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DBB on 3: The “This is Fine” Trade Deadline of the Detroit Pistons

The DBB crew analyzes what was an up (and down) trade deadline for the Pistons

Sacramento Kings v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA Trade Deadline has come and gone.

The Detroit Pistons, a team that could have made a multitude of moves, came out of the day with one trade, acquiring Mavin Bagley III from the Sacramento Kings. Whether the fanbase loves or hates the Bagley move, it won’t be the most talked about part of the day.

That, as you’ve probably guessed, will be the discourse surrounding GM Troy Weaver’s decision to hang onto veteran wing Jerami Grant. Let’s talk about it all:

1. Let’s start with the moves the Pistons did make, trading Trey Lyles and Josh Jackson to Sacramento for Marvin Bagley III. What grade do you give this move and how do you envision Bagley’s fit in Detroit?

Sean Corp: I give the move a B, and really think it hints at how Detroit intends to operate this offseason. I firmly believe this is more than just an audition for Bagley and that the Pistons traded him with an eye toward what it would take to re-sign him to a modest multi-year deal in the offseason. But adding a player that comes with a $28 million cap hold means you have to make a decision on him instantly. And that means they are eating into a chunk of their available cap space. That, in turn, means they have less flexibility to go after a max free agent this offseason.

His role, hopefully, emphasizes his ability to actually roll to the basket and finish at the rim. Those particular skills are things the Pistons have sorely lacked since Christian Wood’s days in Detroit. I think he slots into the Trey Lyles role as the defacto backup bigs alongside Kelly Olynyk with Bagley focused on rim pressure and cutting, and Olynyk focused on spacing and moving the ball.

Yes, it’s a low-risk move because there really was no future in Detroit for Lyles and Josh Jackson. However, it wasn’t no-risk because there seems to be some significant money at play ... unless he flames out completely and you’re out two second-round picks for nothing.

Ben Gulker: I’m pretty meh on Bagley, but at least there’s upside — something neither Lyles nor Jackson has left to offer. If Bagley can embrace his efficiency in the paint as a roll man next to Cade Cunningham, he will be a big step closer to realizing it. If he doesn’t, the Pistons aren’t really losing anything by taking the chance. And let’s be honest, the big man rotation should be a little more enjoyable to watch now, which counts for something.

Brady Fredericksen: I like this one, so, B-plus. I see no risk in moving two bench players (and second round picks that Troy Weaver has spent on non-NBA players) for a young guy who has a chance to be a starter-caliber piece for you going forward. Seemed like I was in the minority, but I thought Trey Lyles was a nice find, but he doesn’t have the upside of Bagley. That boost of athleticism in the pick-and-roll game is going to do wonders for Cade and Killian Hayes. As long as Detroit has Bagley living around the rim and not around the 3-point line, I think he’ll be impactful. Hopefully his porous defense can improve over time... but for the worst team in the league, it’s a worthy trade off.

Justin Lambregtse: A, this is a very low risk move with a potential high reward. Bagley has been hurt throughout his career and has been a bit disappointing, but I also think having the shadow of being drafted before Luka Doncic and Trae Young hangs over him. Moving on from the Kings might help remove that shadow a bit and let him refocus. Josh Jackson was out of the rotation and Trey Lyles basically does the same things Bagley could potentially do without any further room for growth.

Ben Quagliata: I’m more excited about getting rid of Lyles and Josh than getting Bagley in, to be honest. Josh frustrated me to no end this season when he played, and once Olynyk came back it was obvious to me him and Lyles weren’t working together. Getting rid of Lyles also opens shots and touches for other guys on the bench like Killian and Frank. On Bagley, this team needs more athletes, and if he can be that vertical threat as a roller I think he could pair nicely with Killian off the bench. Selling second round picks off? Well I’ve never been a fan of that.

ScottFL: C-plus. I don’t think Bagley is any good, but I hope I’m wrong. Generally and conceptually, this is the type of second-draft move that rebuilding teams should be doing.

Jack Kelly: I’ll give this move a solid B. I like that Weaver elected to sell ‘high’ on Lyles, capitalising on his current value. I think there are a lot of question marks surrounding what type of player Bagley is in the NBA. However, he’s a bouncy 6-foot-10 big that can rebound the ball and finish at the rim, something this Piston team lacks. He could finally provide Cade with a dynamic P&R partner. Why not take a shot on a former No. 2 overall pick?

Jacob Polack: The deal gets a solid B from me. Maybe even B-plus considering how underwhelmed the fan base would have felt if the Pistons didn’t make any trades at all. Lyles changed my opinion of him for the better during his time in Detroit, but I won’t miss watching him play basketball on a nightly basis. I’ll be okay if I never see Jackson play basketball again (sorry Josh, happy birthday). Even with the two lost second round picks, I’m very comfortable with the package we parted with to take a shot on Bagley. He’s probably not the lob threat and rim protector the fan base has been clamoring for, but I’ll give him every opportunity to prove he can be a capable NBA contributor. As far as deadline day trades go, I think Troy Weaver could have done much worse than this.

2. And the elephant in the room: Jerami Grant. Detroit did not trade the veteran small forward, instead holding onto him past the deadline. What does this tell you?

Sean Corp: I’ll probably expand on this in its own piece, but I think Grant staying put is also a tell into how Detroit hopes to approach the offseason. First, I would have preferred Grant was traded just because I don’t think he is a long-term fit with Cade and he and Saddiq are often fighting for the same real estate in the scheme and spots on the floor. Second, I think you could have gotten more if you traded him last trade deadline and more if you traded him this deadline than you will if you trade him in the future. But for Detroit it’s about certainty of return more than value of return.

