Will Blake Griffin really be back in June?

There is no timetable set for his return“, was the Detroit Pistons’ official statement on Jan 7, after Blake Griffin underwent a successful arthroscopic debridement of his left knee. On Feb 24, Pistons executive Ed Stefanski declared: “When June rolls around, all the physical rehabbing will be over. Then we can see where Blake is as a basketball player“. So, trying to answer the question about Blake’s future with the Pistons now is just as good a guess as using a lottery promo code Michigan, meaning that luck could still play a big role in it.

In the meanwhile, the injured left knee has cost Griffin 19 missed games and being limited all season. Before the debridement, he had surgery on the same knee at the end of April 2019. All the same, he managed to produce a lot of excellent performance. Earlier, in the 2018-19 campaign, he was the first Pistons player to post averages of 24-plus points, seven-plus rebounds, and five-plus assists.

Now the absence of their star forward is definitely being felt by the Pistons. They are not shining so much, at the moment,  4th from the bottom in Eastern Conference, sitting in a 12th position. But Stefanski is adamant that Griffin’s recovery comes first and his future will be decided only when he is fully healthy again.

Speculations are circulating also about his big fact contract, in which he has two years left (including a player option he’s a lock to opt into) worth $75.7 million. This was pointed out on Feb 28 by “Forbes”, in an opinion piece suggesting that the Pistons have a “nuclear option”, that of stretching BG’s contract.

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The basic assumption for this is that Griffin is not the man he used to be, neither will he be, even after recovering from his knee injuring. “His days of a superstar are behind him“, is Forbes’ ruthless verdict. According to this assessment, the Pistons would not get enough value for their money once BG comes back to the NBA. They have clearly no chance of trading him now also considering that he is going to be 31st in March.

The suggestion for them is to stretch the final season of Blake’s contract. It would look like this: taking the remaining year of the contract, multiplying it by two and adding one and dividing it over that span. In this way, a contract with one year left would divide that year’s salary over that season plus two more. Given that the salary to be stretched amounts to  $38.96 million, the Pistons would end up paying $12.987 million for 2021-22, 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons. That would leave them with a lot of cap space to use in the summer of 2021. 

Will the Pistons take up the suggestion and recoup their losses on their (former) superstar? What about him, would such a deal be a bitter morsel to swallow? See above, we need to wait until June to know.

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