When the Pistons traded Will Bynum to the Boston Celtics for the little used Joel Anthony, many dismissed the move as an insurance policy for Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe in case one or both were to miss significant time. Brought in as a replacement for Aaron Gray, who suffered a cardiac episode shortly after signing with the team, Anthony was expected to produce spot minutes at the 5, injecting some of the defensive intensity he had been known for during his career with the Championship-winning Miami Heat.
With almost an entire season as a Piston under his belt, Joel Anthony has become a fan and coaching staff favorite due to his unwavering professionalism and hard-nosed play style. Despite playing only limited minutes - 8.3 in 43 contests this season, Anthony has made his impact on the team, and as Vincent Ellis of The Detroit Free Press tweets, Stan Van Gundy and the Pistons are strongly considering extending the 32 year-old centre past this season.
The Canadian national, who has filled in for an injured Greg Monroe through the month of March, has been averaging 3.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 13.8 minutes per game in 11 games. Anthony and Van Gundy both expressed interest in keeping the 6-foot-9 center in Detroit once his contract expired this offseason, with Joel telling RealGM's Shams Charania:
"I love the idea of being here, staying here moving forward and having a chance to help them turn this franchise around. Stan has been very adamant about wanting to change the culture, so to be part of that ... I don't want to say it's more special than playing on a contending team that could win it all, but it would be very satisfying and gratifying to be part of a situation where you're able to turn things around. Obviously, it's great being on a contending team, because you're winning and things are going well. But it's more about being in situations where I feel like I could help. This a situation where I can help, where they want me, Detroit wanting to bring me in. Winning-wise, we're not there yet, but the fact that we can built it into something like that, it's something I'm excited to be a part of."
Whilst bringing back the eight-year veteran won't figure to be at the top of the Pistons' offseason priorities, you can expect negotiations to be had early on, as Detroit looks to bring back one of its core veteran players to steady the locker-room.