The Clippers’ latest playoff flameout — and Blake Griffin‘s latest playoff injury — have raised the chances of a major offseason shakeup in Los Angeles. Griffin and Chris Paul are both expected to opt out this summer and seek maximum deals, and the organization would face major luxury tax payments if both are re-signed.
While Paul is believed to be likely to stay in L.A., the Clippers may not be as committed to retaining Griffin, despite owner Steve Ballmer’s pledge to spend whatever it takes to keep the current team together. Mitch Lawrence of Forbes examines five possible landing spots for the Clippers forward.
- Knicks — Carmelo Anthony may be ready to leave New York and join his friend Paul in Los Angeles, where he already owns a home. Knicks president Phil Jackson could be interested in adding Griffin through a sign-and-trade deal for Anthony if both players are willing to consent to the move.
- Thunder — Griffin played college ball at Oklahoma, and the franchise needs a second star to pair with Russell Westbrook. The Thunder are nearly $12MM over the cap for next season, so they would have to be creative in opening space. Lawrence suggests letting Andre Roberson leave in free agency and finding a team willing to trade for Enes Kanter, who still has two years and about $36.5MM left on his contract.
- Nuggets — Cap room won’t be a problem in Denver, which will have about $40MM available if Danilo Gallinari opts out as he has indicated. The Nuggets have made trade offers for Griffin in the past, Lawrence writes, but never enough to tempt the Clippers. If a sign-and-trade is in play, Lawrence states that Denver would be willing to part with anyone except Nikola Jokic to make it work.
- Celtics — Boston has the cap space to make a max offer to Griffin and the assets to swing a deal. The Celtics have a wealth of future draft choices, including the potential No.1 pick this year and the Nets’ unprotected first-rounder next season. Even though Boston was the top seed in the East, the front office is searching for star players to build around.
- Pacers — Paul George‘s desire to play in L.A. has become an open secret around the league, and this could be the Clippers’ chance to land him before the Lakers do. George, who turns 27 this week, would be a new young star for the Clippers, while the Pacers could build around a formidable front line featuring Griffin and Myles Turner.