We were all shocked by the wild trade on Monday afternoon, sending Oklahoma Christian School’s Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons for a handful of players. What we learned on Wednesday morning is the Clippers originally tried to trade Griffin to Oklahoma City.

It makes sense in the surface. Griffin played high school basketball for OCS in Edmond, winning a couple of state championships. Then, he went south on I-35 to Norman, where he led the Sooners to the Elite 8.

Royce Young of ESPN said on a podcast with Brian Windhorst of ESPN, they essentially reached out to numerous teams. Here’s the transcribed portion of the pod (by RealGM):

“They offered him around to everybody,” said  Young on The Hoop Collective podcast.

“I don’t know if that’s true,” replied Windhorst.

“I mean I know they made calls to Oklahoma City for Paul George,” Young said. “I’m pretty sure they made calls to Minnesota for players, so I mean, like, they tried to get some bigger name players. It just wasn’t happening.”

So essentially, the Clippers approaches teams to see what could stick. It’s apparent the were dead set on getting rid of Griffin, but for the right cost.

Why it made sense

On the surface, this is a win-win. Griffin gets to come come and so does George. Everyone is happy. Plus, Griffin is locked in for the next four seasons. It provides stability to the organization. Especially with how he Thunder are letting it ride with George becoming a free agent this Summer. Not to mention, George’s mentions on how he was a Clipper fan as a kid.

While it’s tough to compare players who play drastically different positions, Griffin provides a post presence the Thunder lack at times. It would also would’ve moved Carmelo Anthony back to his natural three position. While Griffin’s ability archaic in today’s NBA, by no fault of his own can still hit the mid range and has learned how to step out and hit the three.

Why it would’ve been a bad deal

Oklahoma City essentially took two months figuring out how to play together. Now, you’re taking out a key piece and throwing it another. The chemistry issues could’ve been far and wide. The Thunder are like standing on ice right now with the personalities. They’re found out what’s worked and if you even mess with it a bit, the cracks could cause the whole thing to fall through.

It’s easy to forget but Anthony came here, not for only Russell Westbrook, but George, too. Trading a key piece on why Anthony agreed to the trade could’ve forced Anthony into opting out of his deal and the Thunder could be almost back to square one.

Griffin’s injury history is scary. It started by his meniscus injury at Oklahoma and he’s had a bunch of random ones, including punching a team personnel member at a bar in Toronto. So, you’re giving this talented player over $100 million and hoping he’ll remain healthy.

All-in-all, San Presti probably made the right move. George, in my mind, is the right fit for the Thunder, personality wise and system wise.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.