Blake Griffin has been and still is one of the premier big men in the NBA. It is hard to think any team in the league would pass up on the chance to have Griffin leading their frontcourt. We haven’t seen Blake as much on the highlight reels as we have gotten used to seeing him years ago, but his efficiency has not wavered.
After a season plagued by injuries in 2015-16, Blake has been steadily recovering his pace, and in 34 minutes per game, he has been averaging 21.6 points and a little over eight rebounds per outing. He has also become a decent three-point shooter as he netted 38 threes so far this season. His previous career best were 12 made three-pointers back in 2013-14.
He is a more mature player, and after six failed years with the Clippers in terms of chasing a championship, Blake must be longing for a real chance at the title. Sure, it’s tough to believe you'll have a chance anywhere else when you have not attained a goal with Chris Paul as your point guard.
Still, there are many options open that can provide Griffin with a perfect shot at an NBA championship. At the same time, there are teams that would love to have Griffin on their roster, but going to any of them would be a huge mistake on Blake’s part. So get ready because we will take a look at the top eight destinations for Blake Griffin and the seven worst destinations he could choose once he hits the free-agent market.
15 Best - Utah Jazz
The Jazz quickly went from being one of the teams of the future to one of the teams of the now. And much of that rise has been due to the success of the frontcourt combination of Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert.
Not only did they qualify for the playoffs, but the Jazz also won the Northwest division. They finished the regular season tied with Griffin’s Clippers, and are in a first round playoff battle. Griffin has the chance to see firsthand what the Jazz can offer. On Utah’s side, having Griffin on the squad could mean going from a good playoff team to an actual title contender. His scoring ability would take a huge load off from Gordon Hayward, and his presence on the offensive end would open space to shooters like Joe Johnson and Rodney Hood.
14 Worst - Atlanta Hawks
Much like the Clippers, the Hawks are one of those teams that are always showing promise but never getting anywhere. If they manage to find the cap space to do so, they might try to make a play for Blake Griffin, but biting on that one would not help Griffin’s career in the least.
Should he go to Atlanta, he would be playing alongside the likes of Dwight Howard and Paul Millsap as well as an extensive list of role players who, with the exception of Kyle Korver, would find it tough to rise to the challenge on any given night the frontcourt is not working.
The only glimpse of hope for the future in Atlanta is guard Dennis Schroder, but in terms of now, there is little to expect from this team when it comes to challenging for a championship.
13 Best - Chicago Bulls
The Bulls had a tough season, but they still pulled through and grabbed that last playoff spot in the East. Still, they’re not a team that should be taken lightly. With a cast of all-star-caliber players like Rajon Rondo, Dwayne Wade, and Jimmy Butler, the Bulls are a team that can compete with the best of them.
Adding Blake Griffin to the mix could give their frontcourt a perfect balance between experience and youth. Imagine what having Griffin by their side could do to the growth of forwards like Cristiano Felicio and Nikola Mirotic.
Not only that, the amount of attention Griffin would demand from a defense would open space for Wade and Butler, and perhaps even help the rise of a prospect like Denzel Valentine.
12 Worst - New York Knicks
Oh, the Knicks. The New York squad is one of those teams everybody wants to see succeed, especially now that they have the most exciting young big man in basketball in Kristaps Porzingis. But time and time again, no matter who they sign, they always seem to fall short. And if Blake Griffin wants a title, the odds are that his best chance is not in New York.
As much as it would be fun to watch Griffin playing alongside Derrick Rose and Porzingis, it would also be tough to watch him not getting enough touches because an aging Carmelo Anthony keeps demanding the ball even as he’s shooting some of the worst percentages of his career.
So if we are to follow the logic here, Blake Griffin in a New York uniform is not a sight we will witness any time soon.
11 Best - Charlotte Hornets
“I think one of the bigger free agents this year is probably Blake Griffin. I think Blake would be a great fit for us. I mean, don’t get y’all’s hopes up. (laughter) It sounds good,” that was what Kemba Walker told QCityMetro.com when he was asked which free agents could help the Hornets next season.
