Call him Trader Troy or the Grim Weaver, or any of the other nicknames that are circulating around Twitter.
What’s clear is that Pistons general manager Troy Weaver isn’t afraid to make a deal he thinks will improve the roster and fit his long-term vision. In less than a year, Weaver has completed eight trades, which have helped reshape the roster and acquire assets during a massive rebuild.
Make it nine trades.
The Pistons are trading guard Delon Wright to the Sacramento Kings for point guard Cory Joseph and second-round picks in 2021 and 2024, a league source confirmed early Thursday morning.
It could be just another in a flurry of deals ahead of Thursday afternoon’s NBA trade deadline that could see Weaver’s trade number move into the double digits.
For subscribers: Beard: Three best, worst Pistons deals in the past decade
Wright, acquired from the Dallas Mavericks in November in a three-team deal, has been solid this season, posting 10.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5 assists in 36 games. With the lottery-bound Pistons (12-31), Wright became an asset that a potential playoff team could use in the second half of the season, and with the Kings looking to make a move toward one of the last playoff spots in the West, they added a solid contributor.
In the long term, the move clears a spot in a cluttered rotation at point guard with rookie first-round pick Killian Hayes, second-round pick Saben Lee and Dennis Smith Jr., who was acquired in the Derrick Rose trade last month. Hayes is set to return soon from a hip injury that has kept him sidelined since early January, and coach Dwane Casey had been juggling the other three point guards in the rotation for the past few games.
The Pistons get two big benefits from the deal: Joseph is due $12.6 million per year through 2022, but next season’s salary is only partially guaranteed for $2.4 million, which would be a significant discount if he’s waived by Aug. 1 or the first day of the NBA’s moratorium, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Wright’s deal for next season is fully guaranteed for $8.5 million.
The other big addition is a pair of draft picks to replenish their stockpile. The 2021 pick they’ll receive is via the Los Angeles Lakers, which likely places it near the end of the draft; the 2024 is from the Kings. That gives the Pistons three second-round picks in this year’s draft, from the Raptors, the Hornets and the Lakers, and adds a pick in a year the Pistons had previously traded away.
With Wright’s departure, Smith likely steps into the starting role, at least until Hayes returns and ramps up to play for longer stretches.
In Joseph, the Pistons get a 29-year-old veteran from Canada who played two seasons under Casey with the Toronto Raptors from 2015-17. Joseph had his best season with 9.3 points, 3.3 assists and shot 36% on 3-pointers in 2016-17.