When the season began, everybody looked at Derrick Rose, and possibly with a career revival, Blake Griffin, as the Pistons’ best trade chips. Outside of those two, there wasn’t any potential trading blocks for the Pistons unless they wanted to do something drastic like move a young player or somebody like Jerami Grant.
One player who has seemingly improved his trade value with his recent play is Wayne Ellington. I would even go as far as to say that Wayne Ellington will have the most robust market amongst the players they Pistons will explore trades of.
When the Pistons signed Wayne Ellington, most Pistons fans didn’t see the point. After a poor season with the Knicks where he shot a career-low 35% from beyond the arc, all Ellington was going to do was block players like Svi Mykhailuk and Josh Jackson from seeing the court.
When the season started, Ellington didn’t even see the floor. It wasn’t until after the injury to Killian Hayes and the early-season struggles of Mykhailuk that Ellington was forced into a spot in the rotation and eventually a spot in the starting lineup. The Pistons were badly in need of shooting and Wayne Ellington has delivered.
Ellington is shooting a career-high 51.9% from beyond the arc and has been lethal since joining the starting lineup, setting a Pistons record for 3-pointers made over a five-game span with 31. Eventually, things are going to come back down to earth a bit, but even when that happens, he still provides a skill that every contending team will be looking for at the deadline. He also has an easier contract to move because he makes the veteran minimum.
Shooting is always a premium for contending teams at the trade deadline and Ellington has been one of the best shooters in the league so far this season.
His veteran minimum contract is easily moveable, and his role as a shooter and cheap contract, are a lot easier to fit into an offense than Rose, his ball-dominating tendency, and $7 million contract. Rose is the better player, but Ellington offers more of what teams are going to be looking for.
I won’t even touch the other elephant in the room, which is Blake Griffin’s trade value. There was already very little hope of moving him and his play this season has ended any hope of that happening.
The earliest Wayne Ellington can be traded is Feb. 6, and the Pistons should take advantage of his hot shooting and move him closest to that date as they can. He has no role on the team after this season, and his current hot shooting is making the Pistons more competitive than many fans would like.
If the Pistons can move him now where teams are going to start exploring the trade market for an impact shooter, the Pistons can get peak value for Ellington. Teams are going to be concerned with regression, but Ellington is a 38 percent 3-point shooter for his 12-year career, so there is a pretty big sample size of his shooting ability.
I wouldn’t expect a 1st round pick for Ellington, but the Pistons have moved a lot of 2nd rounders in other trades, so being able to recoup some of those for a player that has no future on the team is ideal. That’s about what I would expect for Ellington at the most, but it is more than anybody thought they would get when he was signed.