After the Pistons unloaded Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks, all eyes are on Detroit to see what they do with Blake Griffin. While the 31-year-old power forward is having one of the worst seasons of his career, the Pistons are willing to “sweeten” the deal to make a trade happen.
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. Griffin is due $36.8 million this season with a $39 million player option for 2021-2022, which as the 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).”
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Griffin Is Finally Showing Signs of Improvement on the Court
Thus far this season, Griffin is averaging 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game. However, the former first-round pick out of Oklahoma, who played his first back-to-back in 2021 this past week, is finally showing signs of improvement.
He averaged 14 points, 6 assists, 3.5 rebounds between Thursday and Friday’s matchups, CBS Sports reported. During Detroit’s 108-102 over the Boston Celtics on February 12, Griffin scored 12 points along with six assists and four rebounds.
The Pistons have likely already given up on turning their season around and want to shift their focus on rebuilding by releasing their veteran players. Detroit currently sits in 14th place in the Eastern Conference with a 7-19 record.
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. Because the former NBA Rookie of the Year is not playing anywhere near the level of Harden or Antetokounmpo, Miami wouldn’t have to let go of top-tier talents such as Duncan Robinson, or young assets like Tyler Herro.
If the Pistons are looking to rebuild, 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.