Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer had some words to say about the blockbuster Blake Griffin trade that sent the player from the Clipper to the Detroit Pistons. According to a report from ESPN.com, Ballmer said that trading Griffin was “a very difficult decision.”
Ballmer was more concerned about the team’s future such as injury and chemistry concerns. “[Griffin] is obviously a superstar player,” said Ballmer. “But if you look at what happened injury-wise, if you look at the kind of chemistry we were getting on our team, the thing you can see at the high level with the numbers when I started — one guy got all the assists, one guy got all the points and one guy got all the rebounds. It’s not all quite that way, but I think in the modern NBA, we were seeing it more and more — there’s a greater distribution of responsibility.”
The LA Clippers traded Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons on January 29 in a six-player deal that included big men Brice Johnson and Willie Reed to the Pistons for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovich, a protected 2018 first-round draft pick and a 2019 second-round draft pick. This trade comes with a heavy contract that the Pistons had to take and the LA Clippers freed themselves from. Last July, Griffin signed a five-year, $173 million max contract with the LA Clippers.
“We have to add some pieces obviously, but I think we’re building for what I think is the modern NBA, and that trend has only accelerated since we signed Blake last summer.”
“I think bottoming out is a dangerous game,” Ballmer said. “If you have to play it, maybe you have to play it. Then again, superstars don’t want to go to teams that look like absolute losers. So you really have to make sure [you get] multiple high-level draft picks, and you have to make sure you really hit on high-level draft picks, and you have to be willing to take — not even the financial consequences. In a way you’re being dismissive of your fans by taking that big a step back.”
There were some concerns for “tanking” during this trade process, but Ballmer didn’t believe that this fit that category. Rather, this was a move to get high-level talent to the team as well as accumulating high- draft picks to endure a losing season. Currently, the LA Clipper stand at 31-27.
The NBA previously fined Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban $600,000 for comments he made on a podcast where he says that for the Mavericks, losing games was “the best option” as the team struggled. Right now, the Mavericks stand at 18-41.