Less than a week after acquiring Jalen Duren and Kemba Walker from the New York Knicks, the Detroit Pistons completed another trade with them.
The Knicks traded Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks, Detroit’s own 2023 second-round pick, a 2024 second round pick from the Miami Heat and $6 million in cash to the Pistons, league sources confirmed to the Free Press on Tuesday night.
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Detroit will absorb around $19 million in salary, firmly taking them out of the running for some of the NBA’s top players entering restricted free agency.
Per sources, the Pistons intend to keep both Noel and Burks, rather than trade them. Burks, a 6-foot-6 wing, is a career 38% 3-point shooter and will give Detroit, which shot just 32.6% from 3 last season, a major lift. Noel, a 6-foot-11 center, averaged 3.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game last season.
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Both Burks (owed $10 million next season) and Noel ($9.2 million) have team options during the 2023-24 season, meaning the Pistons could clear an additional $19 million off of the books and have max money in what’s expected to be a strong 2023 free agency class. They also give the Pistons potential trade chips at the 2023 trade deadline, since both contracts are essentially expiring deals.
After drafting Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren last Thursday, sources indicated to the Free Press that the Pistons were less likely to sign a max player in free agency, and would prioritize shooting and financial flexibility. They have done both, and now are well short of the money needed to offer a max contract to either Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton or Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges — two restricted free agents the Pistons have been connected to.
The Knicks have unloaded around $28 million in salary into the Pistons’ cap space during the last week as they position themselves to sign Dallas Mavericks guard, long rumored to be their primary free agency target, to a max or near-max contract. In return, the Pistons have acquired Duren, two future second-rounders, $6 million in cash and two role players.
Walker will likely be bought out of his expiring $9.2 million contract, sources tell the Free Press.
Contact Omari Sankofa II at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Pistons content. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.