Saturday’s announcement that Bulls guard Zach LaVine will have season-ending foot surgery reduces the chances that the Pistons will make a major trade before Thursday’s deadline, writes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. Detroit had seemingly emerged as the frontrunner to acquire LaVine, but a source told Sankofa that the front office was split on the move because of the guard’s injury history and expensive contract. The Pistons weren’t willing to give up any significant assets in a potential deal, Sankofa adds.
With a LaVine trade presumably off the table, Sankofa expects Detroit to wait for the offseason to pursue a major deal. He considers the team likely to be active at the deadline, but with smaller moves that will put the franchise in better position for next season and won’t compromise its cap room for this summer.
Killian Hayes, the seventh pick in the 2020 draft, is likely near the end of his time with the Pistons, Sankofa adds. He has been a healthy scratch in the past two games and is headed toward free agency after not reaching a rookie-scale extension last fall. Sankofa also anticipates a move involving James Wiseman, who has fallen out of the rotation since Mike Muscala and Danilo Gallinari were acquired from Washington last month.
There’s more from the Central Division:
- Marcus Sasser has brought some efficiency to the Pistons‘ offense and has a chance to be the first rookie ever in the 50-40-90 club, notes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Detroit appears to have found a long-term rotation piece in Sasser after trading into the first round to grab him with the 25th pick in last year’s draft. “The more and more I play … I’m starting to feel comfortable,” he said. “I’m learning when to take my shots, learn to look for my teammates and create.”
- DeMar DeRozan refused to speculate on whether LaVine’s injury will make the Bulls more likely to trade him before the deadline, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. DeRozan will be a free agent this summer if he and the team can’t agree on an extension. “I really live my life day-by-day,” he told reporters. “If I get caught up in having future thoughts on things, I’m going to drive myself crazy. And I’d rather not be that way. I take it day-by-day and be prepared for whatever happens. That’s my approach for life.”
- Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton is trying to find the most efficient way to use his restricted minutes since returning from a hamstring injury, per James Boyd of The Athletic. Haliburton sat out the first quarter Friday against Sacramento so he could be available later on, but he had one of his worst games of the season as Indiana dropped its third straight. “I think anybody who’s dealt with a hamstring before understands that it’s not just nothing,” he said. “Even when you’re fully good a little bit after, you still feel it a little bit. Nothing structurally (is wrong). I think there is some pain, but I can play through that.”