Griffin has not played since Dec. 28 due to a knee injury, and per ESPN's Tim Bontemps, he underwent arthroscopic surgery this week. There is no timetable for his return.
With the Pistons applying for a DPE, it suggests Detroit does not expect Griffin to play again this season.
If it is deemed likely that a player will miss the remainder of the season, the NBA can grant a team a DPE, which is usually for half of the player's salary prorated for the rest of the campaign.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported this week that Griffin was weighing his options, including season-ending surgery, and the arthroscopic procedure could end up being precisely that.
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Provided the Pistons are awarded the DPE, it would allow them to use that money to sign a free agent to a one-year contract, trade for a player with one year remaining on his contract or claim a player off waivers who has one year remaining on his contract.
Since the Pistons are currently 14-25 and probably more likely to sell than buy, it is possible that they wouldn't even use the DPE. Having it would give them more flexibility if needed, however.
Griffin missed the start of the season due to offseason knee surgery, and with the issues flaring up again, he has appeared in just 18 games this season.
In 2018-19, Griffin enjoyed a career year that saw him average 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists en route to his sixth All-Star nod. He also helped push the Pistons into the playoffs.
He clearly hasn't been the same player this season, though, with averages of 15.5 points, 4.7 assists and 3.3 assists, which is the worst production of his career thus far.
With Griffin injured and the Pistons reportedly holding trade talks focused on All-Star center Andre Drummond, who can become a free agent at the end of the season if he opts out, they may be looking ahead to the future.
If someone becomes available who could help them for the remainder of this season, however, the DPE would come in handy.