Pistons Rumors

2019 Offseason In Review: Detroit Pistons

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).

Draft picks:

  • 1-15: Sekou Doumbouya — Signed to rookie contract.
  • 2-37: Deividas Sirvydis — Will play overseas.
  • 2-55: Jordan Bone — Signed to two-way contract.

Waiver claims:

  • Christian Wood (from Pelicans): One year, minimum salary contract. Claimed using minimum salary exception.

Departing players:

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.
  • Hard-capped.
  • 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.

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Casey Wants Team To Keep Firing

Pacers’ first-round pick Goga Bitadze will make his preseason debut on Tuesday, Mark Monteith of the team’s website relays. The Euro big man missed the first three preseason games with an ankle injury. He’s slated as the main backup at center with Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis projected as starters. “That’s kind of where we’ve got him at,” coach Nate McMillan said. “We’ll see as we get into the season what the rotation is going to look like.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Cavaliers rookie Darius Garland could wind up in the starting lineup with Collin Sexton in a dual point guard backcourt, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. Garland has come off the bench thus far in the preseason but that could change with coach John Beilein continuing to tinker with various lineups. “If he’s able to practice enough and earn it, I have no qualms about that at all,” Beilein said. “But there’s a certain process you have to go through to be that starting point guard and whatever it’s going to take. We will get him in when we think it’s best for the team to win.”
  • Pistons coach Dwane Casey wants to see his team take 40% of its shots from beyond the arc, Keith Langlois of the team’s website relays. Like many teams, Detroit attempted a franchise record number of 3-pointers last season and Casey wants to continue that trend. Their backup bigs, including Markieff Morris, will help the Pistons achieve that goal. “We want to stay around 40,” Casey said. “We want to continue to get up more corner threes as much as possible. Our slot threes were up, but we were getting a fair amount of corner threes. We’ve got to continue to do that and put pressure on the basket.”
  • The Bucks added veteran guard Kyle Korver as another perimeter option but coach Mike Budenholzer sees Korver providing assistance in other areas, according to Ben Steele of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Korver signed a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal in July. “All the little things he does,” Budenholzer said. “Competing and screening. Getting hits on the defensive boards. I think we’re really excited about how he is going to make us better this year.”
  • Zach LaVine is eager to shed his reputation as a subpar defender, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times relays. LaVine has been challenged to become a better two-way player by Bulls coach Jim Boylen‘‘I’m just tired of people talking [poorly] about my defense,’’ LaVine said. ‘‘I’ve always been a good on-ball defender. But there’s no reason I can be this good offensively and not be that good on the defensive end. So I’m taking more pride in it. I’m pretty sure it’ll show.”

Pistons Exploring Trades, May Keep Wood, Johnson

The Pistons are seeking a trade that would allow them to keep both big man Christian Wood and veteran forward Joe Johnson, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press writes.

That duo came into training camp vying for the final roster spot but circumstances may change.

Langston Galloway or Khyri Thomas are the most likely players to be moved in order to free up a roster spot, according to Ellis. The Pistons have 14 players, including Galloway and Thomas, with fully guaranteed contracts.

Wood’s contract guarantees at $822,679 if he makes the opening night roster, while Johnson would receive a $1.37MM guarantee if he’s still with the team coming out of training camp. Wood’s $1.65MM contract and Johnson’s $2.56MM deal become fully guaranteed if they’re still on the roster beyond January 10.

Wood was claimed off waivers from the Bucks and has put up impressive numbers in a couple of preseason appearances. Coach Dwane Casey has been impressed by the way Wood has conducted himself beyond the court. Wood would battle Thon Maker for backup duties at center if he sticks.

“Christian’s thing is just maturity,” Casey told Ellis and other reporters. “He’s done a great job of being on time, being where he’s supposed to be, doing what he’s supposed to do, being disciplined, because if he (had done it before), he wouldn’t be here. He’d still be with Milwaukee or somebody.”

Johnson, the MVP of the BIG3 league this summer, could provide depth at both forward spots. Detroit’s final two preseason games this week will help determine whether the Pistons keep both Wood and Johnson, according to the Detroit News’ Rod Beard, who also confirms the front office has been exploring the trade market.

