Detroit Pistons PF Blake Griffin will be out of the lineup indefinitely as the team and his representation discusses his future, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday afternoon. The Pistons are reportedly mulling both trade and buyout options for the veteran forward, who has a player option for next season.
Detroit doesn’t have much incentive to play Griffin, sitting at 8-19 and second-to-last place in the East. The Pistons are in the middle of a rebuild and will be looking to acquire more assets to fuel that. The team brought in new GM Troy Weaver, who signed Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee to contracts this offseason, as well as drafting Killian Hayes in the lottery.
As mentioned above, Griffin has one year plus a player option on his contract. Griffin makes $36.5 million this season and over $38 million on the option next year. This is why the buyout seems like more of an option than Griffin being traded, since the team acquiring Griffin would likely need to carry his hefty salary into 2021-22. Here are some comments from Weaver via 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,” Weaver told ESPN on Monday. “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.”
Woj alludes to a trade being difficult, so Griffin could be bought out. This would allow him to sign with a contender, making things very interesting. Griffin has dealt with injuries and isn’t the same All-Star caliber player he was back in 2018-19. With that said, having a player with Griffin’s talent and experience coming off the bench is pretty big. This could make or break Griffin’s fantasy basketball value the rest of the season.
Griffin’s absence will clear the way for a few rookies to pick up additional playing time. Saddiq Bey is the most interesting fantasy prospect. The Villanova product has shown plenty of promise early in his first season in the NBA. Last Friday, Bey scored a career-high 30 points in a surprise win over the Boston Celtics. Isaiah Stewart is the other rookie who could see more minutes. He’s played well at times and was a top high school prospect before attending Washington.