Free agency lasted a couple of days before six-time All-Star Blake Griffin signed with the Brooklyn Nets and went from the outhouse to the penthouse.
The former #1 pick in the NBA Draft went from the worst team in the Eastern Conference to a championship contender and the second-best squad in the East. All it took was a simple contract buyout from the Detroit Pistons (10-26). Griffin cleared waivers and was free to sign with the Nets (24-12).
Nets general manager Sean Marks signed Griffin to a veteran min-contract.
Griffin turns 32 this month. He had this season and next season remaining on a five-year deal. The buyout is worth nearly $56 million, with $30 million due next season.
The Pistons have the second-worst record in the NBA and embraced this season as a rebuilding year. Even though tanking is frowned upon and discouraged by the league, the Pistons are in full-blown tank mode. Last month, the Pistons parted ways with former league MVP Derrick Rose, who they traded to the New York Knicks.
Meanwhile, the Nets saw their 2021 NBA championship odds move slightly from +320 to +300 over at DraftKings after news of the Griffin signing reached social media.
Other teams, such as the Miami Heat, Portland Trail Blazers, and Golden State Warriors, were all interested in Griffin’s services. Out of all of his suitors, Griffin believed that the Nets had the best chance to win a title in the immediate future.
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) March 7, 2021
BG Joins KD and DJ
The Nets added Griffin to bolster their bench and front line. Griffin will back up former teammate DeAndre Jordan. Both Griffin and Jordan played together and started for the LA Clippers a few seasons ago.
Steve Nash will use Griffin at both power forward and center. When the Nets opt for a small-ball lineup, Griffin is a perfect fit at the 5-spot or center.
The Nets now have a second unit that includes Griffin, Landry Shamet (7.8 ppg), Bruce Brown (8.6 ppg and 4.7 rebounds), and Tyler Johnson (4.7 ppg).
Griffin played like a shell of his former self this season in Detroit, but then again, the Nets only need Griffin to become a role player and someone who can add an offensive spark off the bench. He averaged 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists in only 20 games with the Pistons this season. Griffin shot 31% from 3-point range this season.
“We all know how exciting Blake Griffin is and the player he is,” Harden said last week.
Since the start of the season, the Nets added James Harden and now Griffin. Before the start of the season, the Nets were +1000 odds to win the title. Their odds steadily moved during the first couple weeks of the season in anticipation of a Harden trade with the Houston Rockets. After they added Harden in a four-team trade, the Nets were +350 odds to win the title.