It’s fair to say that last season couldn’t have gone much worse for Blake Griffin. He missed 41 games with a partially-torn left quad tendon injury, and also suffered a fractured hand in an incident where he punched the team’s equipment manager.
If all of that wasn’t enough, Griffin reaggravated his quad injury at the worst possible time — during a first-round playoff series against the Blazers that was tied at two games apiece. His was done for the season, and once Chris Paul suffered a broken hand in the very same game, so were the Clippers.
There were rumors swirling that L.A. would attempt to move on from Griffin by exploring trade options this summer, but nothing of substance ever surfaced. Doc Rivers has said that he wants to keep the team intact, and according to a report from Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, Griffin, who can opt out of the final year of his contract next summer to become an unrestricted free agent, isn’t planning on playing anywhere else.
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Sources close to Griffin have been adamant that he is planning to re-sign in L.A. and that he’s not open to going anywhere. Clippers president and head coach Doc Rivers has mirrored that, saying he believes Griffin retires as a Clipper. …
Sources close to the situation say win or lose, Rivers is not open to trade talks on Griffin or Paul and that he’s not worried about either walking away in July.
Paul is in the same contract situation, as he too can choose to become a free agent after the 2017 season is finished.
Griffin is a star-level player when healthy, and he’ll be just 28 years old when he faces his free agent decision. The available salary cap space around the league will be plentiful once again, so Griffin would essentially be able to play anywhere he wants.
But the Clippers are projected to be one of the league’s top teams, somewhere on that second tier right below the Warriors and the Cavaliers. And with all that the Los Angeles market has to offer, it’s easy to see why Griffin would be leaning towards staying — even though a lot could happen over the course of a single NBA season that could potentially change his mind.