The Detroit Pistons‘ free agency rumors figure to be some of the most interesting around the league this year. They’ve stacked an elite repertoire of young talent and have an up-and-coming, exciting team under a great coach who’s going to favor their development over anything else.
But the word around the league is that the Pistons could also look to make a playoff push. They want their players to grow in a winning environment right away, so don’t expect them to tank from day one. Also, they have lots and lots of cap space, so they can afford to make a couple of big moves in free agency. If they don’t work, they can always use the same approach they used with Jerami Grant and flip him for future picks.
Having a potential franchise player in Cade Cunningham is exciting, so imagine having two of them now that they’ve also landed Jaden Ivey. But how will they shape the rest of their roster? What should be the Detroit Pistons’ offseason plan and top priorities?
Pistons free agency rumors
Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Saddiq Bey, Marvin Bagley, Isaiah Stewart, and Jalen Duren looks like a solid core to build around. Sure, the Pistons could use more shooting and floor-spacers, and adding a backup scoring guard shouldn’t hurt, either.
Hamidou Diallo has Sixth Man of the Year potential and chances are that Killian Hayes still turns out to be at least good as a pass-first PG. They could also use another wing stopper to improve their switch defense. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top five players they should target in free agency.
5. Miles Bridges
Miles Bridges‘ free agency just took a big turn. He was supposed to be a lock to go back to the Charlotte Hornets, but now it seems like they’re not willing to make a long-term commitment and sign him to the max contract extension he’s eligible for. Needless to say, there should be plenty of league-wide interest in him.
Bridges is coming off the best season of his career, and imagining him catching lobs from Cunningham is an exciting thought. He can guard and play both forward spots and even some five. More importantly, he’s just 23 years old, so he definitely fits their timeline, and they have more than enough assets to pull the trigger and get a deal done.
4. Malik Monk
Malik Monk failed to prove his worth with the Charlotte Hornets, both on and off the court. But he proved that he can be a steady and consistent contributor last season as one of the few bright spots for a mediocre Los Angeles Lakers team. Also, he was a lottery pick and he’s still young, so the talent is most definitely there.
While not an All-Star caliber player, Monk could be a massive pickup for them at a reasonable price. He can play both guard spots, come off the bench, or start if needed. He can also switch to the three in some sets, and he’s a consistent three-point shooter, which is one of the biggest areas of improvement for this team.
3. Jalen Brunson
In a somewhat underwhelming class, Jalen Brunson is one of the best free agents available, and will likely be paid as such. That may drive the Detroit Pistons away from trying to make a run at him, especially with their backcourt for the future already set with Cunningham and Ivey. But they have more than enough money to spend and take a risk.
Brunson is one of the best backup point guards in the league and he’d be a prime Sixth Man of the Year candidate here. Even if he’s coming off the bench, he’d still play big minutes and could help this young squad on their playoff push. If things don’t work out, they could still try and move him just like they did with Jerami Grant.
2. Taurean Prince
Taurean Prince hasn’t gotten a lot of attention lately. He didn’t pay off with the Brooklyn Nets and then fell in the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ pecking order. But that only means they won’t face that much competition for him, and he shouldn’t demand a big payday to sign with a new team, and he’d be a big low-risk/high-reward pickup.
Prince understands and embraces his role. He’d be a 3-and-D specialist in charge of checking the rival’s best scorer and just knock down the occasional corner three from time to time. He’s long, athletic, can switch in to multiple positions, and holds his own against big men and on the perimeter as well, so what’s not to like there?
1. Deandre Ayton
Most Detroit Pistons’ free agency rumors have them making a run at Deandre Ayton, perhaps the best ‘feasible’ restricted free agent right now. He’s 23 years old, a former first-overall pick, and one of the most underrated two-way players of the past couple of seasons. However, the Phoenix Suns don’t seem to trust him or see him that way.
Ayton is a scoring machine and a walking double-double but he’s also become a solid rim protector. He’s an athletic and physical specimen that fits their timeline and would give them yet another top-five pick for their project. They’re one of the few teams that could and should offer him the max deal he wants, and they have enough to give in return in a potential sign-and-trade deal.