Mon, Mar 8, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
Things just got a lot more interesting in the NBA Eastern Conference with the Brooklyn Nets signing former number-one overall pick Blake Griffin.
The former All-Star was released from his contract with the Detroit Pistons over the weekend and promptly decided to join the Nets for their impending playoff run. Griffin had agreed to a buyout of what was left on his $56.5 million contract. He quickly decided to join the Nets, where he will be reunited with former Los Angeles Clippers teammate DeAndre Jordan.
The Nets will use one of their veteran-minimum contract slots to sign Griffin, who has made six All-Star games during his career.
Griffin will likely be used off the bench by the Nets, who are clearly in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference and should be a strong contender for the NBA Championship at the end of the season.
The team added disgruntled former Houston Rockets star James Harden to its already-impressive lineup, which features Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Brooklyn is staring down the luxury tax threshold for the 2021-2022 season, which means they were only able to offer Griffin the $5.9 million mid-level exception. On top of this salary, Griffin will be paid $29.8 million by the Pistons next season.
Detroit’s loss is Brooklyn’s gain. The Pistons are in the midst of a complete rebuild under first-year General Manager Troy Weaver. The Pistons would prefer to play the organization’s younger players over 31-year-old Griffin.
In 20 games with Detroit this year, Griffin was averaging 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists.
Griffin arrived in Detroit via trade in January 2018, less than one year after signing a five-year, $171 million max contract with the Clippers.
Griffin is not the same player he was when he first entered the league, however. Although Griffin initially became known for his high-flying dunks, he has since transitioned to a role player who creates opportunities for his teammates and utilizes his three-point shooting prowess to fill up the scoresheet.
The Nets have not said when Griffin will join the team, but it is anticipated that he will be available for Brooklyn’s first game following the All-Star break: on March 11, versus the Boston Celtics.
Griffin is no longer a threat to take over a game, but should be able to complement the impressive roster the Nets already have in place. His presence could very well put the Nets over the top in the Eastern Conference, despite the threat posed by the first-place Philadelphia 76ers, who lead the Atlantic Division by a half-game over the Nets.
In 642 career games, Griffin has averaged 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game. Griffin broke into the league with the Clippers during the 2010-2011 season after sitting out the 2009-2010 season due to an injury to his knee. He was the number-one overall pick of the Clippers in the 2009 NBA Draft.