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Detroit Pistons Reportedly Looking To Make Trades, Including The No. 5 Draft Pick, and What Will They Do With Cade Cunningham, Potential FA Targets

The Detroit Pistons have been the worst franchises in the NBA for the last five years. It is not that the Pistons don’t have talent; they do. But it has been the way they have been put together.

Trajon Langdon, the New Orleans Pelicans general manager since 2019, is now the Pistons’ president of basketball operations and will lead yet another rebuild. Langdon still has to hire a head coach to replace the recently fired Monty Williams.

However, until Langdon hires a coach, the 48-year-old will be solely in charge of building the roster. It sounds like he will do so through trades as he looks for assets.

“One thing we are looking for with the cap space we do have is bringing in contracts maybe from other teams and gathering assets as well,” Langdon told Dana Gauruder of The Associated Press. “Hopefully, with the players that come in, they can bolster the growth (of the younger players). If we can interweave those two things, that would make our summer successful.”

Former Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff, Mavericks assistant Sean Sweeney, Timberwolves assistant Micah Nori, and Pelicans assistant James Borrego are some of the head coaching candidates expected to be interviewed by Langdon.

Langdon also told Gauruder that there was no timetable for hiring a coach.

Detroit Pistons Reportedly Looking To Make Trades, Including The No. 5 Draft Pick

Detroit, which was flirting with NBA history for futility, finished with a league-worst 14-67 record this past season. It was the second straight season that the Pistons finished with the worst record in the league and the third time in the past four that they have finished with the worst record in the Eastern Conference.

The Pistons have not won more than 23 games during these five years. Their 94 wins are 49 fewer than the San Antonio Spurs (149), and they have the second-fewest victories during this stretch.

Moreover, the Pistons have had the fewest wins since 2010, with 427 (46 fewer than any other team). They have made the playoffs just twice over the last decade and a half while recycling through seven coaches.

“I don’t think there’s a timeframe for us to get to the playoffs,” Langdon added.

What The Pistons Will Do This Offseason

Detroit has 11 players on standard contract, although just seven are guaranteed, with salaries totaling $84.6 million. Evan Fournier ($19 million), Chimezie Metu ($2.6 million), and Stanley Umade ($2.1 million) own club options. So, if the Pistons don’t exercise those options, that would give them over $70 million in cap space.

Troy Brown’s ($4 million) deal becomes fully guaranteed on June 30. James Wiseman ($7.7 million QO) and Simone Fontecchio ($5.2 million QO) are potential restricted free agents. The Athletic’s James Edwards reports that the Pistons are expected to sign Fontecchio.

2021 No. 1 draft pick Cade Cunningham, Jalen Duren and Ausar Thompson are the Pistons’ building blocks. Cunningham and Quentin Grimes, who the Pistons acquired from the Knicks during the season, are eligible for the rookie scale. Michael Scotto of HoopHype said that NBA executives believe the Pistons will ultimately end up signing Cunningham to a max five-year, $224.5 million extension.

Cunningham Getting An Extension?

Cunningham took significant strides this season, producing career-highs with 22.5 points and 7.5 assists as he turned his best shooting performance across the board at 44.9/35.5/86.7%. However, Cunningham has yet to play 65 games in a season.

The decision to extend Grimes is a little more complicated. Grimes is a 3-and-D wing coming off a disappointing 2023-24 season after producing a career year the previous season. He struggled in the six games he played for the Pistons after getting traded by the New York Knicks.

Jaden Ivey, Marcus Sasser, and Isaiah Stewart are the most talented players after the three abovementioned players. Stewart has been rumored to be on the trading block, and Ivey could also be moved.

With so much cap space and some talent who could be used as trade chips, Detroit could be in for a big summer.

According to Zulfi Sheikh, the Pistons’ biggest need is a floor-spacing wing. Sheikh listed OG Anunoby, Caleb Martin, Buddy Hield, Tobias Harris, De’Anthony Melton, Isaiah Joe, Derrick Jones Jr., and Naji Marshall as potential free agent targets.

Edwards added Nic Claxton and Gary Harris as potential free agents as well.

What To Do With No. 5 Draft Pick

Detroit has two picks in the 2024 draft: the No. 5 pick and the No. 53 selection.

One way that Detroit could gain assets is by trading down from the No. 5 pick. Langdon spoke with Omari Sankofa of the Detroit Free Press about that possibility:

“We like five a lot. Obviously we’re going to look to be strategic. If someone comes along and blows us away for that fifth pick, I think we have to understand and analyze what’s the best decision. Do we pick at five, or do we move back? We’re not looking at moving out of the draft, but again, if decisions come and offers come that we think will make us better as an organization going forward, we’re going to have to look at everything. If we stay at five, we’ll find a good player.”

Who Will The Pistons Select If They Keep The Pick?

Edwards said that the Pistons worked out at least three players who are contenders for them at No. 5: Matas Buzelis, Ja’Kobe Walter, and Tidjane Salaun.

Other possibilities include Donovan Clingan, Cody Williams, Stephon Castle, and Dalton Knecht.

Edwards added that the Pistons are most likely trade partners of the Chicago Bulls, Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Portland Trail Blazers.


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