NBA Trade Rumors: Detroit Pistons floated as potential suitor for Zach LaVine, but it would be costly

Detroit Bad Boys

Because I understand how fun and rewarding (via clicks) an article building hypothetical trades for the latest NBA star who has hit the trading block is, I also know that getting put through the aggregation machine can be hell even if it is simply the cost of doing business.

So let me start with a key point shared by The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie regarding the hypothetical trade he concocted that would send Zach LaVine to the struggling Detroit Pistons for Jaden Ivey.

“To be even more clear, I would not offer Ivey in any potential LaVine deal.”

OK. We have highlighted the point. You can underline it, frame it, memorialize it. Sam thinks this would be a bad trade for the Pistons. The deal, to be clear, would send Ivey along with the expiring contracts of Joe Harris and James Wiseman. So, a quasi salary dump and straight 1:1 LaVine for Ivey swap.

But it does make some sort of ridiculous sense. Vecenie’s primary caveat is that something is going on with Jaden Ivey, and it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Most Pistons fans have said much the same thing.Ivey has been relegated to a bench role, doesn’t seem to have much emphasis within the offensive scheme even when he does play, missed several games due to illness, and it’s not sure how Monty Williams sees Jaden fitting into Detroit long term.

Some call it tough love to ensure Ivey focuses on all the little things he needs to do on both ends to reach what could be an elite ceiling. Others think Williams just doesn’t particularly care for Ivey’s game and is putting others out on the floor.

Whatever you think, Ivey has performed well in his limited minutes this season. He performed well, mostly filling in for an injured Cade Cunningham, during his rookie season. And it’s also clear that what Monty has trotted out there in place of Ivey also hasn’t worked. The Pistons, decimated by injuries, have lost nine in a row and the starting unit is one of the least effective in the NBA.

Of course, adding LaVine would certainly do a lot to juice that lineup’s offensive performance. LaVine is a dynamic scorer who last season averaged 24 points per game on 60% true shooting. He can score at all three levels and he could be a perfect offensive complement to Cade Cunningham. Providing Cade space to work, being a willing shooter off of Cunningham’s passes, and generally opening up the floor and allowing it to function more like a modern NBA offense. That is not something that current starter Killian Hayes can do, and it’s debatable whether Ivey could either — at least immediately.

Of course, there are two sides of the court, and any deal for LaVine would seem to fly in the face of this season’s professed emphasis on defense and discipline. Those are not particular hallmarks of LaVine’s game.

But the offense is so terrible that it makes sense people look Detroit’s way any time a top scorer would become available.

Before you lose too much sleep over the idea that Ivey could be sacrificed at the altar of a horrible team needing to immediately improve, I’d also note that Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports has some intel that indicates LaVine’s reps are pushing to get their client to a championship destination — the Lakers, Heat, and Sixers are said to be his preferred landing spots. The Spurs have also been mentioned as who wouldn’t want to play alongside Victor Wembanyama and be coached by Gregg Popovich?

However, let’s say that the unexpected happens and LaVine finds himself a member of the Detroit Pistons. How will I cope?

Easy. I will say that there is no bigger vote of confidence in the talent and upside of Ausar Thompson than committing to the $180 million and 3.5 years left on LaVine’s deal and locking in a defensive backcourt of LaVine and Cunningham.

That trade says to me, don’t worry, Ausar can cover anybody and eliminate plenty of mistakes.

Comforted yet?

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