Blake Griffin hasn't suited up for the Detroit Pistons since Feb. 12, as both sides agreed that he would remain out of the lineup until the team facilitated a trade for him or they agreed to a buyout. A couple weeks later and it appears the Pistons will be going down the buyout route with the veteran big man, per The Athletic's Shams Charania.
This isn't incredibly surprising -- finding a trade partner willing to take on the aging, injury-riddled Griffin was always going to be difficult. Especially considering he is making $36.8 million this season, and also has a player option worth $38.9 million next year that he'll undoubtedly pick up. But now that Detroit is expected to buy him out of his contract, teams may be more willing to take a chance on him for a more reasonable price tag.
Griffin is averaging a career low in points (12.3) and is shooting under 40 percent for the second straight season. The athleticism he displayed for most of his career has diminished after going through several injuries, and his defense has been subpar as his mobility isn't where it used to be either.
However, a change of scenery may be what Griffin needs, and a less featured role could help him be effective enough on both ends of the floor. He's still a six-time All-Star and five-time All-NBA player who can still be beneficial in some ways. His size alone would be a significant upgrade for teams looking for help down low, and while he's shooting near a career low from the field, he can still be effective on offense.
Here are three contenders that make sense to add Griffin in the buyout market:
After trading for James Harden, which cost them Jarrett Allen, the Nets have been lacking in size, so adding Griffin would be a huge plus. He wouldn't be tasked with having to carry so much on offense, so he could focus on being more of a presence on the other end of the floor, which would certainly help their 26th-ranked defense. He's more versatile on offense compared to DeAndre Jordan, so he could help as a floor spacer, although his inefficiency on that end is still an issue.
The Bucks picked up Bobby Portis in the offseason, and he's been a serviceable backup to Brook Lopez this season, averaging 11 points and seven boards, while shooting a career high from deep (50.7) on two attempts per game. However, Milwaukee will need all the size it can get for the postseason, especially against someone like Joel Embiid, who has been an absolute force this year. Griffin can provide that size and the strength needed to guard bigger opponents, while also being able to spread the floor a bit for Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday.
Once again, the Blazers have been saddled with injuries and are down to just Enes Kanter in the frontcourt as Zach Collins has yet to play this season after having ankle surgery, and Jusuf Nurkic is still recovering from a broken right wrist. It's unclear when Collins will return, as he's still listed out as indefinitely. Meanwhile, Nurkic's time is eight weeks, which puts his possible return to the middle of March. Still, given the injury history of Portland's bigs, adding Griffin could be an insurance policy for a team that is right in the thick of the West standings. Griffin's list of injuries is definitely concerning, but the reward outweighs the risk considering the Blazers would be getting him on the buyout market and not have to pay his enormous salary.