After trading five-time All-Star Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons, the Los Angeles Clippers are setting their sights on the biggest free agent name on the market come July -- LeBron James. According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Clippers have enough salary cap space to pursue James, who could become an unrestricted free agent if he opts out of the final year of his $35.6 million deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Stein said the Clippers believe they can make it onto James' free agent short list come July.

The Clippers surprised everyone after they traded Griffin, their No.

1 overall pick in 2009, to the Pistons for guard Avery Bradley, young forward Tobias Harris, big man Boban Marjanovic and a future first-round draft pick. Aside from Griffin, the Clippers shipped big man Willie Reed and forward Brice Johnson to the Pistons. The Clippers might not be done unloading key players as they are also expected to trade big man DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams before the Feb. 8 trade deadline. The Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks, Washington Wizards and Minnesota Timberwolves need to boost their defense and could be interested in trading for the 6-11 Jordan.

Clippers singing a different tune about Griffin

The Clippers signed Griffin to a maximum five-year deal worth $171.2 million last July, claiming he will be a “Clipper for life” and the team’s cornerstone in the years to come.

However, team owner Steve Ballmer sang a different tune when he talked about the trade. “I believe today, more than ever, in our ultimate goal of winning an NBA championship,” said Ballmer, who earlier traded their superstar point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets before the start of the season.

How to attract James

The biggest question now for the Clippers is how they can attract James to join them.

First, they need a big supporting cast to entice the 33-year-old superstar to join them and the salary cap room to attract other big-name players. Currently, four players hold options for next season -- Jordan ($24.1 million), Austin Rivers ($12.7 million), Milos Teodosic ($6.3 million) and Wesley Johnson ($6.1 million). Depending on their next move, the Clippers could free or keep $49.2 million in salary on the books.

If the Clippers decide to keep Jordan to team-up with James, they must unload the remaining two years and $44.2 million from Danilo Gallinari’s contract. Another option for the Clippers is to tank and hope that they can land one of the big names in the 2018 Draft class, which include Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Luka Doncic and Trae Young, among others. Aside from the Clippers, the Los Angeles Lakers could be another possible destination for James.