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Report: Clippers pursuing LeBron James, but won’t trade Blake Griffin for him

Jun 24, 2014, 8:40 PM EST

Los Angeles Clippers v Miami Heat Getty Images

Can you imagine a team with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and LeBron James? Even surrounded by minimum-salary players, it would immediately become championship favorites.

The Clippers want to make that happen – but on their terms.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

Griffin is extremely valuable to the Clippers, and I’m sure they don’t want to trade him.

But if pressed, there is absolutely no way they should should keep Griffin over acquiring LeBron.

Loyalty is important. LeBron is more important.

And if the Clippers are serious about landing LeBron, they’d likely have to part with Griffin in a sign-and-trade.

Even if the Clippers strip their roster to just Paul and Griffin, they still wouldn’t have enough space below the projected salary cap to offer LeBron his max – though the difference would be negligible.

More importantly, trimming the roster to that point would be a huge challenge.

Glen Davis and Danny Granger are helping by opting out. Darren Collison is also opting out, and Willie Green has a fully unguaranteed contract that becomes fully guaranteed July 1. Either way, the Clippers should waive him.

That still leaves Paul, Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford, Jared Dudley, Matt Barnes, Darren Collison and Reggie Bullock under contract for next season. Clearing those last seven would take considerable maneuvering. Even if all but Dudley has real value, those are several trades to lineup.

Unless Doc Rivers accomplishes all that, a sign-and-trade would be required. He’d certainly pitch one based on Jordan, but there’s no way Pat Riley accepts. He’s not going to help LeBron leave Miami without significant return.

It would take Griffin to even get the conversation rolling – and that still might not be enough. The must be really convinced LeBron is leaving regardless.

LeBron joining the Clippers is a longshot, but it’s much, much, much more improbable if they’re unwilling to deal Griffin.

  1. cantonb0und13 - Jun 24, 2014 at 8:47 PM

    Are they crazy? Absolutely not. Why? Because the Clippers can get LeBron without trading Paul or Griffin. I been saying this for months. LeBron is either staying in Miami or signing with the Clippers (via sign-and-trade).

    • kb2408 - Jun 24, 2014 at 9:24 PM

      Are you ever gonna get your own username? I just can’t take a man seriously that steals another mans username.

      • cantonb0und13 - Jun 24, 2014 at 9:48 PM

        Thanks for the bedtime story.

      • 00maltliquor - Jun 24, 2014 at 9:57 PM

        Lol! @ the both of yous!

        Good jab
        nice counter

      • 00maltliquor - Jun 24, 2014 at 9:59 PM

        cantonbOund13…reveal yourself! I’m dying for you to finally take off the mask! You’ve rode this horse far enough!

      • cantonb0und13 - Jun 24, 2014 at 10:08 PM

        maltiliquor, sorry no need too. But I’ll reveal my first hint, we agreed on my topics, I’m not sure if you’ll still remember me if I told you my old name.

      • cantonb0und13 - Jun 24, 2014 at 10:16 PM

        I’m not going to reveal my name. This is my name. So can everyone enjoy their day, nothing to see here. Just accept the fact that I have incredible basketball knowledge. Me > everyone else (except for a few guys on here, y’all my boys).

      • nickjackalson - Jun 25, 2014 at 3:55 PM

        I call bs

    • smoothaswilkes - Jun 24, 2014 at 10:17 PM

      Did you even read the post or just start commenting? Nevermind, your comments are complete inanity either way.

      • alshonsmeathooks - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:05 AM

        i think if you want to be first no thinking is required

    • 00maltliquor - Jun 24, 2014 at 10:23 PM

      Aww c’mon! I have a pretty great memory. Try me. Hell, just give me a hint or some initials. I won’t say your name if I figure it out. Word.

  2. ranfan12 - Jun 24, 2014 at 8:58 PM

    it’s unlikely he’s going to the clippers, but anything can happen. this would benefit the heat in finally having a decent amount of good players to back up their main player, since DJ, and more members of that stacked bench would likely be in the trade proposal. the bad part is that they wouldn’t have lbj with them anymore, which is the main reason for getting better back up imo

  3. muathjam21 - Jun 24, 2014 at 8:58 PM

    Man, the drought must be really getting to people’s heads down there in SoCal.

  4. lastdukestreetking - Jun 24, 2014 at 9:16 PM

    Even IF James decides his best choice is to fo to LAC, it won’t happen. Other than Griffin there is no one else Mia would be interested in for a sign & trade.

