When you talk about Blake Griffin, you always have to reminisce on those early 2010s when the #1 pick from Oklahoma was blowing up the NBA’s highlight tapes with his thunderous dunks and posters. Many experts thought he had the potential to be the face of the league for the foreseeable future because of the LA spotlight mixed with his charismatic star power and talent, enabling him to give fans amazing plays night in and night out.
Who could have guessed that in 2021, that same player will not be wanted on a team? The Detroit Pistons announced that they will sit Blake Griffin out until they find a suitable trade or buyout partner. A move that didn’t surprise many people, as the Detroit Pistons are looking to move forward and rebuild their team around their young core. This way, players like Saddiq Bey and Sekou Doumbouya, prospects that showed some flashes of potential, will get more playing time.
So, where does that leave Blake? It’s hard to imagine that this guy was an All-NBA player just two years ago. He is still a player that can contribute in this league, but the biggest obstacle in the way is his max salary. He isn’t the shade of the player he was when he got that max contract, as he still has 78$ million on the table left to be paid. That is a tremendous amount of money for a guy that will not be a top player on your team.
It would be ideal for the Pistons to trade him, but it a very tough scenario to picture because the other side would have to give up to many assets to make the number work financially. If you are a contending team, you don’t want to give up too much for a guy that will be most possibly a piece from the bench—that’s why the buyout market seems far more realistic.
If the Pistons and Blake can agree to a certain amount that satisfies both sides, he could go to the free-agent market and be picked up by a contending team for basically pennies. That could be an excellent deal for teams looking to deepen their roster. There have been numerous teams interested if this scenario unfolds, as the more notable ones have been the Celtics, the Blazers, the Warriors, and even the Lakers.
The key for that is Blake deciding between getting more money or playing for a championship. If you want to look for a successful example of this type of move, just look at Nicolas Batum. He was underperforming for too much money in Charlotte, but now he has found a perfect role in the background for the Clippers as he has grown older and bought into the right role for him.
The only question remains what Blake can do for a contending team now on the floor regarding his role. He has changed dramatically as a player, proven by the fact he hasn’t had a dunk yet this season. He added a three-point shoot a few years ago, but that has declined hard, as he is shooting just 31.5% this year from deep. Overall, his numbers have never been worse, averaging 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game while shooting only 36.5% from the floor.
In conclusion, Blake is only 31 years old, and he can still rejuvenate his career if put into the right situation. He obviously doesn’t have the lift he used to have, as it negatively impacted his athleticism and shooting. However, he still has a good low post-game and playmaking ability that could make him a very good starter or bench player on a lot of teams. I hope things work out for him.