struggles and is concerned, to say the least, about the owner’s unfortunate string of public embarrassments. Under current NBA rules, players on rookie contracts have little power to influence where they play. And from the standpoint of talent and assets, the Clippers are on excellent footing going forward. But Griffin will not be tied to the Clippers forever, and there are indications he will consider not only the Clippers’ ability to compete for a championship, but also the kind of owner he wants to play for…

David Stern steps in all sorts of situations (if a player was embarrassing the league like this you can be sure he would), but Stern still works for the owners. Even if the other owners want Sterling gone, to step in and push an owner to sell his team or give up control is not something the other owners are ever going to approve.

We’re years from this being an issue, and we don’t know what Griffin’s options would be under a new collective bargaining agreement. But it’s a situation to watch. The Clippers are positioning themselves well to build something special, but their own owner remains the most likely way that it all gets screwed up.

  1. thestudiokida - Mar 19, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    His rookie contract should be about 4 years and this is year 2… OKC in 2013?

    • tubal22 - Mar 19, 2011 at 12:45 PM

      He can play wherever he wants. Why would he choose OKC?

      • thestudiokida - Mar 19, 2011 at 12:50 PM

        He was born there and it’s a good team. Just speculation.

      • denverhoopdreams - Mar 19, 2011 at 2:07 PM

        He’s a Sooner… he grew up in Oklahoma… why wouldn’t he want to play with Durant?

  2. dspohn55 - Mar 19, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    Tubal are you that ignorant? It’s his hometown, they’re a winning team and he’d be on the same team as Russ, KD & Perk. They’re a fringe contender without him, imagine with!

  3. flyers28 - Mar 19, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    He’s not going to leave La. But he is leaving the sorry ass clippers, for the lakers. Play 1-2 seasons with Kobe then take over.

  4. henryd3rd - Mar 19, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    The name of the professional game is $$$$$$$. The fact that Kevin Durant decided to play in the hinterlands doesn’t mean that Blake will choose the same path.

    Let see what we have here? South Beach and those palm trees vs. snow drifts in January, February and March. Hollywood and all that goes with Tinsletown vs. tumble weeds and Sooners. Broadway vs. North Robinson Avenue.

    Blake will choose what’s best for Blake and no matter what his decision may be he’ll make a bundle of money. Did I mention the River Walk and the Alamo? How about Big D and Mark Cuban?

    • denverhoopdreams - Mar 19, 2011 at 3:47 PM

      I think a championship sounds better than bright lights and palm trees… if you do it for the enviorment and not the game, you’re pretty much as weak as Melo.

      • henryd3rd - Mar 19, 2011 at 4:32 PM

        Yeah right! Show me the money! There were a lot of Hall Of Famers in all the major league sports that never got a sniff at a championship ring; but they had successful careers and are still very rich. If the money wasn’t so important why is NFL locking out the players, the NBA is preparing for a lock out and MLB had a disastrous strike that many teams have yet to recover from?

        Its all about the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

      • denverhoopdreams - Mar 19, 2011 at 6:12 PM

        Yeah, all about the benjamins… thats the only thing that matters……

  5. goforthanddie - Mar 19, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    I’ve said it before…The only way to get rid of Sterling is for the players to say “I’m not playing for him”.
    As for “Even if the other owners want Sterling gone, to step in and push an owner to sell his team or give up control is not something the other owners are ever going to approve”…MLB forced Marge Schott to give up the Cincinnati Reds because of racist comments. Darth Stern’s job is to protect the game; if he’s gonna be a hardass w/ SVG, be a hardass w/ your racist owner.

  6. baboushka - Mar 19, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    Blake Griffin is LA all the way in 2013. But it will be with the Lakers. Not the Cliipers. Along with Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, Chris Paul and OJ Mayo in the post Kobe LA era. The NBA will want to keep a strong contender in one of its marquee markets. A few of the pieces may change. But it will look eerily similar to this. He and CP could end up being the new “Stockton to Malone” in Lakerland.

    • zackd2 - Mar 20, 2011 at 8:52 AM

      I see the salary cap is 100m in your fantasy world

  7. irishjackmp - Mar 19, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    While granting that David Sterling is one of the cheapest (and worst) owners in professional sports, can this site once and for all stop with the false “Clippers players had to chip in and pay for lifesaving surgery for an assistant coach because the team wouldn’t pay for it” stories?

    The team’s employees had their health insurance through an HMO. Everyone who has their insurance through an HMO (as I do) knows you have to use a specific network of Hospitals and Doctors. His procedure would have been covered had he used their network. He chose not to do so and that is his right. But to keep implying he simply could not get his cancer surgery covered under his insruance is simply false. (I’ve had three seperate (Kidney) cancer surgeries under an HMO and I knew I had to use a network of docs/hospitals each time (and the care was quite good).

    But hey, it simply wouldn’t make as juicy a story if this site said that, would it?

  8. thetooloftools - Mar 19, 2011 at 6:42 PM

    If Griffin wants the $ he’ll stay.
    If he wants to win, he will have to leave.
    Sterling is just a Pimp.
    Griffin knows this.

  9. rapmusicmademedoit - Mar 25, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    all blake does is dunk, and all you win for that is the dunk contest. he better find a jumper soon

    • thestudiokida - Mar 25, 2011 at 10:55 PM

      I assume you are trolling with this comment because I don’t think you can know the name Blake Griffin without realizing how special he is. Dunks are maybe 15% of his made FGs. He has come close to a triple-double several times this season, finally earning his first with a 33pt, 17 rebound, 10 assist performance against the Wizards. How does one get rebounds and assists by dunking?

  10. jdakid - Apr 1, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    Melo+weak=Never. One of the most dynamic players. He can drive the lane and shoot jumpers just as good lebron and kobe. I know this is about Blake Griffin. But I just had to say that.

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