3 trades Detroit Pistons should target on 2020 NBA draft night

Detroit Free Press

With the seventh pick in the 2020 NBA draft and close to $30 million in cap space, the Detroit Pistons are in better position than they have been in several seasons to reshape the roster and build a team that can sustainably make the playoffs and compete for a title. 

The path they will take is unclear, but general manager Troy Weaver could choose to be aggressive on draft night and add additional assets to a team that lacks a young franchise player. 

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This year’s draft isn’t particularly strong at the top, but it has depth. Considering Weaver recently told reporters he believes the draft is around 15 players deep, it’s reasonable to assume the Pistons might land a player they believe has the tools to last in the NBA even outside of the lottery (top 14). 

[ 2020 NBA mock draft 1.0: Pistons select their point guard of the future ]

Here are three draft-night trades that make sense for Detroit, with assistance from tradenba.com.

Trade 1

Pistons receive: Enes Kanter, Carsen Edwards, 26th pick of 2020 draft, 30th pick of 2020 draft

Boston Celticsreceive: Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose, and his expiring contract, is perhaps the Pistons’ best trade chip. He’s coming off a strong season off of the bench that saw him average 18.1 points and 5.6 assists in 26 minutes per game. He can immediately help any contending team in the NBA. The Celtics have had a strong performance in the playoffs thus far, and Rose is an upgrade over their current backup point guard, Brad Wanamaker. 

In return, the Pistons add a solid role player in center Enes Kanter, the Celtics’ 2019 second-round pick in Carsen Edwards, and two of Boston’s first-round picks. Both are late firsts, but give Detroit two chances at finding a viable NBA player, or an opportunity to bundle the picks and move up in the draft. 

Boston has three first-round picks this year, including the No. 14 pick that they received from the Memphis Grizzlies in a prior trade. It’s more draft capital than they can realistically use, considering their roster is already inundated with young talent. In search of a boost to their 2021 title hopes, Rose could be the best available point guard option for the Celtics.

[ Pistons starting lineup for next season: A far-too-early preview ]

Trade 2

Pistons receive: Garrett Temple, Nicolas Claxton, 19th pick of 2020 draft

Brooklyn Nets receive: Luke Kennard

The Nets are in position to make a meteoric leap next season. Kevin Durant will return from the Achilles tear he suffered in Game 5 of the 2019 Finals, and could make Brooklyn a favorite to emerge out of the Eastern Conference if he’s 100% healthy. The challenge for Brooklyn’s front office will be rounding out the rest of the roster without cap space, after potentially losing a key player.

Joe Harris, Brooklyn’s starting small forward, will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He’s a 3-point specialist who has shot better than 40% from 3-point range in three consecutive seasons. After making about $7.7 million last season, he’s due for a raise. The Nets have his Bird rights, but it’s unclear how deep they’re willing to go into the luxury tax to retain him. 

Instead, they could use their first-round pick to acquire his replacement. Luke Kennard averaged a career-high 15.8 points and 4.1 assists per game and shot 39.9% from behind the arc this season. Because he only played 28 games due to tendinitis in both knees, the Pistons could be reluctant to pay him. He’ll soon be eligible for an extension and will hit restricted free agency after next season if a deal isn’t reached beforehand. Detroit considered moving him in February. 

Kennard would give the Nets a team-controlled asset to replace the shooting they would lose if Harris signs a big contract elsewhere. In exchange, the Pistons would get their first-round pick, Garrett Temple, a veteran shooting guard who will be on an expiring deal if he opts into his player option, and Nic Claxton, who went 31st overall in the 2019 draft and has upside as a big man. 

The deal is reliant on the Nets picking up Temple’s team option and also believing in Kennard’s health. But it’s a trade that checks boxes for both teams. 

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

Trade 3

Pistons receive: Rodney Hood, Anfernee Simons, 16th pick of 2020 draft

Portland Trail Blazers receive: Luke Kennard

The Blazers finished with a losing record but made the playoffs — a 5-game loss to the Lakers — with a hot run in the Orlando bubble; they’re better than this season would suggest. Because of injuries to Jusuf Nurkic and various role players, Portland’s depth was thin throughout the season. They made the 2019 Western Conference finals and return much of the same core. 

Second-year guard Gary Trent Jr. established himself as a reliable two-way player, but with Trevor Ariza potentially becoming a free agent and Anfernee Simons still finding his footing, they could use an additional wing. 

Kennard’s shooting and secondary playmaking would take pressure off Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, and he would be under team control. Like Brooklyn, the Blazers would have to believe in his ability to stay healthy. 

Rodney Hood, who is coming off of an Achilles rupture suffered in December, will almost certainly pick up his player option. When healthy, he’s a reliable rotation wing. Simons and a first-round pick may be a bit of an overpay for Kennard, but the deal also works without Simons. 

Simons, the 24th pick in 2018, appeared in 70 games for Portland this season but struggled to carve out a role in the Orlando bubble. If included in the trade, he would give the Pistons a Kennard replacement with upside. The logic for Portland is they can compete for a title in 2021, Kennard’s injury woes are behind him and the 2020 pick won’t land a player who can help them win right now. 

Contact Omari Sankofa II at osankofa@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. The Free Press has started a new 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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