Ex-Piston Blake Griffin won’t play against old team Saturday night

Detroit News

Rod Beard
| The Detroit News

The Pistons won’t have to worry about facing Blake Griffin on his new team — at least not yet. He has been ruled out for Saturday’s Pistons-Brooklyn Nets game.

Griffin, who agreed to a contract buyout from the Pistons last week, signed with the Nets for the remainder of the season. Griffin, who turns 32 next week, was looking to latch on with a contending team, and the Nets (25-13) are a half-game behind the Philadelphia 76ers for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

With Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden, the Nets are considered the favorites to win the East, but with the addition of Griffin, likely to bolster their bench, they have surpassed the defending-champion Lakers as the favorites.

“My main focus now was to play and contend for a championship,” Griffin said told reporters this week, following his first practice with the Nets. “So my mindset doesn’t change; I’m always trying to win every time I step on the court.

“(It’s about) playing these meaningful minutes, playing with these guys and really contributing in any way possible.”

Griffin, who is coming off knee surgery in the offseason, played just 20 games with the Pistons this season, and is having one of his worst years in terms of statistical production, with 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists.

More: Pistons storm back, fizzle late in 105-102 loss to Hornets

It’s a stark difference from 2018-19, Griffin’s first full season with the Pistons, when he led them to the playoffs, earned his sixth All-Star selection and earned All-NBA honors.

After a couple of knee surgeries, Griffin’s production has fallen off, but after agreeing to the buyout and agreeing to take $13.3 million less than his guaranteed contract, Griffin was looking for a good fit.

The Nets have enough scoring in their starting lineup, but could get a boost from Griffin in helping to facilitate the offense and provide veteran leadership.

Griffin sat out a couple of games this season with the Pistons, which was termed “injury management,” but it was more to reduce the strain on his knees on back-to-back games.

“I’m not injured at all,” Griffin said. “I haven’t played in three weeks, so I think it’s smart to sort of ramp me up. There’s no injury.”

The Pistons and Nets are scheduled to play again on March 26 at Little Caesars Arena.

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Pistons at Nets

Tipoff: 7 Saturday, Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.

TV/radio: FSD/97.1

Outlook: The Pistons (10-27) are coming off a loss to the Charlotte Hornets in the first game back from the All-Star break. Kevin Durant (left hamstring strain) will not play.

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