The Detroit Pistons and All-Star forward Blake Griffin are expected to come to terms on a contract buyout after a trade never materialized.
It was back on February 14 that the two sides decided it was best for Griffin to remain away from the team until this situation was settled. Since then, he’s missed the past nine games.
Griffin, 31, is no longer the player he was earlier in his career with the Los Angeles Clippers. He’s averaging just 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists on the season. Griffin’s $38.96 million salary for next season also made it impossible for the Pistons to trade him.
With that said, the six-time All-Star can still contribute to a contending team. Here is the six likeliest landing spots for Blake Griffin on the NBA buyout market.
Blake Griffin to the Los Angeles Lakers
This seems to be the most obvious fit with All-Star big man Anthony Davis sidelined to an Achilles injury. Los Angeles heads into the break having lost seven of 10, including dropping games to the Washington Wizards and Sacramento Kings. Frontcourt depth has been a major issue this season, especially with free agent signing Marc Gasol struggling.
In adding Griffin to the mix, Los Angeles would be getting someone who can still log 20 minutes behind the likes of Davis, Kyle Kuzma and a defensive deficient Montrezl Harrell. And while the Lakers have been the subject of NBA trade rumors, their lack of assets make the buyout market much more likely. Griffin would be a perfect fit.
Blake Griffin to the Miami Heat
No, Blake Griffin isn’t the same player he was back in 2014-15. Yes, he’s still better than Kelly Olynyk. That’s not even debatable right now. Despite righting the ship after an ugly 11-17 start to the season, Miami has a glaring hole inside. That’s magnified by the season-ending injury to Meyers Leonard and Olynyk’s disastrous performance.
Realistically, Griffin could come in and split time with promising rookie first-round pick Precious Achiuwa at the four. The Memphis product has hit a bit of a rough patch since starting the season out strong. While we fully expect Miami to be players ahead of the NBA trade deadline, potentially using the Leonard injured-player exception to sign Griffin could make sense.
Blake Griffin to the Golden State Warriors
Despite some mental lapses this season, Draymond Green has has a rebirth of sorts in San Francisco after major struggles during the 2019-20 season. Golden State also has a promising forward in sophomore Eric Paschall. In no way does this mean general manager Bob Myers isn’t going to target a big man in the coming weeks.
It’s in this that Griffin makes perfect sense. The idea would be to root Kevon Looney out of the rotation or trade him outright. As we saw earlier in the season, Green can be an exceptional small-ball center. Even with the studly James Wiseman in the mix, a core five of Stephen Curry, Kelly Oubre, Andrew Wiggins, Blake Griffin and Draymond Green could work well at times. Expect this to be bandied about in the coming days.
Blake Griffin to the Boston Celtics
It’s not a secret that Celtics general manager Danny Ainge is looking to pull off a blockbuster deal ahead of the March 25 NBA trade deadline. Boston currently sits at 18-17 and has lost 14 of 24 since a solid start to the season. It also has needs in the frontcourt, both at the three and four.
Adding Blake Griffin on the buyout market wouldn’t disable the Celtics’ ability to pull off a big trade. Instead, it would give the team more depth to go with a young duo in Robert Williams and Grant Williams who have not necessarily impressed this season. He’d work nice with free-agent acquisition Tristan Thompson, too.
Blake Griffin to the Dallas Mavericks
Mark Cuban and Co. are going to make a trade to help out MVP candidate Luka Doncic ahead of March 25. That much is already known. While Kristaps Porzingis had been the subject of NBA trade rumors, it makes little sense for Dallas to move him. Rather, the team wants to find someone to pair him up with in the frontcourt.
Griffin makes a ton of sense in this regard. Simply put, the likes of Maxi Kleber and James Johnson should not be seeing extended minutes in the Mavericks’ rotation. That must change if Dallas wants to overcome an ugly 18-16 start to the season.
Blake Griffin to the Brooklyn Nets
The Nets have been linked to big man Andre Drummond since it became apparent that the Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star will be moved. However, it remains to be seen if Brooklyn has the assets to make a trade of that ilk after the blockbuster James Harden deal earlier this season. Rather, the buyout market seems to be general manager Sean Marks’ best option.
Griffin is a perfect fit at the four. He could slide in as a part-time starter, creating one of the most ridiculous starting fives in recent NBA history with Harden, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan. Even if the Nets don’t view Griffin as a starter, he’d add a nice amount of depth to a thin roster.