Blake Griffin Trade Rumors: Pistons Have Tried to Deal PF for Months, No Takers

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2021

Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (23) against the Phoenix Suns during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Matt York/Associated Press

The Detroit Pistons have reportedly been trying to trade forward Blake Griffin for months, but have been unable to find a partner thus far.

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype spoke to seven NBA executives about Griffin's situation, and an anonymous Western Conference exec said there hasn't been a taker due in part to the fact that there are certain teams Griffin prefers to play for.

That exec said there is a "non-zero" chance of a buyout, while an Eastern Conference executive expressed their belief that a buyout is the most likely endgame.

Pistons general manager Troy Weaver told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Monday that the team and Griffin have mutually agreed for him to sit until they come to a resolution on his future.

The 31-year-old Griffin is a six-time All-Star, but the past two seasons in Detroit have been the worst of his NBA career.

Griffin was an All-Star in each of his first five seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers and was viewed as one of the NBA's most exciting players. He was also one of the most productive players in the league, averaging at least 20 points per game in six of his seven seasons in L.A.

That form carried over to Griffin's first full season in Detroit in 2018-19, as he enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career.

Griffin was named an All-Star that season by virtue of his career-high 24.5 points and 2.5 three-pointers made per game to go along with 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists.

For the first several seasons of Griffin's career, he was a fairly one-dimensional player who primarily worked in the paint on offense and thrived on scoring close to the basket. Since the 2017-18 season, however, he has expanded his range significantly.

After 2018-19, though, injuries derailed his progress in a big way last season. Griffin was limited to just 18 games with a knee ailment, and his per-game averages plummeted to 15.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 trifectas.

Things haven't really gotten better for Griffin this season, as he is averaging a career-low 12.3 points per game to go along with 5.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.0 threes in 20 contests.

The Pistons own the worst record in the Eastern Conference at 8-19, and since a full rebuild appears to be their best course of action right now, there is little reason for them to keep Griffin.

Griffin could be a significant asset to a contending team if he can stay healthy and recapture some of the magic from two seasons ago, but his contract is a potential issue.

Per Spotrac, he is making $36.5 million this season and has a player option for next season at just under $39 million. If a team trades for Griffin, it would risk taking on a huge financial commitment for next season.

Detroit's best option to move on from Griffin at this point may be a buyout. It is far from ideal since it would be a costly endeavor, but giving Griffin a chance to play for a contender would be a respectable move on the Pistons' part.