Blake Griffin explains timeline of decision to retire instead of return to Boston Celtics

Apr 9, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Blake Griffin (91) addresses the
Apr 9, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Blake Griffin (91) addresses the / Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Griffin went on Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” podcast and explained the timeline of events that saw him ultimately decide to retire from the NBA instead of return to the Boston Celtics; reportedly the only franchise he would've played for if his playing career would've continued.

As Griffin notes, it was weeks ahead of the 2024 trade deadline when Griffin knew that he wouldn't return -- that's when he told Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens that he would be hanging up his Air Jordan's.

“I kind of left it open for a while,” Griffin said (h/t NESN). “I did have a sort of standing offer to go back to Boston. I remember end of December hit, and I called Brad Stevens and I was like, ‘Man, I really appreciate it.’ I had communication with him the whole time. I wasn’t there, man. I don’t know. Something changed. And I knew when something changed like that, it was time to be done.

“If I had gone anywhere, I would’ve gone back to Boston. I love those guys. I’m pulling for them, and they have a great shot. But it was just time for me to be done. I wouldn’t have been able to give what I should give to a team if my heart truly wasn’t in it.”

Boston Celtics moved in on Xavier Tillman after Blake Griffin privately retired

It's clear the Celtics organization knew that Griffin would be returning despite attempts to sway him back to Boston. The Cs deserve credit for not letting that leak considering several members of the front office assuredly could've.

Once the franchise knew that Griffin wouldn't be part of the frontcourt rotation, a deal was swung for Xavier Tillman for the cost of two future second-round draft picks. Griffin's retirement's silver lining is that move since Tillman has developed into a bit of an Al Horford-esque presence on the floor despite being undersized.

Having Griffin back would've been great, but knowing he retired a Celtic anyway and left an indelible impact on the locker room should give Cs fans solace as the playoffs begin and Griffin fades into the sunset after a brilliant career.