The Pistons could be planning to flip him on NBA Draft night, as they seem to love to add picks, and would prefer to wait till they know a player they want is at a pick offered up in exchange for Grant. However, they could also be looking to dangle him once free agency begins. It’s no secret that the top free agents this offseason are restricted, and that means their team has the right to match any offer. One of the ways to convince a team to let a player go to a new team is to work out a sign-and-trade deal. And it helps when that deal could include a player like Grant if you’re trying to pry away a Deandre Ayton or a Miles Bridges.

Ben Gulker: That he’s not as coveted as he is rumored to be, or at least not at the price of two first round picks Weaver was requesting. That he was available at all gives me hope that the Pistons won’t blunder their way into a costly extension and will instead find a trade partner before his current contract ends.

Brady Fredericksen: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. It tells me the offers weren’t very good. I think the Pistons and Jerami have a mutual respect, but also they all have to know the end game here. The draft is going to yield his replacement, so he’s not going to be around next year. Shams Charania reported that “Grant and the Pistons have comfortability with each other moving forward. That tells me is they both understand the situation and that Weaver will figure it out this offseason.

Justin Lambregtse: I think it tells me that Weaver has a high asking price for him and no teams met it. Just because a team has interest in a player, doesn’t mean they are offering their best assets. They might just be seeing if they can slip something by and get a steal of a deal. There is nothing wrong with holding to your guns.

Ben Quagliata: On first glance it appears Weaver has overvalued Grant and set himself up for disappointment at offers coming in, but in reality I’m commenting on a situation I know nothing about on the inside. I just hope this isn’t a precursor to a nice 4-year, $112 million extension.

ScottFL: That they still think he is a good player, which he is. Hard to say much beyond that without knowing what the offers, if any, actually were.

Jacob Polack: That the league does not value Jerami as highly as the Pistons’ organization and fans do. I wonder if the rumors about Grant prioritizing being a primary option caused GM’s to sour on the idea of adding him. Either way, I prefer to keep Grant around than to dish him for 50 cents on the dollar. We’ll see if the offseason will open up more trade opportunities for Grant.

3. When you look back on this trade deadline, what’s your initial reaction and how big of an impact did it have on the future of the franchise going forward?

Sean Corp: The most this deadline told me is that I have 28 more games of bad, ugly basketball to watch. Hopefully, Bagley does something exciting or adds enough of a wrinkle to the offense and at least allows Cade Cunningham and Killian Hayes to work successfully in the pick-and-roll. Otherwise, bad, sad basketball is on the way. But also a high pick!

Ben Gulker: Minimal to marginal. Even if Bagley is better for Detroit than he was in Sacramento, I think he’s rotation caliber, not foundational. Jerami’s game is clearly causing some short-term…awkwardness, but I don’t see that as a significant long-term concern as long as Weaver makes the obvious move of moving on this summer.

Brady Fredericksen: Maybe a little, maybe a lot. Bagley is a great example of taking a risk on a fallen talent. He’s not even as “fallen” as some of the other guys Weaver has taken a swing on — Josh Jackson and Lyles, for example. The Jerami Grant thing is awkward, certainly. I think some in the fanbase have reached the point where they would have dealt him for the same package the Pistons got for Andre Drummond — absolutely nothing. Grant won’t be around next season. That’s my baseless prediction. He won’t be starting in front of Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren or Paolo Banchero. Saddiq Bey isn’t going to turn to dust because he’s playing with Grant, they coexisted just fine last year as Bey played like one of the best rookies in the NBA. It’s the same Detroit Sports Fan Meltdown we see with all the teams every year. I’ll join y’all if Grant signs that $112 million contract extension with Detroit. Until then, I don't think this is the end of the world.

Justin Lambregtse: I think it had minimal impact moving forward. The Pistons go into the offseason with a potential top pick, a good trade asset in Jerami Grant, and cap space. Hitting on the pick is more important than any move they did or did not make at the deadline. Maybe a contender sees what they needed in the postseason and is willing to surrender the necessary assets to swing a deal for Grant. What he does or does not do at the end of the season, doesn’t change what teams know Grant can do.

Ben Quagliata: Tumbleweeds. Keeping Grant alongside Bey, who plays better without him, is the only real future impact I can think of, and it would’ve been nice to free Bey up to see what he can do as a more primary option. Other than that? You take a flyer on Bagley who might be something, but otherwise meh.

ScottFL: Everything about this is totally fine, and we probably should not have expected any major fireworks. Weaver still has cap space and tanking pole position, and we will know a lot more about how good he is at this six months from now.

Jacob Polack: I was a tad underwhelmed as far as initial reactions go. Against my better judgement, I held out hope that some team would pony up a respectable package for Jerami come deadline day. Alas, Bagley is the big deadline get, which is far from worst-case scenario. I don’t foresee Bagley making a huge impact on the Pistons future, but maybe he can be a part of it. I don’t think the future impact goes much beyond that, I just hope Cade and Saddiq can find their groove with Jerami now here to stay for the rest of the season.

As always let us know how you feel in the comments.

1. Let’s start with the moves the Pistons did make, trading Trey Lyles and Josh Jackson to Sacramento for Marvin Bagley III. What grade do you give this move and how do you envision Bagley’s fit in Detroit?

2. And the elephant in the room: Jerami Grant. Detroit did not trade the veteran small forward, instead holding onto him past the deadline. What does this tell you?

3. When you look back on this trade deadline, what’s your initial reaction and how big of an impact did it have on the future of the franchise going forward?