2024 NBA Draft Detroit Pistons Trade Down Guide

Detroit Bad Boys

At the NBA Draft Lottery, the unthinkable (yet totally predictable) happened when the Detroit Pistons fell once again to the 5th pick, and there is a real chance the Pistons will pick even lower than that. That’s right! We’re talking about trade-down scenarios.

In a draft without clear-cut premier players, either very few trades happen because teams believe they can stay put and get similar value, or teams are more willing to make targeted trades to get “their guy.” As the draft approaches, rumors are swirling that a few teams could be eyeing a move up the draft board if their guy begins to slide.

For each trade scenario, we briefly explain why each team would do the trade, how it affects the Pistons’ cap room, and a few players they could target at their new draft slot. Let’s dive in!

Wembanyama Running Mate

San Antonio Spurs | #8

While the Spurs aren’t currently rumored to be in the market to move up, they certainly have the assets to do so. Should they choose to surround their French phenom with a couple of top 5 picks, there is no shortage of options.

Pistons cap room remaining: $48,549,983 [-$15,851,296]

Why the Pistons say yes

In this deal, the Pistons would add an athletic, high-motor forward who is a capable catch-and-shoot 3-point shooter. Johnson is on a very affordable contract that only gets cheaper over the next few years; his salary drops to $17.5M for the final two years of the contract. The Pistons will still have the cap room to acquire a player on any max contract with minimal effort if that’s the route of choice.

Why the Spurs say yes

The Spurs can add another Top 5 pick and create an additional $17M in cap room to build around Wembanyama while getting off long-term salary.

Pistons targets at #8

  • Dalton Knecht – a jolt of ready-made shooting and scoring from the Tennessee star
  • Ron Holland – a swing on upside with the Ignite wing who needs to shoot a lot better
  • Cody Williams – a swing on upside, again, from the Colorado wing who is a bit of an enigma
  • Tidjane Salaun – a swing on upside from the big Frenchman who great physical tools + shooting potential

2024 NBA Combine

Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

The Clingan Connection

This next group of teams are all rumored to be enamored with Donovan Clingan and motivated to make a deal should he fall into range.

Memphis Grizzlies | #9

Cap room remaining: $64,096,932 [-$304,347]

Why the Pistons say yes

Pistons get a PF/C who can stretch the floor, pass the ball, and provide some rim protection chops without cutting into their cap room this summer. They are also able to move up in the 2nd round, improving the chances of adding a player who could eventually contribute to the team.

Why the Grizzlies say yes

Grizzlies are able to get their starting center in Clingan, who will be cost controlled on his rookie contract for the next 4 years. Aldama, on the other hand, is in the last year of his deal and in need of an extension. Grizzlies are able to avoid that decision while getting value for one of their rotational bigs.

Pistons targets at #9

  • Dalton Knecht – a jolt of ready-made shooting and scoring from the Tennessee star
  • Ron Holland – a swing on upside with the Ignite wing who needs to shoot a lot better
  • Cody Williams – a swing on upside, again, from the Colorado wing who is a bit of an enigma
  • Tidjane Salaun – a swing on upside from the big Frenchman who great physical tools + shooting potential

Utah Jazz v Sacramento Kings

Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Grab Kessler, improve defense

Utah Jazz | #10

Cap room remaining: $65,380,263 [+$978,984]

Why the Pistons say yes

One of the Pistons’ biggest weaknesses last year was rim protection. Here, the Pistons address that need by adding a 7-foot-1 shot-blocking machine who can also finish at the rim on offense. Pistons can keep Kessler under team control for at least another year with a team option available for 25-26 season (decision deadline 10/31/24) before having to make a decision on an extension. Rounding out the deal is the 32nd pick in this year’s draft, which has the potential to be a very valuable trade piece, especially in the new two-day draft format and the increased time limit to draft second-round picks, or a great opportunity to add more cheap talent if the Pistons go big star hunting with their cap room.

Why the Jazz say yes

Kessler has seemingly fallen out of favor with the Jazz coaches/organization; his minutes have dropped and there are rumors they are sending him to play in Summer League this summer (not common for third-year players). Adding Clingan at #5 also mitigates some of the concern of moving on from Kessler at this point in his young career.

Pistons targets at #10

  • Cody Williams – a swing on upside, again, from the Colorado wing who is a bit of an enigma
  • Tidjane Salaun – a swing on upside from the big Frenchman who great physical tools + shooting potential
  • Rob Dillingham – small, versatile guard from Kentucky with an electric offensive game
  • Ja’Kobe Walter – rising guard from Baylor who has 3-and-D chops but inefficiency issues

Chicago Bulls v Toronto Raptors

Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

Zach LaVine and additional draft assets

Chicago Bulls | #11

Cap room remaining: $19,270,503 [-$45,130,776]

Why the Pistons say yes

When healthy, Zach LaVine is a great offensive weapon that complements Cade’s game well. His ability to create his own shot and knock down catch-and-shoot 3s should open up more opportunities for Cade to work offensively. With $19.27 million in cap room and other tradeable assets to work with, the Pistons can still add some more helpful pieces after this deal is done.

