Why on earth would Clippers trade Blake Griffin for Rudy Gay?

Rumors that the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento Kings are participating in a three-team trade persist, sending Rudy Gay to L.A. and Blake Griffin to Boston, but where on earth is the argument that it makes sense for the Clippers?

NBA free agency is dying down and even after landing a new All-Star center in Al Horford, teams such as the Boston Celtics aren’t slowing down. Especially when it comes to speculation, wild trade rumors and optimistic Celtics fans are helping drive forward the idea that Blake Griffin is leaving the Los Angeles Clippers for Boston in a three-team trade involving the Sacramento Kings.

Essentially, in exchange for their second best player and an All-NBA talent who is easily a top 15 player in the league, the Clippers are trading for Rudy Gay and a bunch of draft picks.

What a deal, right?! For the Celtics, yes. For the Clippers? Not even slightly. In fact, it’s obviously the total opposite. Yet, the rumors persist.

According to Sean Deveney of Sporting News, it’s Griffin that is the Celtics’ trade target, and once again he reports the supposed possibility of a three-team trade with the Kings:

The likely target for the Celtics, according to front-office sources, is Clippers forward Blake Griffin. The Clippers have been weighing trading Griffin all season , and the possibility of a three-team package involving Sacramento sending Rudy Gay to the Clippers has emerged.  The Celtics would give up some number of their upcoming draft picks, but opposing front-office members say they don’t want to give up either Brooklyn pick Boston can own in the next two years.

As is usually the case with these rumors surrounding the Celtics, whether it’s a blockbuster deal for DeMarcus Cousins, landing Jahlil Okafor, or now trading for Griffin, it’s always made clear in reports that the Celtics have a “target.”

In other words, they have targets that aren’t necessarily attainable if other teams aren’t even interested to complete a trade.

This is only the beginning for why a Blake-Gay deal makes no sense.

The next part of the report and the trade idea that has continued to gain steam online is that the Clippers would, apparently, want a return of draft picks along with a star player:

The Clippers have 31-year-old point guard Chris Paul on hand, and league sources have said that if the Clippers move Griffin — a move that Clippers coach and front-office head Doc Rivers is reluctant to make  — they will want a deal that involves draft picks and a frontline star who can keep them in Western Conference contention.

So, before getting to the nonsensical part about seeking draft picks as a key part of a deal for Griffin, how does Rudy Gay qualify as the “frontline star” that would warrant trading Griffin and keep the Clippers’ contention alive?

Gay’s numbers were fine last season. He averaged 17.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game. He even shot 46.3 percent from the floor, which is certainly a respectable figure. However, as a player who doesn’t offer anything in terms of elite defense and has always struggled with shot selection, it goes without saying that he isn’t close to being the star player that makes trading Griffin seem remotely worthwhile.

Gay frequently buys into the ugly trend of long twos and shot a subpar 34.4 percent from three last season. While he may be effective in NBA 2K and Celtics fans argue he’s worth it to convince themselves that Blake is coming to Boston, the Clippers would be open for humiliation if they ever accepted such a deal.

Following a possible Griffin trade in this proposed scenario, the Clippers’ best player would then be Chris Paul, heading into the end of his prime at 31 years old. In order to make a team built around him make sense and compete for a championship before his prime window closes, how does trading for draft picks make any amount of sense?

Providing the Clippers aren’t planning on a total rebuild and trading their Big 3 — which isn’t happening — there’s no sense in trading Griffin and leaving Paul and DeAndre Jordan with draft picks, young assets and Gay. At the very least, it certainly won’t encourage Paul to re-sign in free agency next summer.

They won’t win that way and playoff success certainly won’t come any time soon. Even if they somehow hit the jackpot and land rookies that eventually compensate for the impact of Griffin, they certainly won’t be developed in time to win in Paul’s prime.

And let’s be honest, taking the chance of finding a new superstar or drafting the next Blake Griffin is both unlikely and pointless.

Finally, beyond the logic that is abundantly clear when it comes to arguing against trading Griffin, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald has provided a far more believable report. While the Celtics have expressed interest in the past, Bulpett has reported that it’s been “quite some time” since any discussions were held. Any lingering interest that may still exist isn’t being acted upon.

No matter how interested the Celtics may have been in acquiring Griffin, this deal is no more than a trade fire that’s had a little too much speculative oil doused over it by fans. The deals that have been proposed don’t work both ways and don’t suit the Clippers’ present or future interests whatsoever.

You can brush this rumor aside and forget about it.