LA Clippers: Blake Griffin gives open and honest take on end of LAC tenure

Blake Griffin (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Blake Griffin (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Nearly four years after the LA Clippers traded Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons, the veteran forward is opening up about how his tenure with them came to an end.

After suiting up for LA in over 500 games, the Clippers sent him to Detroit for a haul that included Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, and a couple of draft picks in 2018. Now 31 years old, he’s in his second year with a title favorite after agreeing to terms with the Brooklyn Nets last March.

On a recent episode of In Depth with Graham Bensinger, Griffin was candid in discussing how his successful tenure with the Clippers came to an awkward end.

The talk began with his thoughts on the dramatic production the Clippers put together at Staples Center to sign Griffin long-term only to trade him six months later.

"“They had different phases of my life. Big, giant blown-up pictures from my childhood. Then high school state championship trophies and medals. You kind of walked through memory lane and then came out to the court,” said Griffin."

The walk through memory lane then led to a couch in which Blake Griffin and his family sat down to watch what he refers to as a “fake jersey retirement.” “It was nuts. One of the craziest things I’ve seen,” he continued.

While the gesture was appreciated, Griffin was only sold after the team assured him of their future plans to be a winning franchise. Still, months later, the Clippers decided they wouldn’t soon be a title-winning team with Griffin around. In the interview, he says he understood why the trade was made but wishes the organization handled things differently.

Griffin explains he had to find out about the trade through a friend instead of his agent or someone within the team. As he sought to learn more, the Clippers’ GM didn’t answer his call, leading to him reporting directly to the team facility. Then things got awkward.

"[The GM] comes out and says, ‘let’s go in here’. He goes to open the door and it’s locked. He turns to his assistant for the keys and it’s just me and him. He’s like, ‘How’s it going?’ I was like, ‘You tell me.’ We’re standing there, just a moment of awkwardness for a good 20 seconds.”"

Griffin then says nothing had been completed and that he was assured he’d be the first one to know. On the drive to pick up his kids, he saw a tweet saying the deal was being finalized.

As Graham Bensinger points out, Griffin didn’t bother answering calls from Doc Rivers or Steve Ballmer shortly after. Given how the Clippers handled breaking the news to him, he feels that relationship likely won’t be repaired…for quite a while, at least.

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“It’s not this thing where I’m like, ‘I’ll never speak to these people again.’ At the time I just wasn’t ready to do that.”