Many trades are rumored, even more are likely discussed between front office, but few actually happen. That was as true as ever in Thursday’s NBA Draft when a flurry of deals were expected and only a few marginal moves occurred.
One of the finalized deals did involve the Detroit Pistons, with the team swapping No. 31 and a couple future seconds in order to move up to No. 25 and take Houston guard Marcus Sasser.
The Pistons were reportedly in talks for another, bigger deal that didn’t happen. Detroit and Atlanta held “significant talks” regarding forward De’Andre Hunter, according to Yahoo Sport’s Jake Fischer.
Fischer’s scoop comes in a piece highlighting how teams are pre-emptively making moves in the face of a new CBA that will make having multiple big-money, long-term deals even more financially unsustainable for organizations.
Just how desperate Atlanta will be to move salary remains to be seen. According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Hawks are under a mandate to get under the luxury tax, and it could motivate the team to make a few deals. Obviously, nothing happened during the draft. We will see what happens between now and the early days of free agency.
Windhorst on the Hawks. He expects them to make a lot of deals in the next few days and are "under a mandate to get out of the luxury tax" pic.twitter.com/FXKzKA40Je— Wizards Draft (@WizardsDraft) June 23, 2023
There is no indication of what the potential deal would be, but it seems unlikely that the Pistons would have dealt No. 5 and something for Hunter and No. 15. Ten picks feels like too steep a drop to take on a player like Hunter who will be playing under the first year of a new four-year deal next season that will see him make $95 million.
It appears the Hawks are under some financial pressure to cut salary, and that $95 million extension went from an asset to a potential albatross real quick. Hunter is not a bad player, but he hasn’t exactly developed like people thought after he had a breakout sophomore season two years ago.
He’s been a bit hampered by injuries, but he’s also plateaued a bit on the offensive end. He’s a scorer who can convert respectably at the rim and from the mid-range, but he doesn’t do much else offensively, and his 3-point shot has never turned into a strength. That has led to middling efficiency overall, and when you’re not a plus passer or rebounder that is an issue. Defensively, he was tasked with taking on the opposing team’s best players on a pretty dreadful Atlanta defense.
Perhaps a change of scenery would do Hunter wonders, but the cost would have to be right. Would Detroit and Atlanta revisit this deal? Atlanta presumably has no interest in Wiseman, rerouting him to Detroit in a three-team deal with the Warriors last season. Marvin Bagley makes $8 million less per season and is only guaranteed for the next two years. Bojan Bogdanovic would likely be sought after and he only has $2 million guaranteed after this season, but I’m not sure Detroit is willing to give him up after drafting Ausar Thompson in the first round of the NBA Draft.
Perhaps he could work as a Plan B option if the Pistons strike out on restricted free agent Cam Johnson, reportedly a top target of the team, or former Piston Jerami Grant. Both could proactively decide to stay with their current clubs or demand so much money that it no longer makes sense for the Pistons. However, it’s not like trading for a $95 million deal saves you much money.