L.A. Clippers: Who would be the one to go if the big three were separated?

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The LA Clippers have had five mainly successful years with the combination of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, but is it time to break up the trio?

LA were defeated 4-2 by Portland in the first round of the playoffs last week after losing both Paul and Griffin to injury in game four, with the undermanned side unable to overcome a fully fit Trail Blazers team.

Now the question is, does coach and general manager Doc Rivers trade one of the three or continue to try and build around them?

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Rivers recently said there is no chance any of the three stars will leave the Staples Center but there are some arguments to say the three have gone as far as they can having not made a conference finals appearance since joining forces.

Another problem to take into consideration is injuries. As a group, it has been rare to see all three on the court together for a full 82 game season.

Paul missed a chunk of the 2013-14 season and has been absent from games in all of the Clippers recent playoff runs while Griffin sat out over half of the past regular season with a broken hand and quad injury, which he subsequently reinjured in the postseason.

Who would it be?

After the whole emoji-gate kerfuffle last summer where Jordan had agreed to a deal with Dallas before the Clippers travelled to Texas to convince him to stay and sign a new long-term deal it is unlikely to be Jordan.

So that leaves us with two options remaining, Griffin and CP3…

You would expect the forward would be the most likely option to go, as we saw from the Clippers incredibly impressive record without him this season that they could still be a top team. 

Trading Griffin away for an array of less high-profile assets is, therefore, an option and something the Clippers reportedly attempted ahead of the trade deadline with the Denver Nuggets.

But one problem the Clippers organisation may have with this is that Griffin is the youngest of the three, so they would then be prioritising the short-term over the future.

Paul is certainly an option to be moved if you do not want to break up the great frontcourt partnership of Griffin and Jordan.

If the Clippers moved Paul on the other hand, it is likely they would want a more ready-made replacement in the deal.

Some have suggested that a possible swap deal for Paul and the Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving could be on the cards this summer, and that is something that more than likely would be very beneficial for both teams.

However, what stands is that the Clippers are, without a doubt, a perennial 55-win team with these three, and that is not an easy thing to find.

You can argue that just by that, there should not even be any consideration to moving any of the three on, as with a successful team like that all they need is luck to go their way and they could have a title.

It will certainly be interesting to see what decision Rivers takes, and even though he has already said none of the three will be leaving the side, as we all know, things can change quickly in sport.

Western Conference
DeAndre Jordan
L.A. Clippers
Pacific Division
Chris Paul
Blake Griffin

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