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Clippers owner says team traded Griffin for 'chemistry' reasons

Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer discussed the reasons behind Blake Griffin's shock departure.

Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer said Blake Griffin was traded to the Detroit Pistons due to injury concerns and chemistry issues.

NBA All-Star Griffin was sensationally dealt to the Pistons earlier in February, ending his long-standing association with the Clippers.

Griffin averaged 22.6 points and 7.9 rebounds for the Clippers prior to getting traded to the Pistons after 33 games, however he did miss 16 games in that stretch. Los Angeles gave Griffin a five-year, $173million contract this offseason, presumably to feature him as the focus of the team's rebuilding efforts in the coming years.

After the team started the year 25-24 with Griffin on the roster, they decided to make a change. Since then they have gone 6-3 and now sit in ninth place in the Western Conference standings, one game back of a playoff spot.

"[Griffin] is obviously a superstar player," Ballmer told ESPN on Saturday.

"But if you look at what happened injury-wise, if you look at the kind of chemistry we were getting on our team, the thing you can see at the high level with the numbers when I started — one guy got all the assists, one guy got all the points and one guy got all the rebounds.

"It's not all quite that way, but I think in the modern NBA, we were seeing it more and more — there's a greater distribution of responsibility."

Things changed quickly with Griffin out and Ballmer was the first to admit something had to be adjusted, but the Clippers owner wants to make it clear the team are far from giving up. He said they have long-term plans to execute.

"We have to add some pieces obviously, but I think we're building for what I think is the modern NBA," he said.