Several days ago, Detroit hadn’t planned to draft Valanciunas, but sources said Pistons general manager Joe Dumars was given the OK by new owner Tom Gores to take Valanciunas despite the fact he wouldn’t be able to join the team this season. This is a problem for the Charlotte-Cleveland deal, and now another has arisen. Several teams believe San Antonio’s desire to get Sacramento’s pick at No. 7 centers on a desire to draft Valanciunas as a future replacement for Tim Duncan, and now Cleveland must draft Valanciunas at the No. 4 spot, or risk losing him all together.
In this scenario, Detroit could land Thompson with the eighth pick, unless Houston can convince the Pistons to move back in exchange for the 14th and 23 overall picks.
I’ve made it no secret I’d love for the Pistons to draft Valanciunas. So, for the most part, I’m thrilled about this news.
But I’m also a little worried it leaked. Now, the Cavaliers and Spurs know they must use a pick ahead of Detroit’s to get him (if the Pistons want him). Before, maybe the Cavaliers or Spurs would have traded for a pick in the 10-14 range with the hope of getting Valanciunas.
Still, this feels a bit like last year, when late news broke that the Warriors would draft Ekpe Udoh. All of a sudden, there was hope that Greg Monroe, my dream pick then, would fall to Detroit at No. 7. That happened, and I hoped Valanciunas becomes a Piston, too.