4 takeaways from Pistons’ news conference: Troy Weaver says don’t worry about dead money

Detroit Free Press

Omari Sankofa II
| Detroit Free Press

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On Wednesday, Detroit Pistons general manager Troy Weaver introduced two of their free agency signings — Jerami Grant, and Josh Jackson. Here are four takeaways from the news conference. 

Weaver not worried about dead money

The Pistons spent a lot of money in free agency. To make room for all of their contracts, they had to waive-and-stretch two players — center Dewayne Dedmon, and guard Zhaire Smith. It’ll add roughly $3.9 million in dead money to the Pistons’ cap sheet through the 2022-23 season, and $2.9 million during the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons. 

It’ll slightly limit the Pistons’ cap flexibility for five seasons. Weaver doesn’t anticipate it being an issue, and said it won’t alter any of Detroit’s future plans. 

“It was part of the deal,” Weaver said. “We wanted to get these players and construct this team a certain way. Stretching the dead money is just part of it, but it won’t inhibit us in any way from moving forward with our plan.” 

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Pistons paid Plumlee to help young players

Mason Plumlee’s three-year, $25 million contract surprised many across the league. Plumlee was a backup center for the Denver Nuggets last season, and the market for traditional centers has declined in recent years with NBA teams prioritizing positional versatility and spacing. 

But Plumlee’s value to the Pistons goes beyond his expected market value. Weaver praised his basketball IQ and anticipates he will make the game easier for Detroit’s young players — including their prized rookie point guard, Killian Hayes. 

“Mason is a very smart player,” Weaver said. “He’s great in quick actions, great in pick and roll, he’s got a great voice on defense. He’s going to help the young guys, the young bigs grow, as well as the guards — Killian and the rest of the young perimeter players we have. He brings a wealth of knowledge to the game, high IQ along with great size and great motor.” 

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Jackson happy to be home

The Pistons targeted the fourth pick of the 2017 NBA draft early in free agency. The Detroit native hasn’t lived up to his draft position, but showed promise with the Memphis Grizzlies last season. 

Jackson is excited to move home. He has family in the Detroit area, and said he grew up a Pistons fan. He checks multiple boxes Weaver prioritized in free agency as a long-armed, athletic forward who can defend multiple positions. He doesn’t anticipate being home will distract his goal this season, which is to show his best basketball is in front of him. 

“I got a lot of good people around me,” Jackson said. “My mom is here, my grandmother is here, my uncles who continue and have been looking out for me while I’ve been gone. I keep my family the closest, keep my circle tight, and that’s pretty much it. All my friends are pretty much gone, playing overseas or in the NBA, just like I am, most of my friends I grew up with. It’ll be pretty easy for me to be focused.” 

Grant’s uncle, Horace, could attend a Pistons game in the future

Former Chicago Bulls big man Horace Grant entered the sports news cycle in April after he was featured in ESPN’s Michael Jordan documentary, “The Last Dance.” He weighed in on the Bulls’ heated rivalry with the Isiah Thomas-led Bad Boys Pistons, and lambashed the Pistons for their infamous walk-off during Chicago’s sweep of Detroit in the 1991 playoffs

When asked if his uncle still has disdain for the Pistons, Jerami confirmed the obvious. But Horace seemingly approves of Jerami’s decision to sign with the Pistons. 

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“I think everybody watched ‘The Last Dance,’ ” Jerami said. “He’s cool, he’s happy for me. I’m sure we’ll see him at a few games.”

Contact Omari Sankofa II at osankofa@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

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