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#pounditSunday, February 5, 2023

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin signs with Eastern Conference contender

Blake Griffin warms up before a game

Apr 25, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Blake Griffin (2) warms up before game four of the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs against the Boston Celtics at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics have been exploring ways to bolster their frontcourt depth in the wake of injuries to Robert Williams and Danilo Gallinari, and they are hoping a six-time NBA All-Star can help address that need.

Blake Griffin has agreed to a one-year contract with the Celtics, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. The deal is fully guaranteed and worth the veteran minimum.

Griffin, 33, was most recently with the Brooklyn Nets. Nowhere near the player he was in his prime, the former first overall pick averaged 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game while appearing in 56 contests. He played 17.1 minutes per game.

Gallinari, whom the Celtics signed this offseason, tore his ACL last month while playing for Italy in the FIBA World Cup qualifying. He will miss the entire 2022-23 season. Williams underwent knee surgery last week and is expected to miss 8-12 weeks.

Though he had the worst statistical season of his career in Brooklyn last year, Griffin’s lack of production may have had something to do with reported issues between him and Nets head coach Steve Nash. The Celtics are hoping he still has more to offer than what he showed last season.

Steve Nash, Blake Griffin had issues last season?

Steve Nash at a press conference

Mar 31, 2018; San Antonio, TX, USA; Former basketball player Steve Nash speaks during the NBA Hall of Fame press conference at the Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Nash and Blake Griffin were rivals in the early 2010s when they played on rival Los Angeles teams. It turns out that they may still have been rivals last season as player and head coach.

Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News made a recent appearance on “The Athletic NBA Show.” During the episode, Winfield indicated that there were some issues between Nash and Griffin on the Nets last year.

“There’s something about Blake Griffin that Steve Nash doesn’t like. I’ll just say that,” said Winfield. “[Or] maybe [more] like, doesn’t feel is deserving of minutes on a basketball floor … You had Blake Griffin basically just wasting away most of the second half of the season because he couldn’t hit a shot.

“He did everything else pretty well,” Winfield went on about Griffin. “We’re talking about hustled, grabbing rebounds, making the right passes, he did those things well. But for Steve it boiled down to, he just couldn’t hit an open shot, and that was a liability so that was it.”

The six-time All-Star Griffin had his worst career season statistically with the Nets last year. He averaged 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game and indeed could not throw it into the Atlantic Ocean from deep, shooting 26.2 percent on threes. By the latter part of the season, Griffin was out of the rotation entirely and began airing out frustrations on social media.

Griffin, now 33, remains unsigned, but it is probably a safe bet that he will not be back with the Nets. As for Nash, there have been a few signs that other Brooklyn players are not too fond of him either.

Report: Lakers, Clippers are finalists for 1 notable free agent

LeBron James looking on

Jan 21, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers and the Clippers may be jostling for one prominent free agent like a Downtown Los Angeles parking spot.

Matt Steinmetz of 95.7 The Game reported this week that six-time All-Star Blake Griffin is liking headed back to L.A. to play for either of the two local teams. This was also later confirmed by Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer.

The 33-year-old Griffin, an unrestricted free agent this summer, was drafted by the Clippers in 2009 and spent the first nine years of his career there. But a reunion seems unlikely for a couple of reasons. The Clippers do not really have a need for Griffin these days unless Isaiah Hartenstein and/or Nicolas Batum leave in free agency. Meanwhile, Griffin himself may still have some bad blood over the stunning 2018 trade that sent him to the Detroit Pistons, which was overseen by owner Steve Ballmer and executives Lawrence Frank and Jerry West (all of whom are still the Clippers’ key decision-makers).

That would appear to make the Lakers the likelier landing spot for the ex-Dunk Contest champion Griffin. They have some shoring up to do in the frontcourt with Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony hitting free agency. That said, it makes perfect sense that Griffin would want to return to L.A. considering some of his non-basketball ventures.

Report: Lakers expected to have interest in former All-Star

Rob Pelinka at a press conference

Sep 27, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka answers a question during the Lakers media day at the UCLA Health Training Center in El Segundo, CA. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers are among the teams expected to have interest in a former All-Star.

Blake Griffin is set to be a free agent. He dropped out of Steve Nash’s rotation in Brooklyn, but he is still expected to draw attention as an end-of-bench guy.

