Could the Detroit Pistons be ready to say goodbye to Reggie Jackson already? If Emmanuel Mudiay falls into their lap with the eighth overall pick in the NBA Draft, the answer might be yes.
The Pistons "might be inclined to take [Mudiay] and let Reggie Jackson walk as a free agent," according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports.
This tidbit flies in the face of everything we've heard previously about the relationship between Jackson, who is a restricted free agent, and the Pistons. When the team traded for him midway through last season, Stan Van Gundy indicated Jackson wasn't a rental, was the point guard of the future, and that the team was comfortable with whatever price it took to re-sign him.
While Jackson stumbled initially with his new team, he eventually found his footing in Detroit and turned into a pick-and-roll dynamo alongside Andre Drummond. With the Pistons, Jackson averaged 17.6 points, 9.2 assists and 4.7 rebounds.
He did, however, average 3.5 turnovers and will probably never be the long-range threat that Van Gundy would like.
Mudiay has many of the same drawbacks, but people are tantalized by his physical and mental makeup and think he could continue to develop into an elite slashing point guard.
Still, you could charitably say similar things about Jackson so it's unclear why the Pistons would be ready to de-commit and hitch their wagon to a younger, rawer lead guard.
It could be a negotiating tactic as Jackson enters restricted free agency, but I'm not sure what it exactly accomplishes. It could also be that Mudiay is so clearly the best player available that they couldn't turn him down and would have to adjust accordingly.
Still, with contract lengths limited, I'm not sure why you would necessarily be forced to ditch Jackson with Mudiay on board.
It's probably just one of those baseless pre-draft rumors. Those are always fun.