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It’s not time for the Los Angeles Clippers to trade star big man DeAndre Jordan…at least not yet.

DeAndre Jordan has been one of the hottest names in the NBA trade rumor mill early on this season. Due to the Los Angeles Clippers’ rough start, his name has come up often in rumors. Despite all the buzz surrounding Jordan, the Clippers should not trade their star center just yet.

It has been yet another rough season for the Clippers from an injury perspective. Blake Griffin once again missed a chunk of games due to an injury, but is back on the court. L.A. has also seen Patrick Beverley, Milos Teodosic, Danilo Gallinari and Austin Rivers struggle with nagging injuries.

Even with all of the injury woes, the Clippers have won six of their last seven games and are back in playoff contention with a 17-19 record.

They may not have had the start that they were hoping for, but that was to be expected even before the injury bug bit. Chris Paul was traded in the offseason, which was going to take some time to get used to. It seems that the team is finally jelling and ready to play to its full potential.

Jordan has been a big part of the Clippers’ success in recent weeks and has had a solid season overall. He has averaged 11.1 points per game to go along with 15.1 rebounds and over a block per game. His scoring average hasn’t been as high as some would like, but the defensive impact he makes overall is too great to lose.
Why the Clippers shouldn’t trade Jordan

Trading Jordan would impact the Clippers negatively in many areas. Rebounding would take a major dive, while the rim protection would become nearly nonexistent.

Jordan has been one of the league’s elite rim protectors throughout his career, averaging 1.8 blocks per game throughout his 10 seasons in Los Angeles. Even this season, despite the low block average, Jordan has been able to alter shots and bail out the perimeter defenders when their man has gotten past them.

Doc Rivers may not have the strong championship contender from the start he had in years past with Paul, Griffin and Jordan forming a Big Three, but the Clippers are finding their groove. Breaking up the core would immediately ruin any chance at a postseason run down the stretch.

L.A. has put together a very talented roster even with the loss of Paul. It was able to bring in talented rotation players like Lou Williams, Milos Teodosic, Sam Dekker and Gallinari. They may not have “star power” like Paul had, but the team as a whole has the potential to be very deadly in the postseason if they can remain healthy.

If the Clippers were to trade Jordan, it would signal a rebuild in Los Angeles. That is something that Griffin, who signed a massive five-year, $173 million contract in the offseason, might not want to stick around to be a part of. Making Griffin unhappy by trading Jordan isn’t a road that the Clippers want to go down at this point.
What is the alternative?

Quite simply, the Clippers must keep their core intact and ride out the rest of the season. If they are unable to continue playing quality basketball over the next few weeks, perhaps Rivers should explore the trade market for Jordan right before the trade deadline.

Giving up on the season this early would be a big mistake for Los Angeles. They are currently the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference and are just 2.5 games out of fifth place in the standings.

Jordan is a very important piece of the Clippers’ core, both now and for the future. Hanging onto him and seeing what the remainder of the season has in store would be the wise move, even if he does opt out of the final year of his contract to hit unrestricted free agency this summer.

Los Angeles must hold onto Jordan. The rumors may be flying, but the Clippers should not pull the trigger on a trade just yet.v

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Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin

LOS ANGELES — Clippers forward Blake Griffin suffered a left knee injury and had to leave in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s 120-115 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers did not have an update on Griffin’s condition but said Griffin’s spirits were down after the game. He said Griffin will be further evaluated Tuesday and that the Clippers were hoping for the best.

“It didn’t look good,” Rivers said. “But we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Griffin became tangled with Lakers guard Lonzo Ball and Clippers guard Austin Rivers beneath the Lakers’ basket as the scrum dived for a loose ball with 4:43 remaining in regulation. The collision didn’t result in a foul call. Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. picked up the loose ball and scored on a layup while getting fouled by Austin Rivers.

“You could see right when it happened,” Doc Rivers said. “Lonzo was just trying to make a play, but he went in. Usually when you go in like that, that hard … they call it.”

Griffin remained in the game on the ensuing Clippers possession, during which he missed a 10-foot hook shot. He ultimately checked out of the game and retreated to the Clippers’ locker room following a layup by Lakers forward Brandon Ingram and a Clippers timeout.

Griffin left the locker room without speaking to reporters.

“I knew immediately, I thought,” Doc Rivers said. “But then Blake said he was OK. I just saw his leg go in, and then when they switched on back-to-back plays, he couldn’t move so we had to get him out of the game.”

The Clippers have been ravaged by injuries in recent weeks. They lost their starting point guard, Milos Teodosic, to a left foot injury during the third game of the season. His counterpart in the backcourt, Patrick Beverley, was lost for the season last week after undergoing microfracture surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.

Forward Danilo Gallinari missed his 10th consecutive game with a strained left gluteus maximus.

Griffin, who signed a new five-year, $173 million contract during the offseason, has been beset by injuries during his eight seasons in the NBA. Over the previous three seasons, he has played in 67, 35 and 61 games, respectively. Most recently, he was forced out of the Clippers’ first-round playoff series when he hurt the plantar of his big right toe in Game 3 after missing 18 games during the regular season following arthroscopic surgery to his right knee.

Before he played his first regular-season game as a professional, Griffin broke his left kneecap during the 2009 preseason. In the summer of 2012 while training with Team USA, he tore his medial meniscus in the same knee.

The Clippers, 8-11 after winning their third consecutive game, next play on Thursday against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center. If Griffin doesn’t take the floor, center DeAndre Jordan will be the only remaining member of the team’s opening night starting lineup.

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Los Angeles Clippers

Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers took a gamble on having just four veteran guards on their 15-man roster, and for the second time already, they have paid a price for their own admission.

They were put in a precarious state when starting point guard Milos Teodosic went down with a plantar fascia injury to his left foot that the Clippers said will sideline him indefinitely.

So now Austin Rivers, who started in place of Teodosic on Tuesday night against the Utah Jazz, Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams will see their playing time likely increase.

“You take a risk sometimes,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “In our case, we just decided we were going to go with four guards and then use some of the young guys, maybe. So now he’s out, and that hurts us.”

Austin Rivers suffered a strained left glute during the first exhibition game against the Toronto Raptors in Hawaii. That put the Clippers in an insecure spot for the rest of the exhibition season because he didn’t play in the last four games.

Now here the Clippers are again, down one of their seasoned guards. They are hoping that one of their rookie guards, Sindarius Thornwell or Jawun Evans, can provide a lift when called upon.

“I said that before the year. If anyone of those four guys goes out, that puts a strain on us,” Doc Rivers said. “So, Sindarius or Jawun, one of those two will play. They both are ready, in my opinion. I think Sindarius has a chance to be an elite defender in our league, maybe not right away. I think the minutes will help him. So, we’re just going to plug him in.”

Jazz’s Quin Snyder has history with Teodosic

When Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder walked into Staples Center on Tuesday night, he stopped to have a chat with Teodosic, who was on scooter.

The two have a history together.

Snyder was the assistant coach at CSKA Moscow in 2012-13 when Teodosic was on the team.

The amazing passing that everyone saw from Teodosic before his injury is something Snyder saw a lot of when they were in Russia together.

“He’s a unique playmaker,” Snyder said. “I think he’s just got a sense. He’s artistic in the way he plays the game. You don’t have to watch him for long to see that, as far as some of the passes and creativity. He’s a guy that people like playing with, and couple that with his ability to make shots and stretch the floor, he’s a unique player that can really add a lot to an already very, very, very good offensive team.”