Throughout his first nine seasons in the league, Detroit Pistons star forward Blake Griffin has established himself as one of the top talents. However, Griffin has been hindered by injuries that have limited his impact over the last several years. With another injury sidelining him to begin the year, three teams should take a stab at landing the All-Star forward.
3. Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers have become a constant in the playoffs over the last several years behind the play of their dynamic duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, who are one of the best backcourts in the league.
Portland is coming off its first trip to the Western Conference Finals in nearly two decades. Their shortcomings in the playoffs made it clear that the team is missing another offensive punch that would help them compete with the best teams in the league.
Griffin will immediately give them a strong presence in the frontcourt that could give them the balance in that regard that they haven’t had since the days of LaMarcus Aldridge. At the same time, a deal for Griffin would likely involve them moving on from a frontcourt player such as Hassan Whiteside’s attractive expiring $27.1 million salary for this season.
If the Trail Blazers can keep McCollum out of the deal, there should be no hesitance on their end.
2. Boston Celtics
The Celtics have done much moving around with their roster over the last few years, with general manager Danny Ainge showing no fear in taking risks if it means the franchise will compete for an NBA title.
Boston has acquired All-Star level talent over the years through both the trade market and free agency. The team looks to be headed toward competing for the playoffs, but their championship window looks to have taken a hit after losing Kyrie Irving and Al Horford over the offseason.
The team did land All-Star guard Kemba Walker, but the loss of Horford in the frontcourt has taken a hit to their lineup. Landing Griffin would give them a premier player that can hold his own offensively while potentially taking up the mantle as their leading scorer.
Any trade for Griffin would likely need to include sending away Gordon Hayward to match Griffin’s $34.2 million salary for the 2019-20
campaign. Hayward hasn’t been able to perform at a high level, which has unfortunately impacted by the devastating knee injury that he had in the season opener in his first season with the Celtics.
1. Miami Heat
If the Pistons were to explore the trade market for Griffin, there is currently no better spot for him to land than in Miami.
Following the signing of All-Star forward Jimmy Butler in the offseason, the Heat have had a clear need to add another star to pair alongside him. The chatter had initially been to get Chris Paul from the Oklahoma City Thunder, but Griffin could be a more feasible option.
Griffin and Butler could play off each other to be the anchors for the Heat’s future, which will put them as potential favorites to grab the Southeast division title. It’s still a bit of a way away from being a title contender, but Miami would be one of the more exciting teams to watch in the Eastern Conference.
The Heat have an intriguing trade piece with veteran guard Goran Dragic, who is in the final year of his deal worth roughly $19.2 million. The team also has other big salaries, such as Meyers Leonard’s expiring deal that pays $11.2 million this season along with James Johnson and Dion Waiters.
Miami has the type of contracts in place to get a deal done, and it may be a matter of time before this route is explored on both sides.