NBA Rumor: Blake Griffin Trade?

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Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose part of Pistons' future?

A fresh chapter in Detroit Pistons franchise history is set to be written next season, but new general manager Troy Weaver still sees veteran stars Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose as part of the “plans going forward.” Griffin, 31, is coming off left knee surgery after playing in just 18 games this season. “I’m excited about having the chance to work with Blake,” Weaver, a longtime Oklahoma City Thunder executive, said Monday at his introductory news conference. “Obviously, being in Oklahoma City for the last 12 years, I remember Blake quite well, playing at OU and his family being around there, being from Oklahoma City. So, I’m very familiar with Blake.

That puts Griffin, who has another guaranteed year left on his contract and a player option worth nearly $39 million in 2021-22, in an awkward position. He’s the franchise player, but is also 31, coming off of season-ending surgery and likely exiting his prime years. How does he fit into Detroit’s plans? “That’s up to the front office,” Griffin said in a video conference call Thursday. “Depends on what they want to do and how they want to go about it. At a certain time, at the right time, I’ll have those conversations.”

He appears to be at peace with the possibility of remaining in Detroit for the long haul. Griffin said as long as he’s here, he’ll do whatever the franchise asks. “If I’m on the Detroit Pistons, I’m doing everything I can to prepare to play for them and win games,” Griffin said. “That’s just how you’re wired to play as far as what we do in the offseason, what we’re going to do next year, that’s going to be up to them. Whenever the time is right, we’ll have that conversation.”

Griffin likely isn’t going anywhere if the Pistons continue to stay the course for the duration of his contract, which expires after 2021-22. If a rebuild is in the cards, though, one would imagine the Pistons try to move his money. According to one league source, Griffin’s value has dipped because of the injury to start the year, the contract and his age, but that source wouldn’t be surprised if a desperate team made a move for his services.

I took an informal poll of NBA scouts Thursday before the Pistons’ 93-89 victory over the trade-ravaged Dallas Mavericks: What is Griffin’s trade value? The poll of four scouts yielded varying results. At one end, an Eastern Conference scout didn’t express much interest in Griffin, saying his post-up game isn’t made for today’s game. A Western Conference scout disagreed vehemently. He said the Pistons could expect to land two first-round picks if they were to make Griffin available.

Chris Vernon: “I actually have some mutual friends with Blake Griffin and reached out to them last night. They told me he is intensely sad. He is just sad. It’s nine years there, they promised him the world in the offseason. They gave him $173 million. They raised his jersey up in the rafters and did the mock museum of his life and said ‘Clipper for Life’ and all this kind of stuff. And you’re less than six months down the road and he’s gone.”

As a result, additional Timberwolves players needed to make the trade work financially were not discussed, league sources told Basketball Insiders. Griffin makes $29.5 million and Towns only makes $6.2 million this season, which makes a one-for-one swap impossible due to the $23.3 million salary gap. At least two additional Timberwolves players would need to be included in a trade involving Griffin and Towns to make it work financially. The Clippers would’ve also needed to create another roster spot for the hypothetical incoming third Timberwolves player.
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