The Detroit Pistons are in need of some sort of shake-up. How big or small and involving whom is certainly up for debate.
The Pistons are somehow mired in a franchise-worst 17-game losing streak despite being in Year 4 of this regime, led by general manager Troy Weaver.
Their franchise player leads the NBA in turnovers thanks, in part, to little shooting around him.
They have few, if any, players on the wing who fit a two-way mold of being positive factors on both ends of the court.
They spent $30 million this summer on two players who have combined to play seven games.
They are down a first-round pick in the future.
And they're paying a record contract to a head coach they had to beg to come here, and who has admittedly failed to maximize a roster with eight lottery (top 14) picks under 25 years old, and another two recent first-round picks.
So, yeah, it's fair to wonder if and when change is coming, and what that may look like.
The Free Press' Pistons podcast, "The Pistons Pulse," rapped about it all on this week's episode, aptly titled "Fixing the Pistons" where hosts Omari Sankofa II and Bryce Simon took logical trade ideas from devoted listeners. They then debated if and how that would help the Pistons, how each team might view the deal and ultimately, whether it was a worthy trade.
Below is a brief snippet of some of the trades and conversations discussed between hosts Bryce Simon (a former Division I college basketball player and NBA analyst) and Omari Sankofa II (Pistons beat writer for the Free Press), with the full show embedded at the bottom of the story for a deeper breakdown.
Pistons get: Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn
Jazz get: Jaden Ivey, Isaiah Livers, Alec Burks
Markkanen had a breakout All-Star season in 2022-23 after being dealt to Utah in the Donovan Mitchell trade. The Jazz are certainly pleased with that deal more than year later.
He's a sharpshooting 7-foot big man on good volume from 3 and just hitting his prime as a 26-year-old. He averaged 25.6 points on stellar efficiency last season in helping the rebuilding Jazz beat expectations, and has similar numbers so far this season.
Bryce: "Lauri is one of my favorite ideas right now for this team. ... I don't think this gets it done for him. I think you would have to add in draft capital."
Omari agrees Utah would need at least a first-round pick to sniff this deal, and compared the deal framework to the Kings trading Tyrese Haliburton in Year 2 of his rookie deal for the Pacers' Domantas Sabonis. Omari likes a potential Markkanen-Jalen Duren frontcourt.
Trading Ivey sparked a wider conversation: At what point do you have enough or too many young players to where you can't develop them equally.
Bryce: "I don't want to trade Jaden Ivey. I think Jaden Ivey is really good. This whole situation through 20 games is making me question whether I know basketball or not based off the way they're handling him."
Ivey has come off the bench in 10 of 16 appearances under Williams after starting 73 games last season.
He just told Yahoo Sports that Williams never communicated to him that he would not be starting, but he has no complaints.
"Once I saw what was going on, coming off the bench was no problem for me," Ivey said in the story.
"Coming off the bench isn’t a confidence thing or a downer for me. I’m still confident in my game and play the same way.”
Pistons get: Zach LaVine
Bulls get: Jaden Ivey, Joe Harris, James Wiseman
Here's another big one. LaVine has requested a trade but there is currently "not a market" for him, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported last week, for a variety of reasons.
The Pistons gave up 51 points to LaVine on 19-for-33 shooting and 7-for-13 on 3-pointers all the way back on Oct. 28 in a feel-good home opener. They haven't won since, losing 17 straight games entering Wednesday's game vs. Memphis.
Bryce acknowledges LaVine's massive contract, which pays him $44 million annually for this season and the next three, but admits he would solve what Bryce says is the team's biggest need: A bucket getter. Ivey, Bryce says, was supposed to be that, but for whatever reason right now, remains an afterthought for Williams based on a quarter of the season.
Bryce: "I can make the argument for Zach LaVine, in that he would do what I think this team needs the most. But, I think it's more of, that's the track I would want to go down, that might not necessarily be the exact player I'd want to do it with."
Omari saw LaVine's masterpiece in person at LCA earlier this season, and said the trade boils down to whether you think Jaden Ivey will eventually grow into a player of LaVine's caliber.
Omari: "That is a pretty lofty bar. LaVine is one of the better scorers in the NBA.
"You're getting a star back. To me, that's a trade I'm definitely doing (for the Pistons). I don't know if the Bulls do that. You need at least two (assets) going forward and, with Ivey, you've gotta include a first-round pick in there at the very least, I just don't see why Chicago does that (without it). ... I can't imagine they would salary dump him when he still has 4 more years when you could probably get something better over the summer."
It would be a surprising move given the 7-year age difference — Ivey turns 22 in February; LaVine turns 29 in March — and signal a pivot from the patience of the rebuild to date from ownership.
TIME FOR CHANGE OR ELSE: If the Pistons don't get better, then Troy Weaver has to go
Pistons get: Patrick Williams
Bulls get: Killian Hayes
This one comes to down roster construction, as neither player's value matches where they were taken in the 2020 draft (Williams went fourth, Hayes went seventh).
This deal might be the most logical to happen. Weaver reportedly eyed Williams at No. 7 before the Bulls swooped in — and we know Weaver loves to add former high lottery picks whom he overvalued at the draft. Hayes would give the Bulls a table-setting point guard they've lacked since Lonzo Ball's injury nearly two years ago. Both Williams and Hayes are 22 years old.
As discussed, the Pistons have a logjam of young guards and lack big wings with two-way ability.
Williams has yet to fulfill the promise he showed as a rookie, but has not played with a passer of Cade Cunningham's caliber since early in his second season. In theory, he's a nice fit with great size, length, defense and shooting (40% from 3 for his career on low volume, compared to 28% from Hayes).
Hayes meanwhile is one of Williams' most trusted players since training camp, and has been more efficient offensively this season — a low bar since he has had the NBA's worst effective field percentage each of his previous three seasons — while slashing his turnover rate. "He's absolutely a rotation point guard. That gives him some value," Omari said.
Omari: "There's the idea of Patrick Williams and then there's the actuality. ... Do we know that he would be as effective as Killian on average. I don't know if I'm there yet and to me if I'm making this trade, it is an acknowledgement that I don't want to sign Killian this summer and we'd rather get something else and take a flier on Patrick Williams and see what we can get out of him. Ivey and Sasser would comprise the rest of your backcourt going forward. I was going to turn it down, but now I feel like I'm maybe talking myself into it. I'm not sure. Can I do a TBD and come back? I gotta think about it."
Bryce: "I think at this point you would just have to make the trade (as the Pistons) and bet on what you think Patrick Williams can still be. ... Twelve months ago, I feel like this was heartbeat yes. It's crazy to think that Patrick Williams has struggled enough that we're even kind of having a conversation right now."
Bryce notes both players will be restricted free agents this summer, so figuring out what each player wants and future contract value would also play a part in deciding to make this deal.
More trade ideas were offered and discussed, including one for Flint's own Kyle Kuzma.
Watch or listen to the entire podcast below via YouTube for deeper discussions on each proposal and more. Support the show by subscribing to "The Pistons Pulse" as your go-to Pistons podcast, available anywhere you listen to podcasts (Apple, Spotify).
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Pistons trade ideas: Blockbuster deals to jumpstart rebuild