Every offseason has been an adventure for the Detroit Pistons under Troy Weaver. From the draft, to trades and free agency, the Pistons have dipped their toes into every pool during Weaver’s complete overhaul of the roster.
Armed with the most cap space in the NBA, many people anticipated the Pistons’ offseason fireworks to be bigger than anything you would see on the 4th of July. But by the opening night of Summer League, things have been quiet for the Pistons.
It doesn’t come as much of a surprise after the Pistons did most of their offseason shopping during the draft and before the beginning of free agency. The Pistons used their cap space strategically to acquire the rights to Jalen Duren at pick No. 13 in the draft in exchange for taking on Kemba Walker’s contract from the Knicks.
They followed that up by acquiring Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks and a pair of second-round picks from the Knicks so New York could land Jalen Brunson. Despite those moves eating up most of their cap space, the Pistons still entered free agency with a roster full of guards and centers and not a ton of wings.
Instead of attempting to splurge on a more expensive veteran wing like TJ Warren or Otto Porter and lure them away from contenders, the Pistons jumped into the reclamation project bin by signing Kevin Knox. There is nothing wrong with taking a swing on a reclamation project when you are all in on seeing what happens with the young guys, but it still leaves you wanting more. Especially when you traded your starting power forward in Jerami Grant and didn’t do anything in terms of trades or free agency to replace him.
The Pistons still have some money to spend and a bit of a weird roster. However, they appear happy with what they have at the power forward position internally with the possibility of Isaiah Stewart getting time at the position as well as Saddiq Bey playing more minutes there.
It may not be the route people want the team to take, but it does take away some of the weirdness of a roster that has 5 million centers. When you have centers like Isaiah Stewart and Kelly Olynyk who can play the four, and you have a clear need at the position, it likely means that the team views those players playing that position. Hence why nothing was done to address the position.
It is also only early July and the Pistons have Troy Weaver at the helm. I would rule out any kind of big trade or significant signing at this point, but there is always the possibility of a player unexpectedly becoming available or a small signing happening.
A key thing to remember at this point is that the Pistons roster currently sits at 15 players, which is the maximum amount of players you can have under contract for the regular season. So any move you make has to have a corresponding move involving one of the other players on the roster with a guaranteed contract.
The free agency market has been picked over a bit at this point. However, everything seems to be on hold until a Kevin Durant trade goes through. Whether the Pistons are waiting out the market until that happens remains to be seen. With their roster at 15 players and the team definitely not being in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes, I doubt a potential Durant trade is putting any plans on hold for the kinds of players the Pistons would be after at this point.
A quiet free agency leaves you wanting more and feeling underwhelmed by the offseason, but for a rebuilding team, that can be a good thing. The roster is weird and very well could be destined for failure, but they also won’t be hamstrung by a bad contract or a veteran stealing minutes from the young guys.
If the Pistons are in fact “done” with the offseason, it was still an exciting one for them, it was just a lot of excitement during late June instead of July.