Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2019 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2019/20 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Detroit Pistons.
- Standard contracts:
- Derrick Rose: Two years, $15MM. Signed using mid-level exception.
- Markieff Morris: Two years, $6.56MM. Second-year player option. Signed using bi-annual exception.
- Tim Frazier: One year, minimum salary. Signed using minimum salary exception.
- Joe Johnson: One year, minimum salary. Partially guaranteed ($220K). Signed using minimum salary exception.
- Two-way contracts:
- Non-guaranteed camp contracts:
- Acquired Tony Snell and the draft rights to Kevin Porter Jr. (No. 30 pick) from the Bucks in exchange for Jon Leuer.
- Acquired the Jazz’s 2020 second-round pick, the Trail Blazers’ 2021 second-round pick, the Trail Blazers’ 2023 second-round pick, the Heat’s 2024 second-round pick (top-55 protected), and cash ($5MM) from the Cavaliers in exchange for the draft rights to Kevin Porter Jr. (No. 30 pick).
- Acquired the draft rights to Deividas Sirvydis (No. 37 pick) from the Mavericks in exchange for the draft rights to Isaiah Roby (No. 45 pick), the Jazz’s 2020 second-round pick, and the Trail Blazers’ 2021 second-round pick.
- Acquired the draft rights to Jordan Bone (No. 57 pick) from the Sixers in exchange for the Heat’s 2024 second-round pick (top-55 protected) and cash ($2MM).
- 1-15: Sekou Doumbouya — Signed to rookie contract.
- 2-37: Deividas Sirvydis — Will play overseas.
- 2-55: Jordan Bone — Signed to two-way contract.
- Christian Wood (from Pelicans): One year, minimum salary contract. Claimed using minimum salary exception.
- Jose Calderon
- Wayne Ellington
- Jon Leuer
- Kalin Lucas (two-way)
- Zaza Pachulia
- Glenn Robinson III (declined team option)
- Ish Smith
- Isaiah Whitehead (two-way)
Other offseason news:
- Agreement with Michael Beasley fell through.
- Lost executive Sachin Gupta to Timberwolves.
- Hired Donnie Tyndall as head coach of G League affiliate (Grand Rapids Drive).
- Announced plan to move G League team to downtown Detroit in 2021/22.
- Opened new $90MM training facility and corporate headquarters in downtown Detroit.
Salary cap situation:
- Remained over the cap.
- Carrying approximately $130.98MM in guaranteed salary.
- $1.94MM of mid-level exception still available (used $7.32MM on Derrick Rose).
- $423K of bi-annual exception still available (used $3.2MM on Markieff Morris).
- Two traded player exceptions available; largest TPE ($2.5MM) expires 2/6/20.
Story of the summer:
Since acquiring Blake Griffin prior to the 2018 trade deadline, the Pistons have had little flexibility to make changes to the supporting cast around their new star player. Griffin’s massive contract restricts Detroit’s maneuverability to some extent, but the veteran forward earned his pay check in 2018/19, putting up some of the best numbers of his career and finding his way back onto the All-Star and All-NBA teams for the first time since 2015.
It’s the Pistons’ other highly-priced players who have hampered the team’s flexibility to a greater extent. Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson will earn a combined $45MM+ during the 2019/20 season, joining Griffin to form a de facto “Big Three” in Detroit. But you could make a case that Drummond isn’t among the NBA’s 10 best centers, while Jackson isn’t one of the league’s best 15 point guards.
Drummond and Jackson are probably more valuable to the Pistons than they would be as trade chips, so the club once again stuck with both players through the 2019 offseason. But with their contracts – and Griffin’s – still on the books, Detroit’s ability to make meaningful upgrades to other parts of the roster was limited.
The Pistons did manage to move Jon Leuer‘s oversized contract, but only to acquire another pricey role player in Tony Snell. The team also made use of its mid-level and bi-annual exceptions to bring in Derrick Rose and Markieff Morris. Rose is a former MVP and had a strong bounce-back season in 2018/19, but has had trouble staying healthy in recent years. Injuries were an issue for Morris last season too.
Given their lack of cap room, the Pistons probably did about as well as they could to add high-upside veterans to the mix this offseason. But the team still doesn’t look like an upper-echelon contender in the Eastern Conference and may need to make more drastic changes to its roster in the future to realistically jump into that tier.