A lot is made of LaVine’s contract, and the money is significant. But as long as he can be an average NBA starter over the next two seasons, having his salary on the books should actually give the front office more avenues to build around Cade once his (potential) max extension kicks in next summer. Not to mention, the Pistons have to spend $127 million in salary before the league year starts; there are worse ways to spend that money.

Why the Bulls say yes

The Bulls have been rumored to be targeting Donovan Clingan and Matas Buzelis. If either one is still available at #5, this trade allows them to grab him and clear a massive salary from their books over the next few years, while giving up minimal assets to do so.

Pistons targets at #11

  • Cody Williams – a swing on upside, again, from the Colorado wing who is a bit of an enigma
  • Tidjane Salaun – a swing on upside from the big Frenchman who great physical tools + shooting potential
  • Rob Dillingham – small, versatile guard from Kentucky with an electric offensive game
  • Ja’Kobe Walter – rising guard from Baylor who has 3-and-D chops but inefficiency issues

Thunder have picks to spare and have sights set on their guy

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - National Championship

Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Oklahoma City Thunder | #12

Cap room remaining: $67,720,239 [+$3,318,960]

Why the Pistons say yes

Picking up a 2025 1st round pick that is the better of Thunder, Clippers, or Rockets (protected 1-10) and a 2025 second-round pick gives the Pistons potentially three picks in a very strong draft, or at the very least more assets to use in trades. This move also adds another $3.3M in cap room to use in other trades and/or free agency this summer.

Why the Thunder say yes

Donovan Clingan and Chet Holmgren have to the potential to be a terror together defensively. Giving up one of their FIVE potential first-round picks in 2025 to make it happen should be an easy decision.

Pistons targets at #12

  • Cody Williams – a swing on upside, again, from the Colorado wing who is a bit of an enigma
  • Tidjane Salaun – a swing on upside from the big Frenchman who great physical tools + shooting potential
  • Rob Dillingham – small, versatile guard from Kentucky with an electric offensive game
  • Ja’Kobe Walter – rising guard from Baylor who has 3-and-D chops but inefficiency issues

Portland Trail Blazers v Memphis Grizzlies

Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Detroit Welcomes Back Jerami Grant

Portland Trailblazers | #14

Cap room remaining: $39,663,303 [-$24,737,976]

Why the Pistons say yes

Jerami Grant is a good defender and is shooting even better now than during his first stint in Detroit. His versatility on both sides of the ball make him a great fit in the front court for Stewart, Duren, and Ausar and an offensive fit with Cade. In light of the rising salary cap, his contract should not hinder Detroit this summer nor in the long run. The Pistons also add a valuable 2nd round pick in this year’s draft.

Why the Trailblazers say yes

Hovering just below the tax line is no place for a team as bad as the Trailblazers. Shedding some salary while getting your top draft target is a good day’s work. Drafting Clingan also gives the Trailblazers more freedom to trade Ayton for assets as they continue to figure out how to build around their stable of young guards.

Pistons targets at #14

  • Jared McCain – guard from Duke who is one of the best shooters/scorers in the draft
  • DaRon Holmes II – athletic big from Dayton who can block shots and shoot from deep

New Orleans Pelicans v Atlanta Hawks

Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Pistons Land Brandon Ingram and DeAndre Hunter

Three-Team Trade with Pistons (No.5), Pelicans (No.21) and Hawks

This last trade is an amalgamation of rumors, daydreams, and common sense.

Cap room remaining: $18,867,180 [-$45,534,099]

Why the Pistons say yes

The Pistons have lacked difference-makers at the forward position for longer than I can remember. Brandon Ingram has shown he can be just that. There have been some warts lately and he is due for a big contract next summer, which is why he is potentially available. But Brandon Ingram is really really good at basketball, and when you have the opportunity to acquire that kind of talent, it’s usually worth the risk.

De’Andre Hunter hasn’t lived up to his draft status, but he is a capable shooter and defender on a decent contract. Adding Hunter and Ingram bolsters the forward rotation for the next few years, and getting the 21st pick allows Detroit to add a young player after sending two out in this deal. When all is said and done, the Pistons still would have enough cap room to address the starting center position.

Why the Pelicans say yes

Pelicans get to shed salary this year and swap Ingram for two players at positions of need: Murray who is cost-controlled on a great contract for the next 4 years and Duren who is still on his rookie contract. The Pelicans also have been rumored to be interested in trading out of the 21st pick to acquire future 2nd round picks if they can’t use it to acquire a proven talent; in this trade, they do both.

Why the Hawks say yes

Atlanta launches a soft rebuild with two top 5 picks and adds a future first to its treasure chest. They desperately need to clean up their books to make room for future extensions, and this move does that in spades. Ivey helps replace some of Murray’s minutes and gives Atlanta another young prospect with potential to take a gamble on or eventually include in a consolidation trade in the future.

Pistons targets at #21

  • Johnny Furphy – guard from Kansas who fits any team due to his shooting/hustle
  • Pacome Dadiet – wing from France who represents a ball of clay for a team to mold
  • Kyle Filipowski – center from Duke who offers some stretch-five potential

Now it’s your turn! Which is your favorite trade? Is there a different move you would make on draft day? As always, we look forward to the passionate discourse in the comments!

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