During the 2018-19 season, Blake Griffin put up superstar numbers for the Detroit Pistons and reminded everyone he’s still one of the NBA’s best players when healthy.
Unfortunately, Griffin risked his long-term career for the Pistons by playing in the 2019 playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks, and his body hasn’t recovered since.
Blake Griffin’s left knee failed him in the 2019 playoffs
Blake Griffin was a monster for the Pistons in 2018-19. He averaged 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 5.4 assists while shooting 46.2% from the field and 36.2% from beyond the arc. The former LA Clippers star guided the Pistons to the playoffs and made the All-NBA third team.
The Pistons faced the Bucks in the first round of the 2019 playoffs. Griffin missed the first two games of the series because of “left knee soreness.” The high-flyer played in Games 3 and 4 against the Bucks, but he could barely move. It was evident that Griffin wasn’t even close to 100%.
After the Bucks swept the Pistons, Griffin underwent left knee surgery. He missed the first 10 games of the 2019-20 season and returned on Nov. 11 against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The former No. 1 overall pick scored 19 points in 23 minutes versus the Timberwolves and looked pretty good.
However, Griffin only appeared in 18 games before undergoing another left knee surgery. He finished the 2019-20 season with averages of 15.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists.
The Pistons were hopeful that Blake Griffin would be good again this season since he had a long offseason to rest and train. The six-time NBA All-Star, though, can barely get up and down the court, as Father Time has hit Griffin hard, so much so that the Pistons are ready to move on from him.
Blake Griffin will get traded or bought out soon
Blake Griffin won’t play for the Pistons again, as the franchise will either trade or buy him out. Detroit is rebuilding and has no intention of keeping a veteran like Griffin around when younger guys have to play more minutes.
“After extensive conversation with Blake’s representatives, it has been determined that we will begin working to facilitate a resolution regarding his future with the team that maximizes the interests of both parties,” Pistons general manager Troy Weaver told ESPN on Monday. “We respect all the effort Blake has put forth in Detroit and his career and will work to achieve a positive outcome for all involved.”
The Pistons are doing themselves and Griffin a favor. The former NBA All-Star isn’t good at basketball anymore, and Detroit is ready for Griffin to be someone else’s problem.
Detroit will be lucky to find a trade partner for Blake Griffin, who is owed a remaining $36.6 million this season and $39 million in 2021-22. The Oklahoma native will finish his Pistons career with averages of 20.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.0 assists in 138 games.
Who will the former Slam Dunk champion play for next?
It will be fascinating to see where Blake Griffin lands after his situation with the Pistons gets resolved. Griffin will become an unrestricted free agent and be free to sign with any team of his choice if he gets bought out.
Thus far, Griffin has been linked to the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics since both teams need rebounding help. Griffin wants to play in meaningful games again.
Most pundits knew the former Rookie of the Year wouldn’t finish the 2020-21 season in Detroit, but the fact that the Pistons are talking a possible buyout means the franchise knows Griffin isn’t a productive player anymore. If he were, Detroit would do everything it could to get something in return for Griffin.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.