At 21-26, it’s safe to say that the Detroit Pistons have underachieved this season. Even with two All-Star big men in Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin, the Pistons are still outside the playoff picture. With the trade deadline around the corner, the Pistons need to make some moves to get back into the postseason.
Unfortunately for Detroit, the Pistons are tied up with the contracts of Griffin and Drummond, totaling $57 million. The Pistons see this duo as their future going forward. Both players are in the primes of their career, so surrounding the two with the right players is crucial. The Pistons front office hired Coach of the Year Dwayne Casey this summer, hoping that he would help turn the franchise around. Unless some trades are made, the Pistons will continue to be average.
In most trade scenarios, point guard Reggie Jackson is likely to be the odd man out. On a $17 million contract, Jackson has been inconsistent during his time with the Pistons. Adding a playmaking point guard should be the team’s main focus. Here are some trades Detroit could make before the deadline to boost their roster before the playoff push.
Targeting Ricky Rubio would be a good move for the Pistons. Rubio is one of the best passing guards in recent memory, and could help the Pistons in this department. Rubio has career averages of 11 points and 7.7 assists per game. The veteran also has the ability to score and rebound, and was key in Utah’s success last year.
In this trade, the Pistons would give up Reggie Jackson and Glen Robinson III in exchange for Rubio and Jae Crowder for contract purposes. Crowder is an underrated player who can do a little bit of everything. Although Rubio is a free agent this off-season, Detroit could be a good location for him.
Rubio’s passing skills would benefit Detroit a lot, being able to run the pick-and-roll with Griffin and Drummond would make the team versatile.
It was recently reported that the Grizzlies are looking to break up their team, taking offers for both Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. The Pistons could capitalize on this and go after Conley, who would be an upgrade at the point guard position for Detroit. Conley, Griffin, and Drummond would make a formidable ‘big three’ for the Pistons.
Conley’s contract is worth $30 million a season. The Pistons could deal Jackson to Memphis along with the contract of Jon Leuer. Since Memphis is looking to rebuild, a draft pick may have to be included.
Conley is averaging nearly 20 points and six assists this season, in addition to being one of the better defensive guards in the league. Conley would add value to any team, and Detroit can afford to acquire him in place of Jackson’s contract. He and Gasol may be off the market quickly, so the Pistons should grab him while they can.
New Orleans Pelicans
It’s possible that the Pistons could decide to move on from Andre Drummond as well. In his six years in the league, he has been the Pistons’ best player, and the team has only made the playoffs once. The Pistons could move Drummond along with Jackson in a deal that would revamp the franchise.
In this blockbuster scenario, Detroit could send Jackson, Drummond, and forward Stanley Johnson to New Orleans in exchange for Jrue Holiday, E’Twuan Moore, Nikola Mirotic, and Jahlil Okafor.
Holiday is a very solid guard, and Moore and Mirotic are both good wing scorers. The Pistons would get back a more varied collection of talent to surround Griffin. This is one trade that could change the entire dynamics of the franchise, and potentially move them up the ladder in the Eastern Conference.
One thing is clear about the Pistons season so far: the team is not on the right track. Any of these trades could benefit Detroit, and potentially push them back into the playoff picture. Even as a seventh or eighth seed, the Pistons need to make the playoffs and send a message that mediocrity is not good enough.