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Pistons love Ryan Anderson but unlikely to swing deal before trade deadline

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ESPN reports that the Pistons would love to add the Pelicans' stretch forward, but would prefer to do it in the offseason.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

After a flurry of in-season and summer-time activity that saw an almost complete overhaul of the roster, things are much quieter for the Detroit Pistons this season.

One of the few trade deadline rumors to leak out so far this season is that Detroit is trying to solidify its power forward position, and have their sights set on New Orleans Pelicans stretch-four Ryan Anderson.

Per ESPN's Marc Stein:

The Detroit Pistons, as our own Zach Lowe noted in a recent podcast, are huge fans of Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson.

Which should come as a complete non-surprise when you remember that Pistons coach/team president Stan Van Gundy so successfully unleashed Anderson as a stretch four in Orlando flanking Dwight Howard.

So why don't the Pistons make a run at Anderson before the Feb. 18 trade deadline?

Sources say they're waiting for free agency, when they'll have a clear path to pursue an SVG/Anderson reunion without surrendering any of their current assets.

This, of course, makes perfect sense.

Detroit will have oodles of money to spend this offseason, Anthony Tolliver will be a free agent, Ersan Ilyasova can be bought out for a scant $600,000 and you have to imagine Van Gundy could feel like he has the inside track with Anderson due to their history together.

That history is a big selling point and is a clue why the Pistons were much more willing to swing a trade for the unfamiliar Reggie Jackson last year, who was also set to be a free agent.

If Van Gundy is confident he'll be successful in an offseason pursuit it makes little sense to sacrifice future assets in the form of young players or future first-round picks just to see an incremental improvement for the rest of this season.

Another side note, in that same Zach Lowe podcast, Lowe notes that the Pistons have also kept tabs on Phoenix Suns big man Markieff Morris and Donatas Motiejunas of the Houston Rockets.

It appears that one way or another, Van Gundy is exploring ways to add a long-term power forward to the team.