Blake Griffin: A Lion in Winter

Last Monday, Detroit Pistons‘ General Manager Troy Weaver announced the franchise will soon part ways with former all-star forward Blake Griffin. As it was revealed that Griffin would be put on the shelf while the organization pursued trade options. What does a potential market for him look like? A one-time ferocious high flyer grounded by injuries, wear and tear.

L.A. Clippers trade to Detroit

The Los Angeles Clippers‘ shipped their 2009 number one overall draft pick from University of Oklahoma to Detroit in January of 2018. Griffin packaged with Brice Johnson and Willie Reed. The Pistons gave up Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic and two draft picks.

That move a major deal at the time. Griffin was paired in the Pistons’ front court with ex-star center Andre Drummond. The Pistons went all in. The decision soon paid real dividends.

The following year saw Griffin have a career resurgence. In 2019, he produced a career-high mark scoring 24.5 points and pulling down a solid 7.5 rebounds per game. Even landing an all-star spot once again.

More significantly, Griffin led Detroit to the playoffs that season, giving them a sorely needed floor leader.

All-Star plagued by injuries

Yet unfortunately his bad left knee betrayed him. With Griffin’s abilities very limited, his squad lost in a first round sweep to the Milwaukee Bucks. He had surgery after the season and it’s been downhill ever since. Which in turn has prompted the Pistons to accelerate the rebuilding process. As Griffin reportedly aims to join a playoff contender.

The question here is, who’s actually interested? Besides Griffin being a largely diminished player, his salary seems to be the primary sticking point. Griffin is locked up through next season. His current compensation part of a 5 year, $171 million pact signed with the Clippers. He is owed the remainder of his $36+ million salary this year. In addition to almost $39 million booked for 2021-22.

Clearly, that’s a hefty price to pay.

Where does he land?

Over a month remains until the NBA’s scheduled March 25th trade deadline. The Pistons seemingly have some time to shop around. Both Miami and Boston are playoff teams listed as possible trade partners, according to Las Vegas odds makers:

The Los Angeles Lakers mentioned in the mix as well. The Lakers’ 1st team All-NBA force Anthony Davis has just been ruled out for a minimum of four weeks.

This coming after he suffered a calf strain and aggravated the Achilles tendinosis in his right leg. The reigning league champs are on a three game slide in the wake of Monday’s overtime loss at home vs. Washington. Do they roll the dice on Blake?

Other rumored destinations include: Portland, Chicago and Griffin’s hometown of Oklahoma City.  What are they willing to offer?

Does Griffin have anything left?

Some around the association feel there won’t be too much interest. Though Griffin can still score in spurts and facilitate parts of an offense, his contract is widely considered cost prohibitive.

A buyout appears to be a possibility. It may be the most likely option.

What is the best destination for him? Can he still make a difference?

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