Here’s why Blake Griffin chose to pursue a title and join the Celtics


“This is the kind of opportunity you couldn’t pass [up].”

Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin of the Nets is fouled through Grant Williams of the Celtics. Photo through Al Bello/Getty Images

Blake Griffin first established a courting with Brad Stevens when Griffin performed ahead for the Pistons, and Stevens used to be nonetheless the Celtics‘ head trainer.

At the time, Griffin made greater than $30 million consistent with yr, and the Celtics couldn’t have enough money to pay him. But Griffin and Stevens struck up a rapport, and that rapport caught with Griffin over the remaining two years.

So when Stevens and the Celtics got here calling to see if Griffin sought after to join the staff this season, Griffin had a lot of causes to say sure.

“Boston has always been one of those places as an NBA player where I feel like guys have a pretty cool experience playing there,” Griffin mentioned. “Beyond that, simply the core they’ve, having Brad in the entrance place of work now, the coaches that they have got — I if truth be told performed towards Joe [Mazzulla] in school — this younger core and the basis they laid remaining yr units the desk.

“This is the kind of opportunity you couldn’t pass [up].”

Griffin, for the document, famous that he beat Mazzulla in a double-OT sport in school — one thing he made positive to convey up with the Celtics’ 34-year-old meantime head trainer in an instant.

After his care for the Nets ran out, Griffin mentioned he deliberate to spend time together with his circle of relatives and wait till after coaching camp to signal with a staff. Still, when the alternative introduced itself, he had a excellent sense of what to be expecting from the Celtics. After all, he and the Nets were given a shut have a look at the Celtics in two consecutive postseasons. The Celtics and Nets cut up a pair of first-round sequence’ over the remaining two years, and whilst Griffin hit a bunch of 3-pointers towards the Celtics this previous season, he had hassle protecting Jaylen Brown specifically.

“They took a big step as far as maturation [last year] and how seriously they took the game,” Griffin mentioned. “Not that they didn’t before but to be a really good team, you have to take some big steps and they took those steps. It didn’t seem like they cared how they got it done, they just got it done. They were willing to outplay you, out-hustle you, and when a team with this much talent has that mentality, that’s really tough.”

Last season, Griffin led the league in fees taken — a class that incorporated Derrick White and Marcus Smart in the most sensible 10.

“We’re definitely going to have a competition,” Smart mentioned previous this week. “I already started with D-White. It’s definitely going to be great. We are going to challenge each other every day and you got three of the best charge takers in the game on the same team, it’s only going to help everybody else.”

Mazzulla, in the meantime, mentioned he wasn’t keen on the Celtics’ discussions relating to Griffin, however he likes Griffin’s versatility on each ends — particularly as a large who can stay the ball shifting.

“He’s got great experience, played alongside great players, great coaches,” Mazzulla mentioned. “Great basketball mind. He’s a big body for us that can help us do things on both ends of the floor.”

Griffin doesn’t have any illusions about his function. The Celtics have a championship-caliber staff, and a large rotation that would possibly now not come with him, particularly when Robert Williams comes again.

But purchasing mins for Williams and Al Horford may well be the most important — Griffin joked that Horford has been in the NBA for 40 years now. His purpose is just to play a application function on a staff that would use his assist.

“I didn’t come here demanding a certain type of role,” Griffin mentioned. “It’s just to fill the gaps and help this team win a championship.”

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