Discover more from The Detroit Deep Dish with Josh Henschke
Blake Griffin deserves better than his current situation in Detroit
To no fault of his own, Blake Griffin should not be a marquee player on a rebuilding franchise.
Blake Griffin didn’t ask to be traded to the Detroit Pistons from the Los Angeles Clippers. He also didn’t ask to be the marquee player of a franchise in the midst of a complete facelift.
That wasn’t the case once he arrived with Stan Van Gundy. He was meant to be the superstar player a floundering Eastern Conference franchise needed to break the playoff drought. While his addition has done just that, the Pistons as they were constructed at the time would have done but make a brief appearance in the playoffs and depart.
It did just that.
Now, intentions by the Pistons franchise under new general manager Troy Weaver is clear: Acquire young talent and as much draft capital as possible to build the organization from the bottom up.
While Griffin’s contract has two years remaining, with next year being a player option, now is the perfect time to repay Griffin’s flexibility with a chance to play for a contender.
A $36 million obligation is a tough ask for a 31-year-old forward who has had difficulties staying healthy over the past few seasons. However, he could certainly become a piece for a team with established stars on it already.
The Pistons won’t simply be able to dump Griffin for draft picks and wash their hands completely, contract numbers in return will have to work out.
There’s nothing wrong with examining your options if you’re Weaver, seeing what kind of landscape the Griffin trade market would hold, emphasize the draft and get some expiring contracts in return.
For a franchise looking for some flexibility, an extra $36 million coming off the books and draft capital could be just what the doctor ordered. Plus, Griffin can decide next season whether returning to said competing team is worth it or risk testing the open market in free agency.
At 5-16, the Pistons are destined for a draft lottery selection. A player that could still contribute, Griffin’s skill set isn’t suitable for a basement-dwelling franchise. Not at his salary.
Sending him to a winner is the least the Pistons could do to mark the end of an unfortunate era in Detroit.