Blake Griffin

And-Ones: CP3, Griffin, I. Thomas, Hall Of Fame

A number of reports both during and after the Lob City era in Los Angeles suggested that Clippers stars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul had a tendency to rub one another the wrong way and weren’t exactly the best of friends by the time CP3 was traded to Houston.

However, appearing on the Up in Smoke Podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Paul admitted that he gained a renewed fondness for Griffin after his days with the Clippers were over.

“It’s seriously one of those things you don’t realize what you have until it’s gone,” Paul said, per Kurt Helin of NBC Sports. “I think about it at times. And me and Blake absolutely had our issues here and there, but I actually appreciated Blake probably a lot more after I left.”

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Isaiah Thomas, who recently expressed confidence that he’ll have no problem finding an NBA job for next season, told NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller on the Wizards Talk Podcast that he wants to play for many more years. “I have a lot left in the tank and my goal has always been to play until 40 (years old), and I’m going to try everything I can to reach that,” the 31-year-old guard said.
  • With the Basketball Hall of Fame scheduled to officially announce its 2020 class on Saturday, an ESPN panel identified the most likely Hall-of-Famer on every NBA team’s current roster.
  • Which current NBA front office executives look like candidates to take on greater roles in the not-too-distant future? Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News spoke to multiple sources in an attempt to compile a list of the rising and overlooked executives from around the league, ranging from current general managers and assistant GMs to scouts and G League execs.

Antetokounmpo, Griffin, Williamson To Help Arena Workers

Bucks forward and reigning Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo and his family are donating $100K to Fiserv Forum staff members to help them weather the financial storm during the league’s suspension of play, according to his Twitter account.

Antetokounmpo is following the lead of the Cavaliers’ Kevin Love, who pledged a similar amount to arena employees in Cleveland. The Pistons’ Blake Griffin is making the same donation to workers at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena, according to the Detroit News’ Rod Beard.

Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson is pledging to cover the salaries for all of their arena staff workers for the next 30 days, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Numerous teams have come forward to say that they’ll keep their employees on the payroll during the stoppage as well as compensate full-time and part-time staff who work their games. However, many other workers in these arenas, such as security guards and concession workers, are often employed by other companies. The players donations would presumably provide assistance to those workers.

The Pistons added their name to the list of teams that will compensate workers on Thursday, according to the Detroit Free Press. The Wizards did the same, Candace Bucker of the Washington Post tweets. The Kings have also stepped forward, according to James Ham of NBC Sports, The Trail Blazers are formulating a plan to pay their part-time arena employees for the team’s nine remaining home games and will reassess the program in 30 days, Jason Quick of The Athletic tweets.

Rockets CEO Tad Brown vowed to make sure their employees would “take care of our part-time employees as well as all of our employees,” Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle relays.

The Mavericks, Hawks, Cavaliers, and Nets have already stated their intentions to provide financial support to employees and arena workers.

Pistons Notes: Casey, Future Rosters, Wood, Lottery Odds

Coach Dwane Casey has embraced the idea of rebuilding, even though it’s not the situation he expected when he joined the Pistons two years ago, writes John Niyo of The Detroit News. Casey thought he was taking over a perennial playoff team, but injuries wrecked Detroit’s season and pushed the franchise in a new direction.

Pistons players have missed a combined 246 games this season, the third-highest total in the league. The most significant injury was the knee issue that forced Blake Griffin to have an arthroscopic procedure in January, his second knee surgery in nine months. That led to the decisions to trade center Andre Drummond, buy out Reggie Jackson and start building for the future.

Detroit will be one of a handful of clubs with cap space this summer, and Casey knows the team needs to use it wisely.

“Even though I want to go out and get every top free agent, we have to be smart,” he said. “It’s gotta be with the future in mind, the right decisions. And if the right free agent doesn’t come along, you don’t just go out and overspend because you have cap room. We have smart people upstairs and I understand that.”

There’s more from Detroit:

  • James L. Edwards III of The Athletic projects which current players will remain with the Pistons over the next three seasons. He expects the front office to sign promising big man Christian Wood to a long-term contract this summer and sees few significant changes for next year. Edwards predicts Griffin will be traded before the 2021/22 season, which will be the final one for his current contract, while Luke Kennard will probably be shipped to a contender as well. Edwards believes the team will start moving back toward contention by 2022/23.
  • Wood has emerged as a potential star after being waived by the Pelicans last summer and having to win a training camp battle for the final roster spot in Detroit, notes Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer. The Drummond trade created an opportunity, and Wood has responded by averaging 22.0 points and 10.2 rebounds in the 12 games since moving into the starting lineup.
  • With just one victory since the All-Star break, the Pistons are increasing their chances for the top pick in the draft, observes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. The three teams with the worst records have equal odds of winning the lottery, and Detroit, which has the league’s fifth-toughest schedule over the rest of the season, is just one game away from joining that group.

