Key free agents have big decisions coming up. Do they want to stay where they have called home for a while or do they leave to chase further adventures, money or potentially a ring? These are the questions that Los Angeles Clippers power forward has to ask himself these days, as he heads into free agency. During his time in Los Angeles, he has been one of the key cogs of Lob City. They were exciting, but they were also not as successful in terms of going deep in the playoffs. Couple the playoff disappointments with the recent news that the leader of the Clippers, point guard Chris Paul, was recently traded to the Houston Rockets for Patrick Beverly, Sam Dekker, Lou Williams and a 2018 first-round pick. The decision is now on Blake what he wants to do. Does he want to stay in Los Angeles and essentially have the team built around him or does he want to chase the money and a new adventure elsewhere? If his first stop on his free agency tour is any indication, then he is thinking on his future very seriously. The talented forward is reportedly going to meet with the Phoenix Suns first as he makes his rounds.
The thought of Blake Griffin in a Phoenix Suns uniform is something that seems strange just thinking about it. After you get over that vision, then you can realize why he wants to go there. Just look at the young, talented Devin Booker at shooting guard. He is a scoring machine that could cause problems as he gets older and even better than he is now. Booker could arguably be the best shooting guard in the NBA. Along with Booker, there is some young talent there in Phoenix that could develop over time. That all sounds pretty good for Blake to fit into. However, you then have to remember that they this team may take some time to actually get to the playoffs. As of right now, Blake being added to their team really does not take them into the playoffs. In fact, he would add to a position that they have a young, talented guy at already in Marquse Chriss. Adding Blake would not exactly help in his development at all. Another issue there in Phoenix is the health of Eric Bledsoe. The explosive veteran point guard has played over 70 games in a season one time in Phoenix and that is not a good thing. He can score and pass, but his health will always be a concern for the team with or without Blake, who has injury issues in his own right. All in all, the move would not get him any closer to a title.
The title chase would be gone in Phoenix, but it isn’t like it would be there still in Los Angeles. The Clippers added three pieces, but they definitely took a step back at the point guard position. The combination of Beverly and Austin Rivers is nowhere near as good as Paul. Those lobs that brought excitement when Chris Paul first arrived in Los Angeles are no more. So now it is interesting to see what the Clippers will do. Most tend to think that Blake will get a max offer from Los Angeles and the Clippers will try to build around him. That may or may not be true, but let’s for one moment believe that they will pay him the max. If that happens, Blake becomes the face of the team but the Clippers are going nowhere fast. Along with losing Chris Paul, the team would be without JJ Reddick to stretch the defense, leaving the Clippers with the task of finding a new starting back court. Making Blake the face of that team when he is as injury-prone as he is would be something the Clippers would do and we have seen the results of that before Chris Paul arrived in Hollywood. In the end, the Clippers could find themselves missing the playoffs or even as bad as Phoenix bombing last season.
Soon, Blake will have to make his decision. The Suns and the Clippers are in the equation for Griffin and there have been rumors of the Thunder and Celtics potentially as well. Only time will tell what happens in his decision, but ultimately Blake has to make the best decision for himself and his career. Outside of that, the teams that pursue him have to realize that they are taking a huge chance on a guy that cannot stay healthy but could affect so much when he is out there. We shall see where he lands.
The General Mike Patton is an up-and-coming writer from Nashville, TN who brings a fresh and non-biased opinion about sports. From his radio experience in Nashville to his time as a sports writer for Free’s World, the website for radio personality and former co-host of BET’s 106 and Park Free (www.freesworld.com), The General is definitely one you want to get to know in the sports world. You can catch his work on SPORTSAWAKENING.COM. Mike grew up rooting for the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bulls, and Chicago Cubs and remains a passionate sports fan who expresses intelligent opinions.