The trade deadline has come and gone. According to many sources in the Twitterverse, this was the busiest trade deadline in NBA history. The Detroit Pistons had their fair share of the fun also by completing not one, but two trades. But how did they do?
Trades are made for a number of reasons. Some teams (i.e. Philadelphia Sixers) make trades in order to rebuild. They trade expirings for future picks as an example. Some teams (i.e. Brooklyn Nets) trade to drop salary. Other teams (i.e. Oklahoma City Thunder) trade for a playoff push and/or championship aspirations.
So what did the Pistons do?
They did not trade to rebuild. The Pistons sent out four mid-career players and two future second round picks for a mid-career player and an end-of-career player. No picks were received by the Pistons.
They did not trade to drop salary. Tayshaun Prince and Reggie Jackson make just over $10 million combined this year. Luigi Datome, Jonas Jerebko, D.J. Augustin and Kyle Singler all made just over $10 million combined this year. Also, it does not make cap sense going forward. Prince is expiring, but so were Jerebko, Singler and Datome, and Augustin had a team option. In fact, it could hinder future cap as Jackson is looking for a payday (turned down a reported 4 year, $48 million deal from the Thunder) as he will be a restricted free agent after this season.
Ok, so that must mean that the Pistons made these trades for a playoff push or championship contention, right? In my personal opinion, the trades the Pistons made today are likely to be a wash. Jerebko and Datome were not playing much, and I do not expect Prince to either. Jackson will get Augustin's minutes, and the free agent signing of Quincy Miller will likely get some of Singler's. Singler has been mostly bad this year, so it will not be hard for Miller, Prince and Butler to fill those shoes. But can they make up for the downgrade Jackson brings compared to Augustin?
But if the Pistons' trades were a wash, and they continue to play at the same level they have been playing, why won't they make the playoffs? Well, because other teams made trades too.
As it stands right now, the Pistons are two games out of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. Let us take a look at the five teams above the Pistons and the four teams below the Pistons in the standings to see what they have done and what they have left.
Say what you want about Micheal Carter-Williams, but I think he will do just fine as Brandon Knight's replacement. Yes, they did "lose" Larry Sanders (or are going to lose, not sure), but he has not been playing and they are 8-2 in their last 10.
No moves, and they are only one game ahead of us in the win column. But for some reason I think they are building some chemistry and I just don't see them falling.
They got better. They pull the Dragic brothers (Goran and Zoran) for two firsts, Norris Cole (meh), Justin Hamilton and Shawne Williams. Someone stated it on the Twitterverse, but Dragic may be the best point guard the Heat have had since Tim Hardaway. They will very likely stay in front of the Pistons.
Trading Kevin Garnett for Thaddeus Young is definitely an upgrade. Does it make them playoff contenders? Not exactly. But it might mean they stay just ahead of us.
Boston sent out Marcus Thornton and Prince for Isaiah Thomas, Jerebko and Datome. Thomas is the key in this as he does make them better.
Indiana did not make any trades, but it is rumored that Paul George could possibly see a return this season. Should we expect him at full strength? Absolutely not. I will probably cringe the first time I see him go for a layup, contested or not. But by adding him even at 70% is an upgrade from what they have.
I DOUBT we have to worry about the Magic, but they are only four wins behind us.
This was for completeness. If we need to fear the Sixers, I can't even ...
This also was for completeness, I pray that we do not have to fear the Knicks (but sitting Carmelo may be the equivalent of waiving Josh Smith).
The playoff race could be set as it is. Now don't get me wrong, Jackson could come on and be a complete stud. Stan Van Gundy may be a point guard whisperer, who knows. However, his career (thus far) shows no indication of that. Tayshaun Prince isn't walking through that doo....oh, he is. But there will be a period of adjustment, and with only 28 games left, that could pose a problem.
Playoffs: yes or no?
Kyle Singler hopes so...
To my Motor City brothers, keep the playoff dream alive. Good luck & see ya on the other side. - #25 pic.twitter.com/8muDKwrVo0— Kyle Singler (@KyleSingler) February 19, 2015