Summer rewind: Detroit Pistons
Previous teams in the series: Hawks | Nets | Clippers | Timberwolves | Jazz | Hornets | Kings | Pacers | Magic | Suns | Knicks | Grizzlies | Raptors | Mavericks | Celtics | Pelicans | 76ers | Spurs
A look at the key offseason moves and changes for every team in the league. Next up are the Detroit Pistons.
Lottery talent in the late teens
Not often does a team that made the playoffs get to add lottery type talent in the draft.
In 19-year-old Henry Ellenson from Marquette, Detroit added a player who was projected to be a top-10 pick but fell to the Pistons at No. 18.
With Ellenson’s 6-foot-11 frame, upside and ability to play both the PF and C position, Detroit could have a building block.
Detroit also doesn’t have to rush Ellenson’s development because of its frontcourt depth.
Something in reserve
With a starting lineup returning from a team that lost in the first round to Cleveland, Pistons management turned its attention to improving its bench in free agency.
Although Detroit had carved out a max salary slot, the Pistons relied on their pro personnel department to target depth and not just one particular player.
Detroit added quality backups in point guard Ish Smith, stretch four Jon Leuer and center Boban Marjanovic.
Detroit struggled at backup point guard last season. With Ish Smith coming off a career year in Philadelphia, he should help stabilize a Pistons bench that often struggled when starter Reggie Jackson rested.
Leuer replaces Anthony Tolliver, and he could flourish after a career year with Phoenix with All-Star center Andre Drummond garnering attention.
Although the Pistons have a backup in Aron Baynes, Marjanovic should help alleviate concerns if Baynes opts out of his contract next summer.
Marjanovic, a restricted free agent, became expendable once the Spurs used cap space to sign Pau Gasol.
1. Andre Drummond $22,116,750
2. Tobias Harris $17,200,000
3. Reggie Jackson $14,956,522
4. Jon Leuer $10,991,957
5. Boban Marjanovic $7,000,000
6. Aron Baynes $6,500,000
7. Ish Smith $6,000,000
8. Marcus Morris $4,625,000
9. K. Caldwell-Pope $3,678,319
10. Stanley Johnson $2,969,880
11. Reggie Bullock $2,255,644
12. Henry Ellenson $1,704,120
13. Darrun Hilliard $874,636
14. Michael Gbinije $650,000
15. Lorenzo Brown $1,015,696
16. Ray McCallum $980,431
Josh Smith $5,331,729
Salary table 2016
Guaranteed salaries $101,522,828
Dead money $5,331,729
Tax variance $0
Free-agent cap holds $0
Incomplete roster charge $0
Salaries: cap $108,850,684
Salaries: tax $108,850,684
Salary cap $94,143,000
Luxury tax $113,287,000
Cap space None ($14,707,684 over)
Tax room $4,436,316
The Pistons benefited from Drummond’s low cap hold and the trade of oft-injured Jodie Meeks to Orlando.
The $8.1 million Drummond hold and Meek’s $6.4 million salary helped Detroit start free agency with $24 million in cap space to get Smith, Leuer and Marjanovic, a restricted free agent.
Once all three players were signed, Detroit used the remaining room to sign second-round pick Michael Gbinije.
After all the signings, Detroit eventually signed Drummond to the max.
Free agents signed in the offseason cannot be traded until either Dec. 15, Jan. 15 or for three months if they signed after Sept. 15.
Leuer, Marjanovic, McCallum and Smith cannot be traded until Dec. 15.
Drummond cannot be traded until Jan. 15 because he was signed using Bird rights and his contract exceeds his previous one by 20 percent.
He also has an 8 percent trade bonus, but because the bonus would exceed the max salary allowed ($22.1 million), the bonus would be voided if Drummond were traded this season.
Former lottery pick Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Reggie Bullock, acquired in a trade with Phoenix last year, are eligible for rookie extensions.
The Pistons have until Oct. 31 to negotiate an extension with both players.
Detroit will not be in a position next summer to have cap flexibility, so expect extension talks with Caldwell-Pope over the next few months.
With $93 million in guaranteed contracts next summer, the Pistons will need to find some middle ground for an extension for Caldwell-Pope.
The numbers over his first three seasons (2.6 points and 1.5 rebounds per game) might not warrant an extension for Bullock, but the 25-year-old wing ended last season on a strong note and could be in line for one.
With Meeks gone and Darrun Hilliard unproven, Bullock should find consistent minutes off the bench for the Pistons.
Starter Bench Bench
PG Reggie Jackson Ish Smith Ray McCallum/Lorenzo Brown
SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Reggie Bullock Darrun Hilliard
SF Marcus Morris Stanley Johnson Michael Gbinije
PF Tobias Harris Jon Leuer Henry Ellenson
C Andre Drummond Aron Baynes Boban Marjanovic
Training camp should determine the final roster spot for Detroit.
The Pistons, with 14 guaranteed contracts, should see non-guaranteed players Ray McCallum and Lorenzo Brown compete for the third point-guard spot.
Even if the Pistons retain one of them, their contracts are not guaranteed until early January, giving Detroit some roster flexibility.
The Pistons also have the $2.8 million room mid-level exception if needed.
SNEAK PEEK TO NEXT SUMMER
With 10 players under contract and two restricted free agents, the focus will be on the draft and Caldwell-Pope’s restricted free agency.
But with Detroit on the hook for $98 million, flexibility will be an issue.
KEEP AN EYE ON
The agent for Caldwell-Pope will be at the center of extension talks over the next few months.
Paul, with a proven track record of being a hardline negotiator (remember Tristan Thompson’s restricted free agency with the Cavaliers), will use the market set this past summer as the bar for Caldwell-Pope.
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