This is by far one of my favorite parts of the offseason, so lets get the ball rolling! Lets set the stage first: I've been named assistant GM alongside Bower (I've been working on my 'stache), and after a full summer in the front office, this is the team that will start the season in Piston blue, white and red.
The Pistons trade:
Jodie Meeks, #49 pick to the New Orleans Pelicans for Quincy Pondexter and James Ennis
Meeks has had a disappointing time in Detroit, and I'm more than happy to let Reggie Bullock and Darrun Hilliard back up Kentavious Caldwell-Pope at the 2. His production can easily be replaced, and a change of scenery might do him some good. We'd also give up on our second round pick. This by itself isn't a huge blow, talent is hard to find at the tail-end of the draft and we were more inclined to go for a draft and stash player with the pick.
Now for the players we're bringing in. James Ennis has played for three teams in two seasons, he found a role with the Pelicans and logged some consistent minutes for them over the course of last year. The 6'7" forward knocked down an impressive 44.8% of his threes this season, bringing his career average up to 37.3%. Ennis figures to be third on the depth chart at SF, and could challenge Hilliard and Bullock at SG. We are bringing him in with the expectation he will be a situational role player who might see extended court time with the Grand Rapids Drive.
That leaves us with Quincy Pondexter, the guy who realistically is the centrepiece of this trade. Pondexter was a very serviceable stretch-4 prior to his knee injury, he hasn't played since the 2014 season and still doesn't have a set timetable to return. During his last season he knocked down 37% of his long-range attempts. We are not expecting Quincy to become a full time role player from the get-go, we want him to go through a full rehab and slowly ease him into the rotation, thanks to our free-agency pick ups there will be no rush to put him on the floor.
This trade is a bit of a gamble, Pondexter may never get back into the form he was in, but he has an incredibly friendly contract that will not cramp our salary cap. On the other hand, he could become a great addition to the team, I like to think of him as McDyess with range. Ennis is essentially a sweetner. He was the 50th pick from the 2013 draft and will probably be better than any other player we pick up at 49 in this year's draft.
The Pistons draft:
(#18) Wade Baldwin (PG) - 6'4", 202 lbs
14.1 pts / 4.0 reb / 5.2 ast / 1.2 stl / 0.3 blk -- .427/.406/.799
The Pistons sign:
Andre Drummond to a 5-year, $120 million extension
This is a mere formality.
Jon Leuer to a 3-year, $15 million contract, third year is player option
We need a stretch-4, I'm not sold on bringing back Anthony Tolliver and Leuer is a cheaper, younger option. He played last season with the Phoenix Suns, his fourth team in five seasons, and started 27 of the 67 games he appeared in. Jon is currently on a contract paying him just over $1 million, by giving him a larger deal with some job security and the opportunity for consistent PT we manage to leuer him (sorry) away from any other team.
Shane Larkin to a 2-year, $16 million deal
If you've seen my mad ramblings in various comment threads over the past year, this shouldn't be a huge surprise. I am very high on Larkin, I think he could be the sparkplug we need to run our second unit. I would have thrown money to Jordan Clarkson and Matthew Dellavedova but then again so will half the League, Larkin is a lesser known player who could easily fulfill the same role as the aforementioned two at a fraction of the price. The contract length is dictated by the fact that we've drafted Baldwin, who, after two years of development should be ready to assume Larkin's minutes.
The Pistons waive:
Starters: Drummond, Harris, Morris, Pope, Jackson
Second Unit: Baynes, Leuer, Johnson, Bullock, Larkin
Bench Warmers: Hilliard, Baldwin
Grand Rapids: Ennis
Expected Record: 51-31