Blake Griffin out of lineup as Pistons pursue trade, other options for six-time All-Star veteran

It appears as though Blake Griffin has played his last game as a member of the Detroit Pistons. Both Griffin and the team agreed that the veteran forward will be held out of Detroit’s lineup while the two sides figure out his future, according to Pistons general manager Troy Weaver, via ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. While Griffin is benched, the Pistons will pursue trade options for the six-time All-Star. Ultimately, a buyout could become a possibility if no viable trade options are identified. 

“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,” Weaver said of the situation. “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.”    

At this point in his career, Griffin, 31, would probably like the opportunity to compete for a championship, while the rebuilding Pistons could potentially recoup some value for a player that clearly isn’t in their long-term plans. “I am grateful to the Pistons for understanding what I want to accomplish in my career and for working together on the best path forward,” Griffin said in a statement. 

For the Pistons, finding a trade partner for Griffin may be easier said than done for a couple of reasons. First, Griffin is clearly not the player he once was at this point in his career. He’s averaging a career low 12.3 points per game while shooting just 36 percent from the floor, and he’s also pulling in just 5.2 rebounds per performance. Griffin was once an athletic high flyer, but now he’s been largely relegated to the role of floor spacer, as over half of his field-goal attempts per game this season have come from beyond the arc. 

Additionally, he’s still owed a whole lot of money. Griffin is making $36.5 million this season, and he has a player option worth nearly $39 million for the 2021-22 season that he’s very likely to pick up. That’s a pretty steep price to play for a player who is clearly in decline. However, if he’s ultimately bought out by the Pistons, he could quickly become a hot commodity on the open market, especially among contenders looking to bolster their bench for a postseason push. 

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