In just one season, Los Angeles Clippers star forward Blake Griffin helped to garner the Clippers rare national attention, with his nightly highlight reel dunks and exceptional all-around play during his rookie season. The 6’9″ Oklahoma native, who averaged an impressive 22.5 ppg, 12.1 rpg and 3.8 apg last season, recently spoke about his future in an interview with news9.com:
Griffin’s rise to stardom has come at the same time that the team from his hometown, the Oklahoma City Thunder, has become one of the premier teams in the Western Conference.
The Thunder narrowly missed the opportunity to draft him out of college, and Griffin did not dismiss the idea of joining the team at a later date. Griffin currently has two more years on his contract before he would become a restricted free agent in 2014.
“We’ll see what happens,” Griffin said. “Right now my commitment is to the Clippers, and we’re working on making that team better. I know the Thunder are doing a great job here and everybody’s excited about them.”
Interesting. Griffin does have 2 years left on his rookie deal before becoming a restricted free agent in 2013-2014, which happens to be the same year current Thunder PF Serge Ibaka in eligible for restricted free agency and OKC is scheduled to have cap space that summer. The Clippers front office would have to be absolutely insane to allow Griffin to walk away without matching any offer he would receive, and even crazier to let Griffin enter free agency in any capacity without offering him an extension beforehand. Locking Griffin up long term would be a big step towards the Clippers to step out of the shadow cast on them by the Lakers and a sign to fans that the Clippers are serious about putting a quality team on the floor at Staples.
But this IS the Clippers we are talkign about here, who have a habit of letting stars slip away without putting up much of an effort to retain them. Hopefully things will be different this time around.