With Detroit in the early stages of a rebuild, does the aging star fit in the team's future?
For now, anyway, it sounds like the Pistons plan to keep him around.
"As long as Blake is in a Pistons uniform and under contract, I look forward to working with him and helping us restore the Pistons. So he’s definitely in our plans going forward," Weaver said on an introductory Zoom call Monday afternoon. "I know the coaches are chomping at the bit to get him healthy and going again. So to answer your question, we look forward to moving in that direction with Blake and getting him ready to go."
He also acknowledged changes are on the horizon for the organization, which changed course last season after gunning for the playoffs for most of the last decade. That leaves Griffin and the Pistons in a somewhat-awkward situation, but both sides want to make the best of it.
"I'm excited to work with Blake," Weaver said. "I know he’s anxious to get back and show people what kind of player he is after playing in just a few games last year."
That's the other unknown in the equation: Griffin's health. He missed most of last season after undergoing his second knee surgery in as many years, and there's a feeling his 2018-19 performance was the best we'll see of him in Detroit. If the Pistons had any chance of trading him to unload his contract, which calls for a salary of $36.5 million next season, it probably came and went.
But Griffin could change the outlook with a bounce-back season in 2020-21, which isn't totally out of the question.
Weaver said one of the things that stands out about Detroit's roster is the opportunity at hand for Griffin and former MVP Derrick Rose.
"They have two veteran, big-time players that are looking to restore their careers: Blake Griffin, who was a perennial All-Star, and Derrick Rose. Both guys have had some injury history and they’re looking forward to building their careers back, so that stood out. Excited to get them healthy and help us moving forward," said Weaver.
Pistons owner Tom Gores said Wednesday that Weaver brought this up in their conversations during the interview process.
"We know health has to be managed, but there’s no doubt they’re serious basketball players that want to win. Both of them, as Troy said, have something to prove and they are consummate professionals. Troy said, 'Hey, jeez, that could be an opportunity there.' These are not guys you gotta figure out. You know both of them. Our job will be to hold them back because they’re such competitors," said Gores.
Rose, whose name came up in talks at the trade deadline, has told the Pistons he doesn't want to be moved. Griffin, when asked about it last week, was noncommittal about being part of a rebuild at this stage of his career.
"That’s up to the front office and what they want to do and how they want to go about it," he said. "At a certain time, at the right time, I’ll have those conversations. But if I’m on the Detroit Pistons, then I’m doing everything I can to prepare to play for them and win games. That’s just how you’re wired as a player. As far as what we do in the offseason, what we want to do next year, that’s going to be up to them."
For Weaver and the Pistons, it remains a question moving forward. In the short term, at least, it appears Griffin is here to stay.