Heading into the 2020-21 NBA season, many believed that the Detroit Pistons would trade both Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin at some before the trade deadline.
Well, Rose has already been traded to the New York Knicks, which leaves Griffin.
According to Bleacher Report, a plausible trade that would send Griffen packing would include the Oklahoma City Thunder. BR suggests the Pistons trade Griffin and a 2021 second-round pick (via Toronto) to the Thunder for Al Horford, Darius Miller, and Ty Jerome.
The natural question, then, is why the Thunder would be remotely interested in acquiring Griffin. A couple of factors work it within the realm of possibility.
For starters, Griffin’s contract comes off the books in 2021-22. Al Horford will still have a $26.5 million salary ($14.5 million guaranteed) for 2022-23. That’s not an insignificant deal. By then, this up-and-coming Thunder roster might be in a position to justify adding a big-ticket item or two. If not, OKC could use the added flexibility in other trades that bring back roster-building assets.
There’s also a chance—albeit a slim one—that Griffin isn’t completely washed. He was an All-NBA third-teamer in 2018-19, after all. If he can become a complementary part of this core, his playmaking could elevate the players around him, and the fact he’s a Sooner State native and Oklahoma alumnus might make him a marketing draw for the franchise.
The Pistons, meanwhile, might deem Horford an easier roster fit since he’s less ball-dominant (2.03 seconds per touch compared to Griffin’s 2.97) and would free more minutes at the 4 for Jerami Grant and Sekou Doumbouya.
Detroit would deal the second-rounder to deepen its backcourt with Ty Jerome, a 2019 first-round pick, and it should have the minutes to showcase Darius Miller in case he attracts a shooting-starved contender between now and the deadline.
Nation, would you like to see this deal happen?