The Detroit Pistons are a historic mess.
We, as fans, have grown numb to it at this point. They’re at 26-straight losses with more on the horizon. The 2023-24 season has not only been flushed down the toilet, but it has also clogged it along the way.
Recently, owner Tom Gores spoke to the media and said he expects “changes.” That sounds like “trades” to me. The Athletic’s Shams Charania has some names of interest:
"I'm told after the game last night, Cade Cunningham addressed the team, he's been addressing the team more the last couple of weeks."@ShamsCharania on Cade Cunningham and possible trades for the Pistons.— Run It Back (@RunItBackFDTV) December 27, 2023
: https://t.co/wdT8I0ST8g pic.twitter.com/BNQ6rW3kMU
Let’s play a game.
The Pistons need help. Lots of help. I’ve got a list of possible trade options, starting with Shams’ list of possible targets this summer. I’m listing these pending free agents as trade targets because I don’t see how GM Troy Weaver can kick the can (again) and put all of his eggs into free agency. This season is too far gone. Change has to happen somehow now.
If the Pistons acquire a legit difference maker, history shows that they have to either trade for them or draft them. Without further adieu, here are some hypothetical trade candidates:
PASCAL SIAKAM, SF/PF, TORONTO RAPTORS
CONTRACT: 1 year, $37 million
Siakam is one of the best developmental stories in recent NBA history. From a second round pick who couldn’t shoot and was, really, an unknown, to arguably the second best player on the Raptors’ title team, Siakam is a hard worker who can do a lot on the court. He’s a solid defender and a versatile offensive player. He’s improved immensely as a shooter and slots into this team from a fit perspective well. Siakam is also about to turn 30 and will command a near-max deal. Those kinds of deals — massive money to guys entering their 30s — are a vintage Pistons mistake. It feels like Josh Smith or Ben Gordon all over again. I’m not sure I would want him here on a long-term deal like that, but I get it from a basketball sense today.
OG ANUNOBY, SF/PF, TORONTO RAPTORS
CONTRACT: 1 year, $18.6 million (PO for $19.9M in 2024-25)
Yep. Toronto, again. Anunoby is my personal favorite here. Like Siakam, he’s going to cost an arm and a leg to retain via an extension, but unlike Siakam he’s only 26 compared to 29 years old. I’m not sure OG is built to be a creative scorer type, but his shooting, size and defense are all perfect complements to Cade Cunningham and Jalen Duren. I think he’s got the ability to do more than Toronto asks of him, and can easily slide between the three and four in Detroit. His age makes sense, his skills make sense. It’s just a matter of how you hypothetically get him. Trading now, with hopes of securing his commitment, probably costs you Jaden Ivey and some. Waiting till summer is a gamble because it’s you against 29 others NBA teams. As unlikely as it may seem, Anunoby is awesome. He’d be a great fit.
TOBIAS HARRIS, SF/PF, PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
CONTRACT: 1 year, $39 million
Hello old friend! Tobias Harris has, and remains, a perfectly good dude to have on your basketball team. He’s a really good culture fit, and a guy who knows his role. He fits the Sixers like a glove and has really been a nice player everywhere he’s gone. Tobias has his faults, everyone knows that, but he’s a good, solid basketball player. If you’re good enough to start for a title contender, you’re good enough to make this wreckage better. However, as we also know, Tobias is not going to elevate your ceiling. He’s a floor player, he cleans up a lot of mistakes and you’re better for it, but he wasn’t elevating the Pistons to new heights at 24 years old and he certainly wouldn’t do it at 31 years old. Nice player to add this summer, but not a guy who is changing the team’s trajectory on his own.
JERAMI GRANT, SF/PF, PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS
CONTRACT: 5 years, $160 million
Hello less old, but still old friend! A lot of what I said about Tobias Harris applies here. Grant does stuff, some of it very well, but he’s better suited in supplementary role. Harris has embraced that more than Grant, and to be fair, Grant is probably still capable of doing more at this point. He’s exactly what the Pistons are missing, but again, not good enough to really change the trajectory. I think the key with a lot of these trades is that a tweak in personnel can go a long way toward unlocking a lot of what ails the Pistons young guys. He makes a TON of money, but not like Siakam or OG. Maybe a reunion here is the best move?
