Pistons: Analyzing a Blake Griffin trade with the Miami Heat

Pistons, Blake Griffin Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Does this trade work for the Detroit Pistons?

At a glance, this trade would be a slam dunk win for the Pistons. Griffin’s career in Detroit is over and paying any amount in the form of draft assets or young players to move off of the remaining two years and $75.5 million on his contract is unacceptable.

The worst-case scenario is that the Pistons don’t get anything back from Griffin in a buyout, and they have to eat his final year’s salary. They aren’t going to be big spenders in free agency anyway, and the NBA made it clear this past offseason that sign-and-trades are the new wave of getting around cap space.

There’s no reason for the Pistons to exacerbate their situation by giving up assets or taking on longer-term bad money. In this deal, they avoid both downsides.

Andre Iguodala’s deal is the largest coming back from the Heat, and his $15 million 2021-22 salary is a team option which the Pistons can decline. It’s worth noting that he has a 7.5 percent trade kicker on his deal, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

Kelly Olynyk also has a 5.0 percent trade kicker, and his contract expires at the end of this season.

As for Meyers Leonard, his $10.1 million 2021-22 salary is a team option, like Iguodala’s. He’s out for the season with a shoulder injury and probably would never have to step foot in Detroit.

On top of it all, the Pistons would save $2.5 million this year, and be able to wipe Griffin’s contract off the books for next year, as well as the salaries of Iguodala, Olynyk and Leonard if they so choose. They would also receive a 2022 second-round pick, although that seems like overkill considering the salary relief they’re receiving here.

Clearing the 2021-22 salary deck with no long-term cost would be a huge win for the Pistons, so yes, this deal works for them.