Blake Griffin’s first two years with the Detroit Pistons has been a major disaster. After being hit by numerous injuries, Griffin failed to live up to expectations as a player supposed to help the Pistons fully dominate the Eastern Conference and contend for the NBA championship title. After they suffered another huge disappointment in the 2019-20 NBA season, multiple signs indicate that the Pistons will likely undergo a rebuilding process this fall.
Despite being aware that they might consider a different route in the 2020 offseason, the All-Star power forward doesn’t seem to see himself playing anywhere else next year. In a recent Zoom interview with reporters, Griffin reiterated his commitment to the Pistons. However, though he expressed his willingness to take a “different role,” he said that he is still expecting Detroit “to be competitive.”
“I look for our team to be competitive. I know from my conversations with Coach [Dwane Casey] and Troy and the front office, they want to put a competitive team on the floor,” Griffin said, as transcribed by Eric Woodyard of ESPN. “I’ve told them, I’m here to do whatever they ask of me. Whether that’s sort of taking on a different role, taking on more of a role, whatever it might be.”
Though he no longer fits their timeline, Griffin has no problem becoming the “leader” of their young core, adding that he will do everything he can to teach them Pistons basketball.
“We’ll have a lot of young guys so I think spending a lot of time with them and really setting the foundation in making sure that all these guys understand what Pistons basketball is about and the type of basketball we’re trying to play,” Griffin said.
It’s definitely a nice thing to hear for the Pistons that their main man remains committed to their long-term plan. However, it remains a big question mark how long can Griffin stay that way. At this point in his NBA career, he will undeniably be better off playing for a legitimate title contender than wasting his prime mentoring young players on a rebuilding team.
Unfortunately, for Griffin, finding his way out of Detroit wouldn’t be easy. As of now, he has no right to demand anything from the Pistons. Aside from the fact that he is not yet fully recovered from his injury, he’s owed $75.5 million over the next two years. Even if they want to get rid of him, it is highly unlikely that there will be teams willing to give up valuable assets for an injured star who would consume a huge chunk of their salary cap space.
As of now, it will be best for Griffin and the Pistons to stay together for another season. While helping in the development of their young core, Griffin could try to increase his value next season and show the league that he still has plenty of gas left in the tank.