Detroit’s application is a clear indication it doesn’t expect Griffin, an All-Star last season and the team’s highest-paid player, to return. The $9.26MM exception, if granted, could help the injury-riddled Pistons make a trade to facilitate a rebuilding process.
Griffin underwent surgery on the same knee after last season but he’s been bothered by knee soreness and a hamstring issue that kept him out of the lineup the first 10 games of the season. He only appeared in 18 games before getting the latest procedure.
The Pistons are just $3,669 below the tax line, $5.8MM below the hard cap, and have a full roster, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Thus, the exception won’t be used on a free agent signing, barring a trade to clear money and open a roster spot, Marks adds.
The Pistons had a January 15 deadline to apply for the disabled player exception. As we noted earlier this week, if the Pistons were to trade Derrick Rose or Langston Galloway and take back a player on an expiring contract whose salary fits into the DPE, they’d create a trade exception worth $7.3MM, which could be used in the summer or next season.
In an unrelated but intriguing development, the Knicks have talked to the Pistons about Andre Drummond, according to Charania (Twitter link). The Hawks, Mavericks, Raptors and Celtics have also been linked to Drummond, who can opt out and become an unrestricted free agent after this season. The Knicks are owed two future first-rounders from Dallas, which could facilitate a trade with Detroit. They also have a number of expiring contracts to match salaries.