Blake Griffin will be out of the lineup for the Detroit Pistons as both sides work towards a resolution on his playing future, according to ESPN.
After the mutual decision by both parties, HoopsHype spoke with seven NBA executives for their thoughts on whether Griffin can be traded or what value he can bring to a playoff contender if he hits the buyout market.
“I know they’ve been trying to trade him for months and can’t find a taker,” a Western Conference executive told HoopsHype. “Part of it is Blake also saying there are certain teams he would prefer to go to. This is a weird one. Non zero chance they buy him out, which just seems crazy.”
“That likely ends up as a buyout if I had to guess,” one Eastern Conference executive told HoopsHype. “Someone will take him for their bench.”
Griffin, the eighth-highest paid player in the league, is owed $36.81 million this season and has a $39 million player option for next season, as noted on our HoopsHype Pistons salaries page, making him extremely difficult to trade.
“I see Detroit trying to get off some money but would probably have to take back multiple contracts with money going out,” another Eastern Conference executive told HoopsHype. “I don’t know who would take him. It’ll probably end in a buyout with him giving money back. I’m guessing his agent is calling teams to see who wants him and what they would be willing to pay him so Blake won’t lose any money.”
If Griffin is willing to give up money and agree to a buyout, there’s expected to be significant interest in the six-time All-Star according to the executives.
“If Blake is bought out, there would be significant interest, but how much of a savings is Blake willing to take?” as an executive for a current Eastern Conference playoff team told HoopsHype. “He could provide a spark off of the bench. If he’s healthy, he could start if the team had a need, but he’s probably more of a rotation player right now.”
Griffin, 31, hasn’t been the same player since the 2018-19 season when he averaged a career-high 24.5 points per game and carried the Pistons to the playoffs. Since then, Griffin has played 38 combined games averaging 13.8 points on 35.8 percent shooting from the field and 28.1 percent from beyond the arc with 4.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.
“In limited minutes, he could possibly help,” a fourth Eastern Conference executive said. “But if his wheels aren’t turning right, it’ll be tough because his game is at its best with his athleticism. He might be picking, but I ain’t trusting his popping!”
To the executive’s point, Griffin is shooting 36.5 percent from the field and 31.5 percent from beyond the arc. This season, More than half of Griffin’s field goal attempts have been three-pointers. He’s taken 124 of 222 total attempts from downtown.
“He’s looked so bad this year,” an executive for a current Western Conference playoff team told HoopsHype. “It would take a leap of faith that it’s more the environment and him not trying than his body totally failing, but it doesn’t look good when you watch him.”
Griffin hasn’t dunked since December 2019 and has become more of a pick-and-pop forward as a screener. In isolation, he’s more likely to face up his defender and take a mid-range jumper. Gone are the days of Griffin attacking the paint and dunking on an opponent’s head, which earned him a max deal years ago. Now, Griffin is hoping to land on a contender as a rotation player and win a title in the process.
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