Damage control is in full effect as Doc Rivers quickly dismissed the rumor that the Los Angeles Clippers spoke internally on a possible flip of young star Blake Griffin for New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
“My whole issue with any of that … is that that network to me reports a story that they created and then they do reports on it for the next two days, on a story that they created. But it’s stupid.”
The network that Clippers head coach Rivers speaks on is, of course, the lovely ESPN and the rumor? It spawned from Chris Broussard, one of the companies big names NBA writers. Here’s exactly what Broussard wrote up that has Rivers’ a bit riled up:
Sources say Clippers management also has had internal discussions about such a deal but that the clubs have not yet spoken to one another about a potential trade.
As of now, neither team is certain it would make an Anthony-for-Griffin trade, the sources said.
via Teams discuss major deal internally | ESPN NBA
Basically Broussard words mean that an unidentified source within the organization has informed him that the team has spoken about trading Blake Griffin. The credibility behind these words would be bigger than it was if it wasn’t from Broussard. Had Marc Stein or Adrian Wojnarowski spoken these exact same words we’d be completely sure that Gary Saks and company had discussed this trade. Instead Broussard’s reputation (whether rightfully owned or not) as the guy who is quick to use “sources” when “breaking” a story precedes him.
To throw my two cents in, these rumors make sense for one side: the New York Knicks. Instead of worrying about whether ‘Melo will bolt this summer, they’d receive a Blake Griffin who is under contract until the 2016/17 season. He’ll draw crowds at the greatest arena in all of sports and, hopefully, attract top-tier free agents when they free up some cap space post-Andrea Bargnani and Amar’e Stoudemire‘s current contracts.
But for the Clippers I can’t think of any reasons why swapping Blake Griffin (only 24 years old) for Carmelo Anthony would do the franchise any justice. Not only is he an unrestricted free agent, but his talents don’t fit those that the Clippers need: defense (wing defenders, big-man defenders, etc.), rebounding, big-man depth. Sure having Melo as an option in the half-court seems enticing as the team often struggles to find a good look when the game is slowed down, but this Clippers team can score with the best of them.
Upside is an issue here also (probably the main issue). While many fret over the player Blake Griffin has become since entering the league in 2009, he’s probably on the same tier as Carmelo at this moment. The difference is that at 24 Griffin still has room to improve his game on both ends of the flow while Anthony likely is what he is: an semi-efficient scorer who prefers to operate in isolation sets. I’d take my chances on Griffin for four more years rather than Anthony.
It’s common for head coaches to defend a rumor such as this. You must remember that Doc Rivers is also the Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Clippers meaning if talks of a potential blockbuster trade happened he’d be right in the middle of it.
He reiterated to Turner that he hadn’t spoken to Griffin due to the rumor being a “non-issue”. Confidence has always seemed to be an issue when it comes to Blake whether it’s how the league players perceive, his growth as a player or how the public perceives him. It’d be disheartening to see Blake use this rumor as a deterrent during what’s likely to end as a career-best year. He’s showing confidence in his jumper, his post-game situation and being a focal point during the end of games.
With the trade deadline coming in the next few weeks, we’ll see if this rumor grows legs from other sources or if it’s just a blip in the NBA rumor mill. More likely it’ll be the latter.