NBA Rumor: Blake Griffin Free Agency

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Nets sign Blake Griffin

The Brooklyn Nets have signed free agent forward Blake Griffin. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released. “We’re fortunate to be able to add a player of Blake’s caliber to our roster at this point in the season,” said Nets General Manager Sean Marks. “Blake is a versatile frontcourt player with a long track record of success in our league, and we’re excited about the impact he’ll make for us both on and off the court in Brooklyn.”

James Harden on Blake Griffin: 'I'm sure he wants to win'

With Blake Griffin committing to the Nets on a minimum deal (Sean Marks has done it again!) after a buyout with the Detroit Pistons, the pair of Brooklyn superstars were naturally asked about the big news. James Harden gave a brief synopsis of what to expect. “I’m sure he wants to win. If he’s passed up more money to obviously stay in Detroit, he wants to win and he wants to have an opportunity to play meaningful minutes, and I’m assuming that’s one of the reasons why he came,” said Harden. “Obviously, we know the athletic and high-jumping Blake. But as of these last couple of years, he’s knocking down the three-ball a little bit better, the ball-handling is a lot better. He can be a great contribution to this team.”

Bobby Marks: With Blake Griffin clearing waivers at 5PM ET. on Sunday, below is what team has available in money to offer: 🏀BKN (open roster spot): $5.34M Tax ML (up to 3 years), $5.7M Disabled Player Exception (1 year), Vet minimum (up to 2 years). 🏀GSW (no open roster spot): $9.25M Disabled Player Exception (1 year), $3.25M Tax ML (up to 3 years), Vet minimum (up to 2 years). 🏀POR (open roster spot): $3.4M Biannual (up to 2 years), Vet minimum (up to 2 years). 🏀MIA (no open roster spot): $3.4M Biannual (up to 2 years), $4.7M Disabled (1 year), Vet minimum (up to 2 years). 🏀LAL (open roster spot): Vet minimum (up to 2 years).

The analytics behind why contenders are interested in free agent Blake Griffin

On the campaign, Griffin’s numbers in 2020-21 have been modest, to say the least: 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists per contest on paltry shooting splits of 36.5/31.5/71.0 over 20 games. The catch-all analytics paint a similarly grim picture, as Griffin ranks 362nd in Value Over Replacement Player (-0.1) this season, 309th in Box Plus/Minus (-2.6) and 381st in Win Shares per 48 Minutes (0.026), almost unfathomable marks considering Griffin was an All-Star putting up almost 25 points nightly just two seasons ago. And yet, big teams are still going to come hard after Griffin’s services. The question is: Why?

That answer could have partly to do with Griffin’s point-per-possession marks, which aren’t quite as ugly as his other marks in 2020-21. Taking a look at Synergy Sports, we can see Griffin is still an ‘excellent’ point producer as a pick-and-roll ball-handler and a ‘very good’ scorer in transition and as the roll man in pick-and-roll sets. That type of versatile scoring is hard to find, particularly players who can produce as both the creator and finisher in all-important pick-and-roll sets, so crucial in the modern NBA.

Griffin’s most effective play type this season by far has been as the pick-and-roll ball-handler, unique for a traditional power forward. Out of those sets, Griffin has posted 38 possessions and produced 43 points, good for a 1.132 point-per-possession (PPP) mark, which places him in the 93rd percentile league-wide, per Synergy, in what’s considered the ‘excellent’ range. The minimal sample size needs to be taken into account, but just for fun, let’s look at what top forwards are posting in the same pick-and-roll ball-handler play type this season, according to Synergy: First-time All-Star Zion Williamson is right behind Griffin in PPP at 1.108, Kevin Durant is even further behind at 1.011 PPP while LeBron James is at 0.917 PPP on that play type this season.

When Griffin entered the N.B.A., star players weren’t as likely to switch teams through free agency or to demand trades as they are today. Now the environment has shifted, but Griffin, who can opt out of his contract after this season, insisted he is happy with the Pistons, despite their uncertain championship prospects. Griffin said that the organization has been “nothing but unbelievable” and “very supportive.” He demurred when asked about the possibility of free agency. “It’s not a decision that I have to make in the immediate future,” Griffin said. “And I know, I’m sorry, I’m just kind of running around that question, but it’s just true. Things can change.”

They were sitting in a meeting on the eve of free agency, when one of the NBA’s icons captured the room for Blake Griffin. With owner Steve Ballmer, coach Doc Rivers and Los Angeles Clippers teammates, Jerry West captivated Griffin, who made clear his desire to return. West had been hired as a special consultant with the Clippers, and the first task he had embraced was persuading Griffin to re-sign with Los Angeles. For all of the voices in the final meeting before midnight, West’s resonated, and Blake returned.

The Boston Celtics have had a tricky time nailing down a meeting with free agent Blake Griffin because of clashing priorities, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. The source told MassLive.com Friday afternoon that Griffin is said to prefer exploring his options early in the free agency period. That has made things difficult with the Celtics, who have other priorities, like the pursuit of Gordon Hayward and potentially a trade for Paul George.

While Griffin is on the short list of the league’s most coveted free agents, with Phoenix, Miami, and Boston among the known suitors and a plan in place to start meeting teams in Los Angeles on Saturday, the Clippers executive vice president of basketball operations made it clear that keeping him is their top priority. “We wanted them both back,” Frank told USA TODAY Sports of Paul and Griffin in a visit on the NBA A to Z podcast on Thursday. “Chris decided to leave, so that doesn’t change (how they view Griffin). For Blake, Blake’s in a very, very unique situation in that Blake was the first pick of the Clippers (in 2009).

