The Pistons project to enter the 2020 offseason as one of just a handful of teams with cap room, and head of basketball operations Ed Stefanski tells Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press that there are several different ways the club could make use of that flexibility.
While the Pistons likely won’t be pursuing any top-tier free agents, Stefanski suggested that the team will assess its options once those highest-paid players come off the board. According to the Pistons’ senior advisor, the club is open to the idea of using its cap room to sign a player or two, or to accommodate a trade.
Stefanski also didn’t rule out the possibility of holding onto that cap space through the offseason and into the ’20/21 season. At that point, all of the noteworthy free agents would be off the board, but teams could still be looking to shed salary in midseason deals, potentially creating opportunities for the Pistons to acquire assets for taking on an unwanted contract — especially if they’re the only team capable of accommodating such a salary dump.
In his conversation with Sankofa, Stefanski addressed several more topics, including the health of multiple injured Pistons, the team’s draft plans, and more. The Q&A is worth checking out in full, but here are a few of the highlights from Stefanski:
On whether the Pistons will target a point guard or big man with their lottery pick after parting with Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond this winter:
“I think where we are, most of the time you’re always going to be going for the best possible player. … If we feel the best player fits one of those positions, that’s even better if you get fortunate that that happens. Right now, that won’t come into play. If the best player is the position where we have more players or have added depth, we’re going to do it. If it happens and we feel the best player on the board fits the position that we need, that’s even better.”
On whether the Pistons will consider moving Derrick Rose in the offseason or at the 2021 trade deadline after keeping him at the 2020 deadline:
“We didn’t move Derrick because we didn’t feel we got enough in return for what he does for us on the court and off the court. He’s very instrumental on these younger guys. Who he is, obviously a former MVP, he’s a great human being. Players like him, so that helps our younger guys since he can nurture the younger guys. Plus he does a terrific job on the court. He was fantastic on the court this year, and we’re going to need that at times to help our younger players perform and gain confidence. We’ll look at everything and if the opportunity arises and makes sense, we’ll pull the trigger.”
On the health of Luke Kennard (out since December 21 with a knee injury):
“Luke has done well. Right before the shutdown because of the virus, he was ready to come back and play. I think he was going to play in Toronto, that next game after Philly. I believe it was then that we were going to give him some minutes. He’s very healthy right now. He’s continued to perform his lifting and is keeping his cardio up. But he feels real good and he worked extremely hard with our performance people on the strength in his knee. So far, all the reports are real positive. He’s healthy right now. If something started up, he’d be ready to go.”