Earlier this week, I took a look at potential non-max free agents the Pistons could target to round out their roster. Detroit has a maximum space available, but sources say the athletic the organization is unlikely to throw a max contract at one of the big-name restricted free agents. However, under the supervision of general manager Troy Weaver, that could change in a heartbeat.
However, free agency isn’t the only way the Pistons can utilize their roughly $40 million salary-cap space. The flexibility the team created over the last week and the trade allows Detroit to accept big contracts, which could also include young players or draft picks, as rival teams look to make room to add players of their own.
Here, we’re going to take a look at three potential trades that allow the Pistons to accept a bigger contract while also acquiring a piece for the future.
Reports out of Charlotte are that the Hornets are looking to offload Gordon Hayward’s hefty contract to retain restricted free agent Miles Bridges. If that’s the case, the Pistons can make that happen for Michael Jordan’s team while acquiring two entry-level players who could step in and help the team.
First, in this scenario, Charlotte would open up more than $20 million in cap space, which would help the franchise tremendously. As for the Pistons’ finances, if my calculations are correct, Detroit would still have about $19 million in cap space to use after a trade like this.
The Hornets get a replacement for PJ Washington in Olynyk and create room to sign Bridges long-term. The Pistons add Washington, soon to be 24, who is shooting 37.5 percent from 3-pointers in his career at power forward. Washington, which is a year away from restricted free agency, could slot into the starting power forward spot and provide much-needed floor space for the Pistons’ starting lineup.
As for Hayward, yes, his contract for the next two seasons is a lot to handle, especially for someone who hasn’t played 50 games in either of the last two seasons. However, when he is healthy, the veteran wing is still very good. He would be a quality addition to Cade Cunningham’s backcourt for the Pistons if the franchise wants to bring in the slightly slow No. 5 pick Jaden Ivey.
To wrap it up, the Pistons get two entry-level players, one of whom is a 24-year-old who has proven to grow with the young core and they still retain $19 million to spend on the open market in exchange for Olynyk and the guard from the Know Lee project. .
Duncan Robinson’s lack of defense kept him out of Miami’s rotation for most of the playoffs, but the former Michigan Wolverines player can still shoot the rock. The Pistons need that kind of shooting.
Robinson, who would reunite with his college coach and current Pistons head of player development John Beilein, has four years left on his contract at an average annual salary of about $18 million, but the fourth year of the deal has an option. early termination. Robinson may be overpaid, but that’s the price of having a high-volume 40 percent 3-point specialist.
Detroit would only eat about $10 million in cap space, albeit over several years. The Pistons would still have roughly $30 million at their disposal on the open market.
Attach a first-round pick to Robinson maybe be a bit much, but Miami is expected to contend for a title, so it doesn’t take much for the Heat to get out of that.
New York Knicks
Is Evan Fournier worth $18 million a year? Probably not, but he’s a wing that gets buckets and is a 3-point shooter 38 percent of his career. Detroit could use more of those guys.
Additionally, Fournier has a team option in the third and final year of his contract. Two years of Fournier at $18 million isn’t terrible when you can cut ties in that third season.
The Knicks would create about $13 million in cap space in a deal like this, giving the franchise the freedom to do whatever the Knicks are doing. The Pistons round up a starting-level player who might be better served as the scorer off the bench, as well as a first-round pick next year. Detroit also gets its 2023 second-round pick back.
I’m a fan of a deal like this. Fournier adds some shot creation that Detroit needs. And of course adding working capital is always a good thing. The Knicks can open up even more room to go and get Jalen Brunson and add other pieces to try to become fake contenders in the Eastern Conference.
(PJ Washington Top Photo Credit: Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)