While Walker was reasonable enough to tell the fans not to get their hopes up, playing with him might be a good choice for Blake Griffin. They might have missed the playoffs this season, but the Hornets are one of the exciting teams in the league. Michael Jordan’s franchise has some very promising names like Walker himself who is an All-Star at 26, as well as names like Miles Plumley and Cody Zeller, either of whom would make for killer frontcourt pairings with Griffin.
10 Worst - Denver Nuggets
If there is one thing we know today, it's that the Nuggets aren’t going anywhere. They are a solid, middle of the board kind of team. They can clash with anybody, but they just don’t have the firepower to win a seven-game series in the West. Oddly enough, this season they wouldn’t even have made the playoffs in the East.
They have exciting prospects like Nikola Jokic and Emmanuel Mudiay, potential All-Stars like Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried, as well as a boatload of cap space to spend. But unless they make some magic happen in the offseason, it will be a long time before the Nuggets can be considered a contender. And if Griffin is looking to leave the Clippers, he better be looking for a place where he can win a title rather quickly.
9 Best - Miami Heat
If someone can create a great team out of nothing, that someone is Pat Riley. He has been doing it for years and betting against him making some crazy moves this off-season would be like betting on the Nets to win the NBA next year.
The main reason this might be a good move for Griffin is that Chris Bosh most likely will no longer be in Miami. So, where there would’ve been doubts about his playing time, there will be nothing but hope, because instead of fighting with Bosh for playing time, Griffin would be able to focus on playing alongside Hassan Whiteside.
It is tough to imagine what a frontcourt like that could do. Paired along and athletic center like DeAndre Jordan was already enough for Blake Griffin to play like he did in Los Angeles. So there should be no limits to what he could do playing alongside a monster like Whiteside.
Pat Riley should try to make this happen, and if he does it, the NBA should make an award for any team that out-rebounds the Miami Heat next year.
8 Worst - Brooklyn Nets
The Nets are a lost cause at this point. The only reason anybody, much less a premier player, would want to go there is the money. Brooklyn has become a team that is solely composed of role players, and prospects who don’t seem too promising, to pass the ball to Brook Lopez.
This season they managed to beat the Suns to the worst record in the league, and unless they find a way to change nearly everything about the team in the offseason, there is little chance of them doing anything different next season.
That being said, they could always hope LaVar Ball is right, and Lonzo Ball is the next coming of Michael Jordan; only then, and if they get him, would the Nets have a chance of fighting for something next year.
7 Best - Minnesota Timberwolves
The Wolves are fun to watch, and now they really do seem to be one step away from becoming a contender. Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins are arguably the most promising duo in the league. After rumors that he was losing his touch and could be on his way out of Minnesota, Ricky Rubio put on a strong finish to the season, and he’s still the kind of point guard any forward like Griffin dreams of playing alongside. Note that even if Rubio leaves, the Wolves still have Kris Dunn to take over the point guard spot.
They are also set to acquire Kentucky’s Malik Monk in the draft, an addition that would add some insane firepower to their backcourt.
More than that, the addition of Blake Griffin would turn the Wolves into an instant contender now they have finally gotten used to Tom Thibodeau’s playing system. This sounds like a win-win and perhaps even the birth of a dynasty.
6 Worst - Los Angeles Clippers
Have you ever heard the saying “you don’t change a team that’s winning.”? Well, what should you do with a team that is not winning? Start over.
It has been over seven years that Blake Griffin has been wearing a Clippers jersey. And time after time during those years, even with the help of Chris Paul, they failed when push came to shove in the playoffs. For how much longer should they keep trying to win with something that doesn’t seem to be working in the postseason?
Perhaps it is time for Griffin to move on, and he has most likely picked up on that since he has not renewed his contract. Not only for him, but a move might also be good for the Clippers. Sometimes you need to take a step back before you can take more steps forward.
