Blake Griffin traded from Clippers to Pistons in blockbuster deal

ByAdrian Wojnarowski ESPN logo
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The LA Clippershave traded All-Star forward Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons.

The Clippers will receive Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, and a first- and second-round draft pick. The Clippers are also sending Brice Johnson and Willie Reed to Detroit alongside Griffin.

Protections on Detroit's 2018 first-round pick include 1-4 in 2018, 2019 and 2020, and unprotected in 2021, sources said.

"Blake Griffin had a tremendous impact on this organization and his legacy within the community of Los Angeles will be permanent," Clippers owner Steve Ballmer said in a news release announcing the deal Monday night. "It was a pleasure getting to know and cheer for Blake. I wish him, as well as Brice and Willie, the best of luck.

"While change is hard, my confidence in our front office, led by Lawrence Frank and Michael Winger, along with the sage counsel of Jerry West, has never been higher," Ballmer said. "I believe today, more than ever, in our ultimate goal of winning an NBA championship."

Talks on the blockbuster trade began six days ago before accelerating entering Monday, according to league sources. The framework of a deal had been in place since early Monday afternoon.

Sources said Los Angeles will continue to discuss dealing Lou Williams and DeAndre Jordan, with a plan to focus on young players and draft picks while competing for a playoff spot this season.

Pistons center Andre Drummond welcomed Griffin on Instagram.

On July 1, Griffin reached an agreement on a five-year, $171 million deal with the Clippers. Griffin did not receive a no-trade clause as part of the new contract.

A free agent in the 2017 offseason, Griffin met with Ballmer, coach Doc Rivers, West and several players at Staples Center in a celebration of his career. At the end of the two-hour fete, Griffin rose and spoke, telling teammates, his coach and the owner, "I want my legacy to be a Clipper."

This season, Griffin is averaging 22.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 33 games for the 25-24 Clippers, who are in ninth place in the Western Conference, 14 games behind the Golden State Warriorsentering Monday.

His career averages are 21.6 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists.

"Blake is one of the best players ever to wear a Clippers jersey," Frank, the Clippers' president of basketball operations, said in the news release. "We want to express our gratitude and respect for everything he has done for this team and the City of Los Angeles. This was a very difficult decision, but we ultimately felt it was appropriate for the franchise. We would also like to thank Brice and Willie for their contributions to our organization."

Ballmer also thanked Griffin in a tweet Monday and wished him good luck in Detroit.

Griffin's career has been marred by injuries. After being drafted with the first pick in the 2009 NBA draft by the Clippers, Griffin broke his left kneecap, had surgery and missed the entire 2009-10 season.

The following season, officially his rookie year, Griffin was selected as an All-Star, won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, and was named the NBA Rookie of the Year.

Since then, he has missed time with back spasms, a torn left quad, a broken hand, a staph infection, right knee surgery, a broken toe, a sprained left MCL and a concussion. He missed 21 games in 2017 and 47 in 2016.

"We are serious about winning, and this is a major move to improve our team," Pistons owner Tom Gores said in a statement. "Blake Griffin is one of the NBA's elite players, and when you get an opportunity to add that kind of talent, you take it."

Of the players going to the Clippers, Harris is averaging 18.1 points per game and 5.1 rebounds. He posted a farewell message on his Instagram account.

Bradley is considered a good defender at guard. He is averaging 15.0 points per game and is in the last year of his deal that pays him $8.8 million. He'll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Gores said the Pistons' part in the trade was "not without risk," calling Harris "one of the hardest-working, highest-character players I know."

"But we are very excited to bring Blake Griffin to Detroit," Gores said. "He is a great fit for our team and will bring a combination of toughness and athleticism that will elevate our team and excite our fans."

Detroit also now has a $7 million trade exception that is available to use for one-year, league sources told ESPN's Bobby Marks. The exception could be a valuable asset with the Pistons facing roster restrictions in the future.

The Clippers created a $1.3 million and $1.5 million trade exception. Los Angeles also has a $7.3 million exception from the Chris Paul trade last June.

The 2019 second round pick the Clippers acquired from Detroit is the least favorable of Portland's own or the most favorable of Cleveland, Houston or Orlando

Related Video