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Blake Griffin: Clippers Are Not a Joke Anymore

The Clippers are recognized as one of the biggest jokes of a franchise in sports. They’ve only had four playoff seasons since moving to LA, and that’s in a league where 16 of 30 teams make the postseason. Their draft picks often are busts, and the ones that aren’t get injured. Blake Griffin even suffered from the curse when he hurt his knee and missed his rookie season. He’s well aware of the franchise’s reputation, but he says the Chris Paul trade changes that.

“The only thing I’m going to promise is that you’re going to get our best every night,” Griffin said from practice Thursday. “When you hear the Clippers, it’s not going to be a joke anymore. I can guarantee that.”

The Clippers have only had two winning seasons since moving to LA. Two. That’s a big guarantee for Griffin to make, but with the roster they have put together, it would be a disappointment if they didn’t reach the postseason the next two years. If they achieve success, the question is whether they can sustain it.

Video: Blake Griffin Flips Out After Learning of Chris Paul Trade ‘Lob City’

The Clippers pulled off what could be a franchise-changing trade Wednesday when they dealt three players and a pick to the Hornets for Chris Paul. FOX Sports West had a camera around when some of the players learned of the deal, and let’s just say they were pretty ecstatic. Center DeAndre Jordan received a phone call while the team was visiting the Los Angeles Air Force Base, and Blake Griffin kept leaning over to hear the news.

Here is the video that Eric Gordon doesn’t want to see:

Two words: Lob City.

Chris Paul Needs to Pick Up Option to Make Trade Worthwhile for Clippers

Two league-rejected deals later, the Clippers and Hornets reportedly have agreed to a trade that sends Chris Paul to Los Angeles. The initial deal between the teams was rejected by the league, but the newer version replaced Eric Bledsoe with Eric Gordon.

As it stands, the Clippers are receiving Chris Paul and two future second-round picks. The Hornets are receiving Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Chris Kaman (and his expiring contract), and Minnesota’s unprotected first-round pick.

Gordon averaged over 22 points per game last year, and he was quickly becoming one of the better shooting guards in the NBA. The Clippers will have a hole at the shooting guard position, but they have an overflow of point guards. They have CP3, Mo Williams, and Eric Bledsoe. They also have Chauncey Billups, whom they claimed off waivers, but they may buy him out of his contract. Billups was already upset the Knicks had amnestied him, so he probably won’t want to play the two, or be a backup.

The Clippers now have Chris Paul, Caron Butler, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan in their starting lineup. They may play Randy Foye at shooting guard unless they can trade Mo or Bledsoe for another two-guard. That is their weakness for now, but they still have a good team.

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Clippers and Sixers Could Swap Andre Iguodala for Chris Kaman

The Clippers have been open to trading center Chris Kaman since the time he got hurt and backup center DeAndre Jordan began playing well. Likewise, it seemed inevitable that the Sixers would deal Andre Iguodala after he missed his season-ending exit meeting. Just last month the Philly Inquirer said the team was looking to trade him. There have been reports of an Iguodala for Kaman trade and Iggy supposedly would love to play with the Clips. Adding to the trade speculation is what Alex Kennedy wrote at Hoops Hype Monday.

Kennedy says Iguodala is open to a trade, that he doesn’t expect to be back in Philly next season, and that the Sixers don’t want a player who has a long-term contract in return. Kaman fits that profile well because he’s only set to make $12.2 million next season before his contract expires. Iguodala is set to make over $28 million the next two years and he has a player option for $15.9 million in three years, something he’ll definitely pick up.

Philly may not be inclined to trade Iguodala for Kaman straight up, but that’s an excellent basis for a potential deal. Perhaps the Clippers could add in another player or draft pick to make it more realistic. Either way, it seems as if Iguodala will be dealt and the Clippers seem like a possible trade partner.

Clippers Center Chris Kaman Went Gun Shopping to Prepare for Rapture Day

Rapture Day came and went. I’m here, you’re here (at least I believe so), and the notorious scare of May 21st’s Judgement Day is finished. However, that same scare led to Los Angeles Clippers center Chris Kaman purchasing a few guns.

Kaman tweeted “Just in case anything fishy happens tomorrow I bought a few more guns.” Following the tweet, he displayed a few photos (one pictured above) of rather large guns that could do serious damage.

Some may think this is all fun and games, but NBA commissioner David Stern will not. Thanks to one idiot amongst the NBA ranks, the Association holds a strict policy against firearms and that’s probably something Kaman wouldn’t be advised to share.

Donald Sterling Had No Idea About Elgin Baylor’s Playing Career

We’ve been all over Donald Sterling watch here at LBS, so we weren’t about to let another fantastic story slip through the cracks. The lawsuit former Clippers GM Elgin Baylor has brought against the team alleging age discrimination is now being heard. On Tuesday, Sterling testified in court and gave some responses that should come as no shock to anyone who’s followed his story closely.

Asked about hiring Baylor initially, Sterling said he had no idea about the Hall of Famer’s legendary playing career and accomplishments. The LA Times’ Lance Pugmire described the exchange between Sterling and Baylor’s attorney:

“You didn’t know about his basketball career?” Baylor attorney Carl Douglas asked Sterling in his first day on the stand as Baylor’s wrongful termination civil lawsuit against the team continued at a Los Angeles courthouse. “His accomplishments? The Hall of Fame?”

“No,” Sterling answered. “… I didn’t know that. I hired him for $3,000 a month. I didn’t really know what his role was…. He was working in a mail-order company back then.”

Ordinarily I’d say there’s some legal strategy behind this denial from Sterling, but I actually wouldn’t be surprised if he’s telling the truth. He was on the stand when he said it, and as a businessman, it’s quite possible he wasn’t a sports fan. We’ve already talked about what a flake he is and how strange he is, so this shouldn’t even come as a shock.

The one area I will defend Sterling for is his patience with Baylor. Few GMs had a worse record than Elgin, yet he kept his job for 22 years. I find it hard to believe there was any discrimination going on — any other GM aside from Isiah Thomas would never have lasted 10 years with such poor performance. Baylor was lucky to be employed as a GM as long as he was, and if anyone should be examined it should be Sterling for leaving him in there so long.

(also via Matt Moore at CBS)

Blake Griffin Is Severely Underpaid by Nike in His Shoe Deal

When Blake Griffin was drafted number one overall in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers, he signed a reported 2-year shoe endorsement deal with Nike for $400,000/year.

To the average person, that’s nearly 10 years worth of salary or one year’s worth of free Nike products. To us fans, that seems like an incredible deal, one that we would sign in a heartbeat. But in the world of NBA mega-endorsements and multi-million dollar deals, Blake Griffin is severely underpaid. With his hype and fame skyrocketing higher and higher with each and every dunk, Blake’s value-to-cost ratio is growing.

Looking at the last few draft classes, here are a few examples of shoe endorsement deals for top flight rookies:

Player, Company, Draft year, Position, Contract

Kevin Durant/Nike – 2007, #2 pick, 7-years, $60 million
O.J. Mayo/Nike - 2008, #3 pick, $400,000 per year
Derrick Rose/Adidas – 2008, #1 pick,  $1 million per year
Michael Beasley/Adidas – 2008, #2 pick, $650,000 per year
Blake Griffin/Nike – 2009, #1 pick, $400,000 per year
Brandon Jennings/UnderArmor – 2009, #10 pick, 2-years $2 million
John Wall/Reebok – 2009, #1 pick, 5-years, $25 million

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