The Detroit Pistons and former All-Star forward Blake Griffin have reportedly reached an agreement to end their time together.
Griffin and the Pistons have agreed to a buyout of his deal that will make the big man an unrestricted free agent. The news was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and confirmed by several other outlets. Many of the NBA’s top playoff teams have interest in Griffin, Wojnarowski reports, and he is expected to make his decision on where to land next in the near future.
Griffin has interest from many of the NBA’s top playoff contenders and is expected to make a decision on his next team after conversations with prospective teams in the near future, sources said. https://t.co/8Qpbbp4ggE
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 5, 2021
AP source: Blake Griffin and the Pistons have agreed to a contract buyout.
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) March 5, 2021
The parting of ways is hardly a surprise as the Pistons and Griffin agreed to start the process of moving him back in mid-February. The Pistons acquired Griffin from the LA Clippers in January of 2018 via a trade.
“I am grateful to the Pistons for understanding what I want to accomplish in my career and for working together on the best path forward,” Griffin said in a statement to ESPN in February.
The 31-year-old forward has started 20 games for Detroit this season and is averaging career lows for points (12.3), field goal attempts (11.1) and free throw attempts (3.1). For his career, the former No. 1 overall pick is averaging 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists. He played in just 18 games last season after requiring season-ending left-knee surgery.
The question now is how valuable he might be to a contending team. He had a terrific 2018-19 season for the Pistons, helping them to the playoffs, but his health has been a concern in Detroit, just as it had been when he was with the Clippers.
If healthy, Griffin can offer size, versatility and veteran leadership to a contender. He was traded to the Pistons just seven months after signing a $171 million, five-year contract to stay with the Clippers. A couple seasons ago, he averaged a career-high 24.5 ppg — but even in that 2018-19 campaign, Detroit was swept in the first round of the playoffs, and the team wasn’t able to build on that.
Known for his athletic dunking prowess in his heyday, Griffin has not recorded a dunk in an NBA game since Dec. 12, 2019 — a span in which more than 440 other NBA players have gotten at least one dunk. If the Pistons are moving on from Griffin, one of his former teammates is reportedly also set to be traded. Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond — who played for Detroit from 2012-20 — is set to be moved soon per multiple reports.
Griffin has already reinvented himself once, so it’s not like he can’t do so again. Like many players in this 3-point era, he added that shot to his repertoire a few years back and it helped catapult him back to All-Star level in 2018-19 — he made 189 3’s that season, two shy from matching the total from his first eight seasons combined, and averaged 24.5 points.
Detroit is just 10-26 this season and had three first-round picks in last year’s draft. A couple of them — Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey — have shown some promise. The Pistons also acquired Jerami Grant in the offseason, and he’s averaging 23.4 ppg.
Griffin’s contract is worth $36.6 million this season and $39 million in 2021-2022.