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NBA Rumors: Is Blake Griffin Untouchable or Trade Bait?

There are conflicting reports about Blake Griffin’s status… Could Wade opt in while Bosh opts out? Cavs torn as options increase…

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Is Blake Griffin trade bait or untouchable?

Doc Rivers, the Clippers’ president of basketball operations and coach, and his staff are doing their due diligence to make the team better and would consider moving All-Star power forward Blake Griffin along with others in a sign-and-trade deal to get James, according to the officials.

The Clippers could consider sending Griffin and Jared Dudley or Griffin and Matt Barnes to Miami to get James.

The Clippers wouldn’t mind trading DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford and either Barnes or Dudley to the Heat for James, but the team knows that would most likely be hard to do.

via Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Clippers have strong interest in pursuing LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony if they can clear the requisite salary cap space to make a maximum-level offer to the superstars, who have both elected to become free agents starting July 1.

One player they have no interest in moving, however, is forward Blake Griffin. While the Clippers would need to move significant players and money to make a run at either James or Anthony, sources told ESPN that Clippers president and coach Doc Rivers has told Griffin on numerous occasions that he considers him “untouchable” in any trade.

via Ramona Shelburne of ESPN

Clearly, someone is misinformed here because this isn’t the kind of situation where the truth lies somewhere in between. It’s either one of the other, but we may not ever truly know the answer to this question because it may not ever come into play.

First and foremost, the Clippers are one of many potential suitors for James, who is still heavily favored to end up back in Miami. They’re also one of the most unlikely, not because of a lack of mutual interest, which is clearly not the case, but due to the limitations of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and how far over the cap the Clippers are. Of course they would prefer to add James and keep Griffin, or get far enough under the cap to just try to sign him outright, but we’re talking about highly unlikely scenarios here.

Plus, given the state of the franchise right now and the legal saga surrounding the change in ownership, orchestrating a monumental change like this could be very difficult.

It’s quite possible that James may not even want to join the Clippers if the cost was Griffin. He’s seen throughout his career that it takes a true team, one deep and well-rounded in order to win a championship. As great as a one-two duo of James and Chris Paul would be to watch, is that enough to win a championship? It may not be enough to even get out of the West.

If the Clippers weren’t such a young team that has already been through a lot together (and didn’t have the ownership issues as well), it may be time to strongly consider blowing things up in this manner and maybe trading Griffin. However, the San Antonio Spurs have shown the blueprint for longevity and if they end up relatively standing pat, they could see even bigger benefits from it than moving mountains to add another star, even one as great as James.

These are the type of situations that get contemplated with such a strong free agency class coming up, though, so get ready for a summer full of stuff like this.



Bosh opting out, Wade opting in?

via Twitter

This is really the top story line in the NBA right now outside of the draft. We’re going to find out just how tight the Big Three are after going 2-2 in the NBA Finals and losing most recently to the Spurs. James has come right out and said that he wants to see the HEAT make some changes and add some players of significance. If Wade opts into the final two years of his contract worth $42 million total, that could spell the end of an era as it sends the message he’s more concerned about finances right now than sacrificing for the sake of more championships. It also drastically limits the HEAT’s ability to improve the supporting cast and all but rules out adding another star-caliber player.

Both Wade and Bosh have until June 30 to make their decisions on whether to become unrestricted free agents or cash in on the biggest years of their contracts.


Cavaliers torn as options grow

Just two days before the NBA draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers are split on whether to take Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins with the top overall pick, multiple sources told ESPN.com.

“They are torn,” one source close to the situation told ESPN.com. “They met for three hours, and all they talked about was those two guys.”

Added another industry source: “They haven’t come to a decision yet.”

via Jeff Goodman and Chad Ford of ESPN

In the case that the Cavaliers are unable to come to a consensus, they do have the option of shipping the pick off as several offers continue to come in leading up to Thursday’s draft. The Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers are just three of the teams said to have standing offers on the table for the No. 1 overall selection.

Given ownership’s mandate to turn this team into a playoff contender this offseason, acquiring more proven, veteran talent could be the best move for first year GM David Griffin. However, Parker and Wiggins are two elite prospects that could help them make the playoffs next year and for the next several beyond as well. So, the bright side here is that the Cavaliers have several good routes to take. The downside is they can only choose one, but if the trade offers get even better, the decision may become a little bit more clear cut. The Jazz’s offer centers around Derrick Favors and the No. 5 pick, while the Celtics and 76ers have multiple first round picks in this year’s draft at the root of their offers.

Yannis Koutroupis is Basketball Insiders' Managing Site Editor and Senior Writer. He has been covering the NBA and NCAA for seven years.

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