Finding no takers on the trade market, the Detroit Pistons released Killian Hayes, the former seventh overall pick and the first draft selection of Troy Weaver’s tenure as general manager of the Pistons.
The release of Hayes marks an end on one of the most consequential and, frankly, disastrous moves of Weaver’s tenure, which has not been without decisions that were not wildly heralded, to put it mildly.
It is a sad end for Hayes’ tenure in Detroit, and it is unclear if he will be able to catch on with another NBA team for the rest of the NBA season. There were discussions about him getting moved to the Memphis Grizzlies, who are bereft of players in the wake of a series of injuries.
It’s a sad end for Detroit, too, who invested serious time and resources into trying to mold Hayes into a successful NBA player. What makes it worse is that while each side fought so hard for the same thing, they were at the same time achingly close to figuring it all out and light years away from getting it working.
Hayes is a quality defender, and a terrific facilitator as a point guard, especially considering defenders have no reason not to play off of him as he simultaneously could not threaten you from deep and also could not finish at the rim. In light of those obvious limitations, it’s amazing that he averaged more than seven assists and fewer than two tunrovers per 36 minutes.
But the fundamental truth was Hayes was not just badly unthreatening as an offensive player, he was one of the worst, most damaging scorers in the NBA. Hayes ends his tenure as one of 16players since 1979 to amass more than 5,000 minutes and have a true shooting percentage of less than 46%. He is the first player to join the lists since Dominic McGuire and DeSagana Diop, who both saw their careers end in 2013.
If Hayes had just managed to be a below average scorer instead of among the league’s worst to ever do it for big minutes, he’d be looking at a likely extension from the Pistons and a pathway toward a career that could last 10 years at least. Now, he will be an NBA free agent fighting for a roster spot or maybe some 10-day contracts for some PG-needy teams.
Compounding matters is that Tyrese Haliburton, taken in the same draft at pick No. 12, is now about to start in his first All-Star game.
Hayes is not the only Piston player that will be released after a flurry of moves. Veteran Joe Harris is being let go after the Pistons could not find a use for his expiring contract on the trade market. The Pistons will also release a few nearly acquired players in an effort to get the roster down to 15 players.
The Pistons will be especially short-handed as they face the Portland Trail Blazers tonight. They will be without now-former players Hayes, Harris, Bojan Bogdanovic, Alec Burks, Monte Morris, and Kevin Knox. None of their new arrivals will be available.
That will leave Detroit with eight players — rookies Marcus Sasser and Ausar Thompson, and Jalen Duren, Jaden Ivey, James Wiseman, Cade Cunningham, Mike Muscala and Danilo Gallinari. The Pistons do not have their two-way players available on the West Coast road trip. It is unclear if Cade Cunningham will play after missing yesterday’s game against the Kings, and there is no official word on if Thompson, who rolled his ankle but played through it against the Kings, will also be able to suit up. Isaiah Stewart remains out with an ankle injury.