In a bid to get a full picture of the NBA free agent landscape, Detroit Bad Boys took a look at players with player options, early termination options (aka players unlikely to move to a new team). Today, DBB will examine the much more interesting (and available) group of unrestricted free agents.
There is no telling what needs the Detroit Pistons are likely to address this offseason as the team has no general manager, no coach, and some pieces it would probably like to trade to other teams (*cough* Josh Smith *cough*) as well as Greg Monroe's restricted free agency to deal with.
The Pistons have roughly $8 million in available cap space this offseason to address it's needs, but they are, of course, not the only team with money to spend. Now let's take a look at some more arbitrary player rankings.
Good, but too old and too expensive
These players could certainly help Detroit, but they are unlikely to leave their current teams or are unlikely to want to spend the twilight of their careers in a rebuilding effort.
Yes, he's a free agent. No, he's not leaving Dallas. He's there for life. Let's just move on and not think about how fun it would be to see him suit up alongside Andre Drummond.
Likely to go one more round with Kevin Garnett and co. as they try and bring a championship to Brooklyn. The Nets aren't great but after a truly horrific start to the year they have played competent basketball and the only thing that would break up the core of the team are either retirements or their crazy Russian owner being crazy.
Gasol is a player much more likely to leave his current situation -- always understandable when that situation is the Los Angeles Lakers. But he's not going to want to take any part of Detroit. He'll be looking for stability and a winning situation. Wouldn't he just fit perfectly next to Tim Duncan in San Antonio? Or playing alongside his brother Marc in Memphis if Zach Randolph were to decide to skip town?
Carter looked washed up years ago when he was stuck in the New Jersey, Orlando, Phoenix vortex. But once he found a home in a winning, stable environment in Dallas he's been a quality veteran contributor. He might leave Dallas but probably won't lack for suitors among the upper-tier playoff teams.
Pistons Player Grades
Pistons Player Grades
Hey! No thanks. Sorry. Pass.
Catch and shoot. Catch and shoot. Still ... no.
Cream of the crop
There is no doubting Stephenson's talent. On a team bereft of dangerous scoring threats, Stephenson has continued to grow and thrive as part of the Pacers. He has a 56 percent true shooting percentage, is an excellent rebounder, a quality passer and a tenacious defender. His game isn't perfect, of course. He doesn't get to the line much and isn't a great 3-point shooter. Oh yeah, and he might be crazy. The craziness, more than anything, means the Pistons aren't a good fit. Detroit drives sane men crazy, imagine what the team would do to an already crazy person.
Lowry is another temperamental player who is shining brightest as he is about to enter free agency. Lowry has always been a quality player but needed the right supporting cast and opportunity to show what he was truly made of. He'd be a great addition to any team and will have no shortage of suitors. In fact, I'd be shocked if Toronto didn't do everything in its power to keep him up north.
Speaking of not getting away, as the Wizards enter the second round of the playoffs and are gelling as a unit, it becomes more and more likely that the team will move to re-sign Gortat. That would actually be a pretty good development for the Pistons as it eliminates one of the top possible Greg Monroe suitors. Gortat's a good player in just about all facets. He's been good every season he's been in the NBA save for last year in Phoenix. But he's 29 and has more than 10,000 minutes on his treads. Best suited for Washington or a similarly competitive team.
Poor Deng. He spent so many years getting driven into the ground in Chicago and then had to join the clown show in Cleveland. I"m not sure how much he's going to make on the open market, and if the Pistons were willing to part with some serious cash in a multi-year deal he might listen. And it might turn out to be good for both parties. But that's an awful big risk and I'd just assume the Pistons look for younger, cheaper pieces going forward.
Ariza is an odd case. Always a quality defender, Ariza played out of his mind on a championship Lakers team. He parlayed that into a big deal from the Houston Rockets and immediately regressed. After three forgettable seasons in Houston and New Orleans, Ariza found new life in Washington, especially this year as he's notched a 40 percent mark from the 3-point line. The year before that he hit 36 percent. So sign him up right? Well, not so fast. The years preceding that he shot 33, 30, 33, 32 and 28 percent from deep. He's a candidate for a big regression and I'd be afraid to give him any sort of sizable long-term deal.
