Love it or hate it, it's hard to be an NBA fan and not be captivated by trades. We live in a world where an entire offseason can be held hostage by a single trade demand, let alone an actual trade! Fans love to believe that every player on the roster has positive trade value. Inspired by Bill Simmons’ original Trade Value columns, Kyle and Jack joined forces to compile DBBs very own Detroit Pistons Trade Value List. In this two-part series, we ranked each of the currently rostered 17 players, 1 through 17 with defined tiers.
Remember, we are NOT ranking players. Though the player’s ability to hoop is a significant factor in determining trade value. Their contract situations, injury histories, ages, and other factors were used to compile this list.
For Part One, we have ranked the trade value players 16 to 9 of those currently on the Detroit Pistons whilst evaluating the most likely trade scenario for the below candidates.
Tier 10: Waive or buyout candidates
Detroit currently has 16 rostered players, one over the limit, and Weaver and co. will need to make a decision on the future of Kemba Walker prior to opening night.
16. Kemba Walker
The sad reality is that Kemba Walker is simply not the player he used to be. When the Pistons acquired him (as part of the Jalen Duren deal), it was reported Walker and the Pistons would agree to a buyout. It has yet to happen, and some have speculated it’s because Walker has so far been unable to find another team to sign with. The Athletic’s Shams Charania and James Edwards III recently reported Walker will be away from the team for training camp, while the two parties try to figure out the veteran ball handler’s next destination.
Pistons’ Kemba Walker will likely be away from the team as training camp opens this week, sources tell me and @JLEdwardsIII. Detroit will need to waive or trade a player by Oct. 17 to be at the league limit for standard roster spots going into the season.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 25, 2022
Most Likely Trade Scenario: none
Tier 9: “More value to us, than them guys”
While there’s the slightest of chances these players fetch a return via trade, the potential return value is far outweighed by their contributions to the Pistons, though it’s worth baring in mind that likely has more to do with their lack of value to others than their positive contributions to Detroit.
15. Kevin Knox
You’re probably thinking; “Kevin Knox in a tier associated with Value?” Let me explain the substance to this madness.
In his previous four seasons as a pro, Knox has struggled to produce anything on a consistent basis. The 23-year-old’s scoring numbers have declined each season since his rookie campaign where he averaged an inefficient 12.8 points per contest.
However, while the numbers are bad, Knox’s wiry 6-foot-7 frame and outside shooting potential provide two core ingredients of a ‘3 & D’ wing, a favourite recipe of front offices around the league and something Detroit desperately needs.
Most Likely Trade Scenario: Salary filler
14. Rodney McGruder
Rodney McGruder is one of the most popular players among his teammates on this roster. He is a veteran presence who everyone trusts to have their back and do things the right way. He is a serviceable player during the few minutes when he is on the court, shooting nearly 40% from the long line last season. But here are the facts: since 2016, only 25% of players who sign a new contract in the offseason get traded by the following trade deadline, a number that decreases to 5% if no other players or assets are sent out with said player. McGruder is a known commodity; if a contending team wanted him, they would’ve signed him in the offseason. It’s not impossible for the Pistons to trade him for something of some value, but I wouldn’t count on it.
Most Likely Trade Scenario: Future “fake” 2nd round pick
Tier 8: “In search of new home guys”
Every year, after the dust settles from the flurry of offseason activity, there are a few players on each roster who find themselves fighting to stay in the rotation. Whether it’s because the shiny new draft pick plays the same position or the team now needs a player with a different skill set to fill those minutes, a change of scenery would benefit both the player and the team.
13. Hamidou Diallo
Listed at 6-foot-5 with a frame carved from granite and the ability to jump out of the gym, Hamidou Diallo possesses all the tantalizing tools of a modern-day NBA wing. Aside from being a center, the former Kentucky Wildcat ticks all the boxes of a Weaver-type prospect.
Unfortunately for Diallo (and Detroit), the outside jumper has not become a consistent weapon during his four-year career. The 24-year-old has only been able to muster a single campaign where he shot 30% or higher from distance. And while the jumper may be the most glaring deficiency in the springy wing’s game, with the additions of Ivey and Duren, his greatest attribute to Detroit’s roster — his A+ athleticism — is not the premium skill that guarantees him minutes. The emergence of Isaiah Livers only stands to reduce Diallo’s minutes further.
With Diallo entering the year on an expiring deal and a wing-loaded draft on the horizon, it would seem the New York native’s services would be best served at another ball club.
