Report: Former Piston Blake Griffin agrees to join Brooklyn Nets

Rod Beard
The Detroit News
Blake Griffin

That didn’t take long.

In a stretch of a couple of days, Blake Griffin went from the bottom of the Eastern Conference to almost the top.

After reaching a buyout agreement with the Pistons on Friday, Griffin cleared waivers on Sunday and has agreed to join the Brooklyn Nets, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Nets (24-13) are one of the favorites to challenge the defending-champion Los Angele Lakes and are a half-game behind the Philadelphia 76ers for the best record in the East. Griffin adds veteran presence and a skilled big man to a loaded roster that already includes Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving.

Griffin, 31, likely won’t start with that group, but he could be a steady option off the bench.

After three-plus seasons in Detroit, Griffin and the Pistons decided last month that he would sit until they found a new direction for his future. That led to the buyout agreement Friday, in which Griffin reportedly gave back $13.3 million of the $76 million he had remaining on his contract, which was set to expire after next season.

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“I thank the Pistons organization for working together on an outcome that benefits all involved and I wish the franchise success in the future,” Griffin said Friday in a team statement.

After a few knee surgeries, Griffin has struggled to regain the athleticism that defined his early career, when he was a high-flying big man. In the past few years, Griffin has remade his game to become a dominant big man both in the paint and on the perimeter, where he became a facilitator and good 3-point shooter.

In 2019, Griffin earned third-team All-NBA honors and his sixth All-Star appearance after posting 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists, with 36% from beyond the arc. The Pistons got back to the playoffs that season, but he suffered a knee injury toward the end of the year and missed two games in the playoffs before the Pistons were swept by the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Pistons, who are struggling at 10-26, are in rebuild mode and parted ways with two of their best players, Griffin and Derrick Rose, in the past month. They’re looking to get more playing time for their young core of players and to make room in the salary cap for their rebuild down the road.

Instead of the $39 million for Griffin next year, they cap hit will be $29.8 million, which will give them some relief in trying to make a moderate addition to the roster.

Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard