Summer agenda: Detroit Pistons

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·The Vertical
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The Vertical Front-Office Insider Bobby Marks, a 20-year executive with the Nets, offers his thoughts on the offseason plans of NBA teams whose seasons have ended.

THE PLAN GOING FORWARD
Don’t get complacent
Although the Pistons lost in four games to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit will have a target on its back next season. Whether losing in the first round or winning the NBA championship, playoff teams cannot rest on their accomplishments from the previous season.

With the core of the roster intact and under contract, there is no reason why Detroit should not be able to get off to a good start next season. How each young player matures and develops over the next six months will set the tone for training camp.

The next step

The Pistons have turned around under Stan Van Gundy. (AP)
The Pistons have turned around under Stan Van Gundy. (AP)

When Stan Van Gundy and Jeff Bower took over in spring 2014, Detroit was coming off a 29-win season and had failed to make the playoffs for a fifth straight year. The Pistons had also gone through four head coaches in four years and had lost their direction.

With Pistons ownership handing over the franchise to Van Gundy, Detroit was able to rebuild the infrastructure not only on the court but also within the basketball operations department, including the pro and college personnel departments.

The Pistons now must improve their roster in the draft, address their bench through free agency and continue to develop their youth. The team needs to be patient because it is not one piece from a championship.

Andre Drummond’s free agency
Andre Drummond’s anticipated max contract this summer will dictate the off-season spending for the Pistons.

Drummond, with an $8.1 million cap hold, is in line for a max salary starting at $22 million in 2016-17. With such a low hold, Detroit will be able to use the difference to address its off-season needs. If Detroit signs Drummond first – a highly unlikely scenario – the cap space will go away.

Even with his flaws, Drummond, who turns 23 in August, has still only scratched the surface of his potential while averaging a double-double the last three seasons. Restricted free agency protects the Pistons from Drummond getting poached by another team and allows them to retain a valuable asset.

TEAM NEEDS
The Pistons need to address backup point guard this summer.

Starter Reggie Jackson averaged more than 30 minutes per game for the first time this past season, and Detroit needs a veteran who can spell him on the court and serve as a mentor. There is still a big learning curve for Jackson and a veteran could help him reach the next level.

The offseason X-factor is the health of Jodie Meeks. Meeks, who missed 79 games this season and returned briefly for the playoffs, could be the Pistons’ biggest addition next year. The rub is that Meeks has not played a full season since 2013-14.

SUMMER CAP BREAKDOWN

Guaranteed

  2016-17

    Insider info

1. Tobias Harris

  $17,200,000

    None

2. Reggie Jackson

  $14,956,522

    None

3. Aron Baynes

  $6,500,000

    None

4. Jodie Meeks

  $6,540,000

    None

5. Marcus Morris

  $4,625,000

    None

6. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

  $3,678,319

    Eligible for rookie extension

7. Stanley Johnson

  $2,969,880

    None

8. Reggie Bullock

  $2,255,644

    Eligible for rookie extension

Non/partial

  2016-17

    Guarantee date

9. Spencer Dinwiddie

  $980,431

    None

10. Darrun Hilliard

  $874,636

    July 15

11. Joel Anthony

  $2,500,000

    None

12. Lorenzo Brown

  $1,015,696

    None

FA cap holds

  2016-17

    Free-agent status

13. Andre Drummond

  $8,180,228

    Restricted/full Bird rights

14. Anthony Tolliver

  $3,900,000

    Early Bird rights

15. Steve Blake

  $2,821,605

    Early Bird rights

First-round holds

  2016-17

 

16. Own No. 18 pick

  $1,420,100

 

CAP PICTURE

Guaranteed

   $59,225,365

Non/partial

   $4,870,763

FA cap holds

   $14,901,833 

First-round holds

   $1,420,100

Minimum holds

   $0

Dead money

   $5,331,729

Total

   $85,749,790 

Salary cap

   $92,000,000 

Cap space

   $6,250,210

 PROJECTED CAP SPACE
The Pistons, currently projected with $6 million in cap space, could see their room grow to $15 million once a decision is made on the non-guaranteed contract of Joel Anthony and free-agent cap holds of Steve Blake and Anthony Tolliver.

The low cap hold for Drummond will allow the Pistons to use available cap space before signing Drummond to his $20 million-plus annual payday.

Keep an eye on what direction the Pistons go with the Kentavious Caldwell-Pope extension talks. Although it will not affect cap space this summer, signing Caldwell-Pope in the offseason will impact room in 2017-18 when the cap will rise to $109 million.

JUNE DRAFT PICKS
First round: Own pick

Second round: Own pick

FUTURE PICKS
First round
Own all their future first round picks.

Key rights to: None

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