Recent talks between the Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks were largely sparked by the Detroit Pistons’ desire to trade point guard Killian Hayes to a new team, according to NBA reporter Marc Stein.
When news of those talks resurfaced earlier this month, the narrative largely focused on the best player in the potential trade — Detroit wing Bojan Bogdanovic. However, Stein writes, the most recent talks were “sparked by the Pistons’ determination to ease a backcourt logjam by trading Killian Hayes and gained little traction.”
It’s no surprise Detroit is interested in moving on from Hayes, who was selected with the seventh overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and represented General Manager Troy Weaver’s first draft selection as the lead man in Detroit.
Hayes has struggled mightily on offense and sustained a series of injuries that have limited his playing time in his three-year career.
The ostensible point guard of the future for the Pistons, Hayes has subsequently seen Detroit draft two more potential lead guards in the past three seasons in Cade Cunningham (first overall) and Jaden Ivey (fifth overall).
The Pistons also traded a second-round pick for veteran point guard Monte Morris, and Morris is clearly ahead of Hayes in Detroit’s current rotation. The team also drafted Houston lead guard Marcus Sasser, trading back up into the first round to select him 25th overall in the NBA Draft.
All of that points to Hayes no longer having a future in Detroit. However, it must be said that if the Pistons were unable to trade Hayes (his value is essentially nothing), it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to keep him in Detroit to further bolster its point guard depth.
Hayes might not be particularly happy about that as he looks for a path to playing time and a way to rebuild some NBA value, but if he did stick in Detroit for another season, I bet he’d find himself with some decent playing time when it is all said and done.
Yes, Cunningham and Ivey are pretty well cemented as the team’s starting back court to start the season, but Hayes is entering the season as Detroit’s best defensive point guard with a combination of size and experience, and he can easily share a back court with Sasser or Morris. Plus, if Morris was to go down with injury at any point, the Pistons might relish having a capable point to turn to. Sasser might be 6-foot-2, but he looks much more capable of playing off the ball, at least early in his career.
What will it take to finally part with Hayes? I’m sure the minimum threshold is Detroit not wanting to attach an asset as a sweetener just to convince a team to take on Hayes’ deal. It appears that is where the talks with Dallas broke down. As much as they’d love to add Bojan and could use some point guard depth, they viewed Bogdanovic as the sweetener needed to take on Killian, and the Pistons were viewing any Bogi deal as requiring a real asset in return with Hayes as more of a throw in.
As awkward as it might be if he stuck around for another season, I wouldn’t want Detroit to attach anything to Hayes. In an ideal world, the Pistons would be able to take on some undesirable deal at a position of need from another team and send out some undesirable deals in return — namely Hayes and Marvin Bagley.
But if that deal was on the table anywhere, a deal probably would have happened by now. So we will see just how awkward the team is willing to let things get. Or maybe a deal magically presents itself before the start of training camp in September.