Pistons/Wizards Notes: Morris, Trade, Baldwin, Avdija, Gafford

One of the Pistons‘ primary offseason acquisitions — guard Monte Morris — has yet to play this season. However, he should be back before this month ends, according to Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link).

A steady veteran, Morris is known for his ability to take care of the ball, which has been Detroit’s biggest weakness this season. In 2022/23, the Michigan native had a 5.3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. He has also shot 39.2% from deep in his career, though it’s on fairly low volume (3.1 attempts per game).

Morris has been sidelined by back and quad injuries this season. He’s in the final season of his contract, which will pay him $9.8MM in 2023/24.

Here’s more on the Pistons and Wizards, who made a trade yesterday:

  • Since the Pistons decided to create a traded player exception in Sunday’s deal and operate over the salary cap, they won’t be able to aggregate the salaries of Danilo Gallinari or Mike Muscala in a future trade, notes Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). Both players can still be traded on their own — they can also be flipped in multi-player deals where their salaries don’t need to be combined with others for matching purposes.
  • Pistons head coach Monty Williams touched on all four players involved in the deal that saw Marvin Bagley III, Isaiah Livers and two second-round picks head to Washington, while Gallinari and Muscala were sent to Detroit, per Sankofa (Twitter link). “I just got to Detroit and I got a chance to be with Bags and Liv for a short period, but those guys were stellar in how they handled their business. … Trades are never easy on either party, especially when you have family,” Williams said. “We do have room for guys like Gallo and Muscala just because they are vets, they understand how to play … we’ll try to figure out their (fit) as we go along.” Williams went on to say that the two veteran big men will be able to space the floor for Detroit, but they’ll probably have to play center due to their lack of defensive mobility, Sankofa adds (via Twitter).
  • Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. praised Gallinari and Muscala, as Sankofa relays (Twitter links). “We’re going to miss their veteran leadership and shooting … they’ll really help the young group,” Unseld said. “They’ve been really good as far as barometers, bringing that experience and perspective to a younger core. Those guys were terrific for us.” Unseld also touched on the additions of Bagley and Livers. “He’s a skilled big,” Unseld said of Bagley. “He can score around the rim, good touch and can expand his range as he gets comfortable … Isaiah’s been a pretty good shooter in his career and has the ability to be a two-way player, has defensive size.”
  • The four players were not cleared to play in time for Monday’s contest, but Bagley and Livers attended the game and watched in owner Ted Leonsis‘ luxury box, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link). The Pistons won the game, snapping their seven-game losing streak.
  • Second-year forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. got some run as a small-ball center on Monday with the Wizards shorthanded and played well in limited minutes, going 3-of-3 from long distance for nine points in 12 minutes, notes Robbins (Twitter links). Baldwin had only played 71 minutes this season leading into the game.
  • The Wizards haven’t had many bright spots this season but the development of Deni Avdija stands out as a positive, writes Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Avdija, who inked a four-year, $55MM rookie scale extension in the offseason (it begins in 2024/25), is averaging career highs in several statistics and has grown as a play-maker, per O’Connor.
  • Wizards center Daniel Gafford sustained a head injury on Monday and was ruled out for the remainder of the contest (Twitter link). Gafford has been mentioned in some trade rumors this season.
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