NBA Roundtable: What is Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin’s trade value?

Detroit Pistons Blake Griffin. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Blake Griffin. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores declared everything to be evaluated, but Blake Griffin’s trade value is a great unknown. Here’s what the latest chatter is.

The Detroit Pistons have to figure out what to do with Blake Griffin. He was an All-NBA selection a season ago but tore his meniscus and now has battled injury issues ever since.

Griffin, 30, is due to make $36.6 million next season with a player option for $38.96 million in 2021-22. The Pistons knew that when they acquired him in a mid-season trade in 2018.

But that regime made a deal that couldn’t save its tenure. Stan Van Gundy left and a new front office featuring Ed Stefanski and coach Dwane Casey entered. Now, they’re hindered by a bad contract, a star with an injury-ridden career on a nearly immovable contract.

Griffin has sat out more games (19) than he’s played (18). Detroit is 13-24 and fading from a playoff spot that they don’t even deserve. But the fact is the Pistons sit 3 1/2 games behind the Magic, who are in the eighth playoff spot in the East. Brooklyn is 4 1/2 games ahead of the Pistons and on a five-game losing streak.

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Though Detroit is 9-18 against the East and has lost 10 of its last 13 games. Rumors are beginning to circulate surrounding fellow big man Andre Drummond, who the Pistons have reportedly gauged trade interest for.

Blossoming wing Luke Kennard has missed the last two weeks due to an injury and is expected to be reevaluated on Tuesday. Reggie Jackson has missed all but two games and Markieff Morris has been an injury report regular as of late.

when Griffin has played, it’s been far from a shell of his former self. He’s having the worst season of his career. He’s averaging career-lows of 15.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game an a near-low 3.3 assists per game. His 12.1 Player Efficiency Rating is the lowest of his career by 7.5. His true shooting percentage is a career-worst 47.6%.

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One lingering question is will the Pistons trade Griffin? Can they trade Griffin and, if so, what is his trade value? With Pistons owner Tom Gores saying the team will ‘look at everything,’ that is likely to include what to do with Griffin.

Piston Powered sought responses from within FanSided, including creative editorial directory Ian Levy, NBA Division director Josh Wilson, Beale Street Bears site expert Ethan Becker and Rip City Project site expert Austin Carroll. Here’s a look into what they believe.

Portland seems to be the most likely destination, especially among contenders. Carroll said that Anfernee Simons is off limits but believe the Trail Blazers best offer would include Zach Collins, Hassan Whiteside or Kent Bazemore and a first round pick, and possibly Nassir Little, too. Carroll also said that general manager Nate Olshey only wants to make a deal for a player that would stick around beyond this season.

It makes sense as Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are signed through 2023 at a hefty price. Assuming Griffin would opt-in to $38.8 million, he’d be around through 22, giving the Blazers a three-year run at a title.

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“No offense but I think (Portland coach Terry) Stotts is a superior coach to (Detroit coach Dwane) Casey,” Carroll said. “(Stotts has) made a career out of making bad fits and underperforming players excel in our system (Carmelo Anthony and Whiteside being the prime examples this year).”

Memphis was an intriguing option when pitching the idea among the NBA division of FanSided. Becker likes the pairing of Griffin with Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr., but fears the Grizzlies don’t have enough to offer.

A likely deal in his eyes includes Tyus Jones, Solomon Hill and “the problematic” Josh Jackson, who is a Southfield native. After originally pitching Andre Iguodala as a possible player to match salaries, Becker pushed back.

“I think that might work, but the problem is that Iggy wants to go to a contender, and I think the front office is too scared about their reputation with big stars to send him anywhere else,” he said, with a belief Memphis fears the fallout with future free agents.

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Wilson and Love offer a macro-level vantage point and believe it will be hard to trade Griffin, especially to a contending team.

“I think you could point to what Toronto did trading for Marc Gasol last season and draw some similarities (he had an entire year left of over $20 million) but Toronto was in such a unique situation with only one year to run after the title with Kawhi Leonard. And Gasol didn’t have the injury concerns that follow Griffin,” Wilson said.

He adds that it doesn’t make sense for the Pistons to attach young assets with Griffin.

“It puts Detroit in a weird position,” he said. “If you shop Griffin, aren’t you essentially saying, ‘OK, we’re in rebuild mode,’ thus putting a value on keeping those draft picks? Yet, to get this deal done with a rebuilding team, you probably need to attach those picks.”

analysis. Taking a look at Pistons trade value. light

Levy added that Miami and Houston could be thrown into the mix for Griffin. The Rockets could send Eric Gordon, Nene Hilario and P.J. Tucker, unless the Pistons want to bring in Russell Westbrook on his re-loaded deal. Miami could use Goran Dragic, offload Dion Waiters with former Oakland University guard Kendrick Nunn or James Johnson.

But it gets more difficult from there.

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“For most of the rest of the league, Griffin is a player whose skill set and contract would necessitate him being a central piece but his efficiency doesn’t justify that any more,” Levy said. “I’m not sure how well he works as a complementary piece for a fringe contender other than the teams I mentioned above. To find a buyer in a straight salary dump, Detroit would almost certainly have to attach picks and a young piece like Bruce Brown – assets that are probably more important for a rebuild than anything they might do with cap space from Griffin’s salary getting off the books two years early.

“I think the play is sit and wait, hoping some other team’s fortunes change enough that Griffin becomes a more palatable option.”

Detroit’s biggest dilemma is to figure out if they can get out from Griffin’s contract. Some believe that while Griffin’s trade value is at an all-time low it’s best to wait to see if he gets healthy and it will rise. But what if it doesn’t?

These words from Carroll are striking.

“Perhaps Blake’s poor start can convince Detroit to sell before he loses any further value.”

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That might be more true than waiting around to see if Griffin can improve, especially with an administration that didn’t bring him in to begin with.