When the NBA trade deadline passed at 3 p.m. Thursday, the Detroit Pistons‘ roster had one minor change.
That was largely because the team had done much of its work early, parting ways with Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin and Svi Mykhailiuk during the six weeks leading up to the deadline. The one move they did make this week, trading Delon Wright to the Sacramento Kings for Cory Joseph and two second-round picks, was familiar tune: adding two picks to their depleted cupboard and gaining a leader in the locker room, while sending a veteran to a team that wanted him.
General manager Troy Weaver said Friday that this week represented more of the future-minded approach that has defined his early tenure.
“Our philosophy going into the trade deadline was the same as usual,” Weaver said before Friday’s home game against the Brooklyn Nets. “Have an aggressive mindset and to try to improve the team and continue to move us forward and restore the Pistons organization.”
Trade is a ‘win-win’
Wright stared 31 of his 36 games played for the Pistons, averaging 10.4 points, five assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 29.2 minutes per game — all career-highs. After a down season with the Dallas Mavericks, the Pistons believed Wright’s best basketball was ahead of him. That proved to be true, and he gave them stability at both guard positions.
Weaver said the Kings coveted Wright, and he believes Wright is entering a good situation. Meanwhile, the Pistons received Joseph, a point guard back who Dwane Casey coached with the Toronto Raptors from 2015-17. Detroit also received a 2021 second-round pick and 2024 second-round pick, making the trade a “win-win” for each team.
“(Joseph) has played a lot of good basketball in his career and he fits our locker room, he fits the leadership role that we were looking for and excited to move forward with him and also to be able to get those two second-round picks,” Weaver said. “We felt like it was a win-win trade for both sides. And always try to put myself into players’ shoes. I think Delon ended up in a great situation for himself moving forward. They needed a guard, they really wanted him. He can help fortify their team. Closer to home. Happy for him.”
Diallo’s competitive, defensive mindset fits
When the Pistons traded Mykhailiuk and a future second-rounder to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Hamidou Diallo earlier this month, they received a player that Weaver was previously familiar with. Weaver was an assistant GM with the Thunder when they traded for him on draft night in 2018.
Diallo, who will make his debut with the Pistons on Friday, is an athletic wing with a long wingspan and strong defensive chops. Weaver is high on his trajectory moving forward.
“Hami, he fits what we’re trying to do here,” he said. “Tremendous mindset, tremendous competitor. Defensive mindset, athletic. You can never have too many guys that have that mindset and that competitive and bring it every night. As we’re going through this process, we’re looking for those types of players. He fits the bill going forward for us. Tremendous young man. Very fortunate and excited to have him join the Pistons. Great things can come ahead with Hami.”
Second-round picks give Pistons ‘flexibility’
After the Wright and Rose trades, the Pistons now have three second-round picks in the 2021 NBA draft — the Raptors’, Charlotte Hornets’ and Los Angeles Lakers’. One could be traded for future picks, as they don’t have their own second-rounder until 2027. They could also move up in this year’s draft, or take a draft-and-stash player.
Weaver said acquiring more second-rounders was a priority this week, due to the flexibility teams gain from having them.
“That was a big part of us making the deal, being able to restore the treasure chest, being able to acquire some assets moving forward, replenish, so we can continue to maintain, be aggressive and turn it into good fortune for us,” Weaver said. “People have asked about some of the picks, the Laker pick being a later pick. We don’t know where that’s going to lie.
“Having those assets, the second-round pick, to me, a little different animal now with the two-way contracts,” he added. “If you can get a young man to agree on a two-way and still draft him, a’la Saben Lee, that bodes well for you. A lot of times people see those as throwaway picks. I don’t see them as throwaway picks. I see them as picks you can use in a variety of ways, and now with the two-way contract, that’s another way to use those picks as well.”
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