After the Detroit Pistons suffered another huge disappointment in the 2019-20 NBA season, rumors have started to swirl around Blake Griffin and his future with the team. Griffin may have recently reiterated his desire to be part of the Pistons’ long-term plan, but with them set to undergo a rebuilding process, most people are expecting him to be traded in the 2020 offseason. One of the potential partners for Detroit in a deal involving Griffin is the New York Knicks.
After finishing the season as one of the worst teams in the league, the Pistons have a strong chance of winning the lottery in the 2020 NBA Draft. If they get the No. 1 pick, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report suggested that the Pistons could use it as the main trade chip to dump Griffin to the Knicks this fall.
“With Detroit trying to rebuild its roster and the Knicks looking for star power, both teams would get what they desire with a pick-and-player swap here. Griffin’s remaining two-year, $75.6 million deal no longer fits a young Detroit team, especially if his injuries continue to pile up. A healthy Griffin would give the Knicks an All-Star-caliber power forward, and his contract is worth taking on if New York could also move up to the No. 1 spot.”
In the proposed trade scenario by Bleacher Report, the Pistons would be sending Griffin and a 2020 No. 1 overall pick to the Knicks in exchange for Frank Ntilikina, Julius Randle, Elfrid Payton, and New York’s 2020 first-rounder. The Knicks are actually hitting two birds with one stone in the suggested deal.
Aside from enabling them to move up in the 2020 Draft, it would also allow them to fulfill their dream of adding a legitimate superstar to their roster. When healthy, Griffin remains one of the most dominant power forwards in the league. He would give the Knicks a very reliable scoring option, rebounder, playmaker, and floor-spacer. This season, he averaged 15.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists while shooting 35.2 percent from the field and 24.3 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN.
If the trade becomes a reality, it would not only be beneficial for the Knicks, but also for the Pistons. In exchange for Griffin, the Pistons would be acquiring three talented players in Ntilikina, Randle, and Payton who could all be part of their rebuilding plans. Though they would be sacrificing a No. 1 pick in the process, New York’s own first-round selection would still allow them to add another young and promising talent to their roster. As Swartz noted, some of the possible options for Detroit in the upcoming draft include Killian Hayes, Tyrese Haliburton, Cole Anthony, and LaMelo Ball.