The Pistons are reportedly seeking an upgrade at the power forward position and intend to target soon-to-be free agents Ryan Anderson and Donatas Motiejunas in the offseason, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe in his most recent podcast. “They want a four in free agency this summer, the Pistons, really badly,” Lowe said. “They’re going to look at Stan’s [Van Gundy] old friend Ryan Anderson. I’ve heard they’re hot on Motiejunas from Houston who’s always hurt. So, who knows how hot they actually are?”
Detroit has indicated that it intends retain current starter Ersan Ilyasova, whose $8.4MM salary for 2016/17 becomes fully guaranteed if he remains on the roster past July 1st, but the franchise would prefer to use the big man off the bench, Lowe notes. The 28-year-old has appeared in 41 games for the Pistons this season, all as a starter, and he is averaging 11.1 points and 5.5 rebounds in 27.6 minutes per game. His career numbers through 494 regular season NBA contests are 10.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.1 assists to accompany a slash line of .445/.371/.770.
As for Detroit’s reported targets, Anderson, whom New Orleans has reportedly been listening to offers about, isn’t likely to come cheap. A source within an NBA team told Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times and Basketball Insiders that he expects that Anderson will be able to command a maximum-salary contract this summer. Anderson is making $8.5MM in the final season of his contract. He’ll be a veteran of eight years by this summer, so he’d be eligible for the middle-tier max of a projected $24.9MM. The stretch-four has ties to Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy, having played for him when the duo were with the Magic. The 27-year-old is averaging 16.8 points and 6.1 rebounds in 39 contests this season.
Motiejunas, 25, has only appeared in 14 games this season for the Rockets as he struggles with back issues. He is averaging 5.6 points and 2,1 rebounds in 13.4 minutes per game this year, with career numbers of 8.0 points and 4.0 rebounds on 48.2% shooting. Motiejunas has never appeared in more than 71 games in a season during the course of his NBA career, which speaks to the injury issues that Lowe mentioned in his podcast. The Rockets will be able to match offers for him as a restricted free agent if they tender a qualifying offer worth nearly $3.279MM.