By NOAH TRISTER, AP Sports Writer
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Pistons dramatically shook their struggling roster by acquiring one of the NBA’s top players in Blake Griffin in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers.
The deal for the five-time All-Star forward was announced early Tuesday, giving Detroit a player who has been the face of the Clippers but whose career has been undercut by injuries.
Detroit sent forward Tobias Harris, guard Avery Bradley and center Boban Marjanovic to Los Angeles, with the Clippers also receiving draft picks. Detroit also acquired forward Brice Johnson and center Willie Reed.
“We are serious about winning, and this is a major move to improve our team,” Pistons owner Tom Gores said in a statement. “Blake Griffin is one of the NBA’s elite players, and when you get an opportunity to add that kind of talent, you take it.”
For the Clippers, moving Griffin is another step in a makeover of a franchise that has never made it past the second round of the playoffs.
Griffin was not expected to play in Tuesday night’s home game against Cleveland, and Stan Van Gundy — Detroit’s coach and team president — said his status is uncertain for Thursday night against Memphis.
“Those guys are flying in here tonight, they’ll get physical tomorrow, so I think from our end, we’ll be good,” Van Gundy said Tuesday at Detroit’s practice facility in Auburn Hills. “But I don’t know if we’ll be good from their end. The players have 48 hours to report, but then they’ve got another 24 hours, the organization, to get the physical done. … Now, if the 72 hours expires with six minutes to go in the game, we’ll run him in there.”
The 28-year-old Griffin is averaging 22.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 33 games this season, but the Clippers have been plagued by injuries and are ninth in the Western Conference standings.
Detroit is scuffling as well. The Pistons have lost eight straight.
“Needed a night to digest and reflect on what happened….” Griffin tweeted. “From being a (hashtag)1 pick, to Lob City, to six straight Playoff appearances, I am so proud to have been part of the success of the Clippers organization. LA has been my home since I started in the league and I will be forever grateful to the city for embracing me and supporting me. To the fans, you have been awesome every step of the way. Thank you for years of support.
“Now I’m ready for the next chapter, getting to…