Steve Blake & Anthony Tolliver's unsure of future with team as free agency looms
The offseason has begun in Motown and the much anticipated roster re-haul is in its infancy as the team looks to the free agent market and draft to bolster its' squad. With Stan Van Gundy looking to improve the team's talent and depth at power forward and point guard, the Detroit Free Press' Vince Ellis notes that two of the team's veteran unrestricted free agents at those positions have expressed an interest in returning to the Pistons for another season. During a team presser, Van Gundy opened up on the prospect of bringing back both Blake and Tolliver:
I was real honest with both of them yesterday. I like both of them. I think both of them add a lot to a team. In just a very general sense, I like the idea of having both of them back. But, and I was honest with them, there are priorities ahead of re-signing them. I told Steve flat out that we'll look to upgrade that position with a guy who's more of a long term answer. That's the one thing we've tried to do is put together a group that could be together for a while. If you look at our top six or seven guys we've got guys that could be together for a while. We'd like to add a backup point guard to that. Or, get development from the young guys to where we're comfortable they're that guy, Spencer or Lorenzo, but we'd like to have a long term answer. So that would be a priority over signing him. But both he and Anthony are guys that we would look to bring back. That doesn't mean we necessarily will, but it's not guys where we're just writing them off. Those are two valuable guys who had a lot to do with our success. I think everybody here, I think I'm speaking for Jeff and everybody else, was really happy with those guys. We just have to see how it fits in with everything else that goes on this summer.
Detroit could certainly do with upgrades at both forward and guard spots, although he was a serviceable back up during the regular season, Blake did not do well during the playoffs, averaging a point and 2.5 assists in just under 11 minutes per game, all the while shooting 20% from the field. Lorenzo Brown, who recently signed a two year deal could be a viable in-house solution along with Spencer Dinwiddie to replace the veteran. Anthony, who regressed in his second year in Detroit struggled in the playoffs as well and was part of a fairly stagnant second unit that was unable to match the starters' offensive and defensive intensity.
It is no secret that the Pistons will look to upgrade their bench during the offseason, and with several young, intriguing prospects available at positions of need, it would not be inconceivable that neither Blake or Anthony return to the Motor City for another year.
Stan Van Gundy happy with team's core, will not seek to alter it
In additional offseason news, Stan Van Gundy has reaffirmed his happiness about the team's core and believes the front office will be able to keep it intact for years to come. The Pistons' head of basketball operations and head coach opened up on what the front office was looking to achieve over the summer, per the Detroit News' Rod Beard:
SVG on trades/free agency: "We're in better shape than most people because we don't have huge holes in our starting group."— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) April 28, 2016
#Pistons SVG and Bower say that they wouldn't be opposed to improving the roster by adding a starter and moving another to the bench.— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) April 28, 2016
#Pistons GM Jeff Bower on possibly trading first-round draft pick: "We'll have a totally wide-open door on that."— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) April 28, 2016
The Pistons' offseason is certainly shaping up to be a very interesting one as it seems the team will be fairly active in free agency as well as the phones. Detroit currently have three free agents -- Blake & Tolliver (Urestricted) and Andre Drummond (Restricted), with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also eligible for a rookie extension. Additionally, the team has four players on flexible contracts heading into this season with Joel Anthony ($2.5M), Lorenzo Brown ($1M) and Spencer Dinwiddie ($980K) all on non-guaranteed deals, and rookie Darrun Hilliard's salary ($850K) only partially guaranteed for 2016-17.
Tweet of the Week
next year we will be back badder and better than ever #DEEEETTRRROOITTBASSKETBALL— NINO BROWN (@iAmSJ) April 25, 2016