Pistons rookie Luke Kennard is drawing “intense” interest from other NBA teams as this season’s trade deadline nears, according to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). As Ellis notes, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski had previously hinted in a report this week that Kennard is a player of interest for Detroit’s potential trade partners.
In a series of follow-up tweets, Ellis cautioned that there’s no indication that the Pistons are shopping Kennard, or even that they’re willing to move him. In fact, Ellis doesn’t expect the 2017 lottery pick to go anywhere.
Still, Wojnarowski indicated this week that the Pistons are expected to be on the active on the trade market, and are on the lookout for a wing upgrade. President of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy subsequently confirmed that his team is “looking around for people to fill holes.” The list of Pistons trade assets that would appeal to other clubs – and that Detroit is open to moving – isn’t particularly long, so dealing Kennard might represent the team’s best chance at acquiring a win-now piece.
In his first NBA season, Kennard has emerged as a regular rotation player in Detroit. While his overall numbers are modest (6.4 PPG, 1.9 RPG), the former Duke standout has been extremely effective as an outside shooter (.443 3PT%) and several of his highest-scoring games have come in the last two weeks. In order to seriously consider moving the 21-year-old, the Pistons would likely require an offer that features a difference-making veteran.