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No Blake Griffin, no problem for Thunder

by Berry Tramel Modified: May 20, 2009 at 12:39 am •  Published: May 20, 2009
t don’t expect the Clippers to let Griffin go.

Franchises just don’t trade that No. 1 pick anymore; just once in the last 20 years. Too much PR damage.

"I will look forward to hearing from all 29 teams before we probably keep the pick,” Clipper president Andy Roeser said. "You never know what your crazy partners in this league will do. But the likelihood is we will keep the pick.”

Actually, no franchise is crazier than the Clippers, but Roeser talked sense when he said, "Stars don’t come along that often. It means a lot to the franchise for the long haul to have that pick.”

The Thunder has plenty of trade arsenal — two first-round draft picks this season, 3 and 25, and two first-round picks next season, its own and Phoenix’s. Those picks are valuable in this economic climate; they allow a franchise to employ good, but cheap, talent.

However, do not expect the Thunder to entertain trade offers if it means breaking up the core. Durant is untouchable, naturally. But Green is a great Robin to Durant’s Batman, an egoless sidekick loved by Durant. As the Clipper president said, stars don’t come along that often. Messing with Green might be messing with Durant. Don’t play with dynamite.

Trading Westbrook in a Griffin deal would put the Boomers back at the starting line for a point guard, so that’s no good.

So I wouldn’t include Green or Westbrook in any deal to move up in the draft, and I don’t think Presti will, either.

"We really like the core of our group,” Presti said. "You never know. But we feel pretty strongly about these guys.”

The future remains bright for the Thunder. Bright enough that this should be the last time for a while that Oklahoma City gets all worked up by the lottery. Next year, the Boomers should be lottery long shots. With picks 2, 5, 4 and 3, it’s time to leave lottery land.

Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.