LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer on Saturday said that trading Blake Griffin was "a very difficult decision," but that considerations about the future, as well as injury and chemistry concerns, necessitated the blockbuster deal with the Detroit Pistons. "[Griffin] is obviously a superstar player," said Ballmer. "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." Ballmer was interviewed at MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference by ESPN's Rachel Nichols as part of a conversation with FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver. (ESPN is a presenting sponsor of the conference in Boston). The Clippers traded Griffin on January 29 to the Detroit Pistons in a six-player deal that included big men Brice Johnson and Willie Reed in exchange for forward Tobias Harris, guard Avery Bradley and big man Boban Marjanovich, as well as a protected 2018 first-round draft pick and a 2019 second-round draft pick. Last July, the Clippers signed Griffin to a five-year, $173 million maximum contract after an elaborate free agency presentation in which they celebrated Griffin as a "Clipper for life." "We have to add some pieces obviously, but I think we're building for what I think is the modern NBA, and that trend has only accelerated since we signed Blake last summer." Ballmer said that as the Clippers owner, he doesn't believe in the practice commonly regarded as "tanking," whereby teams strip their rosters of high-level talent and endure losing seasons with a focus on accumulating high draft picks.
Ballmer: Clippers moved Griffin to adapt to 'modern NBA'
ESPN | Feb 24