ANDRE DRUMMOND, C, CHICAGO BULLS
CONTRACT: 1 year, $3.4 million
I promise this isn’t a schtick. Drummond is currently starting for Chicago since they lost Nikola Vucevic to injury. He just had a 20-20 game and looks very much like the same type of guy he was in Detroit. Drummond could slot in as the backup center and give the Pistons an elite rebounder who knows how to throw his body around on D. I think the version of Andre they traded years ago is gone. This guy is just happy to be here. I don’t think this fixes any of the long-term problems that plague the Pistons, but I’ve seen lots of people talk about him, so I had to include him here.
DORIAN FINNEY-SMITH, PF, BROOKLYN NETS
CONTRACT: 3 years, $43.2 million
The man who put a dagger in the Pistons’ last night makes the list because he’s exactly the kind of on-the-margin acquisition they need to take this season from historically bad to just normal bad. We’d take normal bad right now, yeah? DoDo is another one of those success stories from a developmental perspective, going from traditional big man at Florida to legit 3-and-D forward in the NBA. He’s a good shooter, good rebounder and good defender. He’s now a bench player for the Nets — who, as we saw the past two games, are certainly underwhelming considering their expectations this year — and it could be a move that mutually benefits both sides. He’d cost something, but not a huge something. I’d like this.
PJ TUCKER, PF, LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
CONTRACT: 2 years, $22.5 million
I’ve bantered about with this idea numerous times over the past two weeks. The Pistons need leaders — we’ve heard about all that Cade is trying to do in the locker room after games, but it seems like he’s alone on that front — and Tucker would bring some much-needed piss and vinegar to this team. I think he fits as the PF alongside Duren and could offer some spacing and defense for a team that lacks both. Now, would PJ be happy going from LA to Detroit? Hell no, but it gives him minutes (and shots) to improve his stock and maybe spark interest from another contender at the deadline. It’s not a long-term fix, but it’s cheap and helps in the short term on a number of levels — would you rather watch PJ Tucker or Alec Burks at this point? I rest my case.
DE’ANDRE HUNTER, SF/PF, ATLANTA HAWKS
CONTRACT: 4 years, $90 million
Dating back to his days at Virginia, there are times when I watch De’Andre Hunter and I think, “this dude has all the tools to be a star.” That, of course, has never come to fruition. Hunter is your standard, big wing. He’s got size and skills on both ends, with a reliable jumper and athletic tools that should make him a menace defensively. There are a lot of similarities physically and stylistically between Hunter and Anunoby. They’re mirror images statistically and both are 26 years old, however, one is about to secure a $30-40M a year in in free agency while the other is locked into a more friendly $20-25M salary. I think Hunter is my favorite option here, and Atlanta needs to shed some salary if they want to retain Saddiq Bey and continue to build around Trae Young.
DEJOUNTE MURRAY, PG/SG, ATLANTA HAWKS
CONTRACT: 4 years, $114 million
Unless they want to move the other guard in DeJounte Murray. I’m not sure what it would cost to move Murray, but I love how he plays. He’s improved as a shooter, is still a very strong defender, and is an under-utilized playmaker in Atlanta. I think it’s a bad fit there and he would be a nice partner for Cunningham. Now, is he worth trading Ivey for? Depends on how you feel about his fit alongside Cade. Murray will make between $24-30M over the next four years as his extension kicks in. It’s another situation where you have to weigh that salary versus the higher ones that free agents this summer and beyond are going to get due to cap increases. He’s the only backcourt player on the list, but I dig his game and think he’s a good fit with how Monty likes his teams to play.
MILES BRIDGES, SF/PF, CHARLOTTE HORNETS
CONTRACT: 1 year, $7.9 million
You ever thought to yourself, “it can’t get any worse” only for it to definitely get worse? That’s what acquiring Miles Bridges is. The Flint native and former Michigan State star is a marvelous fit as a basketball player. He’s good, and he does allllll of the front court stuff the Pistons front court players do not. However, it’s not all basketball. Weaver has preached character throughout this rebuild. The Pistons may suck, but they all seem like good dudes. Bridges is not. The sad thing is this feels like the likeliest move, if there were to be a big one this season. It’s desperate. It throws caution to the wind. The Pistons have been linked to him for years. Let’s hope it stays a rumor.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments. If you’ve got other names, let us know!