NBA Trade Rumors: Why The Boston Celtics Should Say No To Blake Griffin Trade

Mar 29, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics center Tyler Zeller (44) defends against Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) in the second half at TD Garden. The Clippers defeated the Celtics 119-106. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 29, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics center Tyler Zeller (44) defends against Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) in the second half at TD Garden. The Clippers defeated the Celtics 119-106. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Celtics may potentially have interest in dealing for Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, but they should say no to any potential trade.

It’s been long rumored that Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics will make a move soon to acquire a superstar that can team up with its talented core of role players.

They have loads of the two most important assets to make in a trade for an established star: draft picks and young talent.

The wait may finally be over in Boston as a superstar may have made himself expendable over recent weeks.

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin has been out due to injuries, some avoidable and some unavoidable. Regardless, the Clippers have actually been stacking up wins faster with him off the court as opposed to him being in the starting lineup.

Los Angeles is 14-3 without Griffin and looking like a squad primed to make noise in the Western Conference.

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It makes perfect sense why the team is excelling too. Griffin isn’t a three-point shooter, so when he’s on the floor with center DeAndre Jordan, he’s forced to take his game to the elbows where he becomes a playmaker and jump shooter as opposed to a scoring machine in the low post. Even though Griffin is out away from the basket, the spacing can still get a little complicated because it still leaves little room at times for Jordan to play the pick-and-roll game with Chris Paul.

Unless Griffin can extend his range out beyond the arc it doesn’t make much sense for the Clippers to hold onto him because of the NBA‘s current style. Teams are looking to play faster and more spread out to take advantage of penetration and three-point shooting. Only one traditional big is on the floor for many teams anymore, leaving the 4-spot occupied by a playmaking forward who can shoot and stretch the defense out of the paint.

Without a center who can shoot and draw the defense out of the post, Griffin’s not as effective in the modern “pace and space” era. In order for him to fully take advantage of his talents he needs a new frontcourt partner.

He’s in luck though, as Los Angeles may be shopping the forward around the league as we speak according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe. Lowe even mentions the Celtics as a possible trade partner in his column because of what they have to offer the Clippers.

A potential swap could consist of Griffin for the Brooklyn Nets‘ 2016 first-round pick, emerging forward Jae Crowder and defensive-minded shooting guard Avery Bradley.

Related Story: NBA Trade Rumors: 10 Landing Spots For Blake Griffin

This is the kind of deal that Los Angeles would be interested in because it gives the Clippers a potential piece to a rebuild if the team was blown up this coming offseason and two improving talents still youthful enough to contend for years down the road.

The Celtics couldn’t get a deal done for anything cheaper than that because of the star they’re trading for. Let’s not forget Griffin was arguably one of the best players in last year’s postseason and he’s still posting averages of 23.2 points and 8.7 rebounds per game with a PER of 23.52.

So why shouldn’t Boston pull the trigger and acquire Griffin? They’d be getting back a player who doesn’t fit with their system on both ends of the floor and giving up too many valuable pieces to get him.

According to longtime Celtics supporter Bill Simmons, Crowder is already Boston’s best player, even more valuable than All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas.

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If not Blake Griffin, who should the Boston Celtics sign?
If not Blake Griffin, who should the Boston Celtics sign? /

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  • I can’t disagree with this notion because of his two-way game. He’s putting up 14.5 points per game on a .451/.365/.827 slash line while maintaing a 1.9 defensive real plus/minus which ranks sixth in the league among small forwards according to

    There are only so many wings in the NBA that are stoppers on defense while operating as first or second options on offense. The Celtics have one so why would they want to give him up for Griffin?

    Speaking of Griffin, he currently ranks 42nd among power forwards in terms of defensive real plus/minus. Why is that problematic? Because Boston makes its living at that end of the floor.

    Boston puts up 104.6 points per game which ranks fifth in the league but they do it while shooting at a 43.7 percent clip from the field. That ranks about 24th in efficiency behind a team that usually struggles putting up points in the Memphis Grizzlies.

    The Celtics push the pace and get up as many shots as they can which leads inevitably to more points scored. Problem is because of how unreliable they are at getting buckets they can’t hang their hat on putting points on the board.

    This is a big reason coach Brad Stevens has had the team playing incredible defense. Boston is currently tied for second in field goal percentage defense, a mark it shares with the likes of the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder, all elite.

    Pairing Griffin with a stretch big man like Kelly Olynyk may make sense on offense, but defensively it would be a terrible pairing. Olynyk and Jared Sullinger aren’t rim protectors despite their ability to shoot the ball. The other option would be playing Griffin next to a shot blocker like Amir Johnson but then you lose the spacing that Olynyk or Sullinger would provide.

    Boston has a frontcourt logjam of guys who don’t fit well together, so giving up talented perimeter players for another big who wouldn’t fit in doesn’t seem smart to me. Would Griffin be a franchise player that the Celtics could market around? Absolutely. But Boston hasn’t been big on isolation basketball since Stevens took over as head coach and the team has improved and built upon his philosophies of ball movement and spacing, so why should the Celtics compromise that development in exchange for Griffin?

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    If the Celtics are smart then they’ll keep holding out for a better deal to come along. They aren’t title contenders but there’s still a lot of potential on that roster and sneaking into the playoffs and getting some of those younger players playoff experience can’t hurt.

    Stay the course and avoid the superstar temptation Boston. Griffin isn’t the player you’re looking for.