In a recently proposed trade idea, Bleacher Report suggested that the Charlotte Hornets could improve their chances of reaching the playoffs in the coming years if they make a deal for oft-injured Detroit Pistons big man Blake Griffin.
As explained by the publication, the Pistons will be entering the 2020 offseason with one fewer “onerous” contract to deal with, given that they had traded two-time All-Star center Andre Drummond to the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this year. But with Griffin dealing with knee issues and set to earn about $37 million annually in the next two seasons, per Basketball-Reference, Bleacher Report suggested that Detroit could unload him to another organization and “truly build from the ground up.”
Expounding on Griffin’s prospects if he enters the trade market, the outlet noted that many potential partners might request that a draft pick be added if they are to acquire the 31-year-old. However, it was pointed out that Charlotte might be “desperate enough” to trade for Griffin and add their own second-round pick in the 2020 draft to the mix. Due to his expiring contract, forward/guard Nicolas Batum was suggested as a veteran player who could be sent to Detroit to make the transaction work.
“If he can provide even 25-30 minutes per game, Griffin would significantly raise the ceiling of a Hornets squad that has been the picture of mediocrity for years,” Bleacher Report wrote.
A six-time All-Star who had also seen action for the Los Angeles Clippers, Griffin’s knee problems limited him to just 18 games in the 2019-20 season, where the Pistons finished 13th in the Eastern Conference with a 20-46 record. The former No. 1 overall draft pick mostly averaged career-lows across the board, producing just 15.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game and shooting 35.2 percent from the field and 24.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Much like Griffin, Batum also suffered through an injury-riddled 2019-20 campaign and played for a team that placed too low to qualify for the season restart in Orlando. According to Basketball-Reference, the Frenchman tallied averages of 3.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, and three assists and shot 34.6 percent from the field for Charlotte, whose 23-42 record was only good for 10th in the Eastern Conference.
Griffin isn’t the only player on a rather expensive contract that has recently been recommended as an offseason target for the Hornets. Washington Wizards point guard John Wall, who has missed most of the past two seasons with a torn Achilles tendon and bone spurs, was mentioned last month in a hypothetical transaction that would send Terry Rozier to the nation’s capital after just one season playing in North Carolina.