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NBA Rumors: Blake Griffin Will Interest Lakers, Bulls, Heat in Free Agency, Exec Says

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJune 29, 2022

Justin Ford/Getty Images

Multiple teams are reportedly expected to have interest in veteran forward Blake Griffin in free agency.

According to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com, an anonymous Eastern Conference executive named the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics as teams that may be "in the mix" for Griffin.

After starting for most of his career with the Los Angeles Clippers and Detroit Pistons and earning six All-Star selections, Griffin primarily came off the bench for the Brooklyn Nets last season.

In a reduced role, Griffin put up the worst numbers of his career last season by a significant margin, averaging just 6.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 17.1 minutes per game while shooting 42.5 percent from the field and 26.2 percent from beyond the arc in 56 appearances.

Griffin also made just 24 starts last season after coming off the bench 16 times in his first 11 NBA campaigns.

The 33-year-old has been slipping in recent years in terms of being a top scoring option, as he averaged just 11.0 points per game in 2020-21 split between the Nets and Pistons, and only 15.5 points in 18 games for Detroit in 2019-20.

Before that, Griffin had averaged at least 20.0 points per game in eight of his first nine NBA seasons.

The 2009 No. 1 overall draft pick was especially productive in parts of eight seasons with the Clips, averaging 21.6 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game while earning five of his six All-Star nods and winning the 2011 NBA Rookie of the Year award.

While the team that signs Griffin won't get the 20-and-10 guy he was earlier in his career, it will get a player with 724 games of NBA experience and the ability to score in bunches when given ample playing time.

Any of the four teams mentioned by the Eastern Conference exec would benefit from Griffin as a player who can lend support to their core of star players.

The Celtics reached the NBA Finals last season before falling short against the Golden State Warriors, and the Heat made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, so Griffin could be one of the final pieces of the puzzle for either of them.

Meanwhile, the Bulls experienced a first-round playoff exit, and the Lakers didn't even reach the postseason after posting a disappointing 33-49 record due largely to LeBron James and Anthony Davis missing significant time with injuries.

Griffin does seem like a Lakers kind of signing given that they have many roster spots to fill around James, Davis and Russell Westbrook and tend to favor past stars who are long on experience.

As for the Bulls, they don't have a pure power forward, meaning Griffin would fill a need even if he doesn't start regularly.

The Heat and Celtics are already two of the deepest teams in the NBA, but Griffin would give them another quality option off the bench, although playing time may be sparse compared to if he signs with L.A. or Chicago.

It seems unlikely that Griffin will ever be an All-Star again, but he is a desirable player nonetheless and is capable of doing more than what he showed last season in Brooklyn.

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