OCTOBER 3: The signing is official, the Celtics announced in a press release.
SEPTEMBER 30: The Celtics have agreed to a deal with free agent big man Blake Griffin, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). According to Wojnarowski, Griffin will sign a fully guaranteed one-year contract with Boston.
The deal will be worth the veteran’s minimum, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe confirms (via Twitter). Griffin will earn $2,905,851, while the Celtics will take on a cap hit of $1,836,090.
Griffin, 33, spent last season in Brooklyn, averaging 6.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game for the Nets in 56 appearances (17.1 MPG). His shooting line was just .425/.262/.724.
The six-time All-Star’s role and production have declined significantly since his prime years with the Clippers and Pistons. Last season was the first time he came off the bench more often than he started, the first time he averaged fewer than 25 minutes per game, and the first time he averaged fewer than 11 points per game.
Still, the Celtics won’t be expecting Griffin to recapture his All-Star form. Boston simply needs more reliable depth in a frontcourt that has already been hit hard by injuries. Danilo Gallinari is expected to miss most or all of the 2022/23 season while recovering from a torn ACL, while Robert Williams will be out until at least November or December following knee surgery.
Multiple reports leading up to training camp indicated that the Celtics wanted to take a look at their in-house options before deciding whether to sign a veteran free agent. Several days into camp, it seems the team had seen enough to recognize that another veteran was necessary.
The Cetlics had no shortage of options in free agency — LaMarcus Aldridge, Carmelo Anthony, Hassan Whiteside, DeMarcus Cousins, Tristan Thompson, and Dwight Howard are among the unsigned veterans still on the market. But the team attended Griffin’s recent workouts in Los Angeles and liked what it saw there, per Himmelsbach.
Boston has a full 20-man training camp roster, so the club will need to waive a player in order to make room for Griffin. I’d expect one of the six players on a non-guaranteed contract – Noah Vonleh, Jake Layman, Justin Jackson, Brodric Thomas, Luka Samanic, or Denzel Valentine – to be cut to open up a spot.