Clippers send Blake Griffin to Detroit Pistons in surprise blockbuster deal

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Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin (32) is guarded by Memphis Grizzlies forward Dante Cunningham (44) during Game 4 of their NBA Western Conference basketball playoff series in Los Angeles, California May 7, 2012. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The Los Angeles Clippers have traded All-Star forward Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons in a move that surprised many fans and sports analysts.

The Clippers are sending Griffin, along with reserve players Brice Johnson and Willie Reed to the Pistons. In return, the Los Angeles team is getting forward Tobias Harris, guard Avery Bradley, and center Boban Marjanovic, as well as a first- and second-round draft pick.

The blockbuster deal came as a shock to many because of the huge contract that the Clippers offered Griffin to re-sign him in the summer. The Clippers organization even held a big program celebrating the forward’s career in an effort to keep him in Los Angeles. As a result, Griffin signed a five-year $171 million deal with the team.

“Blake Griffin had a tremendous impact on this organization and his legacy within the community of Los Angeles will be permanent,” said Clippers owner Steve Ballmer. Griffin is averaging 22.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 5.4 assists this season. A seven-year veteran, his career averages are 21.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 4.2 assists.

Harris is having a career season, averaging 18.1 points per game and is considered to have a good potential. Meanwhile, Bradley, who is an elite perimeter defender, is averaging 15 points per game.

The decision to trade its best player comes as the Clippers decide to focus on acquiring younger players and draft picks after a number of players in its roster suffered various injury problems this season.

Griffin himself has missed 16 games this season due to injury. In the past, the power forward has had his share of injury woes, including back spasms, a torn left quad, a hand injury, a staph infection, knee surgery, a broken toe, a sprained left MCL, and a concussion. He missed 21 games in 2017 and 47 games in 2016.

The Clippers will still be exploring deals to trade its starting center DeAndre Jordan and leading scorer Lou Williams to get more young talent and future draft picks.

With the addition of Griffin, the Pistons are expected to become a playoff contender in the Eastern Conference.