Blake Griffin was the first player in free agency to ink the dotted line with the Brooklyn Nets on a one-year, $2.64 million contract. The decision to remain a Nets was easy, said Griffin, even after being approached by other teams with bigger offers. Griffin declined to comment on which teams pursued him but left no question about where he wanted to be.
“This was a situation that was comfortable with,” said Griffin. “A lot of those other offer didn’t necessarily — just going to make more money, going to a new spot, or maybe a bigger role — wasn’t really a thing.”
Blake is heading into his 12th NBA season (13 if you count his rookie year, which he missed due to injury). He’s been around the block, seen the highs and lows of the NBA, and at this point in his career knows exactly what he wants: A chance at glory.
“I know this situation. I know what I can do with this team,” Blake said on Thursday. “I know my role with this team, and there’s, you know, still kind of left the season with sort of a bad taste in our mouth.”
Interestingly, Griffin mentioned Kevin Durant’s extension as a reason he chose to stay in Brooklyn. His wording was choice; he called it “comforting” to see the team’s best player extend for four more years.
“I mean, obviously, it’s comforting to know that the guy of that caliber is locked in,” said Griffin. “KD’s kind of like that piece that brought everything together.”
This falls in line with what GM Sean Marks said on Wednesday. He called Durant’s decision to remain a Net for the foreseeable future “franchise changing.”
“It was obviously very important for us — I can’t tell you how important it was — this is franchise-changing when you can lock a person like Kevin up and he wants to commit to being here for the foreseeable future,” Marks told reporters on Wednesday.
Griffin, who praised everyone from Joe Tsai to the performance team, talked about how impressed he’s been with the Nets acquisitions this summer: Jevon Carter via a trade with Phoenix that re-routed Landry Shamet to the Suns; James Johnson for the veteran’s minimum; DeAndre’ Bembry for the veteran’s minimum, and of course, Patty Mills for the taxpayers mid-level exception.
“Patty adds just dynamic shooting. That’s always a need for us, but also just a veteran point guard who, you know, playing against him, it seems like he’s always like that guy that comes up with a big play, makes a big play — defense, offense, whatever it is — hits a big shot,” said Griffin about his new teammate, Mills. “But he’s also a guy that can facilitate and you know, get in the teeth of defense makes the right decisions. Just a really good basketball player.”
James Johnson, meanwhile, should provide some needed toughness for the Nets in Blake’s eyes. In fact, he even referred to the wily veteran with the black belt in karate as someone who “fills gaps.”
“James Johnson, one of those guys. same draft class, I’ve known him forever and played against him forever. He is one of those guys that just like fills gaps. I mean, he’s also a great player,” said Griffin. “Athletic, can play defense can guard multiple positions. He’s tough. And he brings sort of that mentality that I think we need.”
Blake is coming off an enticing bounce back season with the Nets, averaging 10 points per game on 49.2 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from three, so much of his summer has been spent preparing for the road ahead.
Granted, he has had a chance to glance at how the competition has reloaded. In particular, Griffin was impressed by the Heat who reshuffled the deck by signing P.J. Tucker and acquiring Kyle Lowry via a sign-and-trade, as well the Lakers who traded for Russell Westbrook and picked up... well, there’s not enough hours in the day to go through every possible free agent the Lakers signed.
“I mean, you pay attention. Miami has done a great job. Obviously, the Lakers are making, you know, a lot of noise,” said Griffin. “You kind of take it as you go, I guess.”
- Blake Griffin: Coming back to Nets was a ‘no-brainer’ - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Blake Griffin returns to Nets with ‘unfinished business’ in mind - Greg Logan - Newsday