I've been reading a lot of the content out there about the trade for Blake Griffin. While there's a mixed consensus on whether or not he will work out in Detroit, (I think he will), it does seem like there is agreement that the Pistons still aren't ready to compete right now. In order for that to happen the team needs to survive until Reggie Jackson comes back, the young guys need to develop, and many are looking for another trade. Looking over our roster, I started wondering, "Who would even want our players?"
This thought lead me to the following, opinion-laden piece. I tried to figure out which teams would be interested in our players by generalizing the needs of other teams and whether our players fit those needs or not.
These are the categories into which I sorted players:
Players in this category are those a team can build around for many years to come. They may not be the #1 focus, but they bring skills that few others bring and are essential to the strategy your team uses. Contract length/cost doesn't matter because they are worth it.
Every team is looking for foundation players.
Players in this category have an above-average skill set in at least one category, or an average skill set in many categories. They generally help your team more than they hurt your team. Contract length/cost doesn't matter because they are contributing to a winning cause.
Contending teams are less interested in potential and more interested in talent.
Players in the category are acquired as stop-gaps until a long-term solution can be found. They need to be able to contribute to winning, but also building the culture of the team. They have long term value, but either short term or low cost contracts. They are easy to trade if the right deal comes up or you need to cut salary.
Rebuilding teams are most interested in young talent and potential, but also players that won't inhibit their future financial flexibility. They have identified at least one player around which to focus the building of their team.
Players in this category are able to contribute on the floor, but are more valuable for their potential to contribute in the future and their contract status. They should be on rookie contracts or low-money deals. Those not on rookie contracts should have at most two years left on their deals.
Tanking teams are interested in cheap talent and potential. They will only take on large or expiring contracts in return for draft picks and young talent.
This is my take on which types of teams would be interested in each of our players:
Reggie Bullock --------------- Contending / Rebuilding / Tanking
Dwight Buycks ---------------
Andre Drummond --------------- Foundation / Contending / Rebuilding
Henry Ellenson --------------- Rebuilding / Tanking
Kay Felder ---------------
Langston Galloway --------------- Contending / Rebuilding
Blake Griffin --------------- Foundation / Contending
Reggie Hearn ---------------
Reggie Jackson --------------- Contending*
Brice Johnson --------------- Rebuilding / Tanking
Stanley Johnson --------------- Rebuilding / Tanking
Luke Kennard --------------- Rebuilding / Tanking
Jon Leuer ---------------
Eric Moreland ---------------
Willie Reed --------------- Contending / Rebuilding / Tanking
Ish Smith --------------- Contending / Rebuilding / Tanking
Anthony Tolliver --------------- Contending / Rebuilding / Tanking
A quick word on the players:
Reggie Bullock, Willie Reed, Ish Smith, Anthony Tolliver: The way they have been playing this year, combined with their contracts, I think these players are the easiest to move on the team. They'd be good additions to most rotations.
Dwight Buycks, Kay Felder, Reggie Hearn, Eric Moreland: These are G-League players who've been available to anyone. Someone might take them, but no one is targeting them.
Andre Drummond: Dre is young enough that he hits three categories. I don't think a tanking team would be interested, but anyone else probably would be. He is also talented enough to incorporate to your long term plans as a core member.
Henry Ellenson, Brice Johnson, Stanley Johnson, Luke Kennard: Young players with potential on rookie contracts. I don't think a win-now team targets them, but any other team would be happy to have them.
Langston Galloway: The length of his contract keeps him from being attractive to a tanking team, but I think other teams would see a contributor at a decent value.
Blake Griffin: At his age and contract, if you want Blake you plan to be winning in the next few years. You can build a team around his talent.
Reggie Jackson: Same as Blake, without the foundational talent. With his injury, I hesitate to even put him in the win-now category.
Jon Leuer: I don't think there is a market out there for Jon Leuer, unless you strap a young player or a pick to him.
Last piece of this long-winded puzzle is to look at the teams around the league. I admittedly didn't do a lot of research here, so if you think a team fits better in a different category I probably wouldn't argue.
Contending: Boston, Cleveland, Golden State, Houston, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Toronto, Washington
Rebuilding: Brooklyn, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Indiana, LAC, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Utah
Tanking: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, LAL, Orlando, Sacramento
There you go. If you're looking for trades, I think this is a good place to start.. With less than a week until the trade deadline, it might be better off just bookmarking until the summer, but I got the bug to write something, so here it is. Hope someone out there enjoys!