For the first time since 2017, Blake Griffin will be a free agent after reportedly agreeing to a contract buyout with the Detroit Pistons and according to a report from Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Los Angeles Lakers have already expressed interest in the six-time All-Star.
The Lakers, Clippers, Nets, Heat and Warriors are among the teams that have expressed interest in Blake Griffin when he becomes an unrestricted free agent, league sources say— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 5, 2021
However, it appears Griffin has already decided which team he’s going to sign with as a free agent: the Brooklyn Nets.
The Brooklyn Nets are believed to be leaders to sign six-time All-Star Blake Griffin, sources tell me and @JLEdwardsIII. Rival teams with interest are expecting Griffin to choose Nets as a title favorite for chance to win a championship.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 5, 2021
When you compare the depth the Lakers have at the power forward position with the depth the Nets have, it’s clear why Griffin might prefer to play in Brooklyn over just about every team in the league. He might not be exactly what the Nets need but, with all due respect to Jeff Green, he has a higher ceiling than anyone that currently gets regular minutes for them at the 4 outside of Kevin Durant.
With the Lakers, Griffin would have had to battle for playing time at the 4 with Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma and Markieff Morris, and in his current form, he likely would have been a third string power forward. Griffin averaged 12.3 points per game on 36.5% shooting from the field in 20 appearances for the Pistons this season.
That’s not to say he wouldn’t have carved out a regular role in Frank Vogel’s rotation — in fact, the Lakers would have benefited having someone with his playmaking chops in the second unit — but his role in Los Angeles would have never been as big as the one he’s expected to get in Brooklyn. The same is true of his payday.
So, while Griffin hasn’t signed any formal paperwork with the Nets yet, it’s safe to assume Los Angeles will have to look at other options to fill one of their two vacant roster spots.