How A Blockbuster Trade Could Impact The Detroit Pistons – Forbes

0
35
How A Blockbuster Trade Could Impact The Detroit Pistons – Forbes

Detroit Pistons’ Reggie Jackson against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday, April 17, 2019, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Detroit Pistons are mired in the NBA’s no-man’s land. They’re not good enough to compete for championships or conference titles, but they’re not bad enough to tank in a league with half a dozen teams who are built specifically to lose in hopes of getting good lottery slots.

Given that, the Pistons have some tough decisions to make this coming season. They have a transcendent talent in Blake Griffin, but he just turned 30 in March and has three more years on a 5-year, $173 million deal. In essence, Griffin alone makes the Pistons too good to tank, and his contract is far too cumbersome to move in exchange for assets, thus accomplishing the goal of weakening their roster in the short-term.

Fortunately, and incredibly, Griffin is coming off the best season of his career. He averaged 24.5 points per game this season, a career high. He shot a career-high seven 3-pointers per game, making 36.2%, and as a result had a 58.1% true shooting percentage, once again a career high.

If you’re going to be stuck with an expensive contract, it might as well belong to a six-time All Star who is somehow still getting better. Needless to say, there are worse problems to have, considering how hard it is to get a player of Griffin’s ability in the first place.

Considering the Detroit Pistons can’t and won’t tank, the organization needs to choose a path forward, and the best path may be to try swinging for the fences once again in a blockbuster trade this summer, perhaps even acquiring a player who can offer the same competitive window that Griffin will provide.

It’s safe to assume that the Pistons will be on whatever trajectory Griffin propels them for the rest of his contract, which runs through 2021-22 (a player option worth $38.9 million which Griffin will certainly pick up in his age 33 season), so there may be merit to looking to trade for a player who can maximize him through the final years of this contract.

One such player who could fit this description would be Mike Conley of the Memphis Grizzlies, a player and organization with whom the Pistons are familiar. At this past trade deadline, there was some buzz between the Pistons and Grizzlies that there may be a trade in the works. The Grizzlies were seeking Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard and the Pistons’ 2019 first-round pick, but the Pistons balked at the inclusion of Kennard and talks failed.

Kennard is a high price to pay, as would be the Pistons’ first-round pick, but Conley would be a major upgrade over Jackson, whose contract expires in the summer of 2020, should they opt to re-engage talks this summer.

While the cost would be significant in order to acquire Conley, who will turn 32 before the 2019-2020 season begins, his own timetable matches Blake Griffin’s reasonably well. Conley’s contract runs through 2020-21, the final year of which is a player option for $34.5 million. Considering that the Detroit Pistons are committed to winning, no matter the cost, through the end of 2022, a player who has performed at a high level through his entire career like Conley might fit that bill.

Conley is an upgrade over Jackson on both the offensive and defensive ends, and a strong perimeter defender is something center Andre Drummond has really never had in his career. It’s a move that could have exponential benefit on both ends because of the synergy that is certain to develop between two complementary players such as Conley and Drummond, a big who is frequently left to deal with opponents slashing through turnstile perimeter defenders from all angles.

While there are pros that could make such a trade appealing, there are some significant downsides. For starters, this season is the first in which Conley has played more than 59 games since 2014-15, and in 2017-18 he played just 12 games.

The Pistons would also almost surely have to take on additional salary to acquire Conley because Jackson and Kennard’s combined salaries fall short of matching. Most likely, they would need to package Langston Galloway’s $7 million salary (his contract expires in 2020 as well, along with Jackson’s), and this would add about $3.2 million in salary to the Pistons’ books and push them close to, or over, the luxury tax line.

Galloway’s production has been spotty in his time with the Detroit Pistons, but the loss of both him and Kennard while financially hampering their ability to restock would be devastating for a team already bereft of depth.

Another guard the Pistons could consider looking at is Jrue Holiday from the New Orleans Pelicans. Holiday is another stellar perimeter defender, and he’s younger than Mike Conley at 29 years old.

Holiday and Griffin’s contracts both expire with player options in 2021-22, so their windows coincide even better than Conley and Griffin. It would likely take the same haul the Grizzlies requested for Conley, but given that Holiday is younger the Pelicans may be inclined to ask for additional draft picks or reduced protection in the packaged picks.

An added perk is that the package of Jackson, Kennard and Galloway in this case would actually save the Pistons $1.342 million, so while depleting their depth they would at least get a little extra wiggle room with which to address that situation.

The Detroit Pistons are in acknowledged purgatory, and letting things run their course won’t get them out of it. Whether these specific moves for Conley, Holiday or somebody who fits their archetype or some other are in the works, it’s going to take a bold move (or series of moves) to get out of it. Finding players who can complement Blake Griffin for the remainder of his peak period in Detroit should be a priority for the organization.

