Troy Weaver season is upon us.
The Pistons’ general manager has been around and the deal since becoming the head honcho in Detroit in 2020. He turned the roster completely upside down in less than two years, completely freeing it from every player who was here when he inherited it.
On Wednesday, just over 24 hours away from the 2022 NBA Draft, Weaver traded in his first big signing as Detroit general manager.
The sources say so Atletico the Pistons traded veteran striker Jerami Grant to Portland for a first-round pick in 2025, via Milwaukee. Detroit will also trade the No. 46 with the Trailblazers’ 36th pick in Thursday’s draft, also making up their own pick of the Portland-owned 2025 second round, the sources said. Finally, the Pistons will receive the most favorable pick of the second round of Trail Blazers and Pelicans in 2026.
This deal opens Ay-Ton room for the Pistons. (See what I did there?) Prior to the swap, Detroit entered the season with about $ 30 million in cap space at its disposal, which was among the leaders of the league. After the exchange, the Pistons have around $ 43 million available. According to sources, Detroit is expected to pursue Phoenix Suns big man and 2018 number 1 pick Deandre Ayton in the open market. The Pistons can also look to the trading block to take advantage of that cover space if Ayton stays in Phoenix or lands elsewhere.
However, Detroit doesn’t have to use all the protective space it has gathered this off-season. It is possible that the Pistons are standing still, taking on bad contracts, and gathering more resources. The key here is flexibility, which is something the organization hasn’t had in recent years. Blake Griffin’s dead money is off the books and Detroit has several intriguing young players, highlighted by last year’s # 1 pick Cade Cunningham, and has several avenues to go to build a relevant product in Motor City.
Now, on the way back. It was widely expected, and it was rumored that Grant would bring, at a minimum, a lottery-level pick into a bargain. That, of course, didn’t happen here, and according to sources, this deal is the best offer the Pistons have received on Grant, even dating back to the February trade deadline. Ahead of the trade deadline and this off-season, other potential deals have been discussed, according to sources. But when it comes to concrete offers on the table, this was the best Detroit received for the services of Grant, who is entitled to the extension this summer.
With the 2022 draft a day away, Grant’s swap would seem to signal that Iowa’s Keegan Murray is seriously considered with Detroit’s fifth selection if he’s available. However, Purdue’s Jaden Ivey and Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin remain in the game. It’s also possible that if the Pistons were able to secure Ayton’s services this off-season, third-year big man Isaiah Stewart or third-year forward Saddiq Bey could fill the gap in striker power. Once again, Detroit has created several options for itself by moving forward.
It’s always hard to predict what Weaver’s next move will be, but the feeling is that the Pistons won’t be doing anything dramatic on the commercial front in the next 24 hours. It’s possible, however, that Detroit, given its abundance of cap rooms, could return to the lottery late if a player like, say, Memphis’s Jalen Duren comes out of the top 10. According to reports, Charlotte is looking to move to pick the n . 13 or no. 15 if a team is willing to accept Gordon Hayward’s contract. The Pistons have the means to execute such a deal if they so wish.
On the surface, the exchange of Grant, a veteran in his prime, signals that the Pistons will continue to slow down this restoration. This is not necessarily the case. Adding someone like Ayton makes Detroit more competitive in the short term. Also, having the maximum space to make a trade with a more experienced player also requires a corner turn.
For the first time in a long time, the Pistons have several paths they can take to build something substantial. Regaining flexibility and gaining intriguing perspectives through draft and trade were two of Weaver’s goals early in his term. In less than three years, the CEO has done both.
Harper: Classify Jerami Grant business in Portland
(Jeram Grant Main Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Sevald / NBAE via Getty Images)