The NBA draft lottery has come and gone. After hoping to jump higher, the Detroit Pistons have fallen to number seven. So what do they do now?
The Detroit Pistons will be coming into this summer as one of the few teams that have cap space and are not looking to compete immediately. The team is slated to only have eight players under contract at the beginning of the new league year.
Prior to the pandemic, the cap for next season was projected to be $115 million and the Pistons are only committed to $71.9 million in salary. For the sake of this discussion, the team has renounced the cap holds for Brandon Knight, John Henson, Langston Galloway and Jordan McRae and declined the options for Jordan Bone and Louis King. Tony Snell has picked up his player option.
Even after re-signing (hopefully) Christian Wood this summer, the Pistons will still have plenty of cap space. The best use of this for a team rebuilding (or restoring, depending on your nomenclature) is to absorb contracts along with assets from teams looking to restructure their roster, save some money, and are desperate.
The most recent example of this is last season when the Memphis Grizzlies absorbed the contract of Andre Iguodala. The Golden State Warriors dumped his contract on the Grizzlies along with a protected first-round pick to clean up their cap sheet and create a trade exception they could possibly use at a later date.
Memphis paid his salary even though he never played a game for them. Along with Solomon Hill and Jae Crowder, he was then flipped for Justice Winslow, Dion Waiters (subsequently waived) and Gorgui Dieng. This is a team smartly renting their cap space and netting a young player with potential and a future first-round pick with no downside.
There are plenty of teams this offseason who will be looking for chances to avoid getting close to (or paying) the luxury tax. Further, there may be some players on the Pistons’ roster who are cheaper that could complement their roster. Figuring out which ones make the most sense for the Pistons to deal with who will shape their future.