The Los Angeles Clippers and Detroit Pistons made a massive splash ahead of the 2018 NBA trade deadline. The Clippers traded perennial superstar Blake Griffin, Willie Reed and Brice Johnson to Detroit in exchange for Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic plus a first and second-round draft pick.
The Clippers appear to be set for a full-scale rebuild. In less than a calendar year, management has traded away its two franchise stars in Griffin and Chris Paul – who was traded to the Houston Rockets last year.
This massive trade promises to change the NBA landscape, to say the least. Here are three winners and two losers from the biggest trade of 2018 (so far).
5. Winner: DeAndre Jordan And Lou Williams
DeAndre Jordan has remained one of the game’s top defensive players, and the pending free agent has gracefully rode it out in Los Angeles – despite a dysfunctional season.
As for Lou Williams – the key piece of the Chris Paul trade – is having a career year with 23.5 points and 5.2 assists per game. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (who first reported the trade), also reported that Jordan and Williams are now available in trades.
And that makes both Jordan and Williams pure winners. The Clippers are wasting phenomenal years from both, but Jordan and Williams should be traded to contenders and will get to chase championships.
Better than sticking around for the major disaster that is unfolding in this organization.
4. Loser: Avery Bradley and Tobias Harris
The two men who led the Pistons in scoring probably could use a change of scenery. Though Harris and Bradley averaged 18.1 and 15 points per game, respectively, the Pistons aren’t making the most of their talents. You just know both men could benefit on another team.
Unfortunately, the Clippers don’t exactly give them the ideal change of scenery. The Clippers are now tearing it all down, and a more demanding head coach in Doc Rivers could make it for difficult Harris and Bradley to thrive.
It was easier for both men when they shared the court with big man Andre Drummond. Now you’re asking these supreme shooters to carry the whole offence on a Clippers team that will soon trade Jordan and Williams. I’m just not seeing how they thrive with the Clippers, given the system, supporting cast and dysfunction surrounding the team.
3. Winner: Blake Griffin
Griffin looked poised to leave the Clippers after last season. He got into a physical confrontation with a team employee, was clashing with the organization and saw his Clippers suffer another early exit in the playoffs.
But Griffin re-upped on the maximum five-year extension worth $173 million. The Clippers had traded Paul beforehand, so it was surprising to see Griffin devote the rest of his prime years to Los Angeles. This season was a nightmare for L.A. They’re barely hanging on in the playoff race, while Griffin and Danilo Gallinari have missed large chunks of the season due to injuries.
Now, Griffin gets a fresh start on a young and promising Pistons team. Drummond is already one of the game’s top centres. Reggie Jackson is one of the top scoring point guards you don’t know about, either.
And the Eastern Conference is nothing compared to the West. Detroit is a manageable three games behind the Philadelphia 76ers for the eighth seed, and just 5.5 behind the Miami Heat for the fourth spot.
Griffin goes to a team that helps him win now and in the immediate future. Consider that LeBron James could sign with a Western team this offseason, and Griffin’s Pistons could become one of the East’s elite very soon.
2. Loser: Clippers Management
NBA stars are few and far between. As such, a team tends to look for massive returns when they trade away a young star. The Minnesota Timberwolves dealt veteran Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and received a rising young star in Andrew Wiggins in return. That was the prime example of trading away a veteran sensation.
But the Clippers got robbed in the Chris Paul trade with Houston. They got seven players and a first-round pick, but only Lou Williams has panned out. Now, they’re getting two draft picks and underachieving players in Harris and Bradley for a world class star?
L.A. had so many chances to add to the Griffin-Paul duo. They couldn’t, and opted to break up one of the league’s top tandems without receiving many young assets in return. Seeing how little they got for Griffin and Paul, it’s hard to see them redeeming themselves in the inevitable Jordan and Williams deals.
1. Winner: Detroit Pistons
The Pistons haven’t been a relevant franchise since winning the NBA Championship in 2004. They had a few more good years after that, but have only made the playoffs once since 2010. They have not won a postseason game May 26th, 2008.
But the Pistons are finally ready to make some noise in the NBA. Griffin and Drummond are going to be one of the most unstoppable big men duos in the NBA, and nobody said their front office can’t add more star power.
Even if the Pistons don’t make the playoffs this year, they are primed to take advantage of an extremely weak East for years to come. This is the first major splash the Pistons have made in years. Finally, fans in the Motor City have something to celebrate.
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