On a recent Facebook Live session, Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Pistons were gauging interest in KCP as they view it as likely the young shooting guard gets a max contract offer in the offseason and don’t want to give him maximum money.
It seems Detroit is going through a difficult realization — the Pistons are essentially capped out, have committed significant dollars to Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, and likely to KCP. If that core maxes out as an average or slightly above average team then Detroit enters the dreaded treadmill of mediocrity. That’s not where you want to be.
At this point, Jackson’s value is at its lowest as he still seems unhealthy after early season knee tendonitis. Drummond certainly has value in the league as its best rebounder, but at the point he is not where the team wants him to be as an offensive or defensive force. If Van Gundy believes he will never get there, especially at the defensive end, it makes less sense to build around their $25 million a year player.
KCP, meanwhile, is improving every year, is the team’s top defensive player and is finally putting together a well-rounded offensive game. The problem from Detroit’s end is that even now, during KCP’s best offensive season, he still has a pedestrian .530 true shooting percentage. On a team without reliable shooting elsewhere, crafting a balanced offense becomes difficult.
And that is why everyone is available. Bring your best offer. Each of Drummond, KCP and Jackson won’t be cheap, so the likelihood of any of them being dealt is still quite low. But the chance is there because it increasingly looks like the status quo is unacceptable.
Changing up the team might happen at the deadline, but if the team doesn’t find a deal it likes the opportunity for trades will be available in the offseason. Whatever happens, it looks like this team might look very different on opening night next season than they look like right now.