FanPost

An early look into the 2023 Pistons summer: cap space, roster decisions and possible free agent targets

Next summer will probably be the first time in Troy Weaver's tenure with the Pistons where he'll have to make moves in a win-now direction. His first three offseasons as the GM have been focused on the draft, getting young talent, some vets to round out of the roster, and reclamation projects.

But by the end of the 2022-23 season, Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart and Killian Hayes will all be eligible to sign an extension already. Cade Cunningham will have played for 2 full seasons, and Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren won't be rookies anymore. The direction the front office takes in 2023 will depend on how this season goes, but expect it to be more focused on signing (or trading for) impactful players, rather than sin eating and getting more picks like this summer.

With that being said, let's take a look at how much cap space the Pistons will have.

If we're just talking about maximizing cap space, the Pistons could get up to $65-70MM, but that's probably not going to happen. Some team options will probably be exercised, and that will reduce the final number. I'm going to try and make predictions on all of those:

- Kelly Olynyk. If the Pistons decide to keep him, he'll make $12.2MM in 2023-24, but they could also decline the team option, meaning they'll pay him $3MM (effective dead cap). Unless he has a great season, I think they'll decline the option to maximize flexibility, but could sign him to a new contract depending on how free agency goes.

- Alec Burks. I think his $10.49MM team option will be exercised. He's a versatile wing and this would be an expiring contract.

- Nerlens Noel. I don't expect his $9.68MM team option to be exercised. With Stewart, Duren, Bagley, etc, Noel is expendable.

- Kevin Knox. I don't see a world where his $3MM team option is exercised, but who knows, maybe he shows something.

- Saben Lee. He has a $1.9MM team option for 2023-24, but I don't even know if he'll end up on the roster this upcoming season. In any case, this is also a no.

- Isaiah Livers. Cheap and playable when healthy, his $1.84 team option will most likely be exercised.

If the Pistons only keep Burks and Livers, they'll have around $50-58MM in cap space in 2023. That's the most realistic number in my opnion. It depends on how high the first round pick is, and accounts for Dedmon's dead money.

Cade Cunningham - Killian Hayes

Jaden Ivey - Alec Burks

Saddiq Bey - Isaiah Livers

Marvin Bagley - FRP

Isaiah Stewart - Jalen Duren

That's already a squad, without even knowing who the FRP is or at what position he'll play. Now add over $50MM in cap space and you can really start to get something good going.

Let's take a look at some 2023 free agents:

UNRESTRICTED

LeBron James

Russell Westbrook

Kyrie Irving

Kevin Love

Andrew Wiggins

D'Angelo Russell

Al Horford

Nikola Vucevic

Harrison Barnes

Jerami Grant

Myles Turner

Bojan Bogdanovic

Caris LeVert

Steven Adams

Will Barton

Christian Wood

Patrick Beverley

Dillon Brooks

Kelly Oubre

Jae Crowder

OPTIONS

Khris Middleton

James Harden

Gary Trent

Malik Beasley

Kristaps Porzingis

Kyle Kuzma

Derrick Rose

Josh Hart

RESTRICTED

RJ Barrett

De'Andre Hunter

Coby White

Cameron Johnson

Tyler Herro

Matisse Thybulle

Brandon Clarke

PJ Washington

Jordan Poole

Who do you think the Pistons might target? I think Wiggins could be one of their main targets. Middleton, LeVert, Barnes too. Also guys like Bojan Boganovic, Patrick Beverley or Jae Crowder on smaller contracts considering their age.

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