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DBB on 3: A Pistons Trade Deadline Primer

The NBA Trade Deadline is Thursday... will the Pistons do anything?

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Detroit Pistons Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons have already made one trade in this disastrous season, acquiring Danilo Gallinari and Mike Muscala for Marvin Bagley III, Isaiah Livers and seconds earlier this month. The team has played better, but they’re far from fixed. The guys dove into what GM Troy Weaver might have up his sleeve as we approach the upcoming NBA Trade Deadline (Thurs, Feb. 8 at 3 p.m. EST):

1. The Pistons have made one minor trade already, but with the deadline just a week away, do you expect them to make any further moves?

Lazarus Jackson: Yes. Going 3-7 over their last 10 games probably cools Troy Weaver’s seat a little, but it’s pretty clear that this team also isn’t as good as they were hoping it was going to be and definitely clear that this team As Currently Constructed is not good enough for Year 5 of any FO regime. The Continuous And Extremely Worrying trade buzz around Zach Lavine is evidence that at least the FO is aware of this. (Ed: LaVine has opted for season-ending surgery as of this writing)

Honestly, I am a little surprised Weaver hasn’t slammed the panic trade button. I’ve been thinking about this for a couple weeks: Troy Weaver has to know that, when / if he gets fired in Detroit, no one will EVER let him run a team again, right? Not saying he’ll never find another NBA job, but a Head Gig is out of the question.

Ben Gulker: I could see them talking themselves into standing pat after a couple wins now that the roster is healthy, especially after upsetting OKC, and preserving the flexibility Weaver and Gores value so highly. A minor move that doesn’t alter the cap profile or jumping in as a third team to facilitate something larger just seems very Troy Weaver to me right now.

Brady Fredericksen: Maybe a small one. We’ve seen reporting on both sides, but I cannot fathom this team remaining together to end the season. It’s not good, nor is it promising, so while these veterans do all offer value in their own way, I just can’t imagine a scenario where the Pistons are serious about getting better fast while holding onto their five main young guys as well as all three of the tradeable veterans.

Justin Lambregetse: I definitely think they make another trade or two, but I don’t think it will be a significant one. It will probably be trading one of their veterans for a young player and a pick.

Wes Davenport: I would say I’m expecting at least one more move. I’m not sure how “big” that move will end up being, it may effectively be a salary dump on the part of the other team. However, at least one more move seems likely.

Kyle Metz: I think they make at least one more move. LaVine to Detroit has real smoke on it from both sides, and if the Pistons are willing to include Bojan in the deal, I think it gets done. Bojan helps Chicago remain competitive and/or gives them an asset on a team friendly deal to flip in the future. I also think it’s likely they will use the Bagley TPE to help a team get under the tax line or apron for a 2nd round pick.

Sham Mohile: Given the fact that the front office has made the core 4 (Cunningham, Ivey, Duren, Thompson) untouchable in any trade discussions, I expect them to be active but not necessarily make the big splash that some are expecting. There are a few names that the Pistons have been linked to such as Zach LaVine and DeJounte Murray, but one has to wonder if either of those move the needle on a 6-40 win team and if they are worth eating up a significant portion of the cap space. If we’re looking at who’s on the block, I fully expect Alec Burks, Monte Morris, and Bojan Bogdanovic to be trade candidates since they can actually be a part of a contending team’s rotation.

2. The names often being thrown around are expiring veterans Alec Burks and Monte Morris as well as sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic. How many, if any, of them do you think are dealt this week?

Lazarus Jackson: I expect a minor deal involving Alec Burks. Bojan is too important to what they’re doing offensively (which is it’s own head-scratching thing, to be THIS reliant on a 34 year old) to move, and Monte Morris just got healthy and also (because of his career AST/TO ratio) seems like the kind of player Monty Williams wants to see on the floor. Moving Burks allows Jaden Ivey to become the offensive piece lifting bench units (not benching Ivey, just a heavier stagger for him), which is a role he’s well suited for. That also ensures Monty would never do it. After a Burks trade he’d just run out Killian-Sasser lineups.

Ben Gulker: I would be shopping Bojan aggressively, but as I said above, I won’t be surprised if they don’t trade any of their vets and talk themselves into pushing for as many wins as possible and rolling their flexibility into the offseason. When they have won, their vets have played important roles.

Brady Fredericksen: I think all three should be dealt, I doubt any are, though. Bojan is solid here, but he’ll be retired by the time this team is winning a playoff series. He has legitimate value right now. Guys don’t get better at basketball when they turn 35. Burks, too, has value on the market as a shooter and I think you, again, look to find a comparable talent who maybe fills a different need — a defensive wing, perhaps? Even Monte Morris, who I love unconditionally, is kind of squeezed by the depth Detroit has in the backcourt. I think they should trade one but not both of Burks and Morris.

Justin Lambregetse: I think this could be the year Bojan is dealt. I feel like the team will have a lower asking price for him than they did at last year’s deadline. I could also see Burks being moved, but unless it is something more than a couple 2nd rounders, they probably hold onto him. I think they keep Morris because this team badly needs a veteran Point Guard that doesn’t turn the ball over to at least keep some semblance of sanity over the last few months.

