Six-time All-Star Blake Griffin stunned the NBA this weekend, when he agreed to a deal with the Brooklyn Nets. The 31-year-old, former Detroit Pistons forward, agreed to a buy-out of his contract last week and will now join the Eastern Conference favorites heading into the second half of the 2020-21 season.
Griffin will earn $1.2 million for the remainder of the year, after signing a veteran minimum deal with the Nets. The move will see the 2019 All-Star take a significant pay-cut from his days in Detroit.
However, a smaller payday won’t mark the only major change for Griffin as he heads to Brooklyn. He’ll also debut a new jersey number.
According to Shams Charania, Griffin will wear No. 2 with the Nets. The 31-year-old previously wore No. 23 at Oklahoma and with the Pistons and No. 32 with the Los Angeles Clippers.
However, both of those numbers have been retired by the Nets. The great Julius “Dr. J.” Irving wore 23 for his three seasons with the organization and his peer, John Williamson, donned No. 32 during the franchise’s ABA title runs in the 1970’s.
That means Griffin will get a fresh start as he tries to carve out his role on the loaded Eastern Conference competitors in Brooklyn.
Blake Griffin is wearing No. 2 with the Nets. The six-time All-Star will earn $1.2M for the remainder of the season with Brooklyn.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 8, 2021
Griffin becomes the third former top-two overall pick on the roster for the Nets this season. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have already produced at a high-level this year in Brooklyn, while James Harden is busy at work as the team’s primary distributor.
With Griffin’s arrival, the team will need to fold in another multi-time All-Star to the rotation, which will make for some interesting cuts elsewhere. 34-year-old journeyman Jeff Green will likely losing playing time as the Nets try to figure out the best surrounding cast for their three current superstars.
At one point of his career, Griffin would’ve been considered a near equal to Durant, Irving and Harden, but injuries have hindered his once jaw-dropping athleticism. At 31, the six-foot-nine power forward has averaged just 12.3 points and 5.2 rebounds this season. Disturbing realizations were made earlier this year that Griffin hasn’t dunked since 2019.
However, if the former Rookie of the Year shows any glimpse of his former self, he’ll be able to make a historically great offensive team even better. Time will tell if Griffin is the final piece the Nets think they need to compete for a title later this summer.