It is unclear from the Woj story if the Pistons are seeking immediate help to rebalance the roster in light of Reggie Jackson’s injury or if they are looking to get future assets knowing that this season is already lost.
Wojnarowski reports that Detroit is interested in seeing if they can extract value from him now as he is a free agent after this season. Bradley was expected to command up to $20 million per year and is considered one of the best two-way players at his position with the ability to defend both point guards and shooting guards.
Bradley, however, has been hampered by a groin injury and is having the worst shooting season of his career. He’s shooting a respectable 39 percent from 3 but a disastrous 42 percent from 2-point range.
Couple those struggles and a big impending payday with the fact that the lone bright spot of the past two months has been the emergence of rookie Luke Kennard, who could inherit Bradley’s position in the lineup, and it’s easy to see why it makes sense to move on from Bradley.
While he hasn’t worked out in Detroit, I think Bradley will still be viewed as quite a hot commodity to contending teams for a few reasons.
- Contending teams typically have pretty stout defenses, but can always use a one-on-one attack dog to sic on an opposing team’s best perimeter threat. This plays to Bradley’s strengths.
- Bradley obviously doesn’t work as a No. 1 or No. 2 option as he is being used in Detroit, especially since the Jackson injury. But as a third or fourth option and primarily a 3-point threat he can still be an effective offensive weapon. Essentially, exactly as teams such as Cleveland, Houston, Golden State, San Antonio, Minnesota would use him.
- Obtaining Bradley’s Bird rights should appeal to any team. It would be the only way a contending team could get a player like Bradley as few teams are expected to have significant cap room this summer. And those teams that do might not be a good fit from either Bradley’s or the team’s perspective.
Speaking of cap room, if the Pistons ultimately decide not to trade Bradley before the deadline, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the team will either re-sign him to an exorbitant contract or lose him for nothing.
While it’s fallen out of fashion of late, I think this might be a summer where the sign-and-trade re-emerges as an option for players. There is a much tighter cap environment and players will still be out to get “what they’re worth.” And a player of Bradley’s profile would be the kind of player a good team would be willing to make a move for.
The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 8.