    • apkyletexas - Jun 24, 2014 at 11:44 PM

      Was I the only one who saw Paul melt down in the playoffs? LeBron plus Paul on a gutted roster would accomplish nothing in the west. The Spurs and Thunder would pay 5 on 1 defense and sweep that team.

  5. antistratfordian - Jun 24, 2014 at 9:17 PM

    They’d want their own Big 3. Naturally they’d angle for a way to have Paul, James and Griffin together.

  6. titansbro - Jun 24, 2014 at 9:25 PM

    Why must it be a sign & trade? He’s already shown he will take less money to go to a better team. Plus it’s LA. He’d have tons of opportunities to make it up on the back end.

    • muathjam21 - Jun 24, 2014 at 10:34 PM

      Lol, LeBron will get major endorsements anywhere he plays. LA or not.

    • nadoinspincity - Jun 25, 2014 at 6:41 AM

      This. Lebron is willing to take slight paycuts to play for a better team. The Clippers can still give him a 20 million dollar contract just by moving DeAndre, Dudley and Crawford/Barnes. Do not see why they need to do a sign and trade.

  7. kb2408 - Jun 24, 2014 at 9:28 PM

    This potential deal would take “Lob City” to a whole new level. Where is Stern to veto this crap?!

    • 00maltliquor - Jun 24, 2014 at 10:00 PM

      Real talk!

    • billtetley53 - Jun 25, 2014 at 8:43 AM

      Still crying about that rightfully rescinded trade? I guess I cant blame you, your teamvis irrelevant for the next 1/2 decade…..at least.

      Im sure youll still be here like that annoying ankle biter of a dog though. Its ok kb, we all like watching you make a fool of yourself.

      Wheres your crown(dunce cap), king nothing?

  8. sumkat - Jun 24, 2014 at 9:31 PM

    I get why they aren’t interested in moving him. They basically made him the face of the franchise, even with Paul there, and have spent the last few years plastering his face anywhere they could. To a large extent, he’s delivered. It’s tough to now just say, oh, well, he wasn’t THAT good

    But it’s James. Hands down the best player in the world. Throw marketing in the toilet, and look at the roster. Would it be better with James or Griffin? I think that question is easily answered

    • seansull83 - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:55 PM

      I’d take Blake with a team full of depth over LBJ and a gutted team of minimum contracts any day. DJ can become a monster Blake gets better and better and that bench is pretty solid. We all just saw that a team of one can’t win the finals. Why ruin what got you there. It’s a bad move but it won’t happen so it’s all a ruse anyway.

  9. lastdukestreetking - Jun 24, 2014 at 9:33 PM

    LBJ could sign for the veteran minimum with any team in the league, The sun could implode tomorrow. Neither are happening.

  10. haaaaasoooooo - Jun 24, 2014 at 9:42 PM

    If I was a betting man, I’d go with the imploding sun before Lebron signing for the minimum

    • 00maltliquor - Jun 24, 2014 at 10:16 PM

      I AM a betting man and I would take the suns odds of imploding tomorrow over a minimum wage LeBron next contract.

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 24, 2014 at 11:46 PM

        IF you WON that bet, you couldn’t collect as we’d all be dead you know…

      • 00maltliquor - Jun 24, 2014 at 11:53 PM

        Therein lies the catch22

  11. bealwithit - Jun 24, 2014 at 10:18 PM

    Damn. Blake Griffin was 3rd in the MVP voting and is arguably the 3rd or 4th best player in the league. CP3 is also arguably the 3rd or 4th best player in the league. LeBron James is considered the 1st or 2nd best player in the league.

    So 3 of the top 4 players in the NBA on the same team? With that bench? Pipe dream! No way that happens! (at least I hope not)

    • 00maltliquor - Jun 24, 2014 at 10:27 PM

      Eff it let’s make it happen!

      #ilovemesomesuperteams!

    • eugenesaxe1 - Jun 24, 2014 at 10:33 PM

      “Blake Griffin was 3rd in the MVP voting and is arguably the 3rd or 4th best player in the league. CP3 is also arguably the 3rd or 4th best player in the league”

      I might give you Paul there. Griffin? nope.

      • bealwithit - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:01 AM

        Where would you rank Griffin after this past season? If he isn’t the 4th best player then who is?

