Goodbye, Blake: Pistons agree to buyout with Griffin

Blake Griffin
Posted at 12:10 PM, Mar 05, 2021

(WXYZ) -- Blake Griffin's days in Detroit are done.

The Pistons agreed to a buyout with the forward, the team announced Friday.

“Blake has been a great representative for our franchise and for the city of Detroit,” Pistons owner Tom Gores said in a release. “His work ethic and his approach to the game contributed a lot to our culture. He has been a consummate pro and we wish him continued success. I’m grateful for everything he did for our team and for our community.”

Griffin had not appeared in uniform since February 12.

“I thank the Pistons organization for working together on an outcome that benefits all involved and I wish the franchise success in the future,” Griffin said in a release.

Both sides agreed weeks ago that Griffin would sit out as the team eyed a trade partner or reached a buyout agreement. He was making $36.8 million this season and his player option next season was worth $38.9 million.

Griffin will give back $13.3 million as part of the buyout, according to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Charania's report adds that Griffin is expected to clear waivers on Sunday and the Brooklyn Nets are the favorite to sign the six-time All-Star.

“As we stated from the beginning of our discussions with Blake and his representatives, our goal has been to facilitate a resolution for the future that maximizes the interests of both Blake and our team,” Pistons general manager Troy Weaver said. “We appreciate all of Blake’s efforts on and off the court in Detroit, have great respect for him as a player and a person and we wish him all the best in the future.”

Griffin, who turns 32 later this month, came to Detroit in a trade during the 2017-18 season. The question now is how valuable he might be to a contending team. He had a terrific 2018-19 season for the Pistons, helping them to the playoffs, but his health has been a concern in Detroit, just as it had been when he was with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Griffin has averaged 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists in the 20 games he’s played this season. ESPN first reported the buyout agreement.

“Blake’s NBA resume speaks for itself,” Pistons head coach Dwane Casey said. “He’s a player I’ve respected for many years from afar and it was great to have the opportunity to coach him here in Detroit. Contending teams will love to have a guy like him in their program, which is an opportunity he deserves at this point of his career, and we wish him the best.”

Detroit is just 10-26 this season and had three first-round picks in last year’s draft. A couple of them — Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey — have shown some promise. The Pistons also acquired Jerami Grant in the offseason, and he’s averaging 23.4 points per game.

All of that means it makes sense for the Pistons to move on without Griffin. Detroit traded big man Andre Drummond around this time last year, and the team’s offseason reshuffling left Griffin as one of the few holdovers.

If healthy, Griffin can offer size, versatility and veteran leadership to a contender. He was traded to the Pistons just seven months after signing a $171 million, five-year contract to stay with the Clippers. A couple seasons ago, he averaged a career-high 24.5 points — but even in that 2018-19 campaign, Detroit was swept in the first round of the playoffs, and the team wasn’t able to build on that.

Once one of the league’s most exciting dunkers, Griffin’s game produces fewer highlights now, but he’s become a serviceable threat from 3-point range and can help a team in a number of ways. His injury problems might be less of an issue if there isn’t as much pressure on him to play heavy minutes.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.