Blake Griffin and the Detroit Pistons entered the 2018-19 NBA season with the goal of fully dominating the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference and winning an NBA championship title. The Pistons have succeeded to return to the Eastern Conference Playoffs, only to be swept by the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks in the first round – the same fate they suffered in their past two playoff appearances.
The Pistons’ early playoff exit was mostly blamed to Blake Griffin’s injury. However, even if the All-Star power forward was healthy, no one still expected the Pistons to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals 2019. After suffering another huge disappointment, Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report believes that the Pistons may go on some “soul-searching” and explore the possibility of trading Griffin and his lucrative contract in the 2019 NBA offseason.
With their limited salary cap space and lack of interesting trade assets, the Pistons don’t have enough flexibility to have a major upgrade on their roster next summer. Buckley thinks that the Pistons’ current situation may force them to consider everything, including undergoing a rebuilding process which could start by trading Blake Griffin. Once Griffin becomes officially available on the trade market, one of the NBA teams who could express strong interest in adding him to their roster is the Miami Heat.
“If Miami Heat president Pat Riley sniffs a hint of desperation from the Motor City, he’ll pounce to land one of his coveted white whales. Naturally, he’ll also try to do so at a discount. As good as Griffin looked this season—he’ll find himself on more than a few MVP ballots—he’s still wildly expensive and has a frightening injury history. His latest knee problem limited him to two games and 58 minutes during the first-round sweep.”
Blake Griffin underwent surgery on his injured left knee Wednesday.https://t.co/DleW6uUHC9
— Freep Sports (@freepsports) April 25, 2019
In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Heat will be sending Josh Richardson, Kelly Olynyk, and Derrick Jones Jr. to the Pistons in exchange for Blake Griffin. The Heat will be needing to add more players in the deal in order to match the Pistons’ outgoing salary.
Knowing his injury history, trading for Blake Griffin will be a huge gamble for the Heat. However, the Heat shouldn’t mind taking that type of risk, especially if the Pistons will agree to send him to Miami at a discounted price. Despite his health issues, Griffin remains an All-Star caliber player, and his addition will boost the Heat’s performance on both ends of the floor. In 75 games, the 30-year-old power forward averaged 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 5.4 assists on 46.2 percent shooting from the field and 36.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
As of now, it remains unknown if the Pistons have any plan of trading Blake Griffin next summer. If they decide to part ways with Griffin, they will likely seek trade assets that will help them speed up the rebuilding process.