This season’s buyout period is in the air, and a couple of intriguing names are emerging. Among the top of that list is Detroit Pistons forward and multiple-time All-Star Blake Griffin, who’s expected to sit out until he gets bought out or traded.
Since Blake is on a giant contract, though ($36.5M this season and $38.9M in 2021-22), it’s almost impossible to find a trade partner, so we should probably expect a buyout. Nevertheless, there’s simply no reason for him to stay much longer in a franchise that’s on rebuild mode and ranks dead-last in its conference (8-19).
Of course, it should be noted that Griffin is now past his prime. He’s turning 32 years old this March, and while it’s not that old, his body has been pretty banged up, so much so that he doesn’t dunk anymore… like at all. This might surprise you but the former ‘Lob City’ star has not slammed a basketball in an NBA game since December 2019.
In 20 games this season, Griffin is averaging a modest 12.3 points on a rough 36.5% shooting, basically a continuation of his injury-shortened 2019-20 campaign. It’s a far cry from his nine prior seasons.
That’s not to say Blake shouldn’t draw attention from teams. Maybe he’s just slacking? What if he’s just uninspired because of the Pistons’ situation? Whether he is or isn’t, he’ll find a new home soon, and we ought to be intrigued if he can suddenly turn it on.
Let’s now get into his potential landing spots:
The Mavericks have grossly underwhelmed after a very competitive showing in the 2020 playoffs. They are only 13-15 this season and still looking pretty suspect beyond Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. The good news, however, is they still have time.
Adding Griffin will add playoff experience, bolster the frontcourt depth, and boost the team’s low-post presence. He might be an upgrade over secondary bigs Dwight Powell and Willie Cauley-Stein. Since he’s a solid rebounder with a good outside touch, he can also open up opportunities for other players.
Among the four teams (Lakers, Heat, Celtics, Nuggets) that have been greatly affected with the record-setting, short offseason, it’s the Heat that have regressed the most. They’ve been bitten the injury bug hard, which includes run-ins with COVID-19. Their record has plummeted to notches below .500.
Like the Mavs, bringing Griffin can prove to be an upgrade. He’ll be taking minutes from Kelly Olynyk, who’s been decent but isn’t really someone to be relied upon at the four spot. It will also result in an interesting pairing with Miami’s locomotive big man Bam Adebayo.
Imagine the collection of vets too he’ll be mixing with too – Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic, Andre Iguodala, and Avery Bradley.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are looking good holding a 22-7 record and ranking second in the Western Conference. However, they’re heading into a rather uncomfortable spot over the next 2-3 weeks (maybe more) with All-Star big man Anthony Davis out with an achilles injury.
Griffin might have the firepower to somehow fill some of the gaps, particularly in the depleted front court. He’ll be a good contributor in the Lakers’ LeBron James-driven offense, where there’s plenty of passing – there’s plenty of veterans that can play various styles too.
Yep. A REUNION! This is not that likely since Griffin and Clippers owner Steve Ballmer don’t exactly have a good relationship, but who knows? It’s been years and this is for a chance at a championship.
The Clippers aren’t loaded down low the way they are on the perimeter, so Blake being in the fold will be a needed addition. It will be interesting to plug him be with two-way stars like Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, and it’ll definitely be a good story to see him finally help the Clipps get to the promise land.