Chris Paul also has a player option that he will most likely make use of if the Clippers fail one more time. So more than needing fresh air, staying with the Clippers without Paul would just be madness on Blake Griffin’s part.
5 Best- Indiana Pacers
With Paul George coming back and returning to his prime since that devastating injury took a year away from him, the Pacers might be the perfect place for Griffin to land. They are an experienced team ready to win, and they are ready to win now.
Monta Ellis, Jeff Teague, Lance Stephenson, and Paul George make for a rather deep backcourt, one which they might be able to improve during the summer even if they manage to sign Griffin. However, what Indiana most needs is a player like Griffin to add to its frontcourt.
With the rise of Myles Turner, what the Pacers lack is someone to play alongside him and help the youngster develop while also being a reliable scorer and rebounder night in a night out. Al Jefferson is already there, and he can and has gotten the job done, but Griffin would be able to provide the kind of explosion that the crafty 32-year-old just can’t anymore.
4 Worst - Los Angeles Lakers
There has been some talk about Griffin being open to signing with the Lakers, but calling that a good deal might be going a little too far. The Lakers have some promising players like Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, and D’Angelo Russell. But that is still nothing when you compare them to promising young teams like the Jazz and the Timberwolves, both of which would be better fits for Griffin.
Now, in the many talks that link Griffin to a move to the Lakers, there is a barrage of ifs. Many things people predict the Lakers will do this offseason that would turn them into a more alluring option to the forward. One of those ifs is that they would try to sign Paul George, which would be a hell of a move from Magic Johnson and the Lakers front office. But, at the same time, both George and Griffin would have to be willing to wait a few more years for the rest of the cast to develop. That's something hard to imagine happening since George already has a good set up in Indiana and Griffin has more than a handful of better options to choose from.
3 Best - Boston Celtics
If you walked into a newsroom a few months back and told everybody that the Celtics would be the top seed in the East going into the playoffs, many people would call you crazy. And yet, here we are.
With Isaiah Thomas leading the charge, the Celtics are one of the strongest teams in the league today. They beat Cleveland to the top seed, and many people won’t be surprised if they are the team to come out of the East for the championship showdown. And one step further than that, one must remember that they split the season series with the Warriors.
One way or the other, if the Celtics don’t shock the world and win the title this season, adding Blake Griffin to the mix would make them an even bigger contender next time around. It would take some maneuvering from the front office, but imagine what the Celtics could accomplish with Griffin in the spot that Amir Johnson is in today. Scary, just plain scary to think about.
2 Worst- Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers have a solid young core and a whole lot of cap room to experiment with. It would be crazy of them not to try to get Blake Griffin in the summer. But it would be crazier of Griffin to accept that offer.
His main reason to leave Los Angeles should be to win a title, and that won’t happen in Philadelphia anytime soon. Out of their 16-man roster, the Sixers have only five players over the age of 25. That’s not betting on youth, that’s lack of experience. Not only that, 10 of Philadelphia’s players have played less than two years in the league.
Sure, a player like Griffin would help the youngsters improve their game and mature faster. But if he were to take that route, Griffin would probably only start thinking about an NBA championship in three or four years. And that is if Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Jahlil Okafor become All-Star players in that period.
1 Best - Oklahoma City Thunder
That would be a hell of a homecoming story. The kid from Oklahoma returns just a year after Kevin Durant went turn-coat. This would be a dream scenario for Oklahoma City fans, players, the front office, and, perhaps, even for Blake Griffin.
Moreover, Sam Presti would have to do little convincing to get Griffin to want to play with the new and improved triple-double King Russell Westbrook. A run and gun style of play with a pace that would rival that of the Showtime Lakers, with lobs flying from everywhere and plenty of opportunities to add to his highlight reel would make for dream scenario for Blake.
His addition would also mean that the Thunder would go back to having one of the best lineups in the league as he and Westbrook would have Victor Oladipo and Steven Adams to run along with.
It will all come down to what Griffin decides, but it sure would be fun to see him in an OKC uniform.