Blake Griffin is part of the future in Detroit, new Pistons general manager Troy Weaver explained.
Weaver, hired after a dozen years with the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise, witnessed what a motivated 30-something All-Star can do for a team during the current campaign.
After acquiring high-priced 34-year-old point guard Chris Paul from the Houston Rockets, the Thunder were thought to be in the midst of a long and painful rebuilding campaign. Instead, they're in the thick of the playoff chase as the NBA season is set to resume.
The Pistons are not part of the 2019-2020 season restart after posting a 20-46 record before the season was paused due to the coronavirus. Detroit is likely to land a draft pick in the top half of the lottery.
Griffin, 31, played only 18 games in 2019-2020 because of a left knee injury. He's owed $75.5 million and was rumored to be a trade chip potentially drawing interest from the New York Knicks, among others.
"I know he's anxious to get back and show people what kind of player he is after just playing a few games last year, but as long as Blake is in a Pistons uniform and under contract, I look forward to working with him in helping us restore the Pistons," Weaver said. "He's definitely in our plans going forward."
There are similar visions from Weaver around Griffin and former MVP point guard Derrick Rose, another 31-year-old who averaged 18.1 points and 5.6 assists before an ankle injury ended his first season in Detroit.
"We're excited to get them (Griffin and Rose) healthy and help them move forward," Weaver said. "We feel like we have a good mixture of young guys with those two staples to be able to start there, but obviously we've got a lot of work to do with the draft and free agency."
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