On the day of the NBA trade deadline, a day in which the Clippers eventually decided against making another big move despite persistent chatter that they were in the market, L.A. prepared to face the player it traded last month.
The Clippers made their blockbuster deal Jan. 29, trading Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons for Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris and Boban Marjanovic as well as first- and second-round draft picks.
DeAndre Jordan, whose name continuously had been bandied about, remains with the Clippers after the team engaged in conversations about trading the center.
Bradley, who had his name come up in trade rumors, remains with the Clippers as well after Thursday’s deadline passed.
Perennial trade target Lou Williams signed a three-year contract extension with the Clippers on Wednesday, ending speculation that he would be shipped out this season.
So when the Clippers see Griffin almost two weeks after he was traded, Williams has an idea of what to expect Friday night at Little Caesars Arena.
“Blake is going to hack the hell out of somebody, I can tell you that right now,” Williams said, laughing.
Does Williams think it’ll be him?
“I hope not,” he said, laughing again. “But, luckily we don’t have to see those guys in L.A. for another season so it won’t be quite the same being in Detroit. But, let’s get it out the way. It should be fun.”
Griffin spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Clippers. But he’ll be playing against his former teammates and his friends.
“Yeah, it’s pretty weird. I was in Philly for seven years and then my first time playing them I was pretty excited about that,” Williams said. “Now it wasn’t the next week like it is with Blake. The momentum hasn’t even been able to build up. Like I said, it’s kind of a gift and a curse for us to play that game and play it in Detroit. It’s not weird for me. It’s more Blake’s game than anything.”
It’ll help the Clippers that mightAustin Rivers might be available after he was upgraded from out to questionable because of a right ankle injury. But the Clippers listed point guard Milos Teodosic as questionable because of a sore right foot.
Clippers assistant Mike Woodson, who talked to the media Wednesday because coach Doc Rivers was out sick, admitted it’s going to be “a little bit different” facing Griffin as an opponent.
The Clippers won their first two games with Harris and Bradley in the starting lineup and the Pistons won their first four with Griffin.
“I was with Blake for 3½ years, and Blake is a great pro who did a lot of wonderful things for our franchise,” Woodson said. “But, hey, he’s in Detroit now. Detroit is happy with their situation. We’re happy with the guys that came our way, and we’ve got to continue to coach and push these guys to get better.”
Update: Clippers center DeAndre Jordan ranks second in the NBA in rebounding, averaging 14.9 rebounds a game. Pistons center Andre Drummond leads the league with an average of 15.6. Drummond is tied for second in the league with 38 double-doubles and Jordan is tied for eighth with 27.