Pistons Notes: Griffin, Doumbouya, McRae, Brown

Pistons forward Blake Griffin hasn’t discussed his future with the team’s front office since the franchise went into full rebuild mode, he told the Detroit Free Press. Griffin is making good progress from the arthroscopic debridement of his left knee he underwent in January, the second surgical procedure he had on the knee in less than nine months.

“My focus is on what I can control and that’s my rehab and getting back on the court,” he said. “When the time comes, I’ll have that conversation but I don’t think that time is right now.”

Griffin’s latest rehab has gone well and he expects to do his usual offseason training regimen. His guaranteed $36.8MM cap charge for next season and a ’21/22 player option worth nearly $39MM will be nearly impossible to move in a trade.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Rookie first-rounder Sekou Doumbouya was assigned to the Pistons’ G League affiliate in Grand Rapids on Friday for a simple reason. “Sekou needs to play. He needs to play as much as anything,” coach Dwane Casey said. “I’ve had other players who are now stars in this league play (their first) two years doing the same thing. There’s no disrespect going down there.” Doumbouya showed his potential by reaching double digits in points seven times during an eight-game stretch in January but he’s only scored in double digits once since that outburst.
  • Guard Jordan McRae, who was claimed off waivers earlier this week, has a favorable early impression of the organization. McRae will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and hopes to establish some roots after playing for three teams this season. “We haven’t talking about anything like that,” McRae said of whether Detroit plans to re-sign him. “I’ve been to a lot of places and this is top-notch. If this is the place I could make a home, I would love to.”
  • Guard Bruce Brown has missed the last four games due to a sore left knee but he’s expected to return against Utah on Saturday. Brown has practiced this week and Casey thought he’d play against Oklahoma City on Wednesday but the medical staff decided he needed a little more time.

Pistons Awarded Disabled Player Exception

The Pistons have been granted the $9.2MM disabled player exception they requested in the wake of an injury to Blake Griffin, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

As we noted two weeks ago, Detroit isn’t expected to use the exception to add a free agent because the team is so close to the tax line. However, it could prove useful on the trade market, allowing the team to move possibly Derrick Rose or Langston Galloway and take back a player with an expiring contract that fits into the DPE. That would create a $7.3MM trade exception (the amount of Rose’s or Galloway’s cap hit) that could be used this summer or next season.

Because the league only grants DPEs for players who are considered highly likely to be out of action until June 15, it’s safe to assume that Griffin’s season is now over, adds Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link). Griffin was declared to be out indefinitely after undergoing an arthroscopic debridement of his left knee on January 7.

According to Marks, the Pistons are just $3,669 under the luxury tax and just $5.8MM below the hard cap.

After a 16-28 start, Detroit is expected to be active on the trade market before the February 6 deadline. Andre Drummond has been prominently mentioned as a trade possibility, although interest around the league seems to have declined recently, with both the Hawks and Knicks pulling back.

Pistons Apply For DPE; Knicks Interested In Drummond?

The Pistons have applied for a Disabled Player Exception due to Blake Griffin‘s potentially season-ending knee injury, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

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.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Disabled Player Exception]

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.

Pistons Notes: Griffin, DPE, Jackson, Kennard

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.

Blake Griffin Out Indefinitely Following Knee Surgery

Blake Griffin has undergone an arthroscopic debridement of his left knee, the Pistons announced today in a press release. According to the team, Griffin will go through an “extended” rehab process, with no timetable set for his return.

The announcement from the club comes just one day after news surfaced that Griffin was visiting a specialist in Los Angeles and considering season-ending surgery. It’s unclear if the procedure he underwent today is the same season-ending one he was reportedly weighing on Monday, but it seems safe to assume he won’t be back in Detroit’s lineup anytime soon.

If it is indeed a long-term injury for Griffin, it may help put the nail in the coffin of the Pistons’ playoff hopes for 2020. After narrowly earning the No. 8 seed a year ago, the team sits at 11th in the Eastern Conference with a 13-24 record. While Griffin has struggled in the 18 games he has played this season, averaging just 15.5 PPG and 4.7 RPG on 35.2% shooting, Detroit was close to .500 (8-10) with him in the lineup. The club has won just five of 19 games without Griffin.