      • eugenesaxe1 - Jun 25, 2014 at 4:49 PM

        He’s arguably not even the best at his position.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 24, 2014 at 11:45 PM

      uh, correct about those three being tops in the league…

      But THAT bench would be GONE for Lebron to be there… so you’re half right.

  12. getlow81 - Jun 24, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    In the Clips defense…Lebron is going to, believe it or not, turn 30 this year. And played 842 games. He’s only missed 44 games in his career..MJ was 33 by the time he played that many games, (that was the year of championship #5) LBJ has miles, lots of them. He’s just never been hurt.

    Griffin? Well he’s still 25. Yet to hit his prime, has only a third of the games LeBron has. And is a bit under appreciated. He’s not a top 5 talent but maybe top 15. They could give up DeAndre and deal with that much more than giving up Griffin.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 24, 2014 at 11:51 PM

      ya’ll know me and stats… sorry, it’s in my blood…

      Yes, great points about games played and his age… it will catch up to Lebron, but not for years and years yet…

      From BOTH Lebron’s and MJ’s age 23 to age 29 seasons, adding up all their regular season and post season playoff minutes played…

      MJ played MORE minutes than Lebron did from their age 23 to age 29 seasons…

      So yeah, Lebron has just played four straight seasons to the Finals, but he still didn’t play more mins than MJ from 23 to 29.

      MJ played in his first threepeat which ended when he won his 3rd title at 29.

      But, you ARE on to something sir as Lebron won’t age as well as MJ did with his time off etc…

      MJ was able to come back and get a second 3 peat… and unless Lebron is with a Paul and a Griffin, he isn’t going to threepeat…

      Good point though. I wonder when LBJ will begin to slow down, PER’s down from 29 to 31 to say 25, then to low 20’s.

      • nickjackalson - Jun 25, 2014 at 4:09 PM

        I don´t really see either a Paul or a Griffin as prerequisites to a three-peat of a Lebron-led team..

        My question would be which setup of a team would suit his skills best?
        Does the team have to have an interior presence on the offensive end?
        Would a defensive minded big be sufficient?
        Three&D wings?

        Iverson made it to the finals not by his scoring prowess alone, but by being backed at the same time by a highly dedicated defense

        Lebron could probably make any player around him better, but which players should be around him, ideally?

  13. McFaddensPulledHammy - Jun 24, 2014 at 11:25 PM

    Yeah, and Donald Sterling is the BIG PROBLEM with the franchise. You wouldn’t trade the best player of his generation, still with 4 to 5 GREAT years ahead of him, for a guy who can’t generate his own shot.

  14. lakerade - Jun 24, 2014 at 11:44 PM

    Trade lebron for cp3.

  15. luz56 - Jun 25, 2014 at 12:18 AM

    Would love to see LBJ in LA but with the Clippers… The days of the Lakers thinking everyone wants to play for the Purple and Yellow are over…it’s all about the money… LBJ would make the same with advertising dollars regardless where he’s at… He has two rings so it’s not about rings…Loves LA and doesn’t matter which team other than Clippers are miles closer to wining than the Lakers are or will be in the next 3-5 years

  16. nadoinspincity - Jun 25, 2014 at 6:35 AM

    It would not be to challenging to move DeAndre+Dudley to a team. I am sure a ton of teams would jump at the opportunity to grab DeAndre for probably nothing other than taking Dudley. Then they would just have to trade Jamal Crawford(6th man of the year on a good contract) or Matt Barnes(role player on a very fair contract). I think they may also not have to pick up Greens option but not totally sure about that. Then the Clippers will have about 19-21 million to sign Lebron for a max contract. I do not think it would be that hard to clear space if they needed to.

    Their really isn’t a reason for the Clippers to even consider moving Griffin because they can pretty easily move cap space to sign Lebron.

  17. 1heatedtoombrayduh - Jun 25, 2014 at 7:24 AM

    If I’m Miami, if Blake Griffin isnt coming in the trade…I dont trade..

  18. seagram757 - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    Lebron is better off staying in the east if he wants to continue to go to the finals.

  19. alongthegulf - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    If LeBron leaves Miami, and that is a ‘Big If’, I can see him in LA as a Clipper. That would give the Clippers a ‘Big 3′. Unlike the Lakers, the Clipper are a team on the way up. Both he and his wife like LA. I really don’t think Chicago and Houston have much of a chance to lure LeBron. I think LeBron will go back to Miami, but if not, I think it’s the Clippers that have the best shot.

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