Having a healthy Blake Griffin and a new head coach in Dwane Casey, the Detroit Pistons entered the 2018-19 NBA season with the goal of becoming the new ruler of the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, as the season goes deeper, things are no longer going as expected for the Pistons. Despite Griffin’s explosive performance almost every night, the Pistons can’t consistently win games and as of now, they are sitting in the No. 9 spot in the Eastern Conference with a 21-26 record.
As they continue to struggle, Blake Griffin grows frustrated with the Pistons, making some people believe that he could demand a trade before the February NBA trade deadline. One of the people who think that Griffin should find his way out of Detroit is D.J. Foster of the Ringer. Foster suggested that the Pistons could trade Griffin to the Dallas Mavericks for Harrison Barnes and Dennis Smith Jr. The proposed trade deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.
“By sending Griffin to Dallas in exchange for Barnes and Smith Jr., the Pistons would skip out on the $109 million owed to Griffin over the next three seasons and potentially clear the decks of anything outside of rookie-scale deals after next season. Barnes has a player option worth $25 million next season that he will likely accept, but he could have value as an expiring contract and would likely come off the books at the same time as [Pistons center Andre] Drummond, so long as the 7-footer declined his player option worth $28.7 million for the 2020-21 season.”
Dwane Casey on #Pistons star Blake Griffin: "It would be a crime if he didn’t make the All-Star team."— Freep Sports (@freepsports) January 24, 2019
After night's like last night in New Orleans, Casey probably doesn't have anything to worry about. https://t.co/R6LlA0ZsTo
Trading Blake Griffin means that the Pistons are ready to take a different route. After successfully unloading Griffin’s lucrative deal to the Mavericks, the Pistons might also consider flipping their veterans into assets that could help them speed up the rebuilding process. Dennis Smith Jr., the No. 9 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, could be the centerpiece of the title-contending team that the Pistons are planning to build.
Meanwhile, the deal is considered a no-brainer for the Mavericks, especially if they want to strengthen their chance of making a deep playoff run in the Western Conference this season. Acquiring Blake Griffin will ease the load on Luka Doncic’s shoulders on the offensive end of the floor, giving them a big man who can make plays and knock down shots from beyond the arc. This season, the 29-year-old power forward is averaging 26.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 5.3 assists on 48.1 percent shooting from the field and 36.6 percent shooting from three-point range.
The deal will also enable Blake Griffin to reunite with his former Los Angeles Clippers teammate DeAndre Jordan. Despite absorbing Griffin’s contract, the Mavericks will still have enough salary cap space to upgrade their roster through free agency next summer.