An executive told Heavy’s Sean Deveney that they expect the Bulls, Heat, Lakers and Celtics to be among the teams with interest in signing Griffin.

Now 33, Griffin will likely earn the veteran’s minimum. He averaged 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in 56 games last season. He averaged 11.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per game in the 2020-2021 season.

Griffin knows he is no longer the superstar player he once was. But he has accepted being a veteran off the bench, which still gives him some value as a small role player. It will be interesting to see who signs the former 6-time All-Star.

Blake Griffin struggling with Nets demotion?

Blake Griffin shooting during warmups

Blake Griffin went from fashionable to forgotten with stunning quickness. Now it appears that he is having some difficulty processing his new reality.

The former All-Star big man spoke with reporters on Monday and indicated that he is struggling with his demotion from the Brooklyn Nets. Griffin said that he recently spoke with his former teammate and close friend DeAndre Jordan, who gave him advice on how to deal with being out of the rotation. Griffin also said that he would like to play but that he understands how well LaMarcus Aldridge is playing and how his three-point shooting needs to improve, per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.

The 32-year-old Griffin has had a season to forget in Brooklyn. He began the year as the team’s starting center but only could muster 5.5 points and 4.9 rebounds a game on 31.8 percent from the field and a revolting 16.1 percent from deep, the one skill he was being relied on for as a small-ball 5. The Nets then pulled Griffin from the rotation, and he has not played for a week now.

Jordan, meanwhile, played for the Nets during the previous two seasons and had his own struggles with falling out of their favor. Once an elite frontcourt duo with the LA Clippers, Griffin and Jordan are sobering examples of just how quickly big men, even the stars, can become obsolete in today’s NBA.

Photo: Dec 18, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (23) warms up before the game against the Toronto Raptors at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Griffin has curious Twitter ‘like’ about Isaiah Stewart incident

Blake Griffin shooting during warmups

A former Detroit Pistons big man is getting in on the recent drama involving a current one.

Brooklyn Nets star Blake Griffin had a curious “like” on Twitter this week after the incident between LeBron James and Isaiah Stewart. Griffin “liked” a tweet about Stewart that read, “Man was face to face with Bron and didn’t swing back … then decided to turn into Aaron Donald 50 feet away.”

The “like,” which is still visible on Griffin’s Twitter page, implies that Griffin thinks Stewart is a fake tough guy. The timing here is no coincidence either. You may recall that Griffin had his own heated incident with Stewart during a game against the Pistons earlier this month.

Interestingly enough, Griffin and Stewart were briefly teammates in Detroit last season. We know Griffin has not been fond of Pistons fans since leaving. Apparently, he is not fond of some of his former Pistons teammates either.

Photo: Dec 18, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (23) warms up before the game against the Toronto Raptors at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Griffin takes shot at Pistons fans after getting booed

Blake Griffin shooting during warmups

Blake Griffin knows that the Detroit Pistons fans were not saying “Boo-lake” on Friday night.

The Brooklyn Nets big man took a shot at the Pistons faithful after he heard boos during Brooklyn’s 96-90 victory in Detroit. A reporter asked Griffin if it was surprising that he got booed.

“Surprising? No, I mean, I heard they booed Andre Drummond last night,” said Griffin, per SportsNet New York. “What did he do? He just got traded. So no, I assumed that was going to happen. So no, not surprising at all. But I didn’t really hear it until the end.”

Drummond’s Philadelphia 76ers played in Detroit on Thursday, defeating the Pistons 109-98. He even heard boos when he came to play in Detroit during the preseason and offered a response to it.

As for Griffin, he played in Detroit for three years and actually gave Pistons fans a reason to boo upon his exit. He clearly does not understand why they would boo Drummond though and has no problem calling them out for it.

Photo: Dec 18, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (23) warms up before the game against the Toronto Raptors at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Griffin reveals one thing he did not like about how Clippers handled trade

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin going from the LA Clippers to the Detroit Pistons in 2018 was one of the most shocking trades in recent NBA history. It turns out that Griffin was probably just as shocked as everyone else was at the time.

The six-time All-Star, who is now with the Brooklyn Nets, opened up about the Clippers trading him away in an interview this week on “In Depth with Graham Bensinger.” Griffin revealed the one thing that he did not like about how the team handled the whole situation.

