Griffin, 31, will be sitting out until he is traded or Detroit buys him out. The former Rookie of the Year told ESPN on Monday, “I am grateful to the Pistons for understanding what I want to accomplish in my career and for working together on the best path forward.”
Pistons general manager Troy Weaver confirmed Griffin will remain out of the lineup until a resolution is determined. Weaver told ESPN, “After extensive conversation with Blake’s representatives, it has been determined that we will begin working to facilitate a resolution regarding his future with the team that maximizes the interests of both parties. We respect all the effort Blake has put forth in Detroit and his career and will work to achieve a positive outcome for all involved.”
Griffin’s agent, Sam Goldfeder of Excel Sports, will be heavily involved in figuring out what’s best for his client, and because of the power forward’s age, it’s likely he’ll be looking to link Griffin with a contending team, which is how and why the Miami Heat factor in as a fitting destination.
Goldfeder’s toughest job will be finding a franchise willing to pick up the $36.6 million he’s owed for the rest of this season, and the $39 million he’s due for next season. Will the Heat be willing to empty their wallets to obtain a veteran player who’s not playing anywhere near his peak?
Blake Griffin has 36/31/71 splits
Ridiculously low FT rate.
And the deeper metrics are worse.
— Five Reasons Sports Network (@5ReasonsSports) February 15, 2021
Since the Pistons are looking to finalize the situation with Griffin by the March 25 trade deadline, and Miami desperately needs a power forward to help turn their season around, this could be a match made in heaven. If the Heat don’t have to give up any substantial talent, and if maybe Detroit offers to cover Griffin’s salary for the remainder of this season, a deal could be imminent.
The Pistons are Willing to Offer Up a Draft Pick to Go Along With Griffin’s Trade Deal
Aside from the money factor, Detroit will have trouble trading Griffin, who’s having one of the worst campaigns of his career, averaging 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists this season.
According to Forty Eight Minutes‘ Sam Amico, the Pistons are willing to throw in a young player or draft pick to unload Griffin by the March 25 trade deadline.
The Heat have been linked as a possible landing spot for Griffin since December, however, a large reason why Miami have missed out on obtaining All-Stars such as James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo — the sobering reality that they don’t have any first-round picks to offer until 2025.
If the Pistons are willing to offer the Heat a first-round draft pick in addition to Griffin, it may soften the blow of taking on the burden of the veteran’s massive contract, which as Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman pointed out, “puts him at the same age and on the same contract schedule as Jimmy Butler (who has a player option for ’22-23).”
What Would the Heat Need to Offer In Order to Obtain Griffin?
The Heat are always in the trade market and seem to be good at recognizing needs in-season.
— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) December 23, 2020
Griffin’s passing and passable shooting could match well on the court with Butler and fellow Heat All-Star Bam Adebayo. It’s also no secret that Miami is in search of a big man like Griffin, who’s 6-foot-9.
Even with the Heat carrying $5.6 million of “dead money” on their salary cap this season, the Heat would have to let go of at least two players to make space for Griffin. However, Miami wouldn’t have to let go of top-tier talents such as Duncan Robinson, or young assets like Tyler Herro, as Griffin is nowhere near the talent levels of Harden or Antetokounmpo.
However, the Heat could offer Detroit promising young players such as Kendrick Nunn, Precious Achiuwa, or KZ Okpala. The expiring contracts on Andre Iguodala, Kelly Olynyk, or Meyers Leonard could also create cap space.