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Detroit Pistons get Flint native Monte Morris from Wizards

Morris adds reliable veteran point guard to rotation

Sacramento Kings v Washington Wizards Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

The Detroit Pistons have yet to sign any free agents, but they did make their second trade of Friday, the start of the NBA free agency period, by trading a second-round pick to the Washington Wizards for veteran point guard Monte Morris.

Morris, 28, a Flint native, averaged 10.3 points, 5.3 assists, and 3.4 rebounds in 27.3 minutes per game with the Wizards last season. He has long been one of the league’s unheralded, but secretly really effective point guards. He can be relied on to hit roughly 54% from inside the arc, 38% from the perimeter, 83% from the line, and to never turn the ball over.

Last season, Morris had a career-high 5.4 assists and only committed 1 turnover per game. He has started almost every game he’s played in the previous two seasons for the Wizards and the Nuggets, but in Detroit he will likely serve as the team’s primary backup behind Cade Cunningham.

Morris, 6-foot-2, can also play a bit off the ball, so he could also share the floor with either Cunningham or Jaden Ivey as the primary ball handlers and playmakers on the floor, but he is certainly a primary point guard.

This move feels reminiscent to when Troy Weaver was able to swoop in and take on Delon Wright for basically nothing, except Morris is better than Wright. It’ll feel nice to have a legit offensive weapon at point guard who can also easily run a team and handle pretty much anything thrown at him.

The big question is where this leaves Killian Hayes. The answer might be on the outside looking in. Hayes, drafted in 2020, has never developed a reliable shot to combine with his plus defense and passing. The team could be looking at Hayes as a reserve off-ball player and secondary playmaker, but I imagine Morris is ahead of him in the pecking order for backup point guard.

It also could mean the the team already has another deal lined up to send Hayes elsewhere to try and continue working on his game and solidifying his NBA future. Hayes is in the final year of his contract before hitting restricted free agency and is set to make $7.4 million this year. Morris is set to make $9.8 in the final year of his deal.

The trade means the Pistons will either have to make another large move — perhaps involving Hayes, perhaps involving Hayes plus one of the team’s surplus big men — or a small move — renouncing one or both of Jared Rhoden or Eugene Omoruyi likely gets the job done.

Now we wait for the other shoe to drop.