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View Full Version : Eddie Griffin say's he'll sign with the Nets


dirno2000
12-29-2003, 01:52 PM
EAST RUTHERORD, N.J. -- Troubled forward Eddie Griffin said Sunday he has agreed to play for the New Jersey Nets.

Griffin, released Friday by the Houston Rockets, quickly found a new home with the team that originally drafted him.

"I've decided to go play for the Nets," Griffin said in an interview with Houston television station KRIV. "I'm excited about going to play for [Nets head coach] Byron Scott and playing with [Nets guard] Jason Kidd. It's just going to be an exciting thing for me and I can't wait."

New Jersey president Rod Thorn said Saturday that the Nets were in the running to sign Griffin, who played at nearby Seton Hall.

"What do we have to lose here? Nothing," Thorn told the New York Times for Monday's editions, citing Griffin's abilities as a shot-blocker, rebounder and shooter. Pending Griffin's signing with the Nets, the team would pay Griffin about $400,000.

Griffin said he had already received calls from Scott, Kidd and Richard Jefferson welcoming him to the team.

The Nets have not had a consistent contributor off the bench this season and Griffin, the seventh pick in the 2001 draft out of Seton Hall, could fill that role. But New Jersey is taking a chance by signing a player who brings considerable legal baggage.

Griffin was charged in November with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after a woman accused him of hitting her three times in the face and shooting at her as she drove away from his home before dawn on Oct. 25. He will be arraigned on the charge Jan. 14.

A second misdemeanor charge of assault related to the same encounter was dismissed last week.

A separate case involving a charge of marijuana possession is scheduled to go to trial Jan. 20.

"He's in the best emotional condition he's been in some time," Rusty Hardin, Griffin's Houston-based lawyer, told the Times. "He knows a lot more about himself than he did before.

"Anyone would be silly to guarantee he's not going to have a recurrence. I don't think anyone would say everything is O.K. and hunky-dory now. Two or three months ago, this guy was clinically depressed. But he's in a much better frame of mind now."

Griffin hopes to start with a clean slate in New Jersey, although he is uncertain when he will be able to join the Nets because of his legal problems.

"New Jersey was the best fit for me," Griffin said. "I can get the most opportunity there. I felt like that's the team I fit in at."

Griffin said a number of teams, including Detroit, Toronto, Philadelphia and Orlando, were in the running. He said he will sign for the balance of the season and again become a free agent.

"It feels good," Griffin said. "It's a relief just to know where I'm going. I just got to get everything else behind me and I am ready to get back on the court."

The 6-foot-10, 232-pound forward averaged 8.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.63 blocks in 150 career games with the Rockets.

Drafted by New Jersey, Griffin's rights were traded to the Rockets for three first-round draft picks -- Jefferson, Brandon Armstrong and Jason Collins.

dirno2000
12-29-2003, 01:54 PM
If Eddie can get is life in order, that 2001 trade will be the most lopsided in draft day history IMO.

MavKikiNYC
12-29-2003, 01:59 PM
OTOH...

this could be another step in the devolution of the Nets.

dirno2000
12-29-2003, 02:05 PM
It could, but at 400k they don't have a lot invested in him. Unlike the Zo signing, this is pretty low risk.

MavKikiNYC
12-29-2003, 02:16 PM
Agreed.

But $400K can buy a lot of destabilizing effect, in the case of Griffin, and the Nets are teetering as it is.

The team is for sale. Scott is thought to be "coaching" on borrowed time. Mutombo is gone--bought out at a sizeable financial hit. Mourning is gone, lost at a considerable financial hit. Kidd is here, but at a considerable financial 'investment', and he's less happy by the day. Martin is unhappy, wants max money, but is unlikely to get it.

The Nets are probably pulling a little bit of PR, trying to up a hometown-boy-redeems-himself story. But if Griffin's issues involve addiction, as is rumored, then they're playing with a little bit of fire.

Simon2
12-30-2003, 08:35 AM
I hope this is the last straw in the explosion of the Nets. Ever since KMart made fun of Zo, I have developed such a hate for the Nets. Kidd isn't one of the most lovable people as well. Wife beater.

Blonde Bomber
12-30-2003, 10:30 AM
I bet Kidd is wishing he was dishing to Duncan right about nowi/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif

MavKikiNYC
12-30-2003, 11:36 AM
Kidd is certainly a pretty high-priced baby sitter....

Nets Creating Support Group Around Griffin
By LEE JENKINS

Published: December 30, 2003



Eddie Griffin is searching for an apartment in New Jersey, but he is not looking for a roommate. He believes he is finally ready to live alone.

