NBA Free Agency starts in approximately 1 hour with Kevin Durant doing a mini “The Decision” and announcing where he is playing next via his own online portal. Presumably, his destination will not be The Detroit Pistons. But that doesn’t mean the Pistons will be quiet in the next week. Already, the team is allegedly the favorite to sign point guard Derrick Rose, and the team could also add depth at center, another point guard and power forward.
Here, the Detroit Bad Boys staff weighs in on what they think and what they want to see in free agency.
1. Who do you think the Pistons should sign to be their backup PG, using the Mid-Level, Bi-Annual, or Veteran’s Exception?
Steve Hinson: Quinn Cook, of course. My love for Cook goes back to even before he’s proven himself in Golden State. He’s an aggressive, efficient scorer, has the type of penetration ability this offense requires, and is a lights-out shooter. I think he’s a starter caliber point guard and his presence would start the transition out of the Reggie Jackson era. I don’t think it’d take the full MLE to get him, which would be a bargain.
Justin Lambregtse: I have the benefit of answering this after some recent news. My pick was to use the MLE on Darren Collison, but he retired. I now think the Pistons should use it on Seth Curry.
Christopher Daniels: For PG and a portion of the MLE I’m curious about Delon Wright in Memphis. His numbers aren’t great but he was a valuable piece off the bench for Dwane Casey so he’d already come in comfortable. I’d imagine he’d be on the table if Dwane is in Stefanski’s ear a sufficient amount about him. There’s also an irrational part of me that is fascinated with catching lightning in a bottle and trying Derrick Rose as a player that in a perfect world would be on Blake’s timeline and at one point was of his star level. You know Joe D would go for this (which means it’s probably a terrible idea).
Brady Fredericksen: I think the Pistons should pursue Seth Curry using the MLE. I have my doubts when it comes to his ability to run an offense as a PG — especially with the Pistons’ bench being so limited creating their own shots — but his shooting and ability to fit perfectly with the starters is too good to pass up. Quinn Cook and, on a far lesser (and cheaper) end, Cory Joseph, would also fit.
Laz Jackson: Well, I WAS going to say Darren Collison before his unexpected retirement, so now I am thrown for a loop. Perhaps pursuing a guy like an Elfrid Payton or an Emmanuel Mudiay with the partial MLE (aka not the full $9 million) on a longer-term deal to be the backup this year and then start as the team transitions into Jordan Bone as the backup PGOTF would interest me. Dan Feldman spent the full mid-level on Tomas Satoransky for four years in Nate Duncan’s podcast series - I wouldn’t go that far, but Satoransky is another name to watch.
Sean Corp: It pains me to agree with Dan Feldman, seriously, it does, but I would roll the dice and throw the entire MLE at Tomas Satoransky and see if the Wizards would match. After that, I think throwing a couple years on a solid veteran like George Hill makes a lot of sense. He won’t blow you away, but he can shoot, defend and run an offense. Both would be Reggie Jackson insurance/replacements. On cheaper deals, give me Quinn Cook, Shane Larkin, Jeremy Lin or Shelvin Mack.
2. Who do you think the Pistons should sign to be their backup C, using the Mid-Level, Bi-Annual, or Veteran’s Exception?
Steve Hinson: Anyone, just don’t overpay. Thon Maker will probably be the default backup center (even though he’s probably not good enough for the job), so this is just a warm body for insurance. A guy like Ekpe Udoh could make sense.
Justin Lambregtse: I would love to be able to use the bi-annual exception and somehow be able to sign Dwayne Dedmon, but he is probably going to get a lot more than that. I would say to now use it on Frank Kaminsky now that he is an unrestricted free agent.
Christopher Daniels: For backup C if you have a little bit more money I’d try for a younger player like Nerlens Noel. Otherwise most of the options are a bit long in the tooth but cheaper, so why not go nostalgia 1a with Amir Johnson (overall play) or 1b with Moosey (bench offense).
Brady Fredericksen: I’d like to see the Pistons save the Bi-Annual Exception, so let’s see if they can grab Daniel Theis from Boston. The German is a versatile defender who shot about 34% from 3 last season. He’s productive in his minutes and would fit with the bench or as a floor spacer with Blake Griffin. Ed Davis is another center who, because of his age and limited skills outside rebounding, won’t cost much but could really help the bench defensively.
Laz Jackson: Robin Lopez is the ideal fit behind Andre as a defender/rebounder/mentor - the only question is whether or not he’ll command the bi-annual (which the Pistons can afford) or more than that (which the Pistons cannot). Dewayne Dedmon, the league’s first choice for backup center, is already going to get more than what the Pistons can afford.
Sean Corp: As much as I’d love the Pistons to spend real money on competence, I just don’t see a lot of minutes being available at center. They just need some sort of place-holder and reliable backup. Kyle O’Quinn is a great option as a veteran who is good enough on both ends of the floor. Luke Kornet, meanwhile, might be a cheap developmental option so we can avoid Zaza 2.0.
3. Who’s your wild-card FA signing for Detroit, using the Mid-Level, Bi-Annual, or Veteran’s Exception?
Steve Hinson: My wild card is that they actually shouldn’t be particularly active in free agency. The mistake of the Stan Van Gundy era was that they had excessive belief in a core that wasn’t good enough to be a contender, but spent in free agency around them like they were just a Jon Leuer or Langston Galloway away when they obviously weren’t. That wound up killing their flexibility. This core still isn’t a 2019 version of a Jon Leuer or Langston Galloway away. Let’s not go back down that same road again.
Justin Lambregtse: My wild card signing is using the veteran’s minimum on everybody’s favorite role player, Anthony Tolliver.
Christopher Daniels: I’m going Tolliverse on this answer too like Justin. He seems like such a good dude and his locker room presence alone is worth the price of admission.
Brady Fredericksen: Isaiah Thomas. Nobody has a lower value right now than IT. He was bad in Denver, but if you look at Dwane Casey’s history with point guards, they just play better. I think Thomas is looking for a short deal to rebuild his value. There’s risk that he’s just not good anymore, but the Pistons, even if they land Seth Curry, can still find minutes for a revived Thomas on a vet’s exception deal.
Laz Jackson: I’d love to pry away Jake Layman from the Blazers by using the rest of the mid-level. Portland has Mo Harkless, Kent Bazemore, Nassir Little, Rodney Hood (if they re-sign him) and Al-Farouq Aminu (if they re-sign him) and are staring the luxury tax dead in the face. Layman’s a nice athlete and streaky shooter who could really shine if he got solid rotation minutes.
Sean Corp: My big prediction for the next week — a former starter gets traded.
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