Blake Griffin was in line to be one of the most pursued players in free agency.
That is, until he decided to skip free agency.
And his reward for that will be one of the richest contracts in in NBA history.
Hours before other teams could officially start trying to woo him away from the Los Angeles Clippers, Griffin agreed to terms on a five-year deal worth approximately $175 million to remain with the Los Angeles Clippers, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal cannot be formally announced until at least July 6.
Griffin's deal will be worth about $22 million more than the then-record $153 million contract Memphis guard Mike Conley signed last summer. But the total value of Griffin's deal will likely be surpassed in this free-agent frenzy, with players like Golden State's Stephen Curry eligible to get even more.
Griffin was planning to meet with other teams this weekend, including Phoenix, but canceled those talks after striking the deal to stay in Los Angeles.
Griffin is still only 28, and the Clippers hope that means he's just entering his prime. And his agreeing to stay with the Clippers ensures that it won't be a total reset in L.A. next season. His team will however look decidedly different, after nine-time All-Star Chris Paul decided to leave and wound up getting traded ahead of the free-agency window to the Houston Rockets in a blockbuster deal earlier this week.
Griffin was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft, then missed that entire ensuing season with a left knee injury. He was extremely durable over what became his first four seasons, but a variety of other injuries sidelined him for 83 games — a full season plus one game — over the last three years alone. And he was hurt during the Clippers' first-round playoff matchup against Utah this season.
The Clippers lost that series in seven games.
Griffin has spent his entire career with the Clippers, averaging 21.5 points and 9.4 rebounds on 52 percent shooting.