Celtics to Part Ways With Former Lottery Pick Following Blake Griffin Signing: Report

Blake Griffin

Getty Blake Griffin #2 of the Brooklyn Nets dives for a loose ball on March 21, 2022.

In light of dealing with multiple injuries in their frontcourt at the moment, the Boston Celtics added a more proven veteran by signing Blake Griffin to the roster. Unlike some of the other bigs they signed over the offseason, like Noah Vonleh and Luka Samanic, Griffin has been signed to a fully guaranteed deal.

The one problem is that with Griffin coming in, the Celtics will now have to cut one of their players to make room for him since the training camp roster was at full capacity with 20 players before Griffin signed with the team.

Brian Robb of MassLive outlined the two candidates whose spots is likely to be replaced with Griffin. One of them being former lottery pick Denzel Valentine.

“The Celtics will be choosing from an extended list of camp deals on that front, with chief candidates being Brodric Thomas or Denzel Valentine, who have a slim chance to make the roster due to the team’s loaded backcourt.”

Jared Weiss of The Athletic later confirmed that the Celtics will waive Valentine.

Valentine was taken 14th overall by the Chicago Bulls in the 2016 NBA Draft. Valentine spent last season with multiple teams, including the Utah Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Celtics G-League affiliate, the Maine Celtics.

In the 12 games Valentine played for the Maine Celtics, Valentine averaged 14.6 points, 10.3 rebounds, and seven assists while shooting 44 percent from the field and 35.2 percent from three, according to Basketball-Reference.

Griffin’s Performance With The Nets

The days of Griffin being a perennial all-star and MVP candidate are long gone. After his heyday with the Los Angeles Clippers and Detroit Pistons, Griffin has transitioned into more of a role player in his time with the Brooklyn Nets.

Griffin was much more involved with the Nets in this first go-round in Brooklyn during the 2020-21 season. In the 26 games he played for them, Griffin averaged 10 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists while shooting 49.2 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from three.

Griffin was not as productive with the Nets during the 2021-22 season. In the 56 games he played that season, he averaged 6.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists while shooting 42.5 percent from the field and 26.2 percent from three.

Griffin played in two games, 25 minutes in total, for the Nets when they faced the Celtics in the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs. Griffin made his debut in Game 3, where he hit two threes to keep the Nets in the game that they would go on to lose.

With Robert Williams III out for eight-to-12 weeks due to arthroscopic surgery and Danilo Gallinari expected to be out for the season while rehabbing his torn ACL, Griffin will probably soak up some of their minutes to start.

Luke Kornet Out With Ankle Injury

Shortly after Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Griffin was signing with the Celtics, Jared Weiss of The Athletic reported that Luke Kornet had sprained his ankle, which will sideline him for one-to-two weeks.

This may explain why the Celtics added Griffin to the roster after already being filled up to the full capacity for their training camp roster. With Kornet, Williams, and Gallinari out with injuries, the Celtics have very little proven depth in their frontcourt. Griffin at least gives them a veteran presence to spell time for Al Horford.