Detroit Pistons roster: Ranking who stays, who goes for 2020-21 season

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Pistons are in the midst of a restoring that might involve plenty of roster turnover before next season. 

With a lottery pick, around $30 million in cap space and several players entering free agency, new general manager Troy Weaver will have ample opportunity to remake the roster this offseason.

In tiers, here’s a look at the players most to least likely to return next season. 

[ Predicting the Pistons starting lineup for next season ]

Take the money

Tony Snell

Snell, who led the Pistons in games started in 2019-20 with 57, has a player option worth $12.2 million. He is a reliable wing who shoots the ball well, but it’s tough to see him signing an annual contract worth more than that figure. Unless he’s traded, he’ll most certainly be back next season, and it’s hard to see him saying no to that option.

‘The Future,’ but never say never 

Sekou Doumbouya

If the Pistons’ rebuild has a face, it’s probably Doumbouya. The 15th pick of the 2019 draft had an uneven rookie season, but showed flashes of his potential and is generally considered to have a high ceiling. If Weaver isn’t sold on him, it could be worth moving him now. But the Pistons have invested in his development, and it’s hard to see him being included in trade as a sweetener. 

Bruce Brown

Brown, who has a team option worth $1.7 million, established himself as Detroit’s best defensive guard last season while continuing to round out his game. He improved as a shooter, ball-handler and passer. Considering he’s under team control and has developed his game in his two years here, the Pistons should bring him back. 

Svi Mykhailiuk

The sharpshooting wing emerged as an NBA rotation player. He’s a good defender and a 40% shooter from 3. Like Brown, he’s young and under team control. The Pistons should hang onto him. 

Just got here, probably safe

Justin Patton

The Pistons signed Patton in June, not long after Weaver was hired. He previously spent time with the Oklahoma City Thunder and their G League affiliate. Weaver is clearly a fan, and as the only true center currently under contract next season, odds seem high the Pistons will keep him around.

Trade candidate, but probably not soon

Blake Griffin

When healthy, Griffin is one of the best power forwards in the league. But injuries limited him to 18 games played in 2019-20. With two years and more than $75 million remaining on his contract, the 31-year-old is an awkward fit for a young Pistons team that isn’t contending. 

After moving on from Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson in February, it seems logical the Pistons will eventually move on from Griffin. But they’ll likely have a hard time moving his contract this offseason, considering he hasn’t played a basketball game at full health since the 2018-19 season. 

[ Pistons want Blake Griffin to ‘kick ass’ next year. What does that mean for the rebuild? ]

Also ‘The Future,’ but not quite as secure

Luke Kennard

He was playing the best of his career before tendinitis in both knees prematurely ended his season. He was nearing his return to the rotation when the NBA was suspended March 11. The Pistons shopped him at the trade deadline due to his knees and uncertainty about his future health, but a deal was never finalized. When healthy, he’s a player they can build with. But he is eligible for an extension before next season, and will hit restricted free agency in the summer. His trade value may be at its peak now. 

[ Luke Kennard may be one of Pistons best draft picks, but passing on Donovan Mitchell still stings ]

Khyri Thomas

Injuries have made it difficult for the second-year guard to find his footing. A foot injury limited him to eight games in 2019-20, and he shot 29.4% overall. His contract will become fully guaranteed this fall. There isn’t much harm in bringing him back and giving him an opportunity to stay healthy and prove himself. But the Pistons may be better served using that roster spot for another purpose. 

Unrestricted free agent, but a priority

Christian Wood

Wood, one of the NBA’s most-improved players in 2019-20, proved himself to be Detroit’s best young player. He’s a versatile offensive talent who’s efficient both from outside and in the paint. He’s an unrestricted free agent, but with around $30 million in cap space, the Pistons have the means to bring him back. He’ll have outside suitors, and it makes sense for the Pistons to explore the possibility of a sign-and-trade as a means of acquiring additional assets. 

Hot trade chip 

Derrick Rose

After a strong season as a backup point guard, he may have the highest trade stock out of any player on the roster. He’s entering the last year of his deal and will make $7.7 million next season. He’s a respected veteran and the Pistons like him. They could bring him into the season. But considering his injury history, they may be better off moving him now. 

Free agents worth the right price

Langston Galloway 

After putting together the most efficient season of his career as a scorer, he may have a solid market during free agency. Like Rose, he’s a respected vet and liked by the organization. Considering the Pistons have significant cap space, they can offer him a new contract. It depends on what Galloway, 28, wants at this stage of his career. 

Thon Maker

The 23-year-old big man is set to enter restricted free agency. After four seasons in the league, his offensive game is still raw. But he has shown some promise as a shot blocker and is still young. Considering the price of his qualifying offer ($4.9 million), it doesn’t make much sense for the Pistons to extend it to him. For a lower price, he may be worth bringing back. 

Let them walk

Brandon Knight 

John Henson 

Jordan McRae 

Knight and Henson, who arrived in Detroit from Cleveland in the Andre Drummond trade, had nice moments with the Pistons through the end of the season. They also both play positions of need, as Knight is a combo guard and Henson is a big. But the Pistons will likely address both needs through the draft and free agency. 

The Pistons claimed McRae off of waivers March 4, a week before the season was suspended. Considering he’s 29 and has never carved out a consistent NBA role, the Pistons should probably go in a different direction.

Contact Omari Sankofa II at osankofa@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. The Free Press has started a digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Pistons content. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

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