Skip to main content

Clippers' Owner Steve Ballmer Reveals Exactly Why He Decided To Trade Blake Griffin


In one of the strangest moves of this season's trade deadline, the Los Angeles Clippers elected to trade away franchise forward Blake Griffin -- who they selected with the number one pick back in the 2009 NBA draft -- to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, and two draft picks, pairing Griffin with All-Star center Andre Drummond.

The move was considered extremely unusual as the Clippers had just resigned Griffin to a massive 5-year, $173 million deal in the offseason, showering him with praise and even performing a mock jersey retirement in Blake's honor to visualize what it would be like for Griffin to finish his career in LA.

Many suggested that the decision to move BG was primarily down to the Clippers biting the bullet and committing to a full-on tank for the rest of the season, but according to Clippers' owner Steve Ballmer, that's nowhere near the reason Los Angeles parted ways with the former slam dunk contest champ.

Scroll to Continue


"(Griffin) is obviously a superstar player," Ballmer said Saturday at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston, according to ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz. "But if you look at what happened injury-wise, if you look at the kind of chemistry we were getting on our team, the thing you can see at the high level with the numbers when I started - one guy got all the assists, one guy got all the points, and one guy got all the rebounds.

"It's not all quite that way, but I think in the modern NBA, we were seeing it more and more - there's a greater distribution of responsibility."

So, the Clippers traded away Griffin because he was... too good?

Obviously, that's a very simplified way to look at Ballmer's answer, as he also brings up Blake's injury history, as well as the rest of the players they had on their squad and how they were performing chemistry-wise, which are fair reasons to make a trade like this.

Ballmer's main point was, however, that the Clippers wanted to move into the 'modern NBA' era with this team, which is extremely puzzlingly. Just because Blake did most of the work on offense means your team is outdated? Of course, the NBA has transformed to revolve around team play -- just look at the Golden State Warriors -- but to have the sort of team play that wins you games, you at least need to have some sort of All-Star talent -- preferably two or three -- on your roster to compete, something the Clippers got rid of by trade Griffin.

Whatever Steve Ballmer thinks the main reason for trading away Blake was, he can't deny that the Clippers are going to get worse without him before they get better.