Clippers Offseason Theories: Trading for a new superstar

March 2, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) moves the ball up court against Los Angeles Clippers during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
March 2, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) moves the ball up court against Los Angeles Clippers during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

To continue this short series of proposed ideas for the Los Angeles Clippers’ offseason, writer Tim Hiley will consider the theory of trading Blake Griffin for a new superstar.

Editor’s note: The question of what the Los Angeles Clippers should do this offseason has provided plenty of takes, ranging from blow everything up and go after Kevin Durant to do absolutely nothing. So, as we continue to address these theories one by one, let’s look at that Durant idea and the argument of trading Blake Griffin for a new superstar.

Now, here are where things get interesting in the world of wild theories for the Clippers’ offseason.

Here, I will present two NBA-landscape-altering trades to consider. Firstly, I’ll talk about the one that has been rumored and discussed many times in recent months, which is a straight up sign-and-trade for none other than Kevin Durant.

The Clippers have been crying out for a natural, talented small forward for years and, well, Kevin Durant is pretty much the best option there is. It’s been argued all season long that there’s a possibility for Durant to leave the Thunder, as just like the Clippers, their core of Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka has been together since Westbrook and Ibaka’s 2008 draft when they were just moving to Oklahoma. That’s four years longer than the Clippers have been together. So, theoretically, it could be time for Durant to shake things up and be the superstar to take another contender over the edge and win a title.

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Well, that idea was fine. But now that the Thunder have the 73-9 Golden State Warriors on their heels with a 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference Finals, riding two straight blowout wins, every second OKC plays together makes the thought of Durant leaving seem more farfetched.

Nevertheless, it seemed like it could be the best long-term solution for both Durant and Griffin, while also giving Chris Paul a remarkable scorer to pass to and form the most explosive one-two punch in the league with Griffin and Westbrook. And if you’re going to lose a top-three player in the league in Durant, getting a top 10 talent in Griffin isn’t a bad consolation prize when he could leave for nothing.

However, I personally think Durant will mimic Lebron James and sign a one-year deal with a player option in order to opt out with Westbrook next summer, and either commit long term to the Thunder then or, more likely, try his fortune elsewhere.

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So, when considering the likelihood of Durant staying in Oklahoma City, who else could the Clippers consider trading Griffin to?

How about trading him to the Chicago Bulls for Jimmy Butler? It would give L.A. a formidable lineup with Paul and J.J. Redick in the backcourt, Butler on the wing, DeAndre Jordan at center, while leaving an gap at power forward that would obviously need to be addressed as much as possible in free agency.

In an ideal world for the Clippers, of course, they could also attempt to steal new free agent Pau Gasol (who owns a player option for next season) in the deal via a sign-and-trade, giving the Bulls the option to avoid losing him for nothing. Then again, with the rising salary cap, taking on Butler’s $16.4 million salary for 2016-17 and a contract that Gasol would surely likely to rise from his current mark of $7.44 million won’t be remotely easy for the Clippers.

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Butler is rumoured to have been shopped by the Bulls already as he and Derrick Rose (allegedly) have chemistry issues. Plus, the Bulls plummeted to the 9th seed in the Eastern Conference this season, prompting the questions that, even with their injuries, a trade to start resetting may help.

Without doubt, Butler would be a fantastic addition as the Clippers would fix their small forward problem (Butler can play between the two and three), acquiring a new go-to scorer who continues to expand his offensive repertoire and range. Furthermore, he would be a magnificent defensive presence when facing the Kevin Durant’s and Kawhi Leonard’s of the world.

Meanwhile in Chicago, Griffin would be fantastic next to the defense of Joakim Noah (assuming he stays) and Rose at point, along with as many shooters as the Bulls can assemble thanks to his elite passing.

However, is pursuing a Blake Griffin trade in these kind of circumstances actually the answer? The Durant deal isn’t happening now OKC are thriving and he’s being pursued by superior contenders as well, and trading for Butler doesn’t fix every problem besides solidifying the perimeter. At this stage, making some smaller changes to fix the team’s main weakness — the bench — should be the priority.

Next: Offseason Theories: Time to trade DeAndre Jordan?

The next episode will have more on what’s best for the Clippers’ offseason.