What does a Franklin, Michigan-based stock trader know that the rest of the NBA world doesn’t? Perhaps quite a bit.
Bruce Tennen, the stock trader in question, tweeted out to his 7,616 followers on Feb. 16 a pretty straightforward rumor:
#Pistons exploring deal for Hezonja and Lou Williams. R Jax would be gone.— Bruce Tennen (@BruceTennen) February 16, 2017
Anybody can throw out trade rumors, and in the era of fake trade proposals getting cycled and recycled you have to be careful. As a writer, you have to separate the wheat from the chaff, and a good early indication of junk is if it winds up in the International Business Times.
The exact trade was also floated by Bleacher Report not as a rumor but as a suggestion. Did BR see it from Bruce first or vice versa? No clue. But this is all evidence to avoid said rumor and move on with your life.
Then, Marc Stein tweeted the following:
The Pistons and Magic have discussed a trade that would send Reggie Jackson to Orlando for D.J. Augustin and Jeff Green, league sources say.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 17, 2017
Stein doesn’t peddle junk. Even if the things he’s hearing don’t always come to pass, he doesn’t just throw garbage out to get clicks (Reggie Jackson-Ricky Rubio rumor notwithstanding).
This is also the second day in a row a prominent, well-respected ESPN writer linked Jackson to the Magic.
There’s a few problems. As we wrote in our original story, this purported trade doesn’t even work once you enter it into the ESPN Trade Machine. Second, this seems like selling incredibly low on Jackson, who doesn’t appear fully healthy. Third, it would be extremely easy to make this deal worth if you excluded the useless Jeff Green (sorry, Jeff), and included any number of Magic players — former Piston Jodie Meeks, for instance.
So what’s going on. That’s what brought me back to Bruce Tennen. It’s not that I started believing him, necessarily. Instead, I decided that it was worth taking it a little more seriously.
A Michigan guy with possible Michigan connections. OK. Obviously goes to Pistons games and maybe he’s good enough at his job to make some of the right kind of friends. He also first mentioned Jackson drawing interest from Orlando on Feb. 7.
Here’s what else he had to say about this purported trade:
He implied he has a source within the Pistons organization. He tossed out that Orlando GM Rob Hennigan liked Jackson when both were in Oklahoma City. He said an alternative version of the trade would involve the Pistons also sending a protected first-round pick if Orlando would part with Elfrid Payton.
2 versions: Either Lou Williams & Hezonja coming here. Hilliard RJax to Magic. Augustine and protected 17 to LAL https://t.co/GyPx3ocPjn— Bruce Tennen (@BruceTennen) February 16, 2017
Or....adding in Elfrid Payton to Det and a protected #1 in 18 to Magic along w Beno, Bullock and a future 2 pick to Magic. https://t.co/GyPx3ocPjn— Bruce Tennen (@BruceTennen) February 16, 2017
Detroit's first if Payton is involved… Orlando's first if he is not involved https://t.co/hbelNnsmG3— Bruce Tennen (@BruceTennen) February 16, 2017
So let’s take a step back now. We can be fairly certain that Reggie Jackson is on the trade market, per Lowe’s reporting. We can be fairly certain that the Magic are interested, per the reporting of Lowe and Stein. And we know that the deal floated by Stein is incomplete because it’s not even legal.
Now, back to Bruce’s trade suggestion:
It works, and this would see a protected pick going from Detroit to the Lakers. The Pistons already showed a willingness to sacrifice a future pick last season when they tried to send one out for the rights to Donatas Motiejunas, a trade that was later rescinded because of Detroit’s concerns with Motiejunas’ back.
They’d essentially be doing the same thing again, but this time with an eye on controlling the rights to Payton and Hezonja.
Williams is a dynamic scorer and one of the best socrers in the pick-and-roll in the NBA. He scores 1.06 points per possession and sits in the 94th percentile. Payton would be a defender off the bench who is still trying to put together an offensive game at 22 years old. It would definitely be a big gamble to turn the point guard keys over to an Ish Smith-Elfrid Payton combo considering how little offense you’d be able to count on from the position.
Hezonja, meanwhile, has also been a disappointment in the NBA. He rarely plays, and when he does he doesn’t do anything to justify being on the court. But the Pistons showed interest in Hezonja when he was in the draft and he was represented by Arn Tellem, currently in the Pistons front office. There was even a rumor he was purposefully tanking the draft process in order to fall to Detroit. He’s a lottery ticket who is not quite 22 years old.
Does all of the above sound like it’s worth the gamble of bailing on Jackson at the nadir of his value? My Magic 8 Ball says results are hazy.
Where does Jeff Green fit in? Nowhere. Would the Lakers really want to take on the long-term salary of Augustin for a pick? Doubtful.
Will any of this amount to anything? We’ll see. But if it does, it sounds like we’ll have to tip our cap to Bruce Tennen.