He didn’t name the teams, but Blake Griffin told Rich Eisen Tuesday that he ultimately chose the Nets over three other teams after he and the Pistons agreed to a buyout on Friday.
“At the end of it, I narrowed it down to four teams so all four are great teams and organizations but like I keep saying, I tried to make the best decision.” Griffin told Eisen on his Rich Eisen Show, indicating more than four teams approached him.
“There was definitely other teams. It wasn’t an easy decision by any means but I’ve known KD, James, DeAndre obviously, and Kai for a long time and you always think about playing with different guys. Ultimately, just made the decision I thought was best for myself. I’m excited about the opportunity and obviously a great team and I’m happy to be a part of the organization.”
When Eisen asked if the Nets “Big Three” and DJ had tried to recruit, Griffin smiled and admitted that they had ... but claimed it was all legal.
“Not until the appropriate time because of tampering but I spoke to some of them,” said Griffin. “From all the teams, I talked to several guys so like I said, it was a tough decision but I went with what I thought was best.”
League rules prohibit teams —and players— from recruiting off other teams’ rosters ... although the rules haven’t often been enforced, particularly among players.
Griffin said he’s met with Steve Nash and talked about his role, this time noting that he expects to play small ball 5 as well as his traditional role as a 4.
”I think they need a 4 and sometimes they’ll play me as a small-ball 5. I’m there to help out where I can. I think at this point in my career, I am able to fit different roles. My whole goal is to help this team win like every year but obviously, the teams that I was looking at, there are real chances to do that so I was appreciative of all the teams but I am excited to be a Net.”
Indeed, a Nets fan posted a picture of Griffin and Nash meeting earlier Tuesday at Rucola on down Dean Street from Barclays Center.
Nets Nation, a good friend of mine just sent me this photo, taken in Brooklyn today. Lob City meets 7 Seconds or Less. Spread Love It’s the Brooklyn Way pic.twitter.com/07DCeGEZVN— Sam Lachow (@SamuelLachow) March 9, 2021
Griffin also shared how his time in Detroit ended.
“They just came to me and said ‘Hey listen, we are going in a different direction. This is pretty much a full rebuild. This year, they kept Derrick Rose and I on and they sort of wanted us from training camp, mentor, and help out so many young guys and so many new guys. They wanted us to be there for that. We did that and Derrick made the decision that he wanted to try to play for a playoff team and play more minutes somewhere and they honored that.”
Specifically, he described how the Detroit front office let him know of their plans.
“‘We are going to sit you some but you can kind of do anything you want.’ We all thought it was best to let these guys move forward and play these young guys, which they wanted to do, and work something out that benefited both of us and moving on. I’m grateful to that organization.”
Similarly, Troy Weaver, the Pistons GM, told The Athletic that the departure was amicable.
“We definitely wanted to exhaust everything,” said Weaver. “We looked to the trade market, as well, to see if we could facilitate something to get him in a situation or destination that he would like, as well as make it a good situation for us. We didn’t automatically think or assume that it would be a buyout. We just landed there. It’s worked out for all parties.”
As for whether he could ever have envisioned himself playing with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Jordan, Griffin told Eisen nothing in the NBA surprises him.
“Anything can happen but I guess I’d be inclined to believe it. Anything can happen in this league. Now, we are here.”
- Blake Griffin can help push the Nets over the top - Barbara Barker - Newsday