Pistons coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy said he wants to have soon-to-be free agent Joel Anthony back with the team next season, tweets Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. Van Gundy and company clearly have higher priorities, Ellis cautions, but it’s nonetheless a strong endorsement for the eighth-year veteran who’s seen just 8.3 minutes per game in 43 appearances this season.
Anthony is making $3.8MM this season, the last of a five-year, $18.25MM pact he signed with Heat in 2010. He’ll seemingly have to take a pay cut, and with the Pistons poised to be able to dip under the salary cap with less than $28MM in guaranteed salary for next season, it wouldn’t be altogether surprising to see Detroit renounce his Bird rights to clear his bloated $7.22MM cap hold. The Pistons can avoid that issue if they agree to terms with him before the July Moratorium ends and reduce that cap hold to his new salary.
The Mike Higgins client has seen his most significant playing time of the season since Greg Monroe went down with a strained right knee in mid-March, as he’s compiled 4.4 points and 3.5 rebounds to go along with an impressive 2.7 blocks in 16.5 minutes per game. Monroe is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, so perhaps the past few weeks are a glimpse of the future with Anthony absorbing the backup center minutes behind Andre Drummond.
Anthony quickly warmed to the Pistons when they traded for him during the preseason, and he said in November that he wanted to re-sign with Detroit. The Pistons will be busy, with Monroe and Reggie Jackson also hitting free agency, but it seems as if there’s mutual interest between the team and Anthony.