“I understand, for sure, through a business point of view,” said Griffin. “I completely understand. A team wants to go a certain way. They had a plan. They wanted to win a championship very quickly, and they didn’t think that was going to happen with me there. I totally get that.

“The only thing we kinda wish they had gone about a different way, just the respect of letting your agent know so that hopefully both parties can work out a deal that they both want, that both works for them,” Griffin went on. “[I found out] when a friend had told me.”

The former No. 1 overall pick then told the story of how he called his agent after hearing the rumors, only for the Clippers front office not to pick up the phone when Griffin’s agent tried to get to the bottom of it. Griffin said that he then drove to the team facility to have a face-to-face talk with Clippers GM (Michael Winger, whom Griffin did not mention by name). It proved to be an awkward discussion with Winger beating around the bush and simply telling Griffin, “You’ll be the first call” if a trade ultimately materialized. On his drive home, Griffin then saw a tweet from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reporting that the trade with the Pistons was being finalized.

Griffin is arguably the single greatest player in Clippers franchise history. He brought respect, relevance, and excitement to a historically awful team from the moment that they drafted him in 2009. But even if the Clippers’ current Kawhi Leonard-Paul George era would not have even been possible without trading Griffin, the abruptness was still a big shock, especially just months after the team had made a big show about having Griffin as a Clipper for life.

The 32-year-old still seemed to hold a grudge against the Clippers in recent years. But Griffin did say later in the interview that “it’s not like this thing where I’m just like, ‘I’m never gonna speak to these people again.'” Perhaps time will continue to thaw out whatever bad blood still remains here.

Photo: Dec 18, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (23) warms up before the game against the Toronto Raptors at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Griffin explains why jokes about not dunking bothered him

Blake Griffin

During the first part of the 2020-21 NBA season, it was popular to take cracks at Blake Griffin. More specifically, it was pretty much open season on Griffin’s lack of in-game dunking.

Griffin, once revered as one of the best athletes in the league and one of its most accomplished dunkers, went a year and a half between in-game dunks. Between Dec. 2019 and March 2021, Griffin didn’t throw one down, and plenty of people were eager to point that out.

Griffin admitted that the narrative bothered him, in part because he didn’t have the chance to dunk while he wasn’t even playing.

“It bothered me a little bit. Because the stat was, ‘He hasn’t dunked in 400-something days.’ Sure,” Griffin said on JJ Redick’s “The Old Man & the Three” podcast. “I had surgery in January. I played my last game for the Pistons before the pandemic hit December 28, 2019. And then we didn’t go to the bubble. So I didn’t play again until December 24, 2020. Everybody’s like, ‘He hasn’t dunked in over a year.’ I’m like, ‘I haven’t played in over a year.’ Yeah, I played those 19 games with the Pistons and didn’t dunk.

“But that just pissed me off because you guys know the stat, you’re just choosing to be like, ‘Let’s do days instead of games.’ Because games is still like, ‘Oh, he hasn’t dunked in 19 games.’ ‘Or… Hear me out… We can just do just straight days!'”

Griffin’s manager had a somewhat similar explanation to why he wasn’t dunking with Detroit. Once Griffin got to Brooklyn, he proved pretty quickly that he may not be in his prime anymore, but he can still throw it down when he gets the chance. The jokes started to fade pretty quickly after that.

Blake Griffin paid respects to late Norm Macdonald with press conference video

Blake Griffin

The internet on Tuesday filled with memories and favorite clips of Norm Macdonald, the beloved comedian who died at the age of 61 following a battle with cancer.

Six-time NBA All-Star Blake Griffin was among those to show respect to Macdonald. He shared a video clip of a question Macdonald once asked him at a press conference. Griffin, who was with the LA Clippers at the time, called it his “favorite press conference moment ever.”

In case you can’t watch or hear the clip, Macdonald cracked a great joke with Griffin.

He noted how nobody had ever repeated as “Rookie of the Year,” leading Macdonald to call the honor a “curse.” Griffin recognized the humor immediately and joked that he would “try as hard as he can next year.”

Griffin did win NBA Rookie of the Year in the 2010-2011 season. Sadly, he failed to repeat the following year and did not break the curse.

Thanks for making us laugh, Norm, then, and now.