Detroit Pistons Ink Two Centers on Day One of Free Agency

On Friday, the Detroit Pistons kicked off day one of NBA free agency by signing a pair of centers in Mason Plumlee and Jahlil Okafor. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news via Twitter on Friday afternoon. 

Plumlee’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, revealed his deal is worth three years and more than $25 million. Wojnarowski also broke the news of Okafor’s signing. According to sources, Okafor agreed to a two-year deal with the Pistons. 

There’s no doubt that signing a pair of centers raises questions. Detroit already possesses a roster loaded with big-men, including Blake Griffin, Christian Wood, Thon Maker, and John Henson

Detroit Pistons ink centers Mason Plumlee and Jahlil Okafor

Just hours into free agency, the Pistons have more than secured the center position on their depth chart. General Manager Troy Weaver got off to an aggressive start in free agency, inking contracts with both Plumlee and Okafor. 

Last year, both centers came off the bench for their respective teams. Plumlee, 30-years-old, played in 61 games for the Denver Nuggets, however earned only one start. In those 61 games, Plumlee averaged 17.3 minutes played and put up 7.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per contest. 

Okafor spent his two most recent seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans. Last year, Okafor saw action in 30 games, including nine starts. He averaged 15.6 minutes per game with 8.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 62.3 percent shooting from the field. 

Notably, both Plumlee and Okafor played college ball at Duke University, under the legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski. 

Pistons Busy Since Draft Night

It remains to be seen how third-year head coach Dwane Casey will utilize this myriad of bigs in Detroit. Nonetheless, Detroit has been busy since draft night. As part of a three-team trade with the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers on draft night, the Pistons acquired Dzanan Musa and Saddiq Bey, the 19th selection of the 2020 draft. 

This meant parting ways with Bruce Brown, Luke Kennard, Justin Patton, and four second-round picks. Certainly, Detroit continues its rebuild mode. While the pathway to turning around is unclear, it appears the front office is looking to acquire pieces, both young and old. 

The young prospects, including Musa, Bey, and Killian Hayes (Detroit’s 2020 first-round pick), are pieces for the future. And, at the same time, the acquisitions of Plumlee and Okafor may be used as trade-pieces next season or beyond.

Last year, Detroit finished 13th in the Eastern Conference with a 20-46 record. 

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