That's the rumor on the street, and by street, I mean DraftExpress:
With the Detroit Pistons looking to get as far under the salary cap as they can this summer, and the Oklahoma City Thunder being one of the few teams who are able to help them shed salary, the two teams have emerged as natural trade partners, multiple NBA sources told DraftExpress this past weekend.
With very few teams projected to have cap space this summer (Oklahoma City, Memphis, Portland, Sacramento and Atlanta being the main ones), it appears that Detroit could be in great position to take advantage of the strength of this free agent class and nab a couple of pieces that would put them right back in the mix to compete for the Eastern conference finals. Detroit is currently slated to be around 20 million dollars underneath the cap, but could shed another five million or so by unloading the contracts of Amir Johnson and their first round pick (#15).
Enter the Oklahoma City Thunder. They are reportedly high on B.J. Mullens (as is Milwaukee), and likely would be able to nab him with the 15th pick. Considering how far under the cap they’ll be this summer, they would have no problem taking on Amir Johnson’s expiring 3.66 million dollar contract. They should be able to find a suitor for their late first round pick if they choose to do so, as teams like San Antonio, Houston, Toronto and Orlando are all in the market for a draft choice in that range.
With the money Detroit frees up, they could go after their top two free agent targets, rumored to be Paul Millsap and Ben Gordon.
I think everyone knows how I feel about Amir Johnson, but seriously, if I never hear another "Ben Gordon to Detroit!" rumor it'll be too soon. I hope this is just a case of people linking a team with a boatload to spend and a player perceived as the best in his free agent class and not a rumor based in fact.
I'm also not too keen on giving up the No. 15 pick -- the Pistons need help all over, and while this draft isn't exceptional, it appears to be deeper than most. I'd rather the Pistons rebuild the right way than load up on a bunch of mediocre free agents.
Hat-tip to DBB readers Rob K and Mike for the tip.