Bojan Bogdanovic trade is a win for Detroit Pistons, addressing 2 important needs

Detroit Free Press

Training camp opens Monday for the Detroit Pistons. They decided to address two of their biggest roster issues several days beforehand.

The Pistons traded Kelly Olynyk and Saben Lee to the Utah Jazz in exchange for veteran wing Bojan Bogdanovic, league sources confirmed to the Free Press on Thursday morning. It isn’t a trade that’ll send shockwaves through the league, but the 33-year-old veteran sharpshooter can earn a significant role this season. The Pistons were previously deep at center and guard, and thin at the wing positions. Now, they have adequate depth up and down the rotation.

The move not only balances the roster, but adds crucial shooting punch. Bogdanovic is a career 39.2% 3-point shooter over eight seasons. He’s the most accomplished shooter on the roster and will lift a squad that shot just 32.6% on 3s last season — 29th in the NBA.

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Additionally, the trade brings Detroit a step closer to getting within the NBA’s roster limit of 15 players, not including those on two-way contracts. The Pistons previously had 17 players, including Kemba Walker, who the team acquired in June from the New York Knicks. League sources previously told the Free Press the Pistons were expected to reach a buyout agreement with Walker. That hasn’t happened yet, but the two sides are still expected to part ways before the season tips off Oct. 19.

The coaching staff may not have a choice but to bookmark a lot of minutes for Bogdanovic in 2022-23. The 6-foot-7 wing averaged 18.1 points and 4.3 rebounds last season while shooting 45.5% overall and 38.7% from 3. According to Cleaning The Glass, he shot an above-average percentage at the rim, from midrange and from behind-the-arc last season. He can make plays on offense with or without the ball. He’ll make life easier for starting point guard Cade Cunningham and the rest of Detroit’s ball-handlers.

The Pistons previously lacked a forward with Bogdanovic’s proven dynamism on offense. Saddiq Bey made strides last season as an all-around offensive player, but his efficiency didn’t keep up with his increased shot volume. Isaiah Livers shot the ball well in limited minutes as a rookie, but remains unproven in an expanded role. It’s too early to say if Bogdanovic will be a starter on opening night, but he has a strong resume and should be a featured rotation player regardless.

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Financially, the move shouldn’t have any significant repercussions for the Pistons. Bogdanovic has one year remaining on his contract and will make $19.6 million. Detroit was already slated to have significant cap space next summer, so Bogdanovic won’t eat into that. In fact, Olynyk’s contract is partially guaranteed for $3 million in 2023-24, so the Pistons are set up for a little more cap space next summer. In return, the Pistons will have $5 million more money on the cap sheet this season, as Olynyk was slated for $12.8 million and Lee $1.8 million.

Bogdanovic’s arrival opens interesting debates on how the Pistons should handle their rotation. Coach Dwane Casey and his staff should prioritize shooting, and the roster is smaller than it was before the deal. Will Isaiah Stewart start alongside Marvin Bagley III — who the Pistons signed to a fully guaranteed three-year, $37.5 million contract this offseason — or will he play alongside a proven shooter in Bogdanovic? Casey could start Bogdanovic and Bey at the forward spots to maximize spacing. Doing so would push Bagley into a bench role, and could block Jalen Duren and Nerlens Noel from cracking the rotation.

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The Pistons will have much to figure out during training camp, but trading for Bogdanovic looks like an upgrade. He adds needed shooting and depth at forward, a heavy dose of postseason and international experience, and solves a roster crunch. Lee was previously a candidate to be cut during training camp, considering the Pistons already have three young guards in Cunningham, Killian Hayes and Jaden Ivey.

General manager Troy Weaver has never shied away from a trade. His latest one appears to be a clear win for the Pistons.

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