Let’s be clear – I love Blake Griffin. He’s a monster, he’s a hometown boy and he’s everything this team needs. And I’d do anything to get him on my team.
Except trade Jeff Green.
There will be no shortage of competition, however, particularly from Oklahoma City, which has the third pick in the draft. The Thunder is expected to make a play for Griffin, using the third pick and one of their young core players (Jeff Green or Russell Westbrook) as bait for the top overall pick, which would allow them to keep Griffin in his hometown. That would be a huge move in terms of local interest and, by extension, ticket sales.
Again, I’d love Blake. But not at the expense of Jeff Green. I’ve made my decision there. A lot of people are going to throw that possibility out there, but I’m not in on it. And I’m sure a lot of people would gladly trade Uncle Jeff for Blake, but not me.
Green fits perfectly with Kevin Durant and you can’t replace the chemistry him, KD and Russell Westbrook have built. Plus, Green made a huge leap from his rookie to sophomore season. He’s a completely different player – in a much, much better way. I feel like you’re forcing the issue at some point trying to get Blake. You may be doing what’s in the best interest for the fanbase but are you doing what’s best for the team? Now of course I’d be thrilled if something happened that landed The Terminator here, but I’m not holding my breath. Because there’s not much chance anything is going to happen anyway.
While those type of trade talks are ambitious and exciting, the one Chad Ford hinted at today is an excellent proposal. Excellent.
Look for the Thunder to be pretty active in trade discussions with the No. 3 pick. They like Rubio, but if they draft him, they’d have to move Russell Westbrook to the 2-guard position. I talked to Thunder head coach Scott Brooks on Tuesday and he said that he believes Westbrook can play the 2, but that Westbrook wants to be a 1.
I think the challenge is that Westbrook is most effective when he has the ball in his hands and struggles more when forced to play off the ball. With Rubio and Kevin Durant likely to have the ball a lot in that offense, Westbrook would have to make an adjustment. When you factor in that neither Rubio nor Westbrook is an accomplished shooter yet, there is an issue.
That’s why a couple of teams think the Thunder might be willing to trade down in the draft. Two league sources said the Wizards and Thunder already had discussions about a swap of the No. 3 pick for the No. 5 pick and the Wizards’ 2008 first-rounder JaVale McGee.
The Wizards want Rubio and would settle for Thabeet if he’s the one who falls. The Thunder would get a long, lanky shot-blocker in McGee and can then get another guy they like, Arizona State’s James Harden, at No. 5.
Before we move on, just take a look at JaVale McGee’s mix. He is an unreal athlete and is 7-foot, 240 lbs. This is the type of Presti move that makes sense. You improve the position that you’d cover by drafting Thabeet by getting an athletic shot blocker, but still improve another position with Harden. That’s a seriously excellent move.
When stuff leaks out like this, it seems to rarely happen, but I think this could be the type of thing we see Presti do. He’ll shop the pick for someone that desperately wants Thabeet or Rubio and use that to fill a need and still land a guy he wants. Let me just say, I would absolutely love this move, especially if Memphis takes Rubio at two. You get the guy you want at five, plus pick up another excellent talent. I’m on board.