The Detroit Pistons have gotten off to a rough start to the season. Currently they are 1-7 and last place in the East. It’s still early in the season, but it’s safe to say this is a rebuilding year for the Pistons. Rebuilding years typically involve teams trading away older assets. Which is why these are my top three potential Blake Griffin trades.
Griffin hasn’t gotten off to a great start to the season. He’s averaging 14.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 3.6 APG, while shooting 38.3% from the field, 33.3% from deep and 70.6% from the free throw line. Again, not great. Just watching him play, it’s obvious he has really declined athletically and is struggling to create his own shot.
Griffin’s contract situation isn’t great either. He’s getting paid $36.5 million this season and has a $38.95 player option for next season. Not only would the team trading for Griffin have to match his massive salary, but they also would have to take the risk that he doesn’t leave them in free agency this upcoming offseason.
After going over all of that, you’re probably asking, why would a team even want to trade for Griffin? I believe there are a few answers to that question. First one is, the team trading for Blake could use his large, and potential expiring contract, to get rid of one of their larger, long term contracts. The most recent example of this was from this offseason, when the Philadelphia 76ers traded Al Hordford, along with a second round pick and a future first round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Danny Green. This trade helped the 76ers get Horford’s large long term deal off of their books in return for Green, who is on an expiring deal.
Then on the Thunder side of the trade, they did have to take on Horford’s large contract, but it got them two draft picks, which will help their rebuild. I liked this trade for both sides and could definitely see the Pistons pulling off something like this.
Another reason a team might want to trade for Griffin is they look at him as a good player who’s just in a bad situation, and if they were to trade for him, he would start to play a lot better. Griffin is still a very talented player, and I wouldn’t blame a team for thinking this. We’ve seen that work out many times.
Requirements for a Blake Griffin Trade:
- The team trading for Blake Griffin has to have one of the motivations I previously went over
- The team trading for Blake Griffin has to be able to match his contract.
- The trade has to be realistic and benefit both sides.
1. Pistons Trade Blake Griffin to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Kevin Love, Kevin Porter Jr. and a 2022 Second Round Pick
I know this trade is kind of funny because just last season the Cavaliers traded for Andre Drummond. This trade would reunite Griffin and Drummond. However, I do believe this trade benefits both sides.
First, on the Cavaliers side of the trade, they are giving away Kevin Love. Although at this point in Love’s career, that would be a good thing. Love is currently on a three year $91.5 million deal. That deal makes Griffin’s contract look not so bad. On top of that, Love has been the poster child of injury prone the last couple seasons and has already gotten injured this season. Combine that with him being 32 and you probably have one of the worst contracts in the league.
The Cavaliers are also 5-4 so far and have looked pretty good to start the season. You could definitely argue Griffin is better than Love right now, and could help the Cavaliers make the playoffs.
On the Pistons side of this trade, they are taking on Love’s bad contract, but getting some nice pieces along with him. Kevin Porter Jr. is looked at highly by a lot of people because of his scoring ability. In fact, I’m sure some people think he’s too valuable in a trade like this.
Although, with his recent controversies I’d have to disagree. They’ve led to him not playing a single game this season with nobody knowing when he’ll return. Maybe a change of scenery is just what Porter Jr. needs, and I think it’s the risk a team like Detroit should make. They also get a second round pick, which you can’t get enough of in a rebuild.
2. Pistons Trade Blake Griffin, Wayne Ellignton and a 2021 Second Round Pick to the Indiana Pacers for Myles Turner and Victor Oladipo
A few things would have to happen the rest of the season for this trade to make sense. First thing being, Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis being on the floor together will have to continue being not that good.
Right now when Turner and Sabonis share the floor together the Pacers are a +2.9 in point differential. Which isn’t bad, but it’s not as good as you’d like it to be either. It’s actually the third worst point differential lineup for any Turner lineup. The other two being, Turner with Aaron Holiday and Turner with Kelan Martin.
Basically Turner and Sabonis have to continue being just alright with each other. Also the Pacers were willing to trade away Turner this offseason, so I definitely don’t think he’s “untouchable.”
The second thing that would have to happen is Victor Oladipo not signing an extension before the trade deadline. That could scare the Pacers and lead to them wanting to trade him so they get some value for him instead of him leaving them in free agency this offseason.
Now on the actual fit of the players on their new teams. I think Griffin and Sabonis is a better fit than Turner and Sabonis. Having Griffin would allow Sabonis to be a true center, which is what he is, but is currently having to be a four because of Turner.
Also, Griffin being able to play with guys like Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon and T.J. Warren would be great for him. It would allow him to not be the opposing defense’s main focus, which he currently is in Detroit.
The Pistons acquiring Oladipo and Tuner would be interesting. Of course trading for Oladipo is a risk considering his contract situation, but it’s one the Pistons should be willing to make.
I also really like Turner in Detroit. Not only did the Turner and Sabonis combination hold back Sabonis, in my opinion, but it also held back Turner. Sabonis’ inability to effectively guard perimeter players led to Turner having to guard the opposing teams more perimeter oriented bigs most nights. Yes, Turner can do that, but to get the most out of him defensively, I would want him defending the paint and only having to switch onto perimeter players because of a pick and roll or a dribble handoff.
3. In a 3 Team Trade With the Pistons, Nuggets and Thunder
The Pistons Get: Gary Harris, Al Horford, Isaiah Roby and a 2022 Clippers First Round Pick (via Thunder)
The Nuggets Get: Blake Griffin, Wayne Ellignton, Deividas Sirvydis, a 2021 Lakers Second Round Pick (via Pistons) and a 2021 Miami First Round Pick (via Thunder)
The Thunder get: Michael Porter Jr. and Paul Millsap
I know that’s a lot to take in and I’ll do my best job to break it all down. I’ll start with the Pistons. They’re trading Griffin, along with some filler players, and a second round pick for Gary Harris, Al Horford, Isaiah Roby and a first round pick.
Harris is a player the Nuggets have reportedly tried to trade but haven’t been able to. This trade obviously allows them to do so. Who knows, maybe Harris can get his career back on track in Detroit.
Horford is a big contract that the Pistons could probably get a first round in return for taking on. That’s a hit the Pistons should be willing to take in return for a first round pick.
Next, the Nuggets get to pair Griffin with Nikola Jokic, along with a first and second round pick. I believe we’d see a much better Blake in Denver then what we’re seeing right now in Detroit.
They’d be giving up Michael Porter Jr., Gary Harris, and Paul Millsap. Which is a pretty big price to pay, but if they look at Blake as that potential missing piece to be a true contender, I don’t think they would hesitate to make this move.
Finally, the Thunder use some of their many first round picks to get a piece for the future in Michael Porter Jr. I believe Thunder fans and the front office would be ecstatic to get a player like Porter Jr. to grow alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and whoever they take in this year’s draft. They also get off of Horford’s contract, and get an expiring in Paul Millsap. Who’d they probably just end up flipping for another pick.
Main Image Credit: