The universal reaction to the Detroit Pistons who finally traded Jerami Grant seems to be “There you go? Is that all you’ve got? ”Understandable considering Grant was Troy Weaver’s first major purchase and was reportedly bought for more choices in the first round. The basis of his value seemed to be late teens.
Instead, it was traded for a single pick from the first round of 2025 that will likely land in the late 1920s (courtesy of the Milwaukee Bucks) and a couple of smaller second-round transactions. Again: “Is that all? Is this all you’ve got?”
Only, it appears that Troy Weaver was far less interested in the future capital project than in immediate financial flexibility. The Pistons did not take back any salary in exchange for Grant, instead handing him over to the Portland Trail Blazers for a big trading player exception they owned courtesy of Norm Powell’s trade with the Clippers.
The move gives the Pistons between $ 42 and $ 55 million in cap space this off-season depending on whether they turn down options on players like Frank Jackson and Hamidou Diallo.
What does a team with $ 55 million in cap space do? Whatever he likes damn well. Will they have something, much less everything, that they are looking for? It remains to be seen.
It is clear that Weaver has his sights set on a great game and number 1 on his list is Phoenix Suns great man Deandre Ayton. The young center apparently burned some bridges with the Suns and there was already some smoke on the interest between the Ayton and Detroit camp.
That smoke is now a five alarm five. But due to its limited free agent status, the Suns can match any offer. Perhaps Troy has seen the situation and is confident that Phoenix Brass will not bring back a disgruntled young player and let Ayton sign with a new team.
It seems unlikely, though. The two sides could always work out a sign-and-trade so that Ayton gets a new home (and a new starring role) and Phoenix gets face-saving compensation.
But had Ayton been put on the open market, many teams would have been willing to sign him for a maximum contract and offer a far more attractive package than anything Detroit could offer. At this point, Detroit’s available “assets” amount to the first-round low they got for Grant, Kelly Olynyk’s moderate deal and … that’s it. Killian Hayes may be dumped, but that’s not great for a competing team. I suppose Isaiah Stewart could be made available, but there’s no sign that Weaver is interested in parting ways with his young big man.
But Ayton has some control over her fate. Maybe he’s ready to sign an offer sheet with Detroit and Detroit just to form a young duo with Cade Cunningham. And bold Phoenix to match.
My question is, what if Phoenix matched? What’s Troy Weaver’s plan for his $ 55 million bounty then?
This is a poor free agent class. The next high-profile young free agent is Miles Bridges. He is not as good as Ayton and it is just as likely that he will be matched by his reigning team.
So what is plan B?
It’s definitely best not to hire Bradley Beal, who will soon be 29, who has just announced his intention to decline his option and enter unrestricted free will. Jalen Brunson’s pursuit of the Pistons seems to have cooled down.
This leaves a harvest that isn’t exactly earth-shattering or moving into the franchise. Collin Sexton to the shooting guard. Mitchell Robinson in the center. Malik Monk on the wing.
Then, of course, there is the possibility of sinning by eating some other team’s unruly contracts. The Knicks are desperate for hat space to sign the aforementioned Brunson. Could you get the 11th pick in Thursday’s draft if you promise to get Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier back? Walker would be due, but Fournier guaranteed $ 18.8 million in 2023-24. Is the eleventh choice worth it?
Charlotte is desperate to cut her paycheck to make it easier to keep Miles Bridges. If instead of wanting Bridges you want to steal one or both of choices 13 and 15 from Charlotte, could you do it by taking back Gordon Hayward?
If a team decides they want to chase Kyrie Irving into free agency but can only do so by offloading the paycheck, does it seem like Detroit might be their first call?
It all depends on Troy Weaver’s plan. He obviously has a Plan A focused on building a competitive team quickly. But if Plan A doesn’t work, he can’t afford to only sign minor players to get only marginally better.
His plan B must be just as bold, even if it means another year of defeat. It talks a lot about restoration, but you can’t restore anything using substandard parts.