Sam Bernstein staff writer
The Los Angeles Clippers traded five-time all-star forward Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons for guard Avery Bradley, forward Tobias Harris and center Boban Marjanović on Jan. 29. The Clippers, who also gave up forward Brice Johnson and center Willie Reed in the deal, received a future protected first-round draft pick and a future second-round draft pick from Detroit.
The Clippers fan base may be smaller than that of the Lakers, but the fans who are on campus had some takes on the trade.
“I have a plethora of feelings regarding the trade. I could see the trade potentially having a positive impact on the team. If the new players from Detroit can link up well with the current Clippers roster, things could go really well,” senior Keeley Black, a four-year Clippers season ticket holder, said. “Another part of me can’t even wrap my head around the fact that [Griffin] is gone. Blake is irreplaceable and that’s the truth.”
Black went on to discuss where the Clippers are heading.
“I think as of now, the direction of the franchise is going to be shooting for a quick and successful rebuild. After the over-the-summer loss of Chris Paul, the Clippers had to start from the foundation they had left to build it back up. Now that Blake has been traded, the Clippers must start again at stage one to build the team up once more,” Black said.
Isaiah Freedman, a member of the class of 2017 and former Highlights sports editor, gave his thoughts on the trade.
“[Griffin’s] contract is going to be humongous in the later stages. The Clippers got good wing pieces and a valuable middle first round pick,” Freedman said. “The Clippers are probably tanking. Wait and see what they do with [center DeAndre Jordan] and [guard Lou Williams].”
Griffin, who was described as the face of the Clippers in the past decade, was traded after the Clippers signed him to a five-year extension last summer. The Clippers, who reportedly mock-retired his jersey to the rafters during its free agency pitch, have faced backlash from every angle since this trade occurred. Griffin thought he was going to be a Los Angeles Clipper for life.
Loyalty has been a hot topic in the NBA in the past decade, after LeBron James left his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat in the summer of 2010. However, this time around, the loyalty debate revolves around front offices and their commitment to star players.
“The NBA is all just a business in general. Trades happen all the time. Each team just wants to strive and become victorious,” sophomore Reuben Haiimpoor said.
At the end of the day, this trade goes beyond basketball. The Clippers traded away the player who turned their fortunes around after decades of seasons stuck in the lottery. Griffin brought success to this team, making them a playoff team for six straight seasons. The creation of “Lob City” brought the Clippers to the forefront of the sports universe. To some fans, the Clippers lost their identity by trading Griffin.
“Blake Griffin’s impact on the fanbase was truly something that had never been seen before. Blake’s drive to succeed had been evident from day one,” Black said about her favorite player and idol. “I think Blake showed the fans what it really meant to be leader, and really made everyone feel like they were a part of a family. Having met Blake a few times, it was obvious that he wanted to give back to the fans as much as he could.”