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Report: Pistons expected to buy out Blake Griffin

Pistons forward Blake Griffin

DETROIT, MI - FEBRUARY 9: Blake Griffin #23 of the Detroit Pistons looks on during the game against the Brooklyn Nets on February 9, 2021 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Blake Griffin and the Pistons agreed to pursue a trade or buyout.

But no trade has emerged. Considering Griffin has a $36,810,996 salary this season and $38,957,028 player option next season, it’s unlikely one will.

So, buyout it will probably be.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Sources tell me and The Athletic’s James Edwards III that the Pistons are expected to work toward a contract buyout with forward Blake Griffin

Griffin could help a winning team.

But expectations should be checked.

Griffin, who’ll turn 32 before the trade deadline, has suffered major athletic decline. Not just from his dunking days with the Clippers. But from even his resurgent 2018-19 season in Detroit. His movements looked labored earlier this season. Yes, his skill level has improved tremendously during his career. But he still needs some lift on his jumpers.

Maybe Griffin will fare better after a long layoff and in a fresh environment. But the only skill I’d take for granted is his plus passing as a big. Everything else falls between questionable and unrealistic.

Still, plenty of teams need frontcourt help. Griffin will draw interest once off this massive contract.

The Pistons might wait until after the trade deadline (March 25) to buy him out. A trade is always theoretically possible. If bought out, Griffin’s cap hit will be an unmovable impediment on Detroit’s books for his remaining guaranteed money.

Griffin must relinquish enough money to make that worth the Pistons’ while. The sooner he hits the market, the more he could earn from another team. So, this could also happen before the trade deadline.

But, regardless of exact timing, all signs point to Griffin getting a buyout and becoming an unrestricted free agent this season