It feels like it's been eons since Blake Griffin last donned an LA Clippers uniform. The once-high-flying forward was traded just over three years ago to the Detroit Pistons, and ever since then, he's been on a steady decline.
Little of that is his fault — at 31 years old, Griffin is hardly the athlete he used to be, and he's undergone numerous surgeries over the last handful of years that have hindered his mobility and forced him to almost completely abandon the playstyle he made famous.
Now, Griffin and the Pistons are reportedly on the verge of a divorce. Whether he leaves via trade or following a contract buyout, one thing is certain: Griffin has played his final game for Detroit.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Pistons will prioritize working the trade market for a potential deal, though a buyout isn't off the table.
It's not hard to see why Detroit would prefer to trade the former star. Griffin is earning over $36 million for the current season, and that number increases to roughly $39 million next year, assuming he opts-in to the final year of his contract. Considering Griffin's current skill set, it doesn't seem likely that the Pistons will find a willing trade partner.
That's not to say Griffin is completely unplayable. He's still an above-average playmaker at his position, and he's more than capable of knocking down a couple of three-pointers per game. A change of scenery could be all he needs to carve out a productive role and stick around in the league for another few years.
That brings us to a buyout scenario, which opens the door for numerous contenders to get involved. Teams like the Brooklyn Nets, LA Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers won't break the door down to trade for Griffin, but there's hardly any risk in signing him to a minimum deal.
Griffin would be a more seamless fit with the Lakers and Nets, who could make great use of his passing and shooting off the bench. The Lakers are also expected to be without Anthony Davis for the next few weeks, making a player like Griffin all the more attractive as they look to maintain their standing in the Western Conference.
History aside, there may also be reason for the Clippers to bring Griffin back for another run at the title. We'd probably need to see him have a Nicolas Batum-level resurgence to earn minutes on a nightly basis, but at the very least, he's an upgrade over Patrick Patterson and Mfiondu Kabengele.
He'd almost certainly have a larger role with the Lakers or Nets, and he'll gain interest from other teams who are willing to make him a part of their future as well. At that point, it comes down to what Griffin prefers most at this stage of his career. This may be his best chance yet at winning an NBA title, but his role will need to change significantly if he signs with a contender.
If Griffin becomes available and wants to return to the Clippers — something that seems very unlikely — LA should consider it. He's a big part of the franchise's history, and he's still got a bit left in the tank.
However, the Clippers would probably be better off adding another backup big or wing, should one become available on the buyout market. This team is fine as is currently constructed, but it couldn't hurt to have some extra depth at those key positions.