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Pistons Notes: Smith, Baynes, Leuer

Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy is extremely pleased with the offseason the team has had, noting that he includes the mid-season trade to acquire Tobias Harris in his assessment, Keith Langlois of NBA.com writes. “People forget that over half of the potential cap space was used on Tobias Harris during the year,” Van Gundy said. “So you really have to look, even though we did it at the trade deadline, that was a cap space move that allowed us going forward to do it and still be able to acquire other guys. So I throw Tobias into that. When you look at him in that group, to me it’s definitely an A [grade].

Van Gundy also noted that signing restricted free agent Boban Marjanovic was an “outside the box move,” especially in a league that is more geared toward small-ball these days, Langlois relays. It is also one that protects the team in the event that Aron Baynes departs as a free agent after this season, the scribe adds. “We’ve probably got more true centers than anybody in a league that’s going away from true centers, but looking at Aron’s situation – and the part that people understand is he’ll opt out, probably, based on the salaries we saw this year – and the part they don’t understand is if he opts out and because he’s only been here two years, we’re limited in how far we can go in our offer,” Van Gundy said. “It wasn’t a matter of you don’t want to pay him or you don’t think he’s worth it. It’s that we’re limited.

Here’s more out of Motown:

  • The addition of Jon Leuer as a reserve power forward is expected to help Detroit match up better against taller, more athletic frontcourts, Van Gundy told Langlois. “We wanted to add more size at that spot but not give up athleticism, not give up shooting, and Jon Leuer was really the only guy out there that we thought fit everything that we wanted in that spot,” said Van Gundy. “Shot 38% from three, 6’11”. He’s a very good athlete with great quickness. He’s a guy we had our eye on for a couple of years and we just thought would be a really good fit to what we wanted.
  • The Pistons inked Ish Smith in part because of his experience as a starter, as well as the intangibles he brings with him to the gym every day, Langlois writes in a separate piece. “It did matter,” Van Gundy said of Smith’s success as a starter with the 76ers last season. “What you want with all of your backups, one of the things you ask is can those guys start. You can’t look at somebody and say he’s OK as a 16-, 18-minute a game guy because it can quickly become more than that. The fact he has that experience and did well, yeah, that’s a big thing. I feel like certainly with what would at least appear to be our first four guys off the bench, all of ’em are capable of starting.

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