Galloway has an expiring $7.33MM contract, which would hold some appeal. Thomas, a second-year player, is making $1.42MM. Galloway is considered a rotation player by Casey but the Pistons have numerous options at the wing positions and will also pair up point guards Reggie Jackson and Derrick Rose at times.

Pistons Interested In Frank Ntilikina?

The Pistons may have some interest in Knicks point guard Frank Ntilikina, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link).

He’s the type of young talent on a cheap contract that could benefit from a change of scenery, Ellis notes.

The Knicks have a logjam at the point but the Pistons, who hope to go deeper in the postseason, have three veteran point guards so they’re not desperately seeking alternatives at the moment.

Reggie Jackson, who is making $18.1MM this season and is on an expiring contract, is the starter. Derrick Rose, who signed a two-year free agent deal, is projected to lead the second unit. The Pistons also added another point guard, Tim Frazier, via free agency this summer.

It’s feasible the Pistons could trade for Ntilikina and give him a one-season look to see if he’d fit their long-term plans once Jackson hits free agency.

Ntilikina is making $4.85MM this season and the team holds a $6.177MM option on his contract for next season. The deadline for exercising that option is the last day of this month. It’s unlikely New York will do so, which would push Ntilikina into free agency next summer.

Despite a strong showing in the FIBA World Cup, Ntilikina has an uncertain future in New York. The Knicks drafted RJ Barrett and also have Elfrid Payton and Dennis Smith Jr. vying for minutes at the point. They shopped Ntilikina throughout the summer but couldn’t find a suitable deal.

2019/20 Over/Unders: Central Division

The 2019/20 NBA regular season will get underway in less than two weeks, which means it’s time to start getting serious about predictions for the upcoming campaign.

With the help of the lines from a handful of sports betting sites, including Bovada and BetOnline, we’re running through the predicted win totals for each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division. In a series of team-by-team polls, you’ll get the chance to weigh in on whether you think those forecasts are too optimistic or too pessimistic.

Having already looked at the Atlantic and Northwest, we’re moving onto the Central today…

Milwaukee Bucks

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Bucks poll.

Indiana Pacers

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Pacers poll.

Detroit Pistons

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Pistons poll.

Chicago Bulls

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Bulls poll.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Cavaliers poll.

Previous voting results:


  • Philadelphia 76ers (54.5 wins): Over (54.9%)
  • Boston Celtics (49.5 wins): Under (57.0%)
  • Toronto Raptors (46.5 wins): Under (59.1%)
  • Brooklyn Nets (43.5 wins): Over (58.3%)
  • New York Knicks (27.5 wins): Under (54.9%)


  • Denver Nuggets (53.5 wins): Over (51.8%)
  • Utah Jazz (53.5 wins): Under (50.8%)
  • Portland Trail Blazers (46.5 wins): Over (78.7%)
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (35.5 wins): Under (57.5%)
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (32.5 wins): Under (55.1%)

Lowe: Pistons Might Have Interest In Lowry

  • Woj and Lowe think Raptors guard Kyle Lowry would generate a lot of interest on the trade market if Toronto becomes open to moving him. Both ESPN experts believe that Lowry’s one-year, $31MM extension actually makes him more appealing as a trade chip, since he wouldn’t be just a half-season rental. Lowe speculates that teams like the Heat, Pistons, and Clippers might have interest, while Woj singles out the Timberwolves as another potential fit.


Andre Drummond, Pistons Exploring Extension?

After Pistons owner Tom Gores said earlier this week that retaining Andre Drummond beyond the 2019/20 season is a top priority for the franchise, he confirmed that the two sides are “talking at a business level,” writes Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press.

Gores’ interest in hanging onto Drummond has been conveyed privately as well as publicly, according to Ellis, who hears from a pair of sources that the Pistons have told the veteran center’s representatives that the club wants to retain his services long-term. Having previously reported that Drummond’s camp had requested extension talks with Detroit, Ellis confirms that numbers have now been exchanged, though he adds it’s clear the two-time All-Star is looking for a max contract.

While Drummond didn’t explicitly confirm that he’s seeking a maximum-salary deal, his comments on Tuesday suggested that he believes his value is high and that he’ll be looking to maximize his earnings on his next contract.

“That’s the way anybody would see themselves,” Drummond said, per Ellis. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a basketball player. With the work you put in, you should be rewarded for it — no matter who you are. If it’s me or even a rookie. Everybody feels like they should make a maximum amount of dollars.”

