The NBA season is over, the draft is almost upon us and a long summer lies just around the corner. All of that can only mean one thing — free agency rumors will soon begin flying in every possible direction. If anyone knows the process all too well, it’s the fans in Oklahoma City.
One name that continually comes up in relation to the Thunder is that of Oklahoma native, Blake Griffin. The 28-year-old power forward is set to enter unrestricted free agency come July 1, when he’s expected to opt-out of the final year of his contract with the Los Angeles Clippers. Griffin will certainly demand a max deal on the open market, and a few organizations (including the Clippers) will happily hand him one. The Thunder lack the financial flexibility to sign Griffin outright, but a report in today’s Los Angeles Times suggests Sam Presti & Co. may be preparing to make a run for him nonetheless.
“Griffin can sign a five-year deal worth $175 million with L.A., or sign a four-year deal worth $130 million with another team. The Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder are two teams that will make a bid for Griffin, according to several executives.”
So that’s interesting, right? In a perfect world (one where Clay Bennett prints his own money and Griffin comes with no injury concerns), the Thunder is able to go out and convince the hometown kid to come play in front of his folks. Easy enough. Back in reality, you find the map to a Russ/Blake super-duo simply littered with road blocks — most of which are constructed out of the almighty dollar. Griffin is opting out of his $21.3 million payday with the Clippers next season in order to secure himself a max contract moving forward. Simply put, Oklahoma City cannot give him that.
Because the Thunder have no money, and without money you get no Blake Griffin, the path to securing BG’s services would pretty much come down to working out a sign-and-trade with the Clippers. After all, this is what would have to take place in order for the Thunder to have the cap space to sign him outright:
Oladipo or Adams traded for nothing
Kanter traded for nothing
Singler traded for nothing https://t.co/0xqfKdPpeM
— David Brandon (@birdrightsnba) June 15, 2017
Seems a tad bit far-fetched.
All-in-all, stranger things have happened, and you never know — maybe Sam Presti can conjure up some form of sign-and-trade magic to make it all work. That’s assuming Griffin even wants to come home to Oklahoma in the first place, which, to this point, we’ve received no indication of. The “Coming Home” story always plays well with the locals, but it doesn’t mean the individual has any interest in it whatsoever. Blake Griffin-to-OKC rumors should be approached cautiously because while it is technically possible, I wouldn’t dare call it plausible.
Check out Jon Hamm’s salary cap Q&A for more on the Thunder’s current cap situation.