Pacific Notes: Griffin, West, Clarkson

The Clippers confirmed Blake Griffin‘s knee surgery in a press release posted this afternoon on the team’s website. The operation to remove loose bodies from his right knee will be performed Tuesday, and he is expected to be out of action three to six weeks. Griffin is averaging 21.0 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists through 26 games.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • L.A. is in better shape to withstand Griffin’s absence than it was a year ago, contends Dan Woike of The Orange County Register. When Griffin was sidelined with a broken hand and a quad injury after Christmas of 2015, Paul Pierce took his place in the starting lineup and DeAndre Jordan assumed a larger role in the offense, averaging 14.1 points and 14.3 rebounds in the games without Griffin. The Clippers signed free agents Brandon Bass and Marreese Speights during the offseason, either of whom could start at power forward. Also, Pierce is still around, Luc Mbah a Moute can guard bigger forwards and Austin Rivers could be moved into the starting lineup.
  • The operation may impact Griffin’s future earnings, suggests ESPN’s Kevin Pelton. Under the tentative CBA, Griffin needs to make an all-NBA team at the end of the season to qualify for the newly created designated veteran player exception. An absence of three to six weeks will certainly reduce his chances. Players who qualify can earn up to 35% of the cap if they remain with their current team. Griffin would be limited to 30% if he doesn’t qualify, which translates to about $30MM over a five-year contract.
  • The Warriors’ David West will be out for a while with a hip pointer, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical. The veteran forward underwent an MRI on Friday after suffering the injury in a game last week. Golden State had been concerned that the injury was something more serious.
  • Jordan Clarkson didn’t complain about moving to the bench after signing a four-year, $50MM contract with the Lakers, but he hasn’t thrived in his new role, writes Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News. Clarkson, whose starting job was taken by Nick Young, has shot just 39.8% over his last 10 games. “Coach wants me to be aggressive,” Clarkson said. “That’s what I try to do every night when I’m out there on the floor. But at the same time, I have to figure out what’s a good shot and a bad shot.”
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