On July 1, Blake Griffin will become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career, and the clock is loudly ticking in Los Angeles.
The Clippers All-Star forward, however, says free agency in the furthest thing from his mind at the moment.
— The Crossover (@TheCrossover) October 27, 2016
“Contract year or not a contract year, I’m playing the exact same way and focused on the exact same things,” Griffin says. “I haven’t had any conversations about free agency or about anything. If there’s something that anybody hears throughout the course of the season, it’s false, because it didn’t come from me. … This season is just like any other season. My main focus is to accomplish what we’re here to accomplish, and that’s a championship.”
If only it were that simple.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers opened last season with hints that his roster might be growing stale, only to bring back the same core group this year. Griffin’s name circulated in various trade rumors last year, although Rivers flatly denied them during the off–season. Next summer, Chris Paul can also opt out of his contract and J.J. Redick will be an unrestricted free agent. Meanwhile, Golden State, fully souped-up now that (Kevin) Durant is running alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, looms like Godzilla over L.A.’s aspirations, having won seven of eight meetings between the two teams during Steve Kerr’s tenure.