The Troy Weaver season is upon us.
The Pistons’ general manager has been on the run since he became Detroit’s top dog in 2020. He turned the roster upside down in less than two years, completely getting rid of every player who was here when he inherited it.
On Wednesday, with just over 24 hours to go before the 2022 NBA Draft, Weaver traded his first big signing as Detroit general manager.
sources say the athletic The Pistons traded veteran forward Jerami Grant to Portland for a first-round pick in 2025, via Milwaukee. Detroit will also trade the 46th pick for the Trailblazers’ 36th pick in Thursday’s draft, while getting back its own 2025 second-round pick, which was owned by Portland, sources said. Lastly, the Pistons will receive the most favorable second-round pick from the Trail Blazers and Pelicans in 2026.
This deal opens up Ay-Ton’s cap space for the Pistons. (See what I did there?) Before the trade, Detroit entered the season with roughly $30 million in salary-cap space at its disposal, which was among the league leaders. After the trade, the Pistons have roughly $43 million at their disposal. According to sources, Detroit is expected to pursue Phoenix Suns big man and 2018 No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton on the open market. The Pistons can also look to the trade block to make use of that cap space if Ayton stays in Phoenix or lands elsewhere.
However, Detroit doesn’t have to use all the salary-cap space it has accumulated this offseason. It’s possible the Pistons will sit tight, take bad deals and accumulate more assets. The key here is flexibility, which is something the organization hasn’t had in recent years. Blake Griffin’s dead money is off the books, and Detroit has several intriguing young players, highlighted by last year’s No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham, and has several avenues to build a relevant product in the Motor City.
Now back. It was widely expected and rumored that Grant would bring back at least one lottery-level pick in one deal. That clearly didn’t happen here and, according to sources, this deal is the best offer the Pistons have received for Grant, even since the February trade deadline. Before the trade deadline and this offseason, other potential deals were discussed, according to sources. But when it comes to concrete offers on the table, this was the best Detroit got for the services of Grant, who is eligible for an extension this summer.
With the 2022 draft a day away, trading Grant seems to indicate Iowa’s Keegan Murray is being seriously considered with Detroit’s fifth pick if he becomes available. However, Purdue’s Jaden Ivey and Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin remain in play. It’s also possible that if the Pistons could land Ayton this offseason, third-year big man Isaiah Stewart or third-year forward Saddiq Bey could fill the void at power forward. Again, Detroit has created several options to move forward.
It’s always hard to predict what Weaver’s next move will be, but the feeling is that the Pistons won’t do anything dramatic on the trade front for the next 24 hours. However, it’s possible that Detroit, given its abundance of salary-cap space, could return to the late lottery if a player like, say, Memphis’ Jalen Duren drops out of the top 10. Charlotte is reportedly looking to move. pick No. 13 or No. 15 if a team is willing to accept Gordon Hayward’s contract. The Pistons have the means to execute such a deal if they choose.
On the surface, trading Grant, a veteran in his prime, indicates the Pistons will continue to play slow in this restoration. That is not necessarily the case. Adding someone like Ayton makes Detroit more competitive in the short term. Plus, having the cap space to trade for a more proven player also requires turning the corner.
For the first time in a while, the Pistons have multiple streets they can walk down to build something substantial. Regaining flexibility and acquiring intriguing prospects through the draft and through trades were two of Weaver’s goals early in his tenure. In less than three years, the general manager has done both.
harpist: Jerami Grant’s trade rating to Portland
(Jerami Grant Top Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images)