[RELATED: Pistons discussing Andre Drummond with Hawks, others]

Griffin’s surgery increases the likelihood that the Pistons will be sellers leading up to next month’s trade deadline. Andre Drummond is the club’s biggest trade chip, and Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link) says one source briefed on Detroit’s efforts to move the veteran center expressed confidence that a trade will be made by February 6.

As for Griffin, he remains under contract for two more years beyond 2019/20, with a guaranteed $36.8MM cap charge for ’20/21 and a ’21/22 player option worth nearly $39MM. Although the six-time All-Star seems unlikely to go anywhere anytime soon, Detroit could consider moving him in the offseason if he gets healthy and the franchise wants to launch a full-fledged rebuild.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Blake Griffin Considering Season-Ending Knee Surgery

Pistons forward Blake Griffin will visit a specialist in Los Angeles this week in search of solutions to address his left knee issue, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. According to Haynes, one option being considered is season-ending knee surgery.

Griffin, a six-time All-Star, enjoyed one of his all-time best seasons in 2018/19, his first full year in Detroit, but has been limited by knee problems in 2019/20. The 30-year-old has only been able to play in 18 games and has put up career-worst numbers when he’s on the court, including 15.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and an abysmal .352 FG%.

The Pistons had entered the season expecting to load-manage Griffin to some extent, but his ineffectiveness when he plays and his inability to suit up at all for half the team’s games have significantly impacted Detroit’s playoff chances. The Pistons currently sit 11th in the Eastern Conference with a 13-24 record.

While it remains to be seen whether Griffin and the Pistons will actually opt for a surgical procedure that ends the big man’s season, there have been multiple signs that the franchise is considering taking a step back from its win-now efforts. Team owner Tom Gores said last week that the management group will have to “assess everything” in the coming weeks, and reports surfaced shortly thereafter suggesting the Pistons were listening to trade inquiries on Andre Drummond.

If Detroit launches a full-fledged rebuild, trading both Drummond and Griffin might make some sense, but a Griffin deal within the next month appears unlikely, especially if he goes under the knife. The former Clipper still has two seasons left on his contract after 2019/20, with a guaranteed $36.8MM cap charge for ’20/21 and a ’21/22 player option worth nearly $39MM.

Pistons Notes: Griffin, Trade Deadline, Drummond, Wood

The Pistons got a relatively healthy season and a half out of Blake Griffin after the surprising trade that brought him to Detroit in January of 2018, but now they’re experiencing the “worst-case scenario” part of that deal, writes James Edwards III of The Athletic. Knee soreness has limited Griffin to 18 games this season as the Pistons are off to a 12-22 start that has them stuck in 11th place in the East. He’s posting career lows with 15.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, along with a .352 shooting percentage.

Griffin’s health issues made him a risky investment, but the bigger gamble was the huge contract he signed with the Clippers a few months before the deal. After making nearly $34.5MM this year, Griffin is owed $36.8MM in 2020/21 and has a $38.95MM player option the following season. That deal makes him extremely difficult to trade and presents an impediment for an organization that may be thinking about rebuilding.

Management rolled the dice on Griffin because they thought he would turn the Pistons into a perennial playoff team. However, Edwards notes that they were restricted from adding more talent because Griffin, Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson and Jon Leuer combined for about $80MM in cap room when the trade was completed and all had more than a year left on their contracts.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • It will be difficult for the Pistons to move any of their large contracts before next month’s trade deadline, predicts Keith Langlois of With everyone except the Hawks over the cap, Langlois doesn’t expect any deals that will help a team take a significant amount of salary off its books. Detroit will have more flexibility this summer when Jackson’s contract expires and Drummond may opt out of his $28.75MM salary for next season.
  • Any championship window the Pistons may have had with their current roster is rapidly closing, observes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Even though the front office brought in some help this summer by adding Derrick Rose, Markieff Morris and Tim Frazier, it hasn’t been enough to overcome injuries. Beard believes Langston Galloway and Rose would be the most attractive pieces if Detroit decides to become sellers at the deadline.
  • Christian Wood‘s future in Detroit will be tied to Drummond’s decision on his player option, Beard adds in the same piece. Wood will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and it’s unclear how much the Pistons would be willing to give him to continue in a backup role. However, he would be an option as a starter if Drummond opts out and signs elsewhere.