NBA Free Agency: Pistons extended qualifying offer to Marvin Bagley III

Detroit Bad Boys

The Detroit Pistons have extended a $7.2 million qualifying offer to Marvin Bagley III, making the fourth-year big man a restricted free agent, according to a report from Keith Smith of Spotrac.

The move is largely a formality and much expected after the Pistons traded for the disgruntled and little-used Bagley, a former second overall pick of the Sacramento Kings. Detroit gave up Trey Lyles, Josh Jackson and two second-round picks in the deal. There was zero chance Bagley was returning to the Kings so for the Pistons to give up two even minor assets for him indicated they had a plan in place for Bagley beyond last season.

The only wrinkle in that apparent plan was the Pistons trading back into the lottery of the NBA Draft and taking center prospect Jalen Duren. Bagley works best as a small-ball center and with Isaiah Stewart, Kelly Olynyk and now Duren already on the roster, center minutes should be sparse.

Of course, the Pistons also traded Jerami Grant so, at least for now, there is a big hole at power forward that Bagley could attempt to fill.

While sometimes negotiations with restricted free agents can drag out as players look to field offers from other clubs that their incumbent team can decide to match, a new contract with Bagley should be hammered out as the first order of business for Detroit.

That is because Bagley has a giant cap hold of $28 million courtesy of being a former second overall pick, and a new deal for the big man would come in way under that on an annual basis. There is also a chance that the Pistons still renounce the qualifying offer and come to terms on a new deal, but this was a procedural move more than anything.

What Bagley’s next contract looks like is hotly debated among Detroit Pistons fans. Based on his play on the court, he played like a $3 million player, per John Hollinger’s free agent value rankings, but there are some who believe he could get paid north of $10 million per season.

The last time Pistons fans had those fears was with Hamidou Diallo, a player Detroit traded for just before his own restricted free agency. The Pistons were able to re-sign Diallo with little fanfare to a two-year deal for $5.2 million per year with a team option. Also on Tuesday, it was reported the Pistons exercised that option for Diallo.

Bagley might earn a bit more, but if I’m putting on my reckless speculation cap, I’d expect something for Bagley to the tune of two years $16 million or three years $21 million with a player or mutual option tagged onto the end so MB could go elsewhere if he starts to live up to his upside and lofty draft status.

Once the Pistons lock Bagley into a deal, assuming it’s one close to paying him roughly $7 – $8 million, the Pistons should have north of $25 million in cap space to work with.

Oh, also, Smith, who reported the Bagley and Diallo news, has this interesting bit of info to offer.

With the Knicks looking for several ways to get under the cap to sign Jalen Brunson, and Weaver never shy about executing complicated multi-team deals (remember the Bruce Brown trade evolved into the Bruce Brown-Luke Kennard-six player-six-draft-pick, three-team extravaganza), this thing could become a behemoth.

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