Coach Doc Rivers denied ESPN’s report indignantly. Asked a question as easy to handle as whether they were getting offers for Griffin, he said, “That’s none of your business, it really isn’t.”Actually, it’s the job of the press to ask, as it’s Rivers’ privilege not to reply, and the fans’ prerogative to decide.• RELATED: After Blake Griffin speaks, Clippers can try to get back to businessLet’s assume there’s something to it … because it would be a landmark mistake the Clippers had better think through.First, I would assume the impetus came not from Rivers, but from Ballmer.Doc knows NBA basics, starting with the one that says you need great players — plural — to make a great team.Griffin and Chris Paul are the greatest Clippers ever. With both of them plus DeAndre Jordan, a major force on defense, they’ve posted 56-57 wins annually and been a West semifinalist in three of the past four seasons.It’s not their fault they’re not the local People’s Choice but a peculiarity of a market where the Lakers set the standard — titles or nothing — that is so daunting to both teams.That’s the Clippers challenge, remembering how special they are — only Golden State and San Antonio have more wins the past three seasons — even if they haven’t gotten over the top.On the other hand, if Ballmer wanted to see what they could get for Griffin, Doc’s guys would have had to make the call.Ballmer’s arrival is the best thing ever to happen to the Clippers, but it doesn’t mean he should run them.Few owners can. The greatest of them, the Lakers’ Jerry Buss, understood it was his job to lay out his vision but that of his professionals, Jerry West and Mitch Kupchak, to make the basketball calls.To Ballmer’s credit, he hasn’t meddled in basketball decisions — but was on the case after the Griffin incident.The Clippers sent Griffin home from Toronto without acknowledging what happened until issuing a statement — in the names of Ballmer and Rivers — suggesting how offended the owner was.As Microsoft CEO, Ballmer would have deemed assaulting a coworker grounds for dismissal. The morality is the same for his basketball team, but the industry is not.Microsoft would be the same without any single worker. The Clippers aren’t without Griffin, however heroically they play without him.The Paul-Griffin pick-and-roll is second only to Golden State’s Steph Curry-Draymond Green, arguably the best ever.Gallo-CP3 would be good, but not the same.If Griffin had done something this heinous before, he would be out of slack.This is his first assault. There’s no legal liability with Matias Testi filing no complaint. The NBA, which drove the process, is satisfied with the Clippers’ four-game suspension.As a basketball player, Griffin is anything but a diva, not only gifted but hard-working and team-oriented.As a young icon, he has some growing up to do, fast.Griffin will have the rest of his career to show who he is — and the Clippers better see that it’s as one of them, not a Nugget, even if they get half the Denver franchise for him.Anyone not clear on how unique a talent he is won’t like finding out the hard way.Mark Heisler has written an NBA column since 1991 and was honored with the Naismith Hall of Fame’s Curt Gowdy Award in 2006. His column is published Sundays in Los Angeles News Group print editions. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error In other words, it would be just like the old days!Trading Blake would be crazier than anything Donald Sterling ever did … well, in basketball … the managerial equivalent of punching out another diminutive equipment manager.• HEISLER: Blake Griffin at the crossroads between fame and infamyIf it’s hard to separate truth from fancy at the trade deadline, the reports that the Clippers offered Griffin to Denver looked like something that could have happened.ESPN’s Chris Broussard’s report was detailed, naming Danilo Gallinari, Will Barton, Kenneth Faried and Nikola Jokic as the players in the deal — which Denver reportedly rejected — for Griffin and Lance Stephenson (whom they did, in fact, shop till they dropped him in Memphis.) Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.Where there’s fire, there are charred ruins … which is where the Clippers will be headed if someone in the organization — say, owner Steve Ballmer — says Blake Griffin has to go.The trade deadline passed with Griffin still here amid reports the Clippers shopped him — and speculation they’ll do it anew this summer.Add in the likelihood of a disappointing finish in a West draw dominated by the Warriors, and you get the kind of perfect storm that can wash a franchise player overboard.