After Blake Griffin opted to undergo surgery on his troublesome left knee, head coach Dwane Casey offered some comments on the power forward’s absence, as Rod Beard of the Detroit News relays (Twitter links).
“It’s like when Rick Pitino said, ‘Larry Bird isn’t walking through that door.’ … Blake Griffin isn’t walking through that door,” Casey said. “…The 25 points, the leadership, the toughness, the presence of Blake — you’re not going to replace that.”
Griffin had been in and out of the Pistons’ lineup for much of the first half due to his nagging knee issues, appearing in just 18 games. Now that the former No. 1 overall pick is sidelined indefinitely, Casey notes that at least there should be more lineup certainty going forward.
“We know the direction right now,” Casey said. “We know what we’re dealing with — it’s not, ‘Is he playing or is he not playing?'”
Here’s more on the Pistons:
- If the Pistons expect Griffin to miss the rest of the season, it would make sense for them to request a disabled player exception – which would be worth $9.26MM – before next Wednesday’s application deadline. Detroit likely wouldn’t use that exception to sign a free agent, given the team’s proximity to the tax line, but it could come in handy on the trade market. For instance, if the Pistons trade someone like 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.
- Reggie Jackson saw a specialist in Los Angeles and is making progress as he returns from a back injury, Beard tweets. There remains no timeline for Jackson’s return to the court.
- There’s also no update on Luke Kennard, Beard adds in another tweet. Two weeks ago, the Pistons indicated that the third-year guard would be re-evaluated on January 7, but it appears he’s still not ready to return from his knee injury.
- As we noted on Tuesday within our Griffin story, Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link) says one source briefed on Detroit’s efforts to move Andre Drummond expressed confidence that a trade will be made by next month’s deadline.
Chris Crouse contributed to this post.