Wes Davenport: I do honestly believe Bojan will be dealt. He has a large salary and team control for next season, he’s a very valuable piece due to those things alone. Now add that he is a very good offensive player and you’ve got a nice package for contending teams and teams looking for salary relief. I’m not sure he will bring back a bunch of picks, but a few younger and solid rotation players who fit this roster is definitely in the cards. Burks is a bit more tricky because of his low salary number. But he should have plenty of interest league-wide. Burks could likely bring back an intriguing reclamation project on a rookie scale deal... though, I’m not sure how many of us fans would be excited by such a move.

Kyle Metz: Burks is the most expendable on paper and also the easiest to move to a contender. But I also have a strong sense that Detroit would like to re-sign both Burks and Morris this summer if they can get them on reasonable deals. My guess is only one of those vets gets traded at the deadline, unfortunately.

Sham Mohile: My gut feel are that Alec Burks and Monte Morris are dealt, while Bojan Bogdanovic stays a Piston. Every report we’ve heard has commended Bogdanovic’s veteran presence for this roster. He also provides shooting at a position where the Pistons lack exactly that (SF/PF). If we’re looking to get really spicy, I bet the Pistons get very intriguing offers for Isaiah Stewart leading up to the deadline and he has conveniently been left out of the discourse when it comes to youth that are untouchable.

3. Weaver has already made one deal, so it seems like he’s got the power to keep making them. Do you see his BIG trade coming this week? If not, what would you like to see them pursue in the summer?

Lazarus Jackson: I don’t think so, and I hope not. This summer I have no clue what they’d do — the free agency names are uninspiring and I’d need to see what happens in this year’s playoffs to think about who shakes loose for what underachieving playoff finisher. They still need a Mikal Bridges / OG Anunoby type in the starting lineup and a Nickeil Alexander-Walker / Isaac Okoro type off the bench (Walker and Okoro are two guys I would hunt in the offseason — get that nepotism working FOR Detroit, Michael Tellem).

Ben Gulker: The big trade I don’t want at the deadline is Zach LaVine. If he can show for the course of the rest of the season that he’s healthy, maybe it’s a different story this summer. James Edwards III floated a simple trade I like quite a bit that returns a 2024 pick, adding a new layer of trade flexibility this summer. The unrestricted free agency market isn’t that appealing, so the trade market this summer and moving forward is where I would focus.

Brady Fredericksen: I do not. Thankfully, Zach LaVine opted for surgery rather than get traded to Detroit, and otherwise there’s not much on the market. Killian Hayes softly requesting a trade seems like the only move they’ll make with certainty — but even that isn’t going to result in any sort of franchise-shifting return. It’ll be nothing. The part about this whole thing — and all of the good reporting around it — is that it sounds like the Pistons want to keep Cade, Ivey, Ausar, Duren, Bojan, Burks and Stew... but also want to get better, too. I just don’t see how Weaver can make an omelette without breaking some eggs, but I guess we’ll find out?

Justin Lambregetse: I think the big trade comes this summer. My preference is for them to actually acquire assets like 1st round picks for taking on bad contracts if they go that route instead of just a couple 2nd rounders. But, with the new luxury tax restrictions with the CBA, I could see them actually being able to mortgage cap space for a decent player. I’m not sure what the deal looks like and for who, but I don’t want another Joe Harris trade, it’s time to actually do something even if there is risk involved.

Wes Davenport: I don’t see a big trade coming this week. Now, I’m quantifying a “big trade” as moving one of Ivey, Duren, or Ausar, and potentially a pick. It just doesn’t sound like the team is open to that right now. The odds of a big deal are higher in the summer once we get to the draft. Depending on where the team picks, they may choose to move on from either the pick or one of those 3 non-Cade young pieces, whichever is more valuable. Prioritizing the development of 5 lottery players at the same time is almost impossible. I could absolutely envision something “big” happening when it comes down to it this offseason.

Kyle Metz: I think Troy trades for BIG salary, but it won’t be BIG deal. For what it’s worth, I think if Troy is able to make multiple moves for useful players that are slightly overpaid without sending out any of the core young players, he should. The Pistons can bring in roughly $100M worth of salary if they use their expiring contracts now compared to the $50-$60M of cap room they’ll have this summer if they let them expire. Bringing in more money for the sake of spending money isn’t always a good idea, but in this case, I think the Pistons will get more value-added per dollar spent now than this summer. Not to mention, if they get LaVine at the deadline, they can flip him and every non-Cade asset for Devin Booker this summer ;)

Sham Mohile: The answer to this question really comes down to how you view Troy Weaver’s current job security. If you feel like Troy Weaver is on the hot seat and needs to make a splash to more or less save his job, then I expect a trade to happen for one of the big fish. If you think Tom Gores and the ownership group are willing to be patient with him and give him 1 more shot this summer and next season, then I think the real moves are going to made in and around draft season. This is a draft that isn’t dominated by top tier talent and teams could move around based on which prospects fit rosters the best vs. best player available. With that in mind + the immense amount of the cap space the Pistons have, I expect them to try and swing some trades for players who need a fresh start and are under team control for more than 1 year. Lavine and Murray will still be there this offseason, but maybe a playoff contender decides a shakeup is necessary to vault to the top?

As always, let us know your thoughts in the comments!

1. The Pistons have made one minor trade already, but with the deadline just a week away, do you expect them to make any further moves?

2. The names often being thrown around are expiring veterans Alec Burks and Monte Morris as well as sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic. How many, if any, of them do you think are dealt this week?

3. Troy Weaver has already made one deal, so it seems like he’s got the power to keep making them. Do you see his BIG trade coming this week? If not, what would you like to see them pursue in the summer?