The term ‘sin-eating’ has become a favorite among fans of the Detroit Pistons and the faithful readers of Detroit Bad Boys. We saw versions of it during the NBA Draft and in the leadup to free agency.
The move has been made (in)famous by the Oklahoma City in recent years, the art of sin-eating involves acquiring an exorbitant contract from a cap hungry franchise in return for future assets. We’ve seen Sam Presti turn the likes of Chris Paul, Al Horford and Kemba Walker into future first-round picks for the rebuilding Thunder.
While Detroit has yet to acquire any damaged goods with an eight figure salary, Troy Weaver acquired his first sinful contract in the form of Kemba Walker as part of a draft day trade with the New York Knicks. While Detroit came out of the 2022 Draft as winners, the roster as currently constructed has a noticeable lack of outside shooting.
The Pistons are armed with a projected $23 million in cap space after a move we’ll call “sin snacking” because trading cap space for Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel only netted Detroit a second-round draft pick (their own 2023 pick), and the Pistons seem to want them as useful rotation players.
Detroit still has a bit of money, however, and obvious holes on the roster. One option Detroit could explore is adding a veteran perimeter threat by way of sin-eating. I came up with four potential trade candidates who could provide Detroit with some much needed spacing.
1. Duncan Robinson, Miami Heat
Contract Remaining: 4 years / $74.35 million
2021-2022 Numbers: 10.9 points on 39.9 FG% (3.7/9.2 FG) + 37.2 3P% (2.9/7.9 3PA)
Following a quiet rookie campaign, a relatively unknown Duncan Robinson first burst on to the scene in 2019 with his flamethrower-like stroke. In the two seasons between 2019-2021 Robinson averaged 13.3 points on 42.7 3P% (8.2 attempts), asserting himself amongst the leagues top marksman. Resulting in the Miami Heat awarding Robinson with a five-year, $90 million contact for his lethal shot making ability.
Though vulnerable defensively, Robinson’s unique ability to shoot at 6-foot-7 whilst coming off screens or handoffs make him a deadly weapon in Coach Eric Spolstra’s offense. However, for reasons unknown, the most recent season did not go as planned for Robinson. After starting in 70 of the the team’s 75 games, Robinson found himself relegated to a reserve roll due to his poor shooting.
When sapped of his his premium shooting, Robinson is as unplayable as it gets. However, his mechanics and shooting prowess as a professional are simply too good to write off. While the contract will always be an overpay, the gravity, based off reputation, Robinson draws from the opposition alone would provide a team like Detroit plenty of value. Additionally, for a rebuilding Pistons team, Robinson’s defensive woes are much easier to hide during the regular season.
Ultimately, I think there might be one too many years on Robinson contract for Detroit to consider a trade. Plus, Miami don’t have the requisite future picks or young player to sweeten such a deal.
2. Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas Mavericks
Contract Remaining: 3 years / $53.69 million
2021-2022 Numbers: 14.2 points on 39.4 FG% (5.0/12.6 FG) + 33.6 3P% (2.4/7.2 3PA)
Coming off an injury-riddled season, Tim Hardaway Jr’s value with the Dallas Mavericks in relatively unknown. With Jalen Brunson reportedly on his was to New York, Dallas could stand to gain from Hardaway’s shot creation on the wing. Alternatively, the Mavs could also be in search of a trade partner to help facilitate an upgrade at Brunson’s position or enough financial breathing room to stomach matching whatever offer Brunson gets from the Knicks. This is where Detroit steps in.
Although he struggled from distance last season, Hardaway shot 39% on high-volume from three in the two seasons prior. The 30-year-old generates plenty of elevation on his jumper and has a quick release to launch over defenders.
Additionally, Hardaway has never seen a shot he didn’t like, upon receiving the ball there’s never any question or not as to what his intentions are. While these quick-trigger type guys can drive coaches and fans nuts, Hardaway’s shooting confidence would be a be a welcomed addition to the floor. The attention he draws as a shooter would help open up driving lanes for Detroit’s glut of young guards.
3. Gordon Hayward, Charlotte Hornets
Contract Remaining: 2 years / $61.60 million
2021-2022 Numbers: 15.9 points on 45.9 FG% (5.8/12.6 FG) + 39.1 3P% (1.8/4.5 3PA)
You’ll notice Hayward pictured above in street clothes...that’s intentional.
In the first portion of his career with the Utah Jazz, a young Gordon Hayward appeared in 70 or more games in six of his first seven seasons. However, in a twist of cruel fate, upon joining the Boston Celtics in 2017, Hayward suffered a gruesome ankle injury mere minutes into his Celtics career. In the five seasons since, the 32-year-old has played in only 70 games once, averaging 44 appearances per year from 2017-22.
At his best, Hayward is a jumbo-sized playmaker, capable of shooting the ball from every level on the floor. Whenever he’s been on the floor with the Hornets, they have been a playoff calibre team. There are plenty of similarities between Hayward’s play-style and Detroit’s young star, Cade Cunningham.
If Detroit were to acquire Hayward, his blend of reliable shot making and secondary ball handling would take the pressure of Detroit’s young guards.
In terms of a deal, Detroit would need to send out a salary with a value of $10 million or more. Hence, Kelly Olynyk or the recently acquired Nerlens Noel, could be sent to the Charlotte. In terms of a return, the Hornets could package Hayward with a first-round pick beyond 2024 (2025, 2026, etc). Alternatively, they could attach a high-upside wing such as Kai Jones or JT Thor as the sweetener.
4. Evan Fournier, New York Knicks
Contract Remaining: 3 years* / $59.86 million (*Third year is $20.86 million Team Option)
2021-2022 Numbers: 14.1 points on 41.7 FG% (5.0/12.1 FG) + 38.9 3P% (3.0/7.7 3PA)
Third time a charm? After already completing two trades with the Knicks, theres always a chance of a third occurring if the price is right.
The New York Knicks got off to a flying 5-1 start in the 2021-22 season. A week into a fresh campaign and the marquee signings of Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker were seen to be great additions. However, this is the Knicks we are talking about, so of course they followed up a great start losing 13 of the next 20 games.
Once the losing began, fan frustration turned toward the contracts of Evan Fournier and the recently re-signed Julius Randle. After spending seven years with the Orlando Magic, the holes in Fouinier’s game were on full display in front of 19,000 at the world’s most famous arena. His complete lack of defensive awareness, and at times effort, relegated the Frenchman to a bench role.
Of the candidates listed, Fouriner had the most efficient stroke, in terms of percentage and volume, a season ago. Additionally, with their three first-round picks in 2023, the Knicks make for an ideal trade partner as they desperately try to create additional cap space in pursuit of Jalen Brunson.
At first glance, Fournier’s contract is a mess, however, because the third year is a team option, Detroit would essentially be taking on two years of the French marksman. Ultimately making him a trade piece the following offseason as teams could be swooned by his expiring contract. On the court, Fournier would provide Detroit with consistent volume shooting from three in a likely-reserve role.