That didn’t take long. Blake Griffin went from a trade candidate to being bought out to now leaning toward a new contract with the Brooklyn Nets in no time, as Shams Charania and James Edwards of The Athletic report the Nets are the “leaders” to sign Griffin once he clears waivers from Detroit.
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
This confirms initial indications from Marc Stein of the New York Times, and as ESPN’s Bobby Marks noted, Griffin will not officially become a free agent until Sunday at 5 p.m. ET, but it is expected nobody would claim him because of his exorbitant salary. The Nets will make Griffin the first major addition to their roster since they traded for James Harden and became among the top contenders for the 2021 NBA championship.
Since trading Jarrett Allen to Cleveland in the Harden deal, the Nets have often leaned on small lineups to close games, with either Jeff Green or Kevin Durant functioning as a small-ball center. So while Griffin’s usefulness in those situations make him a good theoretical fit in Brooklyn, the fact remains that he is severely hampered physically after multiple major injuries over the course of his career and is shooting 37 percent from the field.
As Stein noted, Nets players were a part of the lobbying to get Griffin to Brooklyn, and that team is soaring up the standings even without Durant healthy, so it’s not as if they need peak Griffin to keep winning. But it is a peculiar choice with roster spots limited and defense so clearly a need for the team, which ranks 24th on that end this season.