The Detroit Pistons are exploring interest in Aron Baynes and Boban Marjanovic leading up to the trade deadline, according to Basketball Insiders.
The move is unsurprising, at least as far as Baynes is concerned, as the Australian big man has an opt-out clause in his contract he is likely to exercise. Baynes is looking at a big raise from his current $6.5 million option and it is extremely unlikely the Pistons would be able to re-sign him.
Stan Van Gundy admitted as much after the team signed seven-footer Boban Marjanovic. Van Gundy said Marjanovic was essentially signed as insurance considering the likelihood that Baynes would opt out and sign elsewhere.
Baynes is averaging just 4.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in 15.2 minutes per game, but he has had an excellent year on the defensive end and the thinking is he could be an attractive piece to a number of teams looking to solidify positions heading into the playoffs.
Having Marjanovic on the trade block would be a little more surprising because it wouldn’t impact Baynes’ decision to opt out, meaning the Pistons could find themselves awfully thin at the center spot next season.
Marjanoic has played just 7.3 minutes per game in 20 games this season. He’s averaging 4.1 points and 3.4 rebounds.
This rumor isn’t an indication that the team is looking to tank or no longer thinks it’s a playoff team. Instead, it likely means Van Gundy is looking to trade away from a place of depth to shore up a possible weakness. The biggest weakness on the team (other than, ya know, team-wide defense) is shooting.