With the NBA trade deadline less than a month away, it comes as no surprise to see many star players linked with other teams. The ongoing season has seen its fair share of surprises in terms of signings and trades, so the fans are ready for more. Two of the hottest names in the market right now are both Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin. Although both players aren’t having their best seasons, they each have something to bring to the table for competing clubs. Since they are both sitting out of games until their inevitable move, teams don’t have to worry about injuries. Below, I will go over the top two teams that should trade for either Drummond or Griffin.
Andre Drummond is perhaps one of the most prolific rebounding centers the league has seen in quite some time. Since he entered the league in 2012, he has averaged double digit rebounds in every season in all but his rookie season (averaged 7.6 that year). On top of that, he has averaged double digit PPG in all but his rookie season, as well as over a steal and block in every season he has been in the league. It is no surprise that Drummond is one of the better rebounders and defenders at the center position, but since his move to Cleveland, he seems to be a lot more underappreciated despite putting up great numbers. On the Cavs, Drummond averaged a double-double in both seasons and somehow that wasn’t enough to keep him. With the leap Jarrett Allen is taking, Cleveland is opting to go younger at the 5 and part ways with Andre. Drummond, however, won’t be without a team at all.
The team that makes the most sense to need Andre Drummond is the same team that shipped his replacement to the Cavs. Without Jarrett Allen, the Nets are HORRIBLE in terms of protecting the glass and having a serious threat at the 5 spot. DeAndre Jordan is NOT the answer. While their offense ranks amongst the best, their defense ranks 28th in PPG and it has much to do with lack of interior presence. Due to the large contracts the Nets are currently swamped with, they might need to trade more depth in order to fill their biggest void. Unless Drummond is bought out, it may look like another lopsided and desperate trade by the Nets to acquire Dre.
Another team that needs a big man is the Raptors. A bumpy start to their season is largely due to the fact that they haven’t had any presence in the paint since losing Marc Gasol this offseason. Alex Len proved to be a flop for the Raps and Aaron Baynes isn’t cutting it for a team that wants to get back to the top of the East. Like the Nets, the Raps do not have as much flexibility in terms of money because of the money Lowry, FVV, and Spicy P take up. They may need to move on from some pieces but Drummond would be a great help for Toronto.
Lastly, we have another Eastern Conference team. Although some Western teams might need a big, it seems as if the East has all the teams that are in dire need of one. Perhaps the team that needs a big the most is Boston. Tristan Thompson isn’t playing bad, but he isn’t the center Boston needs. Though Daniel Theis is an absolute dog, he is mostly a small-ball lineup 5 who can stretch the floor if need be since he can knock down a three ball or two. Boston already has a great rebounder and defender, but it appears as if Brad Stevens is hesitant to boost F Robert Williams’ minutes. Drummond would be a great addition that would cost Boston a pick and some players. In return, they get a solid big who can rebound the ball and clamp up opposing bigs. Boston’s biggest flaw is lack of interior bodies (we all saw what Bam did in the ECF), so this is a move they need to make.
Blake Griffin was one of the most dominant athletes while he was in LA. Lob City Clippers were easily one of the funnest teams to watch. When they fell apart and separated, Blake was forced to play a different style of ball in Detroit. After being limited to 18 games last season due to a left knee injury, this year was supposed to be different. In the 18-19 season, Griffin averaged over 24 points on the season (played 75 games) in route to being named to the All-NBA 3rd team. Now, he is averaging a career low in points (12.3) and second low in rebounds (5.2). Not to mention, the former flashy dunker hasn’t dunked in a game since 2019 and has instead settled to shoot 3s instead. His shot distribution is about 20% at the rim these last two seasons when it was at around 43% in his better years. Not to mention, he RARELY shot a three ball in his first 5 years in the NBA (0.3 3PA) as opposed to shooting around 7 a game these last 3 seasons. It is no secret that Blake has changed, and changing scenery might be his saving grace.
Los Angeles Clippers:
A crazy thing to think about, but it might just be what Blake needs to get back to his old self. Rejoining LA would mark a return to familiar grounds. It might take a long phone call to get Griffin to accept this, since he didn’t like being sent away, yet it is a great fit. Adding Griffin gives the Clippers an even better bench, or stronger starting five if he starts at the 4. His spacing will allow Kawhi to get at the basket and also give the Clips another dimension in scoring. Going back home might be the boost Griffin’s old confidence needed.
Another team that could use Blake Griffin is the Sixers. It is no question that Philly needs depth and acquiring Blake gives them just that. Not only will he serve as a solid player, he can be an instant upgrade for the starting lineup next to Tobias Harris. A bigger lineup would be a daunting task for any team, and it will also allow Simmons and Embiid to feast inside since Harris and Griffin can serve to space the floor. Reuniting with Doc Rivers may bring back some bad blood but if Blake wants to move from Detroit, he is going to have to suck it up. Being around playmakers and shooters can also force Blake to get back into his old self and be more prominent in the paint, but we will have to wait and see.
Although the previous teams were serious contenders, the rebuilding Thunder may be the team to make a move for Griffin. Acquiring him would mean they’d have to unload a big contract, which results in escaping Horford’s huge contract ($27 Million a year until after 2022-23). Detroit would have to take on that contract. Horford is still a decent player averaging over 14 points on 37% 3-point shooting. He can be a mentor for the younger guys and be a solid depth piece if Detroit is trying to sneak into playoff action. Blake, on the other hand, would be back in his hometown of OKC and also given a chance to shine on such a young squad. It might be a crazy trade to make, but it benefits everyone here.