Blake Griffin has cleared waivers and will now join the Brooklyn Nets for the remainder of the 2020-21 NBA season. His agent, Sam Goldfeder, confirmed the news to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Sunday night. Griffin, who had been with the Detroit Pistons since a 2018 trade, agreed to a buyout with the team on Friday in which he gave back over $13 million in order to secure his free agency. Now, he has chosen to reunite with his close friend and former Clippers teammate DeAndre Jordan with the Nets.
And in doing so, he has given himself his best chance yet at winning the championship that eluded him in Los Angeles. When he was a Clipper, Griffin was a superstar. Now, he will be a role player supporting the trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving as the Nets push for their first NBA title. Griffin has struggled so far this season due to years worth of injuries, but his talent and pedigree make him well worth the risk for Brooklyn.
Griffin has not been particularly effective for Detroit this season. He was averaging 12.2 points on 36.5 percent shooting from the field and 31.5 percent from behind the arc. More than half of his shots have been 3-pointers this season as his declining athleticism has prevented him from getting to the basket at his typical rates. He has not dunked yet this season, the starkest possible reminder of the injuries that have plagued him for most of his career. He has struggled mightily on defense as well thanks to that loss in athleticism.
But Griffin was an All-NBA player as recently as the 2018-19 season. He remains a deft passer, and if his body has anything left in the tank, perhaps playing with three other superstars and a center he knows quite well from Los Angeles will help bring that athleticism back out.
Brooklyn’s entire approach to roster-building this season has been to bet on talent. They traded for James Harden knowing that it would hurt their defense under the assumption that having that much offensive talent would render those flaws irrelevant. They’ve used minimum signings on former highly-paid starters hoping to resurrect their careers like Jeff Green, Tyler Johnson and Andre Roberson. The addition of Griffin fits that plan to a tee. It’s a low-risk, high-reward signing from a team that has specialized in such moves under Sean Marks.