For better, or worse, the entire NBA community was abuzz about the Detroit Pistons on social media Friday night. They were all talking about the moves the Pistons were making in trades and free agency.
Outside of their home team, NBA fans for the past 48 hours have been talking about one team: the Detroit Pistons.
The headline in The Sporting News might sum up the general reaction in the NBA community: What on Earth are the Pistons doing?
Detroit had a universally praised draft night, where Detroit loaded up on some promising players for the future. Their moves, in free agency and in trades have been, well, a bit mystifying to some.
For whatever reason, Detroit general manager Troy Weaver Jr. just kept getting centers.
In a space of 48 hours, the Pistons added five centers: Dewayne Dedmon and Tony Bradley via trade, drafted Isaiah Stewart of Washington and signed as free agents Mason Plumlee and Jahlil Okafor.
Detroit also signed Jerami Grant to a three-year, $60 million contract. He can also play center if coach Dwane Casey wants to go small.
The ironic part is, the center the Pistons fans actually wanted, Christian Wood, is apparently headed to the Houston Rockets.
(Note: most of these trades and signings are not yet official. This is based on reports from normally reliable media sources. Until the team’s officially announce the transactions, things can change)
Since the center position has been greatly devalued in this NBA ‘small ball’ era, a lot of people thought it was funny how Detroit gobbled up all these big men:
The skeleton take was one of the more humorous. Many basically asked the same question as The Sportings News, but not in a not funny way: What are the Pistons up to?
Answer: We don’t know
General manager Troy Weaver has not spoken publicly since Wednesday night. All we can do is look at the moves already consummated, and extrapolate the Pistons thinking on what will be the roster entering training camp.
More to come
As of Saturday afternoon, Svi Mykhailuk is the only veteran shooting guard on the roster. One would assume that will change.
One of the center’s, Dedmon, has already been waived and the $14 million owed him stretched out over five years to help with the salary cap. Forward Trevor Ariza lasted about 18 hours as a Piston. After getting him from Houston he was quickly shipped off to Oklahoma City.
So just because a player becomes property of the Pistons, does not mean they are keeping him.
Detroit opens training camp on December 1. Until then, you can count on more moves that will be made.
What about Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin?
As of now, they are on the team. In an hour, they might not be.
Rose and Griffin were the unquestioned veteran leaders of the Pistons. Of course, being the leaders of a team that went 20-46 does not give a player much job security.
Considering how thin Detroit is at guard, it does appear like Weaver is planning to keep Rose. He would be an excellent mentor to their top draft pick, Killian Hayes.
As for Griffin? Detroit just paid a lot of money to Grant, and he plays the same position as Griffin. Connect the dots.
Grant was offered the same amount of money by his former team, the Denver Nuggets. He supposedly spurned them because he would have a bigger role in Detroit.
Again, that does not bode well for Griffin’s future in Detroit. Unless the Pistons are going to resurrect a variation of the old Josh Smith-Greg Monroe-Andre Drummond all-big man lineup.
Are the Pistons tanking next year?
If Weaver wanted to go all Sam Hinkie 76ers ‘Process’ tanking, and try to lose as many games as possible, there was no reason to sign Grant or Plumlee to big contracts.
Looking at the four draft picks, only Hayes is a 19-year-old, and he has three years of professional experience. Hayes is hardly a wet-behind-the-ears kid. The rest have at least a couple of years of college ball behind them.
Is Weaver pushing in all his chips to take a run at Milwaukee and Miami this year? No.
He has said he will quit the moment he does not try to make his team be competitive. It looks like he is keeping his word.
Are the Pistons the talk of the basketball world?
Yes, they are!
The moves Weaver and the Pistons organization have made over the last couple of days, has fascinated NBA fans and media all over the world.
The debate about acquiring all the centers, draft picks, all the trades and free agent signings (FYI, not a lot of good stuff about the Plumlee signing), has been bouncing around social media, TV and radio.
When was the last time Detroit was discussed as a topic on NBA Radio?
After not playing a game since March 11, people have had little incentive since then to take notice of the Pistons – even in Detroit.
Things have changed. Really changed. The Detroit Pistons are, once again, relevant.