The Detroit Pistons and Blake Griffin have reportedly agreed to a contract buyout after the team decided to bench the six-time All-Star to pursue a trade. Clearly, there was no trade market for him as he will now enter unrestricted free agency multiple weeks before the deadline.
Rumors have swirled about Griffin’s potential free agency for weeks now, as it’s expected that nearly every top contender will be after him. This includes the Los Angeles Lakers, who have been linked to a host of power forwards and centers in recent weeks.
Now that his buyout is official, the Lakers are among five major suitors that will aggressively pursue Griffin’s services for the remainder of the season, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times:
The Lakers, Clippers, Nets, Heat and Warriors are among the teams that have expressed interest in Blake Griffin when he becomes an unrestricted free agent, league sources say
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 5, 2021
All five of these teams could certainly benefit from the addition of Griffin. However, it’s unlikely that he would return to the L.A. Clippers after they traded him less than one season into a five-year max extension.
Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets likely won’t offer anything more than the minimum as they wait for the potential availability of Andre Drummond. Because of the likelihood that Griffin will only receive minimum contract offers, it will simply be up to which team he prefers.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Nets are viewed as the favorites to sign him:
The Brooklyn Nets are believed to be leaders to sign six-time All-Star Blake Griffin, sources tell me and @JLEdwardsIII. Rival teams with interest are expecting Griffin to choose Nets as a title favorite for chance to win a championship.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 5, 2021
The Nets make the most sense for Griffin as they would likely be able to offer him the most playing time. If he picks the Lakers, he would possibly overtake the minutes currently occupied by Markieff Morris. In addition, L.A. would still have one roster spot to use on either a true big man or a wing shooter.
In 20 games this season, Griffin has averages of 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists. While those may not look great, perhaps he could benefit from a change of scenery and the chance to play for a contender.
Frank Vogel uncertain about Damian Jones’ future with Lakers
With the impending expiration of his 10-day contract, the Lakers will soon have to make a decision about Damian Jones. However, Vogel would not make any commitments one way or the other. “I’m not certain about what we’re going to do but I think he’s played very well in the opportunities that he’s gotten and it showed us a lot,” he said.
“He’s got great size, he’s a wonderful young man to be around our team and a culture fit, and he’s got a skill set that fits the modern NBA. I would say that he should be optimistic about what’s ahead of him.”
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