Griffin has spent much of the past six weeks at the Menninger Clinic in Houston, where he says he rediscovered his passion for basketball and his appreciation for life. After undergoing therapy for depression and substance abuse, Griffin is stepping back onto a basketball court for the first time since he was charged with felony assault more than two months ago.

Before coming to New Jersey, Griffin plans to spend a week in Los Angeles to work out near the headquarters of his agent, Arn Tellem, before joining the Nets, which he expects to do on Jan. 7. He has agreed to a guaranteed minimum contract worth more than $400,000.

The judge in the assault case who gave Griffin a curfew and ordered him not to leave Texas will keep some restrictions on him, but according to Griffin's lawyer, Rusty Hardin, they will not interfere with his ability to play for the Nets.

"I'm just so happy to be getting another chance," Griffin said in a telephone interview yesterday. "I feel I accomplished so much in therapy. I was really depressed before, but I feel 100 percent better now."

The Nets insist they can do for Griffin what his high school, college and first professional team, the Houston Rockets, could not. The organization is putting together a plan to surround Griffin with whatever medical help he needs.

"We'll do everything in our power to ensure he's in an environment to be the player everyone knows he has the ability to become," said Rod Thorn, the team president.

Because Griffin, who is 21, has not played basketball since the Rockets suspended him in training camp and he still must learn the Nets' intricate offense, Coach Byron Scott suggested that he was weeks away from getting into a game. The Nets do not mind waiting. They remain unfazed by a potential public relations backlash because they feel that the 6-foot-10 Griffin can eventually become their first forward off the bench, helping them advance to their third consecutive N.B.A. finals.

Griffin will have to leave the team several times this season to handle his legal matters and has two court appearances scheduled in Houston next month, which Hardin had moved to the same day.

Ed Stefanski, the Nets' vice president for basketball operations, told Griffin that he would go with him to both appearances. Stefanski is from Griffin's hometown, Philadelphia, and flew to Houston to recruit him.

"We have a bunch of guys here who are going to take Eddie under their wing," Scott said.

The Nets believe they are just the team to turn around Griffin's career because their locker room is usually stable, they are located near the N.B.A. Players Association offices in Manhattan, and they provide Griffin with an opportunity to return to the area where he grew up and the court where he starred at Seton Hall.

Griffin will undoubtedly be flanked by family and friends, but temptations are sure to follow, especially with New York City a few miles away.

"The scenery that has to change is inside," said Dr. Allan Lans, a sports psychologist in New York who has worked with Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry. "He has to have internal strength that will enable him to come back. Can he do it? Sure."

Griffin believes that many of his psychological problems stem from the death of his half-brother, Marvin Powell, who was 35 when he had a heart attack in 2001. A few months later, the Nets drafted Griffin with the seventh overall pick and traded him to Houston. Griffin had lived with Powell, referred to him as his role model and relied on him for guidance.

After Powell's death, Griffin accepted numerous people into his circle, some of whom he supported financially. Looking back, he feels they were a dangerous influence.

Found to have clinical depression, Griffin refused to go into therapy and became extremely volatile when he would drink or use drugs. "Hopefully, the Nets will have something to help me," Griffin said. "But I've learned a lot in the past two years. I've learned about the good and the bad in the N.B.A. I am better prepared for it now."

Released by the Rockets 10 days ago, Griffin weighed offers from five teams and told Scott he wanted to be around players who "will watch my back."

Jason Kidd is already looking out for him.

"We will make sure he's comfortable and support him off the court," Kidd said.

Griffin's history of violence extends back to his days as a schoolboy star in Philadelphia. He has punched teammates in high school and college and is currently facing charges of felony assault for having allegedly punched his former girlfriend in the face and shooting a gun at her on Oct. 25. Griffin has also been charged with misdemeanor drug possession, the police having reported finding a bag of marijuana in his car last April.

In Hardin, Griffin has one of the most high-profile defense lawyers in Texas, having represented Scottie Pippen, Warren Moon and Steve Francis. Like many people familiar with Griffin, Hardin says he comes off as surprisingly quiet and introverted, contradicting some of his actions.

"You are struck by how gentle he is," Hardin said.

But Griffin also has a serious condition that can polarize his personality. The Nets already took one medical risk on a big man this season, signing Alonzo Mourning in the summer and then watching him end his comeback after 12 games because he needed a kidney transplant. They will need to monitor Griffin almost as closely as they did Mourning.

There has never been much question of Griffin's ability to shoot, rebound and block shots. The more serious issue is whether he can function when the lights are off and the game is over.