Luke Kennard got paid, and the number of zeros on his future checks are likely why he is no longer wearing a Pistons uniform. Kennard agreed to a four-year, $64 million extension with the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, according to reports.
That $16 million average annual value was not something the Pistons were interested in paying to secure the 3-point shooting threat as he enters his age 24-27 seasons. It might also hint at why interest in Kennard on the trade market was somewhat tepid.
I know you’re not allowed to negotiate deals in advance or with other teams (wink, wink), but if organizations somehow miraculously knew what kind of deal Kennard’s agents were looking for as he entered restricted free agency, and what it would take for him to sign his extension early, well, not a lot of teams were willing to fork over that kind of cash — including Detroit.
Kennard for one season before losing him in restricted free agency isn’t super valuable, and a team might require some enticement (let’s say four future second-round picks) in order to give up a first and be willing to break the bank for a player who has been bitten a bit by the injury bug lately.
The Clippers, with championship aspirations and the endless pockets of Steve Ballmer were willing to step up to the plate and give Kennard the money he was seeking, and now the Clippers get to enjoy Luke’s underrated shooting and playmaking for the next four season — if he stay’s healthy.
Will those knees hold up? Nobody knows, but if injuries do derail Kennard it’d be a mere speed bump for a team like the Clippers whereas it’d be a somewhat catastrophic predicament for most other teams, the Pistons included.
That’s not to hand wave away the decision to trade Kennard as opposed to extending him. I think Kennard, defensive limitations and injury concerns and all, is worth that kind of investment. He’s a great shooter, the ball doesn’t stick in his hands, he’s a great cutter and can work as a secondary ball-handler on the floor. Those are all must-haves in today’s NBA.
This is the obligatory part where I acknowledge that I tweeted about Luke Kennard and compared him to Tyler Herro and people are ...... skeptical, to say the least.
I know a lot of people are unfamiliar with Luke Kennard. Here is the tweet-length version.— Detroit Bad Boys ☠ (@detroitbadboys) December 21, 2020
Imagine a player as good as people think Tyler Herro already is. That's Luke.
But, really, we’re talking about talent and not value. Herro, at his age, with his upside, and his years of future team control is super valuable. And he COULD turn into a really, really good NBA player. But for all the hype, he only had a middling rookie season as a shooter. Herro = overrated. Kennard = underrated. I wanted to point that out, and we’ll see how many days I’ll have to be dealing with the fallout.
But I’m happy for Kennard. He might not be Donovan Mitchell. Maybe Herro surpasses him as early as this season. But he’s really good, and I think playing for the Clippers a hell of a lot more people will notice.