Free agent forwards Blake Griffin and Paul Millsap will meet with the Phoenix Suns after the NBA free agency moratorium period begins Saturday, reports John Gambadoro of 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station. Gambadoro reports the 28-year-old Griffin will meet with Phoenix this weekend. An unrestricted free agent, Griffin could be more likely to find a new home after the Los Angeles Clippers dealt All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets this week.

Asked Sunday on “Pardon My Take” for his four favorite NBA cities, Griffin listed (in descending order): New York, Phoenix, Toronto, and Boston. The latter is easily the most intriguing, as the Celtics are rumored to covet the five-time All-Star and reportedly plan to pursue him in free agency. The 28-year-old big man didn’t elaborate on his Beantown pick, but when one of the podcast hosts referred to the city’s racist history, Griffin, who’s half black, replied: “Definitely half of me loves it.”

Celtics in on Blake Griffin?

On a podcast published Wednesday, Wojnarowski broke down the Clippers’ complicated situation, which includes the free agency of three starters, Griffin, Chris Paul and J.J. Redick. While doing so, the great reporter suggested the Celtics have a realistic chance to pry Griffin away. “Blake Griffin, and I think the Clippers may think this too, and certainly some other teams, Boston is really the danger for Blake Griffin,” Wojnarowski said. “I think Boston’s two primary free-agent targets right now are Gordon Hayward and Blake Griffin. Now they’re not going to get both of them, but they’re both players who would potentially have interest there, and who Boston I think looks at in different ways with their future.

“So the one thing to know about Blake Griffin, he was (in Boston) when Paul Pierce came in with the Clippers for his last game in Boston, Blake was obviously there with the team. He saw how Boston reacted to Paul Pierce and what it means to have been a great player in Boston. Now, Blake doesn’t have enough left in his career to be beloved and be the all-time Celtic that Paul Pierce was, but it does give you a sense – and I know it gave Blake a sense, it did not go unnoticed with him – about how that building and that city and the way they loved Paul. And I’m sure Paul being around the last couple years with him, I’m sure they discussed it.

At least one NBA veteran sees the Miami Heat as a potential Plan B in free agency when it comes to Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin. The question therefore could become whether Pat Riley again allows his team to be put on hold, as was the case last summer with the failed pursuit of Kevin Durant, who instead can be found in this week’s NBA Finals with the Golden State Warriors. Although he ultimately expects his former teammate to sign back with the Clippers, Phoenix Suns forward Jared Dudley said if Griffin does decide to head elsewhere that the Heat could be the best alternative. “Miami,” Dudley said on an ESPN podcast, “is the only case scenario to be able to do if you say, ‘Hey, you know what, I want to be the man of the team.’ “
4 years ago via ESPN

Griffin’s return is less certain, sources say. This summer is his first foray into unrestricted free agency. Given his snakebitten tenure with the team and the possibility of another early exit, the prospect of exploring what’s out there will be alluring. One premise volunteered in good humor suggests that Paul is more likely to take a slew of meetings in a public process but ultimately re-sign with the Clippers, while Griffin is more likely to mull the decision privately under the guise of night, but announce he’ll be playing elsewhere in 2017-18.
4 years ago via ESPN

THE CLIPPERS FACE A RECKONING this summer when Paul, Griffin and Redick enter free agency. Ballmer says the Clippers don’t have any interest at present of blowing it up. “I love those guys, and I want those guys back,” Ballmer says, adding that he’s amenable to swallowing a large luxury-tax bill, which would come due with new contracts for his players. “If we’re in it and we’re playing for a championship, I don’t mind the tax,” Ballmer says.

Griffin is out for the playoffs with a toe injury. “Griffin is still a significant part of the Clippers’ future. Management remains committed to signing him to a long-term deal this summer, league sources tell me,” said Adrian Wojnarowski in a video essay. “In a lot of ways, Griffin has been most loyal to the Clippers’ brand. He has never had wanderlust, never floated ideas about leaving town. Truth be told, he’s accommodated Paul in every way. Broadened his own game, grown as a leader and taken a lot of unfair finger pointing and blame once the All-Star point guard became the face of the franchise.”

The 31-year-old Paul and the 28-year-old Griffin will be seeking maximum-salary contracts, deals that would respectively start at approximately $35 million and $30 million annually. Redick, the 32-year-old who was recruited by Rivers not long after he arrived from the Boston Celtics in the summer of 2013, is sure to land a massive payday as well. Working projections peg the total at approximately $196 million in all, with $140 million in salaries and $56 million in luxury tax (and Redick, in that scenario, having a starting salary of approximately $18 million).

You guys have done a great job of not letting free agency become a distraction. With some teams, having one star approaching free agency can lead to a circus. This team has two, with you and Chris Paul both free agents this summer. With that said, it hasn’t seemed to be an issue or distraction. How have you maintained that? Blake Griffin: Honestly, our focus has just been on the season. And I know everyone uses that go-to answer, but it’s true. I can’t worry about a decision that I can’t make right now. We still have so much basketball left to play. The playoffs are about to start and this literally what we spent all last summer, the preseason and the regular season preparing for. We were preparing for this. To be focused on something else would be a travesty to the rest of my team, to my coaching staff, to our fans, to everybody. Those decisions and whatever happens in the summer will be there in the summer.
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