Detroit pursued an Evan Fournier deal, but that would’ve been hard to execute without Reggie Jackson’s contract included .... Detroit has remained one of the most aggressive teams on the early market, reflective of the Stan Van Gundy regime’s desire to win now.
This first batch of fresh rumors tells Pistons fans a few things:
The Pistons are after wing depth
This is a partial indication that the team is no longer bullish on Stanley Johnson going forward. The third-year small forward has struggled offensively this season, and has been in and out of the rotation with a hip flexor injury for the last month. Johnson had looked more comfortable since being moved to the bench, but that hadn’t translated into good enough shooting numbers to feel comfortable moving forward.
Fournier is only 24, has a career slashline of 48/38/80, and is a more versatile offensive player than Johnson. However, his effort on defense waxes and wanes. Maybe the plan would be to pair the two together, which would mean...
Avery Bradley may not be a Piston for long
Fournier makes $17 million a year for the next four seasons (including this one), with a (sure to be exercised) player option in the final year. Trading for Fournier, handing Bradley a long-term deal, and retaining Langston Galloway would eat up a lot of the Pistons’ future cap flexibility, even if the Pistons were able to send injured point guard Reggie Jackson to Orlando in the trade.
If Fournier comes, it makes sense to either include Avery Bradley in the trade or let him go as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. A package of Avery Bradley and Jon Leuer is enough workable salary to trade for Fournier, but that still results in a Pistons cap sheet chock-full of long-term salary, over the cap and inching close to the tax, with still middling talent. See below:
Of course, Orlando might not be interested in such a package. Wonder who’d they be interested in...
Stan Van Gundy isn’t trading Luke Kennard
Ok, this one requires some reading between the lines, so bear with me.
“Decided to include” is trade-speak for “We asked for this guy, and the other team said no.”
This is an interesting development for the Pistons. Luke Kennard has clearly exceeded SVG’s draft expectations - he’s now a member of the rotation over Van Gundy’s Day 1 free-agent signing. It’s doubtful Kennard is untouchable, but it’s a pleasant surprise that he’s already being both asked about by other teams and shot down over by the Pistons.
The Pistons aren’t in a rush to “fix” the point guard situation
This is the first solid trade winds Pistons fans feel during the season, and comes in the wake of a major injury to their starting point guard... but the rumors are not regarding a point guard, they’re regarding a wing. Perhaps SVG is secure with a rotation of Ish Smith, Dwight Buycks, and Langston Galloway for the next month and change. Perhaps the training staff is sure they won’t repeat last year’s mistake of bringing Reggie Jackson back when he’s not 100 percent.
Either way, I expected to see some point guards associated in trade talks with the Pistons, and that’s not there. I suppose it will just remain the fans’ job to rampantly speculate about point guard trades.