By Dylan Botelho, Staff Writer
The NBA is a ruthless business. We saw it over the offseason with the Isiah Thomas trade. A guy can give his all to a franchise and then get stabbed right in the back at the height of his success. Thomas was, or at least we thought, to be the future of the Boston Celtics. Instead, they completely flipped the script and traded him away for the Cleveland Cavalier’s Kyrie Irving. Looking back on the trade now, it seems it was the right move.
The Cavaliers are struggling immensely and their locker room seems to be imploding. The Celtics however, have dominated the NBA and possibly set themselves as the Golden State Warriors largest threat to their throne.
That is just one isolated case though. You hear it often from players, when they decide to leave in off-season free agency frenzy, they’re called a “snake” or a “traitor” but when the franchise decides to abandon and trade a player, well then it’s just doing “the best for the business.”
The most recent example of that is former LA Clippers superstar Blake Griffin. Griffin was traded alongside Willie Reed and Brice Johnson to the Detroit Pistons for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, and Boban Marjanovic as well as a 2018 first-round pick and a 2019 second-round pick.
When Blake Griffin tested the free-agency waters this offseason, the Los Angeles Clippers invited him in for a meeting in hopes he would remain with the team. At that meeting, they rose his Clippers’ number 32 jersey up the rafters and told him this was his destiny. He would be the first Clipper to get their number raised in the Staples Center. He would forever be immortalized as a Clippers legend.
It was convincing and it worked. Blake signed a 5-year $171 million max contract to remain with the Clippers. It was set in stone, when it was all said and done he would up he would be that legend getting his number raised…Until last Monday.
The Clippers attitude had obviously changed. Not content with being a mediocre team in the dominant western conference, the front-office decided to make some major changes. You can’t blame them either, being a 6 or 7 seed in the NBA gets you nowhere.
Maybe though, you shouldn’t lock up major stars who have been immensely important for the franchise the year before you decide to tank. After losing Chris Paul, there’s absolutely no way they could have thought they would be able to compete with the powerhouses of the West. So Blake knew what he was getting in to but he knew he would do it with the Clippers.
His loyalty to the organization was not reciprocated. If he had walked away from the Clippers this off-season, do one of HIS desired teams, he would be that “traitor” that all players become. Instead now, the Clippers are forcing Griffin to leave his life in Los Angeles behind and move over to Detroit.Thanks a lot guys, right?
The NBA is a business, but it’s not a business when the players make a business decision. It’s not a business when LeBron James decides to go to the Miami Heat and team up with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in order to win some championships.
It’s a business though, when an organization ships off groups of some of their most loyal players in a trade like what happened with Blake Griffin last week and Enes Kanter of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the off-season for Carmelo Anthony.
Photo Courtesy: NBA.com