Blake Griffin is forfeiting $13.3 million in an agreement with the Detroit Pistons that will see the team waive the forward, making him an unrestricted free agent.
The news comes from Shams Charania of The Athletic, who notes that the Brooklyn Nets are the most likely landing spot Griffin looks for a new home.
Griffin has a player option for $38.9 million next season and that option is automatically picked up when a player is waived. There is no official disclosure on how the buyout is spread, but the presumption would be it is applied to the 2021-22 option year to create the most cap space for the Pistons.
That leaves a total cap hit of $25.6 million in the next league year. James Edwards of The Athletic reports that the Pistons do not plan to stretch the money and will instead take the full cap hit in 2021-2022. This allows for great cap flexibility in subsequent years when the team is actually planning on being good.
Per sources, the #Pistons will not stretch the money owed to Blake Griffin, will eat this year and next. Detroit is in rebuild mode and has three draft picks as of now in 2021.— James Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) March 5, 2021
If Detroit did use the stretch provision, that would be $8.5 million in dead cap space allotted to Griffin. The Pistons already have $3.9 million in dead money on the books next season after stretching Dewayne Dedmon and Zhaire Smith earlier this season.
Before the buyout, the Pistons slotted to be slightly over the cap and some quick back-of-the-envelop math would put them at roughly $10 million under the salary cap if Griffin is stretched. In other words, such a small amount of money that it doesn’t make much sense for the Pistons to stretch his deal.
The Pistons released official statements from all involved in the move.
“Blake has been a great representative for our franchise and for the city of Detroit,” said Pistons Owner Tom Gores. “His work ethic and his approach to the game contributed a lot to our culture. He has been a consummate pro and we wish him continued success. I’m grateful for everything he did for our team and for our community.”
“As we stated from the beginning of our discussions with Blake and his representatives, our goal has been to facilitate a resolution for the future that maximizes the interests of both Blake and our team,” said Troy Weaver, General Manager for the Detroit Pistons. “We appreciate all of Blake’s efforts on and off the court in Detroit, have great respect for him as a player and a person and we wish him all the best in the future.”
“Blake’s NBA resume speaks for itself,” said Detroit Pistons Head Coach Dwane Casey. “He’s a player I’ve respected for many years from afar and it was great to have the opportunity to coach him here in Detroit. Contending teams will love to have a guy like him in their program, which is an opportunity he deserves at this point of his career, and we wish him the best.
“I thank the Pistons organization for working together on an outcome that benefits all involved and I wish the franchise success in the future,” said Griffin.