The news comes to us from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
ESPN story on Blake Griffin and Pistons agreeing that he will be out of the lineup until the franchise and his reps can work through a resolution on his playing future: https://t.co/EHsnV9sED8— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 15, 2021
Soooo.... wow. Yeah.
Detroit Pistons General Manager Troy Weaver is quoted in the piece:
“After extensive conversation with Blake’s representatives, it has been determined that we will begin working to facilitate a resolution regarding his future with the team that maximizes the interests of both parties,” Weaver told ESPN on Monday. “We respect all the effort Blake has put forth in Detroit and his career and will work to achieve a positive outcome for all involved.”
This is a sudden end to Blake’s tenure with the Detroit Pistons, but this is not a total surprise if you were paying attention. Blake talked openly to the New York Times about how the last thing he wanted to do with his career was win at the highest level, and it only takes a quick look at the NBA’s standings to acknowledge this was not going to happen in Detroit. From the tenor of the report, things are going amicably; Blake is happy to try to win, and the Pistons are doing what they can to accommodate him.
The remaining options left for Blake are the Pistons facilitating a trade, or taking a buyout to leave Detroit. A trade seems... difficult to pull off. Not many teams have the ability to match Blake’s $37 million salary, and the decrease in Blake’s effectiveness makes it difficult to imagine another NBA team wanting him at that price range. Griffin, who is averaging 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists for Detroit this season, has perhaps some intrigue around the league in a reduced, offense-orientated role - but is he worth paying a combined $76 million dollars over two years for that role? It seems unlikely.
That leaves a buyout. That is much simpler - it’s just Tom Gores writing a check - and enables Blake to choose his destination (of the limited options he may have available to him).
(Edit: A Buyout is, uh, less simple than I thought:)
Even if Griffin elects to give back let’s say $10M, Detroit would take on a massive cap hit of $32.7M in 2021-22.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) February 15, 2021
A buyout should be off the table unless Griffin is willing to give back at least half of what he is owed. https://t.co/L3sHutarRY
Blake will always hold a special place in Pistons’ fans hearts. He didn’t want to come here, but he fully embraced the city and the team, carrying the Pistons to the playoffs in 2018-19, and earning All-NBA honors. He was a much-needed leader for that team, someone who had played basketball at an extremely high level, had tasted playoff success, and could impart that knowledge onto his peers - and still be the best player on the floor most nights.
That was two years ago, though, and the Pistons are under new management and going in a different direction since then.
We’ll keep you in the loop with any more news that comes out on this front.