The Los Angeles Clippers appear likely keep one of their biggest stars in the fold with Blake Griffin reportedly expected to agree to a long-term contract with the club when the moratorium period begins at 12:01 a.m. ET on Saturday.
The Vertical’s Shams Charania reported Friday that Griffin intends to stay with the Clippers on a five-year, $173 million deal.
After an injury-plagued 2015-16 campaign, Griffin bounced back to appear in 61 regular-season games in 2016-17 and averaged 21.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists per contest.
The 28-year-old former Oklahoma standout has been among the most dominant and dynamic interior players since entering the NBA as the No. 1 overall pick in 2009, as evidenced by his five career All-Star nods.
While the Clippers have failed to get over the hump in the Western Conference during Griffin’s tenure—having never advanced past the second round of the playoffs—his impact as an offensive force is undeniable.
With career averages of 21.5 points, 9.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game, the power forward has been among the most productive players at his position over the past seven years.
Perhaps the biggest concern regarding Griffin is the fact that he has struggled to stay healthy.
After missing the entire 2009-10 season upon getting drafted because of a knee injury, Griffin missed just four games over the next four years.
Avoiding injury has proved a bit more difficult since then, however, as he missed 15 contests in 2014-15 and appeared in only 35 regular-season games in 2015-16 due to a combination of quad and hand injuries, as well as a four-game suspension for punching a Clippers staff member.
Griffin then went on to miss 21 regular-season games last season and appeared in just three playoff contests.
Despite injury concerns and the fact that the Clippers have struggled to become true championship contenders with him as the face of the franchise along with Chris Paul, the organization decided to invest heavily in the Oklahoma City native.
Now that Paul is out of the picture after getting traded to the Houston Rockets, there is even more pressure on Griffin to be “the guy” and deliver in Los Angeles.
It is difficult to imagine the Clippers having enough to compete with teams like the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Rockets, but Griffin is in line to put up big numbers if he can stay healthy.
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