The Pistons currently have the No. 12 overall pick in this year’s draft, but there’s no guarantee this year’s 12th overall pick will play in Detroit in the fall. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein (via Twitter), the Pistons are open to discussing trades involving their lottery pick in the hopes of acquiring a “win-now veteran.”
As we saw a year ago when the Hornets moved the No. 22 overall pick for Marco Belinelli, a team without cap room could agree to a pick-for-player trade in June and then complete the deal in July, after they’ve opened up the necessary space. That could be one option for the capped-out Pistons.
However, even without taking into account Aron Baynes‘ player option or a lucrative potential new contract for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the Pistons already have about $95MM in guaranteed money on their books for 2017/18, so it’s unlikely that they’ll end up with any cap room even after the new league year begins.
That means that any deal involving the No. 12 pick and an established veteran would likely need to include at least one outgoing contract for salary-matching purposes. As such, it’s no surprise that Rod Beard of The Detroit News tweets the Pistons would likely be open to a “pick-plus-player option” to land that win-now veteran.
Stein’s report doesn’t specify any players – or even positions – the Pistons may be targeting as they discuss their lottery pick, but there are a few areas that could make sense. A frontcourt replacement for Baynes would be one possibility if the club expects to lose him in free agency. A guard would also be a logical target if Detroit has any concern about Reggie Jackson‘s ability to bounce back, or isn’t 100% sure that Caldwell-Pope will be retained.