Restricted free agent Hamidou Diallo has agreed to return to the Detroit Pistons on a two-year, $10.4 million deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
When the Pistons traded for Diallo, it was unclear what kind of deal Diallo would command, with the higher end of prognostications being in the $10 million dollar range. Instead, he is getting that across two seasons.
The two-year pact is a bit of a steal, but Diallo’s market was limited after teams went on an early free-agent spending spree and Detroit controlled his rights as a restricted free agent. He could have signed his one-year qualifying offer but opted for the extra year and a guaranteed payday before he tries his hand at restricted free agency.
The athletic 23-year-old guard averaged 11 points and 5 rebounds with the Pistons and hit 39% of his 3-pointers. He will likely serve as the first guard off the bench for Detroit assuming both Cade Cunningham is going to start off the ball and Saddiq Bey is locked into the starting lineup.
Diallo is the best athlete on the Pistons, and this gives both him and Detroit a two-year window to allow him to continue growing and developing as a player, and to see if a long-term future with the Pistons makes sense.
The return of Diallo also presents an interesting wrinkle for Detroit as it means the Pistons have 16 players on guaranteed deals under contract. The Pistons also have already handed out their two two-way contracts and still don’t have an agreement with second-round pick Balsa Koprivica.
The path of least resistance would likely involve cutting a player such as Jahlil Okafor, who is slated to be the third big man behind Isaiah Stewart and Kelly Olynyk. The Pistons took two centers in the draft (Koprivica and Summer League standout Luka Garza). Detroit has already handed Garza a two-way deal, and he could presumably shuttle easily between the Motor City Cruise and Detroit if the team’s depth is tested.
The most likely alternative to releasing Okafor would be a trade, and that could involve any number of players including Okafor, Josh Jackson or Sekou Doumbouya.
The Pistons likely already know how this will all play out, but there is no rush for them to formalize their plans. Teams can have up to 20 players on their roster throughout training camp.