In 2018, the Detroit Pistons traded for Blake Griffin with the hope that he could help them fully dominate the Eastern Conference and contend for the NBA championship title. Unfortunately, in the years that he and Andre Drummond played together, the Pistons weren’t even able to advance to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Pistons may hate to admit it, but since they traded Drummond before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline, multiple signs are pointing to an inevitable rebuild.
With Drummond gone, most people believe that the Pistons would consider moving Griffin next in the 2020 offseason. Once he becomes available on the trade market, several teams who want a superstar on their roster could express a strong interest in adding Griffin, including the New York Knicks. According to Preston Ellis of Bleacher Report, if the Pistons are planning to undergo a full-scale rebuild, they could trade Griffin to the Knicks in exchange for Julius Randle.
“But if they do decide to embark upon a full-scale rebuild, they could turn to the star-hungry New York Knicks as a potential trade partner. Flipping Griffin for Julius Randle would give the Pistons nearly $18 million in additional cap space, allowing them to either sign more free agents or accept salary sumps to acquire additional assets. Randle is hardly dead weight, either, having averaged 19.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists in only 32.5 minutes per game this past season. In addition, only $4 million of Randle’s $19.8 million salary in 2021-22 is guaranteed, so the Pistons could have even more financial flexibility next offseason.”
As Ellis noted, the potential deal that would send Griffin to New York for Randle is more about creating salary cap space for the Pistons in the summer of 2021. Unlike this offseason when only a few superstars will be available on the market, the 2021 NBA free agency is expected to feature the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers, and LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers. Acquiring at least two free-agent superstars would give the Pistons a strong chance of becoming a legitimate title contender in the Eastern Conference.
Meanwhile, the successful acquisition of Griffin would finally fulfill the Knicks’ dream of adding a legitimate NBA superstar on their roster. With the Knicks only needing to send Randle to Detroit to acquire Griffin, they would still have plenty of trade assets left to give the All-Star power forward a superstar running mate in the 2020-21 season.