While his “SportsCenter Top-10” days may be mostly behind him, Blake Griffin wasn’t lacking potential suitors after being bought out of his contract by the Detroit Pistons back in March. Ultimately, the six-time All-Star chose to take his talents to Brooklyn, bolstering the Nets‘ frontcourt and serving as a supporting piece alongside the team’s Big-Three of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving.
Turning down the opportunity to go ring chasing with Brooklyn is difficult to fathom. With that said, the Boston Celtics may have made Griffin’s decision of where to sign a tad more strenuous had it not been for some internal bad-mouthing on the Celtics’ end.
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Griffin Warned to Avoid Dysfunctional Celtics
Back in March, Griffin joined Barstool Sports’ Pardon My Take podcast, where he listed the Celtics amongst the teams he had an interest in signing with.
“I will tell you some of the teams,” Griffin said. “I really liked Boston. I really liked Golden State. I really liked Portland. There [were] a few other teams. It was a tough decision, but ultimately I had to do what was best for me.”
According to The Athletic’s Jared Weiss, Griffin “liked” Boston enough to ask a current player if he should sign with them. The response he got was less than welcoming.
“When Blake Griffin was choosing a team to join this season after his buyout from the Detroit Pistons, he reportedly “asked a Celtics player if he should join the team midseason and was told not to come to Boston because of the apparent dysfunction,” wrote Weiss.
Griffin, the former NBA Rookie of the Year, proved to be a valuable in-season pickup for the Nets. In 26 games with the team, the 32-year-old averaged 10.0 points and 4.7 rebounds. Over that span, he shot 49.2% from the field, his best mark since 2016. He also knocked down 38.3% of his 3-point attempts, the second-best percentage of his 12-year career. In Brooklyn’s seven-game playoff series with the Milwaukee Bucks, Griffin averaged 7.6 rebounds per game and scored 17-plus points on three occasions.
Celtics Players ‘Were Welcoming’ a Coaching Change
While Danny Ainge’s seemingly abrupt retirement and Brad Stevens’ jettison from coach to exec caught many off-guard, the latter is a move that a handful of Celtics players were apparently eagerly awaiting. Weiss reported on the matter, further adding fuel to the “dysfunctional” rumors circulating the Cs.
“At season’s end, multiple sources close to the players said several members of the locker room were welcoming a coaching change, noting Stevens did not appear to hold key players accountable, with complaints he was favoring Smart over others,” he noted. “The common refrain was that the team should hire a person of color with NBA playing experience to coach, something Stevens seems to be addressing with Chauncey Billups, Ime Udoka and Darvin Ham getting second interviews, as first reported by ESPN.”