Detroit Pistons to sit out Blake Griffin as his future with the team in limbo
The Blake Griffin era in Detroit is drawing to a close.
The Pistons plan to keep Griffin out of the lineup until they can figure out his future with the team.
This likely opens the door to a buyout or trade for a competing team, or a mutually beneficial arrangement, so the Pistons can continue their rebuilding and free up more game time for their young players.
“After extensive discussions with Blake’s representatives, it was determined that we will begin with the team to find a solution for its future that maximizes the interests of both parties,” said Troy Weaver, general manager of Pistons, in a team statement. “We respect all of the efforts Blake has made in Detroit and his career and will work to achieve a positive outcome for everyone involved.”
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The 31-year-old Griffin is in his fourth season with the Pistons and has not reached his usual level after undergoing knee surgery this off-season. Griffin has 12.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in 20 games this season – all of them career lows.
He has been on the starting line-up all season and with a possible move to a competitor he could close the remainder of his contract which is $ 36.6 million this season and a $ 39 million player option next year.
“I am grateful to the Pistons for understanding what I want to achieve in my career and that they are working together on the best way forward,” Griffin said in a statement.
Griffin, a six-time All-Star, had his best season with the Pistons in 2018-19 with 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists and a 36% shot on 3-pointers. He diversified his game to become an intermediary and was just as effective within the arc and with the ball as he was on the post.
Trying to move in a new direction seems like the best way forward for both sides.
While rebuilding the Pistons, they tried to strike a balance between playing veterans and finding game time for their young core. This included using the skilled leadership of Griffin and Derrick Rose to groom the young players and adapt them to the NBA.
The Pistons traded Rose for the New York Knicks this month and deciding on Griffin’s future appears to be the next step in their transition to the young players taking the reins.
Griffin led the Pistons to the playoffs that season, but knee problems kept him out for a few games towards the end of the season, including the first two games of the series against the Milwaukee Bucks. He had surgery after that season and returned last year but didn’t have the same production.
Griffin only played 18 games last season before turning things off and undergoing another knee surgery. He and the Pistons were hoping he would return 100% this season, but that didn’t happen.
This is a developing story. Contact detroitnews.com for more updates.