The Brooklyn Nets continue to gear up for a championship-or-bust run in 2021.
Brooklyn has agreed to a deal with former All-Star forward Blake Griffin for the remainder of the 2021 season, his agent, Sam Goldfelder of Excel Sports, told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The veteran forward apparently drew interest from several of this season’s top contenders, but decided to join a stacked Nets locker room that already includes a trio of elite players in Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and the recently acquired James Harden, who has been playing some of the best ball of his career since arriving in a blockbuster trade in January.
Griffin, who will turn 32 next week, is likely to slot in as bench player to start his career with the Nets, though his playmaking and shooting paired with his size make him an ideal candidate to play at the five when Brooklyn goes to its small-ball lineups, which they have been wont to do pretty often this season.
Despite this addition, the Nets’s odds to win the NBA championship remain second on 888sport and many other sportsbooks odds tables, with +300 NBA odds to win it all this season, behind only the defending-champion Los Angeles Lakers, who are boasting +275 odds. Parlaying both of those teams to win their respective conferences this season could be a profitable long-term NBA pick as well, especially while it’s offering very favorable odds above +400.
Griffin told Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks of his decision on Sunday night, and he will now be reunited with his Lob City mate DeAndre Jordan as he plays on one of the Nets’ veteran minimum contract slots, sources told ESPN.
Marks has basically dealt the Nets into the luxury tax next season (and if they win a Larry O’Brien trophy, it will all have been worth it) which is why they could only offer Griffin the $5.9 million taxpayer mid level exception, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Don’t feel too bad for Griffin though, because the Pistons still have to pay him $29.8 million next season.
This latest move has basically confirmed that the Pistons are in an all-out rebuild that will be headed by their first-year general manager Troy Weaver, who had a huge hand in building the dominant Oklahoma City Thunder teams of the early 2010s, and one of the most reliable coaches in basketball in Dwayne Casey.
Clearly, what Griffin was bringing to the team on a nightly basis wasn’t enough with several younger prospects sitting behind the 12-year veteran. Guys like Saddiq Bey should see a big uptick in minutes now that Griffin is gone.
Griffin originally starred as a key part of those exciting Lob City Clippers alongside Jordan and Chris Paul of a decade ago. He won a Slam Dunk contest and left the sporting world in awe with his vicious rim attacks and impressive bounce.
However, a number of surgeries over the past few years have severely sapped the Oklahoma City native’s trademark high-flying athleticism at the rim. Those health issues were a big reason that the Clippers traded Griffin in January of 2018 less than a year after signing him to a five-year, $171-million contract.
Thankfully for Griffin, he has been able to adapt his game to his new limitations, improving his three-point shooting and playmaking abilities exponentially since joining the Pistons, even earning an All-NBA Third Team nod in 2019 while in Motown.
The former Oklahoma Sooner has been putting up pedestrian numbers this season with averages of 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists in 20 appearances.
However, now that he’s surrounded with talent and playing for a championship-caliber team, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Griffin’s play and effectiveness shoot up as we saw with Harden when he arrived. Being happy about where you’re playing and who you’re playing with is actually a bigger part of the game for athletes than most people think.