Pistons Lead

Processing Detroit’s Trade Deadline Eve Moves

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The Pistons have taken their first steps into this year’s deadline season.  It started by dealing starting forward Reggie Bullock to the Los Angeles Lakers for rookie Svi Mykhailiuk and a second round pick.  Then, Detroit traded polarizing pending restricted free agent, Stanley Johnson, for Milwaukee Bucks center Thon Maker.  Reggie and Stanley were fan favorites, so there is some apprehension.  It also begs the question: How did the Pistons do?

Assets Received

First things first, getting picks should be a top priority for Detroit in any trade going forward.  Other than this year’s second round pick, the Pistons only had one other such selection in upcoming drafts.  Adding second round picks to a front office that has seen recent success with is nice as well.  Also, any future trades become easier with picks to attach.

Svi is pretty unproven so far as a Laker, as he is only averaging 10.8 minutes per game.  He flashed offensive gifts at the summer league and being on a rookie scale contract is a nice addition for a team lacking flexibility.

Thon has shown flashes in Milwaukee of being the model center of the future, but has been admittedly streaky.  Maker can fill as a position of need, with the only active centers on the roster being Zaza Pachulia and Andre Drummond.  Contract length also matters.  Stanley’s is up after this year–  Thon’s is not.

Assets Lost

Bullock has been a model teammate and the best shooter the Pistons had.  Losing his floor spacing and team chemistry will hurt Detroit in the short term.  He was also on an expiring contract that was well under market value.  The Pistons also do not have meaningful cap room.  Going into the luxury tax for a team of this talent level is sketchy at best.  Bullock is likely to at least quadruple his salary this summer, so the Pistons were wise to get something in return for someone who will likely be gone in three months.

Stanley Johnson is a similar situation.  While he has not developed as well as Detroit fans would have hoped, he has been a dogged defender and shown flashes on offense when given the opportunity.  A change of scenery may be all he needs. Given his status as a pending restricted free agent, he was also likely to depart this summer.

Evaluation

The Pistons added two young prospects on cost-controlled deals and a future second round selection for two players heading for a raise.  While Detroit will be worse in the short term, these are smart moves.  They open up financial flexibility– something they have been sorely lacking.  Coach Casey has been giving chances to rookies Bruce Brown and Khyri Thomas.  Svi and Thon will be afforded similar chances.

Today should be a signal to Pistons fans. This front office is willing to make moves that not only effect the present but build for the future.  Seeing the package that Cleveland got for Rodney Hood has some Detroit fans questioning the FO, but this is misplaced.  Expecting to get teams to overpay for expiring contracts should not be expected as the norm.  Seeing this roster add young talent is promising.  Now take the lumps and go to work.

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