Eric Griffin ready to compete for a roster spot
An underdog with a D-League highlight reel that would put many players to shame, a player with multiple accolades to his name and a will to succeed in the NBA. Eric Griffin is ready to make his mark on the NBA after being on the fringes of the Association after going undrafted in 2012 out of Campbell University. The 6-foot-8 forward practiced his trade in Italy, played briefly in Puerto Rico and Venezuela before landing with the Dallas Mavericks for training camp in 2014. Griffin was waived prior to the start of the season and picked up by the Mavs' D-League affiliate Texas Legends, where he made a case to return in the NBA, putting up 19.0 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game, on .455/.368/.771 shooting.
After an offseason spent playing for both the Clippers and Cavaliers during Summer League, the 25 year-old rookie signed a training camp deal with the Pistons and hopes to showcase his talent during the pre-season. Per SLAM's Seth Ferranti:
"I see myself getting some minutes. I'm going to keep grinding, absolutely," Griffin tells SLAM. "Coming into my first season, I don't really know what to expect. I want to establish myself as a basketball player first and see where it leads me to. It's going to be pretty good to see what [Stan Van Gundy] has to offer me as a player," Griffin continues. "I am eager to learn and ready to play. Hopefully I will get some minutes. I have to be able to knock down open shots and contain my man on defense—I’m like a hustle player off the bench."
Known as a double-double machine capable of big blocks in college, Griffin names a couple players as his inspiration, Shaq, Tracy McGrady, Shawn Kemp... and Tayshaun Prince, of whom the Florida-native is envious of the Piston legend's competitive spirit. It certainly sounds like Griffin is making all the right moves to endear himself to the Motor City fanbase, but it remains to be seen if he has what it take to impress Stan Van Gundy enough to make the final roster cut. Even if he doesn't, odds are he'll be only a phone call away, playing for Otis Smith's Grand Rapids Drive. (H/T Seth Ferranti for the video)
Joe Johnson and Brandon Jennings now represented by the same agent
Brooklyn guard/forward Joe Johnson has changed agents, going from Wasserman Media Group's Arn Tellem to Jeff Schwartz over at Excel Sports Management, who handles the likes of Jarrett Jack, Deron Williams, Paul Pierce, Al Jefferson and Brandon Jennings. Does Johnson joining Jennings (and a large group of other players) as a Schwartz client mean the swingman could be Detroit-bound? Don't read too far into it, but Hoops Rumors' Chuck Myron speculates that the move brings the 34 year old a step closer to the team that inquired to his availability prior to this season's trade deadline.
Of course, as with every rumor, there is some truth behind it, as well as some coincidences that will fuel further discussions of the odds of both teams striking a deal over the Arkansas-native. Johnson's previous agent, Arn Tellem, chose to diversify his resume by joining the Pistons as a consultant during the offseason, causing some to wonder whether some of the bigger fish on his huge client list may be tempted to follow him to Detroit, so far though, no dice. There was of course the rumor that Stan Van Gundy & Co contacted the Nets about the seven-time All Star prior to the deadline, reportedly offering Brandon Jennings and other expiring deals, but Nets Daily was quick to shoot it down -- as was DBB.
With a busy offseason that saw the team bolster both positions Johnson plays, there isn't a gaping need for the Pistons to pursue an aging wing. That isn't to say that Joe is washed up, the veteran continues to be productive for the Nets and averaged 14.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in 34.9 minutes (80 games, all starts) last season. The Pistons of course, had Kentavious Caldwell-Pope shoulder the brunt of the minutes at shooting guard, with the trio of Kyle Singler, Tayshaun Prince and Caron Butler all logging major minutes at the 3. Detroit has reloaded its' arsenal over the summer, though, and it really is tough to see how a Joe Johnson trade fits into the grand scheme of things, unless Van Gundy feels the need for some -- expensive -- playoff experience.
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