— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) January 17, 2016
Trading for NBA Players is Like Picking a Type of Christmas Tree – Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. They are 6th best in the Eastern Conference and 11th best in the NBA. The NBA trade deadline is February 18th. Some will rent a missing piece in time for the Playoffs, some will trade to gain salary cap room, others will trade productive players to start a rebuild, and yet others will trade for team production. The Pistons traded last year for a rental in Reggie Jackson that they ended up signing this past summer. They also traded over the summer for two eventual starters in forwards Marcus Morris and Ersan Ilyasova.
This year as the trade deadline comes closer, you will hear a lot of fan advice about how we should keep or trade Brandon Jennings and his $8.3M expiring contract. The truth is that coach/GM Stan Van Gundy will allow any trade as long as it makes sense and it makes the Pistons a better team.
Now to explain the title of this article. A couple of years ago, I purchased a pre-lit Christmas tree for a little over two hundred dollars. It seems like a thoughtless choice that will pay dividends, and it was a good price also. I hate putting lights on the Christmas tree. This Christmas, after all the ornaments were up, the pre-lit lights started going out in sections. My wife was not impressed, nor was I. When we took the tree down, it took most of one day to untie, snip and undo all the pre-lit lights from the tree.
Stan Van Gundy may have the opportunity to get a strong player who we rent for the rest of the year, which would be like getting a real Christmas tree that eventually dries out. He may get a player in a trade, but does this trade look good for just a couple years, and then the lights start going out and disassembly takes over with much pain and agony? It sure would be nice to have someone who stays the course and is reliable for years to come, but doesn’t kill the salary cap.
As it stands now, a few interesting players have been rumored to be available for trade. Stan Van Gundy’s player from his Orlando days, Ryan Anderson, has many Piston fan’s attention. Stan likes a Stretch 4 for his system. With more research, you can uncover that Ryan Anderson and Ersan Ilyasova have very similar statistics. The difference is that Ilyasova is already on our team. Anderson will be a free agent this summer and may be demanding a near-maximum contract. Ilyasova is ours until after next year.
Marcus Morris’ twin, Markieff (around $8M per year with three more years after this one), is another player available. He was the Suns’ starting power forward last year but has fallen out of favor this year. He has shown his distaste for his team for trading his brother away last summer. Many wonder if the Suns will waive him, or trade him to the Pistons for a bucket of balls. Either way, would a brother with a potential attitude concerns be a good fit for the Pistons? Let us also remember that both have a lawsuit pending on them from shenanigans that occurred last season.
Van Gundy has shown great financial management skills that balance with a successful team. He has kept two players from the Dumars era in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and soon to be all-star Andre Drummond, but has completely formed the rest of the team to his pleasure. Since this summer, he added Marcus Morris and Ilyasova for very little in return, drafted Stanley “Stanimal” Johnson, who will soon be a fan favorite, and signed current starting point guard Reggie Jackson for the long term.
Depth was added with point guard Steve Blake and center Aron Baynes. This year, adding depth with a starting, all-star, Stretch 4, power forward would be ideal. The other starters are set.
As for Van Gundy’s fiscal responsibility, the Pistons have the 9th highest team salary, which would be 21st out of 30 teams if Josh Smith’s salary wasn’t on the books. A set of columns by Eddi Scarito breaks down the salaries of all the players by team and position. Here are how the Piston players stack up:
- Reggie Jackson (7th)
- Brandon Jennings (20th)
- Steve Blake (56th)
- Spencer Dinwiddie (85th – rookie contract)
- Jodie Meeks (23rd – currently injured)
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (44th – rookie contract)
- Marcus Morris (26th – the rank placed him with the power forwards, but everyone
knows he starts at small forward)
- Stanley Jonson (41st – rookie contract)
- Reggie Bullock (68th)
- Darrun Hilliard (90th – rookie contract)
- Ersan Ilyasova (20th)
- Anthony Tolliver (52nd)
- Aron Baynes (27th)
- Andre Drummond (46th – rookie contract)
- Joel Anthony (52nd)
It appears that Stan Van Gundy has a keen sense of financial responsibility with his salary cap and signing good deals. I know that when Van Gundy is ready to buy a Christmas tree, he will buy one that pays him back dividends.
What player do you think is realistic for Van Gundy to trade for?
Would you trade Brandon Jennings knowing he may be gone this summer?
What are the Pistons’ greatest weakness?