3 Detroit Pistons trades they could make with No. 5 pick in NBA draft 2023

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Pistons want to be an improved team next season. There’s nowhere to go but up after the 17-win finish in 2022-23, but it will take a little elbow grease.

The No. 5 overall pick — a precipitous fall from No. 1, to be fair — is still high enough for them to feel as though they’ll get a difference-maker. But the front office will spend the next few weeks evaluating and debating the best way to maximize the pick, even if it means including it in a trade.

General manager Troy Weaver didn’t rule out the possibility when asked the night of the lottery, and why would he? The Pistons will not only have a high pick, but around $30 million in cap space that could help facilitate any deals.

It could take a strong offer to convince the Pistons to part with their pick, which they can only officially finalize after the draft is complete (though they can agree prior to or during draft night).

Here are two trades that would land the Pistons a “star,” and one that would increase their asset pool. All of the trades were run through Fanspo.com‘s trade machine for salary-matching purposes.

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Pistons get: Jaylen Brown

Celtics get: 2023 DET fifth pick, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jaden Ivey

Regardless of the Boston Celtics’ playoff fate, they underwhelmed following a 57-win season that clinched the second seed. The eighth-seeded Miami Heat nearly swept Boston, building a 3-0 series lead before the Celtics roared back to capture Games 4-6 and force a decisive seventh game Monday night.

Brown, named in May to the All-NBA second team, will be one of the most talked-about players this offseason. The 26-year-old wing is entering the final year of his contract and is eligible for a supermax extension from Boston worth up to five years and $295 million — an average of $59 million per year starting in 2024. No NBA player has rejected a supermax deal.

Brown has earned his extension after averaging 26.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting 49.1% overall. And the Celtics, fresh off of a Finals appearance and seventh season in eight years with at least 48 wins, have incentive to keep him. But Brown struggled in Games 1-3 against Miami, and Boston has another big financial obligation approaching with Jayson Tatum being eligible for an extension worth $318 million in July 2024.

Compared to the field of potential Brown suitors, the Pistons are not well-positioned. They’re bound to the NBA’s Stepien Rule due to their 2020 trade which brought them Isaiah Stewart, and can only offer their 2029 or 2030 first-round pick beyond this year’s. They also don’t have an All-NBA-equivalent talent they can offer who can match Brown’s production. Maybe Cade Cunningham will get there, but it would be stunning to see the Pistons trade him right now.

A package involving Bogdanovic, Ivey and the fifth pick might get them in the conversation. Bogdanovic, 34, can’t match Brown’s defensive capabilities, but he’s coming off of a strong offensive season and can help Boston win games. This trade hinges on the Pistons’ willingness to part ways with Ivey, their 2022 No. 5 overall pick coming off of a promising rookie season, and Boston’s belief that Ivey can become an All-Star in the near future.

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This isn’t a risk-free trade for the Pistons, either. Brown is about to become extremely expensive, would dramatically speed up the timeline and could conceivably bolt for a different team in 2024 free agency after one year with the Pistons. But they’re not getting All-NBA talent for less than what they’re giving up here. The Pistons would be able to offer Brown the most years and money by retaining his Bird Rights.

There are packages around the league that would better prepare the Celtics for a deep playoff run next season. But if they’re looking for future upside and financial flexibility, the Pistons can help.

Pistons get: 2023 UTA 9th pick, 2023 UTA 16th pick (via MIN)

Jazz get: 2023 DET 5th pick

This trade is much more straightforward. If the Pistons aren’t enticed by their options at No. 5, they can move down and get two first-round picks for their trouble — including a lottery pick.

The Jazz are entering Year 2 of a full rebuild and have three picks this year, including the 28th pick. They could simply add three rookies and call it a day, but if the player on top of their draft board is likely to be gone by No. 9, the Pistons are a logical trade partner. After the top three in this draft, there’s no clear talent hierarchy. Both Detroit and Utah could get their desired player at five or nine. It comes down to their respective boards and how desperate they are to get their preferred player.

The Pistons drafted two players in the lottery last year, and three in the first round in 2020. But the sense right now is they’re not quite as willing to add multiple rookies as they look to turn the corner next season. The trade still has merit, as they could look to flip one of Utah’s picks for a future first and replenish the pick they lost when they traded for Stewart three years ago. If they chose this option, it would give them an important asset to include in any future trades, or simply give them a first-rounder during a season they’d look to convey their own pick that they owe to New York.

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Pistons get: Dejounte Murray, 2023 ATL 15th pick

Hawks get: Bojan Bogdanovic, 2023 DET 5th pick

The Hawks made a big swing by trading for Murray last summer, but it didn’t work. Their Murray-Trae Young backcourt didn’t jell, and Atlanta finished the season 41-41 and lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Celtics. Murray, a 26-year-old guard who was named an All-Star in 2022, is entering the last year of his contract and is eligible for a four-year, $114 million extension, according to NBA salary cap expert Bobby Marks.

This trade checks necessary boxes for both teams. The Pistons need a defensive upgrade and Murray is one of the NBA’s best. He’s skilled at forcing turnovers and being disruptive off-ball thanks to his 6-foot-10 wingspan and he’s also a great rebounder for his size. He was named second-team All-Defense in 2018. He’s also great on the other side of the floor and averaged 20.5 points, 6.1 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals this past season while shooting 34.4% from 3 on a career-high 5.1 attempts. The Pistons would move down 10 spots in the draft, but receive the better player in the deal.

For Atlanta, it would avoid paying an average of $28.9 million a year to a player who ultimately didn’t help it get over the playoff hump, losing in six games to Boston in the first round. The Hawks in the original trade for Murray paid three future first-round picks and a 2026 pick swap to the San Antonio Spurs. The No. 5 pick would give them flexibility to either add a talented young player or use the pick as a valuable draft asset to pursue another top player. Bogdanovic can help win games next season or be included in another trade.

It’s not a seamless deal for the Pistons — they’d have a crowded backcourt with Murray, Cunningham and Ivey, and would speed up their rebuilding timeline. But the Pistons can afford to see if the three can co-exist. And regardless, Murray is a talented player who addresses big needs as a defender, playmaker and scorer.

Contact Omari Sankofa II at osankofa@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa.

Listen to “The Pistons Pulse” every Tuesday morning and on demand on freep.com or wherever you listen to podcasts. Catch all of our podcasts and daily voice briefing at freep.com/podcasts.

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