It almost seems a matter of time before the Los Angeles Clippers ship Blake Griffin away, though most might not have considered the Orlando Magic as one of the teams willing to give up a boatload of assets to bring on the embattled forward.
Those unconvinced might want to reconsider.
Though the Magic seem to have a quality young core in place, it sounds the front office would be willing to blow things up slightly in an effort to quicken the rebuild. According to Steve Kyler of BasketballInsiders.com, the Magic want to make a splash and have called the Clippers:
Orlando is trying to put together something big… not sure they can get there. Its the deadline of dreams. https://t.co/xfBQQ5MMYa
— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) February 9, 2016
You can add the Magic to the list of teams trying to get the Clippers to engage on a trade… they are swinging for the fences — Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) February 9, 2016
The only logical leap here is Griffin. Los Angeles won’t want to part with other big names Orlando might be interested in such as Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan, but the front office might not mind giving up the guy who just got suspended four games for punching a member of the team if the return is right.
Even before the suspension teams had called the Clippers about Griffin. Why not? The drama around him stinks and he has a large contract, but he’s also 26 years old with a 23.2/8.7/0.6 slash line who might need a change of scenery after all the controversy. Besides, it is pretty clear the fourth-place Clippers (35-17) simply cannot keep pace with the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Such has to be thinking for the Magic, who sit in 11th place in the Eastern Conference at 23-28. While the rebuild looks promising, Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo have been an odd fit in the backcourt and Aaron Gordon, though perhaps best compared to Griffin, still looks a few years out from making a consistent impact as an every-night starter.
Tobias Harris looks like the critical piece in any potential deal. His future with the team has always been a question mark and surely the Clippers wouldn’t mind getting a high-upside player at the age of 23 who can take scoring relief off others in the lineup.
The question is how much the Clippers want. Harris plus a Mario Hezonja or Gordon seems like a lot for a guy mired in so much controversy at the moment. It might also seem like quite a lot for a player who uses athletics and a motor to win while struggling to stretch the floor with his shooting and not providing much in the way of a defensive presence.
While this might make the Magic sound like a team simply on the hunt for a bargain, the reality is that they are far from the only team calling about Griffin. They are, however, alone as one of the clearly big players of this deadline as the front office seems to think the rebuild needs a boost that doesn’t come from the draft.
Keep a close eye on Magic in the coming week and change.