The Detroit Pistons have come to an agreement with free agent big man Kelly Olynyk on a three-year deal for $37 million, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The Pistons were in the market for a big man after trading incumbent starter Mason Plumlee during the NBA Draft. The price tag is steep for Olynyk, who provides spacing and ball handling that Plumlee did not offer.
It’s likely that Olynyk comes off the bench for Detroit behind Isaiah Stewart, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pistons attempt to play both of them on the floor at the same time.
Olynyk had a great (albeit brief) 27-game run with the Houston Rockets where he split his minutes almost evenly between center and forward. Used almost exclusively as a perimeter threat for years in Boston and Miami, in Houston he was allowed to handle the ball a little more and was asked to attack the basket.
He was utilized as a point center, averaging 19 points, 8.6 rebounds and more than 4 assists per game. He also shot 55% from the floor and his 3-point attempt rate plummeted from 64% in his final half season in Miami to just 38% with Houston. His free-throw rate was also a career-high 42%.
This will unclog the lane for Detroit and allow some attacking lanes for Killian Hayes and Cade Cunningham. It also adds shooting on a team desperate for improved offense.
Was that a mirage in Houston? The Pistons are betting that it’s not completely a good stats on bad team scenario (though the Pistons might be a bad team themselves). The move will likely be the only significant move the Pistons are able to make this offseason as they were scheduled to have roughly $16 million to spend in free agency.
There are reports the team is interested in re-signing Cory Joseph to a modest deal to return as a veteran point guard, and they will turn their attention to their own restricted free agents. Hamidou Diallo seems like a priority, and the Pistons would probably like to see one of their best shooters Frank Jackson return. Rookie Saben Lee is also a restricted free agent.