The Los Angeles Clippers are close to being a legitimate contender.
They have one of the best point guards in the world in Chris Paul. They have two athletic young big men in Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. And they have a slew of capable shooting guards in Nick Young, Randy Foye, Chauncey Billups and the recently signed Jamal Crawford.
I know it’s only July, but the Clippers look poised to make an extended playoff run in 2013.
As a franchise, the Clippers have never made it past the second round of the playoffs, and a trip to the conference finals would be the greatest thing to ever happen to Clipper Nation.
As a Clippers fan, I should be ecstatic about the possibility of making it that far into the postseason. I mean, they’ve never won their division and have only made the playoffs five times since moving to Los Angeles in 1984.
Still, I want more. I want it all. I want the Clippers to win the NBA Finals.
If the Clippers were to add Dwight Howard this offseason, they would become instant title contenders. Forget about developing Blake Griffin’s offensive game, and forget about DeAndre Jordan’s potential.
Chris Paul and Dwight Howard instantly become the most dynamic duo in the NBA.
Getting Dwight Howard isn’t going to come easy though. What I am about to say is blasphemy to Clipper Nation, and let me say, for the record, that I hope it doesn’t happen.
But, the Clippers could get Dwight Howard from the Magic by trading DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin.
Yes, I know I just wrote the words “trading Blake Griffin.”
Upon reading this, Clippers fans everywhere will take to the streets with pitchforks and torches looking to tar and feather me. Blake Griffin is the most exciting player in the NBA. He’s a human-highlight reel and someone who, for maybe the first time ever, got people interested in the Los Angeles Clippers.
I love Griffin. Call me a blind optimist, but I think his post game will improve, and he will become a great all-around power forward—not just an athletic freak who can throw the ball through the hoop like no one we’ve ever seen.
The Clippers might eventually win an NBA title with their current cast of characters.
But, if the Clippers were to replace Griffin and Jordan with Howard, they could win the whole thing now. They could easily be in the NBA Finals in 2013, and that would exponentially increase the chances of keeping Chris Paul from bolting during free agency next summer.
Paul is in the final year of his contract, and if the Clippers don’t have an extremely successful postseason run this coming year (read Western Conference Finals) I have a feeling Paul might sign elsewhere.
Dwight Howard is a six-time NBA All-Star and was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year three years in a row (2009-2011). He is in his prime and wants to win an NBA title. Pair him with another superstar also is in his prime and hungry for a first title (Paul), and all of a sudden the road to the NBA Finals runs directly through L.A. (and not because of the Lakers).
The Magic would benefit from this trade as well.
They lose their superstar in Howard but replace him with the extremely marketable Blake Griffin and an athletic center in DeAndre Jordan.
Orlando doesn’t have to go through a rebuilding process if they trade Howard to the Clips. After replacing Howard with Griffin and Jordan, the Magic will still a playoff team in the Eastern Conference, and they honestly might even be better.
They become younger and more exciting to watch, and they rid themselves of the locker room cancer that Dwight Howard seems to have become.
This is a trade that makes sense for both sides, from a basketball and a marketing perspective.
Having said all this, I don’t think the trade will happen, and I truly hope it doesn’t. I’m simply pointing out that, if the Clippers were to trade Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan for Dwight Howard, they then become the instant favorites to win the West.
I think both sides would be willing, and should be willing, to pull the trigger on this trade.
As much as it hurts me to say this as a die-hard Clipper fan, I’m okay with such a move.