As the Pistons explore the trade market in search of potential upgrades, Stanley Johnson‘s name has come up in their discussions, reports Ian Begley of ESPN.com. According to Begley, teams that have spoken to the Pistons have come away with the impression that Johnson is available for the right return.
Johnson, the eighth overall pick in the 2015 draft, had a promising rookie season in Detroit, averaging 8.1 PPG and 4.2 RPG in 73 games. He has been inconsistent over the last season and a half though — the third-year small forward hasn’t matched or exceeded those first-year averages, and his FG% has slipped to a career-worst .348 in 2017/18.
Still, Johnson is just 21 years old, and his defensive potential on the wing could make him an intriguing target for rebuilding franchises. The former Arizona Wildcat is also on a very team-friendly contract for the time being. Johnson, who has a current-year cap hit of $3.1MM, will earn $3.94MM in 2018/19 before becoming eligible for restricted free agency in the summer of ’19.
We heard earlier this week that rookie guard Luke Kennard is receiving interest from potential Pistons trade partners as well, so Johnson isn’t the only youngster the team could consider moving. However, Begley writes that Detroit doesn’t appear to have much interest in dealing its 2017 lottery pick. Unless the Pistons push for a marquee player, I’d view Johnson as a much more likely trade candidate than Kennard.
According to Begley, guard Dwight Buycks has also impressed opposing executives. Buycks is on a two-way contract though, so while he’s trade-eligible, his present value is very limited. Begley notes that several execs view Buycks as a player who will draw major interest as a free agent this summer from teams lacking significant cap flexibility.