Pistons forward Blake Griffin calls Detroit ‘home’ with his return trip to Los Angeles looming. Recorded Jan. 6, 2019, in Auburn Hills.
Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press

The reaction was swift.

When Blake Griffin was traded from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Detroit Pistons nearly a year ago, pundits wondered if the NBA star could be happy away from Hollywood.

Griffin, who has starred in commercials, is a budding stand-up comic and has appeared in film.

Detroit’s a long way from those trappings.

But the pundits forgot about Griffin’s Oklahoma upbringing.

Griffin is good with the Detroit area — despite the franchise’s struggling by losing 14 of its last 18 games following a 13-7 start.

He said earlier this week Detroit feels like “home.”

“I don’t know that people really know my background or know who I am as a person,” Griffin said Sunday. “I don’t think they understand this is like very familiar to me. I wasn’t expecting a crazy change.

“It’s just different.”

Reporters are taking Griffin’s temperature for two reasons.

The anniversary of the blockbuster trade that sent Tobias Harris and Avery Bradley to the Clippers is approaching later this month.

But first, Griffin and the Pistons begin a four-game trip Wednesday against the Los Angeles Lakers.

And on the same floor Saturday, Griffin will try to beat the Clippers, the franchise that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2009.

An ESPN audience will tune in for Pistons-Lakers on Wednesday, although the Lakers will be missing LeBron James, who is recovering from a groin injury.

Griffin is playing well. After 34 points and eight assists in Monday night’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs, Griffin is averaging 25.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game.

His shooting percentage is nearly 60 percent, which would easily be a career high. and The Athletic have published profiles recently, an indication of the attention this week will receive.

The articles relive the day when the Clippers and Pistons stunned the sports world.

Griffin, a five-time All-Star and who had just signed a five-year, $171-million deal to be a “Clipper for Life,” was on the move.

Griffin was angered — not at Detroit — but by how the Clippers handled the quiet negotiations between Clippers president Lawrence Frank and the front office headed by former Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy.

Griffin said the anger has subsided.

“I understand that’s part of the business and that’s just how it goes,” Griffin said. “I also understand that teams want to make a change and move on. My whole thing was how it was handled.

“At some point you got to move on. Once you have another home, I’ve found this situation and settled in here, I think that’s just in the background. It’s not like I spend time thinking about that.”

Griffin expects some emotion when he steps into Staples Center — especially Saturday.

He is looking forward to seeing arena workers who watched him grow up.

He added that since the Pistons played the Clippers shortly after the trade, some of the emotion might be muted.

“I think this time around will be a little bit different since I’ve had so much time to process everything and talk to people, but I’m looking forward to seeing some fans I grew up with,” Griffin said. “All of that has worn of for me. Obviously, I’m happy to be here. I feel settled. I feel this is the place now.”

Follow Vince Ellis on Twitter @vincent_ellis56.

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