Most Likely Trade Scenario: Protected future 2nd round pick + salary filler
12. Killian Hayes
Has there been a more divisive topic amongst Piston fans than Killian Hayes in recent years? The freshly minted 21-year-old has battled through his fair share of ups and downs (mostly downs) in his brief two-year career. We’ve seen flashes of a jumbo-sized playmaker, capable of guarding the opponent’s best perimeter threats. But, we’ve also been exposed to heavy doses of the timid, efficient-less version of Hayes:
Least efficient scorers (points per shot) among qualifying players in ‘21-‘22:— NBA University (@NBA_University) September 12, 2022
1. Hayes: 0.99—20yo
2. Giddey: 1.01—19
3. Davion Mitchell: 1.02—23
4. NAW: 1.02—23
5. Suggs: 1.03—20
6. R. Jackson: 1.03—31
7. Okeke: 1.05—23
8. Mann: 1.06—21
9. Hampton: 1.07—21
10. Cade: 1.08—20 pic.twitter.com/xAK3G9HbmY
While the Frenchman still has time to turn the tide on his career trajectory, it’s more than likely Hayes does so with another franchise. You see, here’s the Killian-conundrum; under any circumstance, it feels wise to move Hayes during, or post his upcoming third season. If his play exceeds expectations, why keep Killian in a crowded back-court with Cunningham and Ivey. If Hayes struggles, Weaver would be wise to suss the trade market for teams in search of a reclamation project.
Ultimately, whether Hayes progresses, plateaus or regresses this season only alters the return package for Detroit.
Most Likely Trade Scenario: Young wing who hasn’t lived up to expectations
Tier 7: Salary filler in larger deal
In the NBA, a disgruntled star player could request a trade at any time; typically, those players are making a lot of money. More often than not, the best way to build a trade package for those players that is both attractive for the receiving team and legal under the CBA rules is to include several players making $10m-$15m/year and loads of draft picks. Welcome to the salary filler tier:
11. Marvin Bagley III
A walking 14 points and 7 rebounds per game, Marvin Bagley III is an efficient inside scorer and lob threat. His impact was immediately felt on this Pistons team after arriving at last year’s trade deadline. There is reason to believe he could continue to improve after a full offseason with the Pistons’ development staff and a coaching staff that seemingly wants him to play to his strengths. However, his new three-year deal and defensive deficiencies likely diminish the number of teams lining up to trade for his services, especially among playoff contenders. Detroit is unlikely to get equal value for MBIII by trading him on his own. His real trade value comes as a salary-matching piece in a larger deal for an All-Star/starter level player.
Most Likely Trade Scenario: $12.5 million annual salary is used to help facilitate a pick-centric offer from Detroit next offseason.
Tier 6: Vets who could help playoff bound foes
At the beginning of a fresh season, each franchise enters the new campaign radiating with positivity and hope. For three quarters of the association, the goal is to compete in April, May and June. However, as the regular season progresses to the 30-game mark, more often than not, a slew of playoff-hopefuls find themselves toiling beneath preseason expectations. Whether the subpar play is a result of injury or underperformance, those front offices could look to bolster backend rotations with minor moves at the expense of second-round draft capital. Below are a pair of Piston vets who could provide some post season minutes to a club looking for reinforcements:
10. Nerlens Noel
Entering his ninth season as a pro, the disruptive Noel currently finds himself in a new home amid a glut of big men. Upon Noel’s acquisition, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported; “Detroit is eager to utilize center Nerlens Noel...GM Troy Weaver had Noel on his team in Oklahoma City.”
While it would appear there are plans for the 6-foot-11 big to feature in the early season rotation, if Noel is able to recapture his 2020-21 form, Detroit would be wise in dealing the veteran to a playoff hopeful prior to the trade deadline.
Initially, Noel’s $18 million contract across the next two years seems like ALOT. However, with a team option on the second year, the 28-year-old’s deal becomes a lot more palatable. When healthy, Noel is capable of producing manic defensive pressure on the interior, as well as second chance opportunities on offense, playoff qualities that front offices value around the league.
Most Likely Trade Scenario: Sent to playoff contender for a 2023 2nd round pick + salary filler.
9. Cory Joseph
Love him or hate him, one thing we can all agree on is that Cory Joseph is a productive rotation player in the year 2022. Though not the most aesthetically pleasing, Joseph has provided Detroit’s young guards with valuable secondary ball handling support in his 1.5 year stint.
Unlike the vast majority of Piston player acquisitions, Joseph has shot career highs from beyond the arc in each of his two season in Detroit, connecting on a scintillating 41.4% last year.
The newfound shooting stroke, combined with his savvy playmaking and pesky defense could provide a number of playoff bound franchises with valuable rotation minutes.
Joseph’s expiring $5.12 million contract also makes him a malleable asset on the trade market. It’s not a stretch to think Weaver could nab a pair of future seconds for the 31-year-old’s services if a team is looking for point guard depth.
Most Likely Trade Scenario: Sent to playoff contender for a pair of future 2nd round picks + salary filler