Not great but extremely useful as a floor general with quality assists to turnover ration numbers throughout his career. Not a long-range threat but a smart scorer. Would be a quality backup point guard that could help spell or settle an inconsistent player like Brandon Jennings or team like the Detroit Pistons.
Eventually fell out of favor in San Antonio but rebounded nicely (pun intended) by landing in nearby Dallas. Per 36 he is giving the Mavs 14.7 points and 10.9 rebounds. His lack of height means he can be overpowered on the defensive end. But he could be a first big off the bench and has the kind of craftiness to his offensive game to be the primary option on the floor with reserve units.
Aminu is mostly a defensive specialist who doesn't take or make many shots. He's averaged 6.5 points on 5.7 shots over his four-year career. He was just never going to be a force of offense but he could greatly improve the team's perimeter defense.
More of a scorer than distributor and definitely best suited to a bench role. This year as he's been asked to prop up Chicago's stagnant offense and create mostly for himself, he has been quite the force. He's had his best year shooting since his rookie campaign and could provide offensive punch to the bench unit.
Looked primed to wash out of the NBA after a truly horrific year in Sacramento (he can join the club there). He began the year in the D League before the eagle-eyed staff in Memphis saw that he could be a contributor. A tweener forward in the mold of Corliss Williamson, Johnson can score inside, rebound the ball, pass out of traffic to open shooters, and block shots.
Does he have anything left? He didn't really show it in Indiana or with the Clippers. But he might still be recovering from a knee injury and could be a quality buy-low opportunity. Then again, isn't that what Pistons fans told themselves about Chauncey Billups?
Hawes is a big man with a quality mid-range game but he's a minus defender and poor rebounder who doesn't really have the athleticism to run for long stretches with Andre Drummond. I'd stay away.
Give these guys a chance
After devastating knee injuries threatened to end his young career, Livingston became an NBA nomad trying to latch on to a team as a reserve guard willing to do anything. After missing all of the 2007-08 season, Livingston played for Miami, Oklahoma City, Washington, Charlotte, Milwaukee, Washington again and Cleveland. Finally, this year in Brooklyn, Livingston looks healthy again and has recaptured some of that old dynamism that made him such a fun player to watch on the Clippers.
He is not much of a shooter outside 15 feet but his wiry 6-foot-7 frame allows him to do so many other things. He can post up any point guard defender (No. 1 in post-up points per possession per Synergy), and his handling, vision and size allows him to be very effective in the pick and roll. His length also allows teams to switch on the perimeter and keep his team's defense balanced. Sign him, please, future new Pistons general manager.
The guy shots 40 percent from deep for his career and despite his 6-foot-0 size, he has worked his butt off every season to improve as a defender. He's gone from a too-short, no-position gunner playing spot minutes to a valuable bench piece for the San Antonio Spurs who can be trusted to put the ball in his hands and ask him to run the offense. Yes, please.
Any team looking for a reserve athletic big man can do much worse than signing Hill. He is a pure hustle guy that makes things happen as soon as he hits the floor. He is a former top-10 pick who never really developed a refined offensive game, but he still converts the easy opportunities his teammates give him and is always willing to clean up the glass. He averages 14.6 points and 12.8 rebounds per 36 for the Lakers this year.
CDR is another guy who has bounced around the league and looks like he finally might be putting it together as a member of the Bobcats' rotation. The Detroit native is a SG-SF type who is shooting 38 percent from 3 (though hitting 3s is a skill he's never exhibited in the past). He's also a decent defender who wouldn't cost much. Can definitely play but might not be a big enough upgrade over Kyle Singler to supplant him from the starting lineup.
Never really trusted with a role in Sacramento and given scant playing time on the offense-starved Bulls, it's tough to say that Fredette deserves a real shot in the NBA. He might not have the ability to play point guard and he's too small to play shooting guard. Still, he is a dead-eye 3-point shooter and the Pistons could always use one of those. If the Pistons are able to clear out some of it's point guard backlog (Will Bynum, Chauncey Billups, maybe Brandon Jennings), Detroit could do much worse than take a flyer on a guy who at worst would actually be able to spot up along the perimeter and hit open shots.