“>

Detroit Pistons’ Reggie Jackson against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday, April 17, 2019, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Detroit Pistons are mired in the NBA’s no-man’s land. They’re not good enough to compete for championships or conference titles, but they’re not bad enough to tank in a league with half a dozen teams who are built specifically to lose in hopes of getting good lottery slots.

Given that, the Pistons have some tough decisions to make this coming season. They have a transcendent talent in Blake Griffin, but he just turned 30 in March and has three more years on a 5-year, $173 million deal. In essence, Griffin alone makes the Pistons too good to tank, and his contract is far too cumbersome to move in exchange for assets, thus accomplishing the goal of weakening their roster in the short-term.

Fortunately, and incredibly, Griffin is coming off the best season of his career. He averaged 24.5 points per game this season, a career high. He shot a career-high seven 3-pointers per game, making 36.2%, and as a result had a 58.1% true shooting percentage, once again a career high.

If you’re going to be stuck with an expensive contract, it might as well belong to a six-time All Star who is somehow still getting better. Needless to say, there are worse problems to have, considering how hard it is to get a player of Griffin’s ability in the first place.

Considering the Detroit Pistons can’t and won’t tank, the organization needs to choose a path forward, and the best path may be to try swinging for the fences once again in a blockbuster trade this summer, perhaps even acquiring a player who can offer the same competitive window that Griffin will provide.

It’s safe to assume that the Pistons will be on whatever trajectory Griffin propels them for the rest of his contract, which runs through 2021-22 (a player option worth $38.9 million which Griffin will certainly pick up in his age 33 season), so there may be merit to looking to trade for a player who can maximize him through the final years of this contract.

One such player who could fit this description would be Mike Conley of the Memphis Grizzlies, a player and organization with whom the Pistons are familiar. At this past trade deadline, there was some buzz between the Pistons and Grizzlies that there may be a trade in the works. The Grizzlies were seeking Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard and the Pistons’ 2019 first-round pick, but the Pistons balked at the inclusion of Kennard and talks failed.

Kennard is a high price to pay, as would be the Pistons’ first-round pick, but Conley would be a major upgrade over Jackson, whose contract expires in the summer of 2020, should they opt to re-engage talks this summer.

While the cost would be significant in order to acquire Conley, who will turn 32 before the 2019-2020 season begins, his own timetable matches Blake Griffin’s reasonably well. Conley’s contract runs through 2020-21, the final year of which is a player option for $34.5 million. Considering that the Detroit Pistons are committed to winning, no matter the cost, through the end of 2022, a player who has performed at a high level through his entire career like Conley might fit that bill.

Conley is an upgrade over Jackson on both the offensive and defensive ends, and a strong perimeter defender is something center Andre Drummond has really never had in his career. It’s a move that could have exponential benefit on both ends because of the synergy that is certain to develop between two complementary players such as Conley and Drummond, a big who is frequently left to deal with opponents slashing through turnstile perimeter defenders from all angles.

While there are pros that could make such a trade appealing, there are some significant downsides. For starters, this season is the first in which Conley has played more than 59 games since 2014-15, and in 2017-18 he played just 12 games.

The Pistons would also almost surely have to take on additional salary to acquire Conley because Jackson and Kennard’s combined salaries fall short of matching. Most likely, they would need to package Langston Galloway’s $7 million salary (his contract expires in 2020 as well, along with Jackson’s), and this would add about $3.2 million in salary to the Pistons’ books and push them close to, or over, the luxury tax line.

Galloway’s production has been spotty in his time with the Detroit Pistons, but the loss of both him and Kennard while financially hampering their ability to restock would be devastating for a team already bereft of depth.

Another guard the Pistons could consider looking at is Jrue Holiday from the New Orleans Pelicans. Holiday is another stellar perimeter defender, and he’s younger than Mike Conley at 29 years old.

Holiday and Griffin’s contracts both expire with player options in 2021-22, so their windows coincide even better than Conley and Griffin. It would likely take the same haul the Grizzlies requested for Conley, but given that Holiday is younger the Pelicans may be inclined to ask for additional draft picks or reduced protection in the packaged picks.

An added perk is that the package of Jackson, Kennard and Galloway in this case would actually save the Pistons $1.342 million, so while depleting their depth they would at least get a little extra wiggle room with which to address that situation.

The Detroit Pistons are in acknowledged purgatory, and letting things run their course won’t get them out of it. Whether these specific moves for Conley, Holiday or somebody who fits their archetype or some other are in the works, it’s going to take a bold move (or series of moves) to get out of it. Finding players who can complement Blake Griffin for the remainder of his peak period in Detroit should be a priority for the organization.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here