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Destination Brooklyn: Blake Griffin signs one-year deal with Nets

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Detroit Pistons v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Blake Griffin is a Net. In a statement released shortly before 11 a.m. Monday, the Nets tweeted out that Griffin had signed with the team and Sean Marks issued a statement welcoming the six-time NBA all-star to Brooklyn.

“We’re fortunate to be able to add a player of Blake’s caliber to our roster at this point in the season. Blake is a versatile frontcourt player with a long track record of success in our league, and we’re excited about the impact he’ll make for us both on and off the court in Brooklyn.”

Although the Nets did not provide details on the contract, reports over the weekend indicated it will be a one-year vets minimum deal for the rest of this season. Griffin will wear No 2 with the Nets. His numbers with the Clippers and Pistons, 32 and 23, have been retired by the Nets.

The announcement comes after both Shams Charania and Adrian Wojnarowski posted the news just prior to the NBA All-Star Game.

As the clock struck 5 p.m. Sunday, and waivers on Griffin expired, Charania tweeted that the six-time All-Star is expected to sign with Brooklyn.

Two hours later, Adrian Wojnarowski took it one step further with a confirmation from Griffin’s agent.

Similarly, AP’s Brian Mahoney quoted “a person with knowledge of the details” saying the deal was done.

Woj later revealed that Griffin signed for the veterans minimum, roughly $1.2 million for the rest of the season.

The Nets are using one of their veteran minimum contract slots to sign Griffin, sources said.

Griffin informed Nets general manager Sean Marks of his decision to join Brooklyn’s championship chase on Sunday evening, a reunion of sorts with his old Los Angeles Clippers teammate DeAndre Jordan.

This means the Nets still have their $5.7 million DPE (Spencer Dinwiddie) and their taxpayer MLE currently valued at $5.4 million. (It drops about $39,000 a day it’s unused.) Bobby Marks noted should the Nets decide they want to keep Griffin beyond this season, they’d be able to use the MLE next summer when the 12-year veteran will be an unrestricted free agent.

Griffin, who turns 32 on March 16, was waived by the Pistons Friday afternoon, accepting a $63 million buyout, $13.3 million less than what he was owed this season and next.

Griffin has several connections to the Nets. Beyond being close to Jordan, with whom he played eight years as part of the Clippers‘ “Lob City,” Griffin also worked out with the Nets “Big Three” in Los Angeles last summer and played two years in Detroit with Bruce Brown.

Griffin has lost more than a bit of his once staggering athleticism to injury in recent years. Over the past several years, he’s had issues with both knees, his back, his right big toe, his right ankle over the years, with the most recent event, arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in April 2019, leading to a big drop-off.

Griffin averaged 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 2018-19 and made third team All-NBA. That same year, James Harden was a unanimous first team All-NBA selection, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving second teamers.

However, the last two years, Griffin has played only 38 games due to injury and averaged far less than his career numbers. This year, he hasn’t even dunked yet. However, as he showed on January 28, he can still put up big numbers in big games, scoring 23 points, hitting five three’s and handing out six assists in a Pistons upset of the Lakers.

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What role will Griffin, historically one of the NBA’s top power forwards, play on the Nets? Most pundits, like Woj, have suggested he’ll like play back-up 5, playing much the same role as Jeff Green.

Harden, asked about Griffin at his All-Star media availability earlier Sunday, wouldn’t comment on the presumed signing, but did say Griffin will bring a lot to a championship contender.

“We haven’t made that move yet or acquired anybody yet so I can answer that later, if it happens,” Harden said on the Griffin rumors. “We all know how exciting Blake Griffin is and the player he is.”

But post-game, after the news broke, Harden was more open, providing a brief synopsis of what to expect.

“I’m sure he wants to win. If he’s passed up more money to obviously stay in Detroit, he wants to win and he wants to have an opportunity to play meaningful minutes, and I’m assuming that’s one of the reasons why he came,” said Harden.

“Obviously, we know the athletic and high-jumping Blake. But as of these last couple of years, he’s knocking down the three-ball a little bit better, the ball-handling is a lot better. He can be a great contribution to this team.”

Kyrie Irving, meanwhile, declined to comment –– at least until the team returns to Brooklyn and they get Blake Griffin’s signature on an NBA contract.

The Nets opened up one roster spot Saturday when 10-day player Tyler Cook’s 10-day expired.