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February 06, 2016

What they’re saying: The Sixers talked to the Clippers about Blake Griffin

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With the NBA trade deadline less than a few weeks away, it’s officially “Sources say” season. All types of trade rumors, both real and half-baked, are going to fly until February 18th. Yesterday, Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin was the center of a few rumors/reports/whatever we’re calling them:

While Sam Amico sent Sixers Twitter into a collective frenzy (and a truly good time was had by all on the ESPN trade machine), Griffin very likely isn’t going anywhere despite recently messing up his hand going all Mike Tyson on the assistant equipment manager.

The Orange Country Register’s Dan Woike, a Clippers beat writer, wrote a column that suggested any interest from the Sixers was simply normal correspondence between two NBA teams. According to Woike, any talk of trading Griffin never became serious. And then Doc Rivers, who has Chip Kelly-level power with the Clippers, publicly said that Griffin wasn’t going anywhere:

Let’s imagine that Rivers is lying and the Clippers are interested in parting with the five-time All-Star, though. The Sixers still don’t feel like an especially good fit for a Griffin trade on the surface. Consider the following:

•    Rivers, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, J.J. Redick, Paul Pierce, Jamal Crawford and the rest of the Clippers are a veteran team. As we all know, the Sixers’ roster is full of very young players. The Clips are a team that is trying 100 percent to win now, and they likely have little interest in draft picks and young players as the main return for Griffin.

•    Then, the Sixers would likely have to involve a third team that covets a combination of their draft picks/young players and also possesses veteran talent that the Clippers find suitable to replace Griffin. A stretch four that would fit better next to Jordan in the frontcourt would likely be a starting point.

•    Even if the Sixers were able to find that mystery third team, the concern of keeping Griffin around past next year is very real. He is scheduled to make a little north of $20 million in 2016-17 and then has a player option for the 2017-18 season. Remember that the cap is projected to jump from $89 million to $108 million that summer, so you can count on Griffin opting out of that contract regardless if he’s in L.A. or Philly.

In that case, the Sixers would have precisely one year to transform into a contender and convince Griffin to re-sign. And with the type of haul that it would take to acquire him, I’m not sure going all-in for Griffin is a worthwhile gamble without some sort of guarantee.

Make no mistake, Blake Griffin is awesome. The Clippers are a team that deservedly attracts haters because they tend to whine a lot, but he still unfairly has the rep of player who is “just a dunker.” That stopped being true years ago, and I believe he was the MVP of the 2015-16 playoffs through two rounds. Griffin to Embiid/Noel alley-oops would potentially be a lot of fun.

We’ll see if the Sixers are one year away from landing a big-time free agent as Scott O’Neil suggested earlier this week, but the point is that they’re probably not ready now. Things could change, but it doesn’t seem like a hypothetical deal makes sense for either side.

Other Sixers news, notes and analysis from around the web:

Hinkie sees Colangelo as co-worker, not boss: Mike Sielski, Philadelphia Inquirer

Sam Hinkie spoke on the record to Sielski about what it’s like working with Jerry Colangelo:

The implication there is rather profound. For all the presumptions over the power he apparently has lost, Hinkie is unafraid to disagree with Colangelo. And that if the price of that disagreement turns out to be his job, Hinkie still can put his head on his pillow at night with his mind at peace.

Speaking of Sam and Jerry, did you listen to the latest Sixers Beat? We discussed that topic, and a whole lot more. Like I always say, if you like the Sixers, this is one of five podcasts for you:

Philly hoops legend Jim Lynam still everyone's favorite teacher: Philadelphia Daily News

Very nice profile on a Philadelphia basketball legend by Cooney, but I have to ask, who are these insane producers that Comcast is employing? I don’t know anyone who watches the NBA who thinks Draymond Green isn’t worth every penny he makes:

Lynam now lends his expertise to Sixers' pregame and postgame shows on Comcast SportsNet, sharing the camera with his daughter, Dei. Not surprisingly, he is overly prepared. He pours through his notes before, during and after the game. He watches in the Comcast studios with remote in hand, playing the game back and forth as though he is watching film. When a producer mentioned in his ear that Golden State forward Draymond Green wasn't worth a huge contract, Lynam simply replied with "Star. Star. Star. Star. Star."

Sixers Experiment With Okafor at Power Forward in Loss to Hawks: Derek Bodner, Philly Mag

All of Derek’s stuff is worth reading, but this was something I couldn’t write about because I wasn’t at the game the other night. Brett Brown also had Okafor guarding the 4 against Washington on Friday to start the game, and it’s a pretty interesting question: Is putting Nerlens Noel at the 5 a worthwhile trade-off for sticking Okafor at the 4 (where he seems to have no chance)?

"I think it's difficult for him. I think it's difficult finding perimeter people," Brown continued. "It's part of his evolution. I think it's not, right now, his strength."

The move would be made, primarily, to keep Nerlens Noel in the paint and allow him to maximize his defensive abilities. As we noted recently, Noel's defensive impact is drastically reduced when he's playing on the perimeter in a frontcourt pairing next to Okafor.

Jalen Rose Boozy Basketball Talk ... Here's How to Fix the 76ers: TMZ Sports

Sometimes, the title really does say it all. Jalen Rose, at least slightly buzzed, talking Elton Brand. Who hasn’t been there before?

And finally, a word from Joel Embiid:

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann