DETROIT – Blake Griffin will be out of the Detroit Pistons’ lineup until he and the team can come to an agreement about his playing future, according to ESPN.
The story was first reported by NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.
General Manager Troy Weaver is trying to explore trade options for Griffin, and the team is also considering a buyout, according to the story.
Griffin, 31, is the last big name on a Pistons roster that’s been fully rebuilt by Weaver in under a year at the helm. Earlier this month, Derrick Rose was traded to the New York Knicks for Dennis Smith Jr. and a second-round pick.
By keeping Griffin out of the lineup, the Pistons can continue to give minutes to younger players who will be part of the long-term future. Saddiq Bey is the most obvious beneficiary, as he has played increased minutes in Griffin’s absence due to some minor injuries.
Bey dropped 30 points on a perfect 7-of-7 performance from beyond the arc Friday in a win over the Boston Celtics. He also grabbed 12 rebounds.
On Sunday, Bey scored 16 points on 6-11 shooting and added four rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Griffin hasn’t been his usual superstar self in 2020-21, averaging a career-low 12.3 points per game with 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists while shooting 36.5% from the field.
When Griffin joined the Pistons midway through 2017-18, it was a controversial move due to his massive salary and injury history. His first full season in Detroit, Griffin averaged 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game.
He embraced coming to Detroit and has been a leader on and off the court through his tenure, even though it’s not a popular destination for NBA players.
At this point, though, parting ways is probably the best most for both sides. Griffin could help a playoff contender and the Pistons need to focus on the future.
Griffin is still owed the remainder of his $36,595,996 salary for this season. He is scheduled to make $38,957,028 for 2021-22, the final year of his deal.