Cory Joseph is returning to the Detroit Pistons on a reduced deal that will see him serve as a point guard to help guide and mentor young ball handlers for the next two seasons.
Joseph and the Pistons came to an agreement on a two-year $10 million deal, according to media reports. Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports that the final year of the deal is a player option for Joseph.
Earlier this week, Joseph was waived by Detroit the day before his team option for $13.6 million would have been guaranteed. Instead, Joseph will receive the $2.4 million guaranteed on the final year of his previous contract and $5 million per season for the next two years.
Joseph played the best basketball of his 10-year career in 19 games with the Detroit Pistons after coming over in a trade with the Sacramento Kings. He averaged a career-high 12 points and 5.5 assists while shooting a career best 36.8% from 3. He also had a career-high 58.8% true shooting percentage and career-high 33.7% assist percentage.
He’ll serve as veteran depth and a mentor on a young Pistons team behind Hayes, Lee (if he returns to the team) and help provide an additional ball handler with Cade Cunningham on the floor.
Considering the money being spent on the first-day of free agency, getting Joseph for what amounts to $6.2 million per season seems like a solid investment. Joseph also seemed to enjoy his time in Detroit despite the team’s poor record, and especially enjoys coach Dwane Casey, who he played with while both were in Toronto and spoke highly of during his first season in Detroit.
Earlier Monday, the Pistons came to an agreement with big man Kelly Olynyk on a three-year $37 million deal. The team also reportedly came to terms with forward Trey Lyles for some depth at the forward position.
Adding in restricted free agents Hamidou Diallo, Frank Jackson and Saben Lee and presuming the team waives guards Rodney McGruder and Dennis Smith Jr., the Pistons would have 13 players under contract. The team also drafted four players.
It’s unclear if all three restricted free agents will return to the team. If they all return on new deals, the Pistons could provide two draft picks guaranteed deals and offer one of the other two a two-way contract. One two-way deal is already earmarked for Chris Smith.
The Pistons could be planning on not bringing back all three restricted free agents or perhaps planning on releasing veteran center Jahlil Okafor or concocting a trade.
We should know more about how the final roster will shake out relatively early in free agency.