Drummond’s optimal financial path might involve turning down his 2020/21 player option and becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer. He’d be eligible for a five-year contract worth up to nearly $202MM (based on the NBA’s latest cap projections) if he were to re-sign with the Pistons at that point. An extension with the team before then would max out at about $146MM over four years.

The 2020 free agent market projects to be weak, which could open the door for rival suitors to drive up the price on Drummond, but Sean Deveney of Heavy.com thinks a new deal in Detroit is the most likely scenario for the 26-year-old. As one front office executive points out, while there may not be many star free agents available next July, there also won’t be many contenders with cap room available for a max player.

“He just won’t have a lot of options,” that executive told Deveney. “Detroit won’t have a lot of options, either. There won’t be a lot of free-agent money and most of the teams that have it are rebuilding teams who might not want a big like him anyway. He’s kind of old-school and you have to be willing to make your roster around that. Detroit, that’s what they’re willing to do. He probably won’t get a better situation than what he has.”

Christian Wood's Bid For Roster Spot Off To Good Start

  • Christian Wood made a strong case for a regular season roster spot in his first preseason game with the Pistons, racking up 19 points and eight rebounds in just 19 minutes. Unless Detroit trades or waives a player with a guaranteed salary, Wood and Joe Johnson will be battling for the 15th spot on the roster. Head coach Dwane Casey said Wood helped boost his chances on Monday, per Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. “He played hard,” Casey said. “Key thing is playing hard, play the right way. He’s got to continue to do that.”

Pistons Notes: Drummond, Galloway, Johnson, Practice Facility

Pistons owner Tom Gores said on Monday that retaining center Andre Drummond is his “top priority,” Jeff Riger of 97.1 The Ticket tweets. Drummond could become an unrestricted free agent if he opts out of the final year of his contract after the season.

“You guys know, many years in a row, how committed I am to Andre,” Gores said. “So it is [the] top priority.”

Drummond and his reps have reportedly requested extension talks. Prior to opening night, Drummond can opt in for the 2020/21 season at $28.75MM and add up to three additional years to the contract. The first year of the extension can be any amount up to 120% of his 2020/21 salary (a max of $34.5MM). After that, he can opt out and sign an extension until June 30, but the starting salary can’t be below $28.75MM or exceed $34.5MM.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Langston Galloway is one of many options at the wing and coach Dwane Casey says Galloway will have a role, Keith Langlois of the team’s website relays. “He’s like that old blanket,” Casey said. “It’s not fair, but he’s just a steady, steady pro. He’s a lot of our glue. So, no, I haven’t forgotten Langston. He’s going to be a huge part of what we do.” Galloway is in the final year of a three-year, $21MM contract that he signed with the previous front office regime. His $7.33MM salary is the second highest expiring deal on the team behind Reggie Jackson‘s $18.1MM salary.
  • Joe Johnson‘s year off from basketball allowed him to spent time with his dying mother, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports. Johnson’s mother Diane died of cancer in February. “I don’t know if you guys understand what multiple myeloma is and what it does to the body,” Johnson said “It basically breaks muscles and bones down to a point where you just become limp and you can’t do nothing on your own. Then it comes to a point where you can’t even talk.” Johnson has a partial guarantee in his contract and is looking to secure the final spot on the opening-night roster.
  • The franchise officially opened its new $90MM training facility and corporate headquarters on Monday, according to a team press release. The facility is touted as being the largest in the league. It’s located in downtown Detroit, a short distance from Little Caesars Arena. Their previous practice facility was located in Auburn Hills behind their previous arena, The Palace.

Marcus Led Markieff To Detroit; Brown Improved Offense

  • Markieff Morris was not particularly interested in the Pistons when free agency began this year, but was steered toward Detroit by his twin brother, Marcus Morris, who played for the Pistons from 2015 to 2017, writes Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. “My brother told me it was a great place. Honestly, Detroit really wasn’t on my list. I really didn’t look into it much until I sat down with my brother and looked at the roster… It was kind of a perfect fit.”
  • In more Pistons news, Rod Beard of The Detroit News says that second-year player Bruce Brown has improved his game to become a better all-around player this season, especially on offense, after being mostly a defensive specialist last season as a rookie.