Once again Griffin's name is being floated in trade rumors, and Denver's collection of talent is volunteered to get him. Rumors linking Blake Griffin to Denver cropped up in February at the trade deadline as well. That proposal was a lopsided one, where "sources" indicated to Chris Broussard that the Clips offered Griffin and Lance Stephenson for Danilo Gallinari, Will Barton, Kenneth Faried and Nikola Jokic. Denver hung the phone up and nothing happened at the deadline with Griffin.
Now Jonathan Tjarks at the Ringer (the new site from Bill Simmons) included Denver in a writeup about where Griffin might land if the Clippers do move on from him as one of the options on the table for Los Angeles. The proposed deal has Griffin coming to the Nuggets in exchange for Danilo Gallinari, Will Barton and Joffrey Lauvergne. Of the potential (and probably pie-in-the-sky) deal Tjarks writes:
Griffin would bring Denver back into the playoff discussion this season, and the team would have more than enough assets to acquire him without sacrificing its present or future. Defense would be a huge question mark, but per-minute all-star Nikola Jokic would stretch the floor for Griffin to work at the rim. Having two excellent passers like Griffin and Jokic on the front line would create a ton of open shots for the Nuggets’ phalanx of young guards. From the Clippers’ perspective, Gallinari would be a perfect fit as a small-ball 4, Barton would slide right into the sixth man role vacated by aging free agent Jamal Crawford, and Lauvergne would give them a nice complement to DeAndre as a stretch 5.
A large difference in acquiring Love versus trading for Griffin is the length of their remaining contracts. Love has four years and $93.5 million remaining on his deal while Griffin can decline the option year on his contract and be a free agent after the 2016-17 season. That essentially puts Griffin on a one-year deal for $20 million (plus a 15% trade kicker).
If Denver is building for the future with their young core, the trade proposal protects its young core assets but doesn't bring in any security with the star acquisition. Griffin could easily choose to go to the Oklahoma Thunder in his home state after the upcoming season if Kevin Durant takes a one-year deal in OKC and then moves on to greener pastures. The Nuggets might be left with nothing but a one-year star rental.
These are the risks Denver has to weigh while they try to move the needle and bring both wins and fans back to the Pepsi Center. Names like Griffin and Love will continue to follow the Nuggets around this offseason until they make a move in either the trade or free agent markets. Get used to it, Nuggets fans - and hope Tim Connelly and his staff can navigate those waters and continue to make the right moves this summer.