NBA Rumor: Blake Griffin Trade?

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In an intriguing piece of detail in this offseason, Zach Lowe of ESPN, divulged that the Detroit Pistons approached the Washington Wizards for a possible trade involving Blake Griffin and John Wall. Via Zach Lowe of ESPN: “The Pistons in recent weeks made an exploratory call to the Washington Wizards about a potential swap of Blake Griffin for John Wall, sources said, but Detroit’s real level of interest in that deal is unclear; they value Griffin, and the conversation led nowhere, sources said.”

I’m told Golden State would prefer to add a veteran rotation player and move back in the lottery in exchange for this pick, with Andrew Wiggins and his massive salary a candidate to move elsewhere to make money work. They are certainly comfortable picking further down based on the players they’ve worked out. The most logical trade partners here are San Antonio and Detroit: Both can use a long-term center in Wiseman, have lottery picks to send back, and can offer All-Star-caliber bigs (albeit aging ones) in LaMarcus Aldridge or Blake Griffin, respectively.

Lowe had this to say on his podcast: “Enough people have asked me what I’ve heard about Blake Griffin and how he’s looking, that I think Detroit is gonna have a market for him. I don’t think it’s gonna be strong, but I think there is still interest in what he can do to help you win.” I also have heard a little noise about Griffin’s health and availability. Now, I don’t get the sense the Pistons are eager to trade him just to trade him. From all accounts, the knee injury that forced him to miss most of last season has healed and he’s feeling fine. The last time we saw Griffin with two working knees, he was All-NBA and one of the league’s 20 best players. The Pistons don’t want to be a doormat, and they appear to be confident he still has good basketball left in him, with only two years left on his deal.

I also have heard a little noise about Griffin’s health and availability. Now, I don’t get the sense the Pistons are eager to trade him just to trade him. From all accounts, the knee injury that forced him to miss most of last season has healed and he’s feeling fine. The last time we saw Griffin with two working knees, he was All-NBA and one of the league’s 20 best players. The Pistons don’t want to be a doormat, and they appear to be confident he still has good basketball left in him, with only two years left on his deal.

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.”

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January 23, 2021 | 6:16 am EST Update
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