Detroit is not usually a hot destination for free agents. The Detroit Pistons don’t have the winning pedigree as of late that encourages top players to sign, but they do have some cash to play with and a wide range of decent talent to try and sign during the 2021 offseason.
Unless the Detroit Pistons get rid of some guards, there is absolutely no reason to add another unless it’s through the draft. Their most glaring issue is at the center position, as Mason Plumlee is the only real center on the team. Jahlil Okafor has barely played this year, and Isaiah Stewart is more of a forward than a true center.
This offseason has 20 centers looking to sign a new contract. Naturally, a lot of them just aren’t a good fit or will probably try and take less from a championship-caliber team. But there are some intriguing options that would make a lot of sense.
Possible free-agent centers for the Detroit Pistons
Any Motor City resident would be thrilled to have Boban Marjanovic back. He isn’t expensive and is a rebounding machine who can score down low purely because of his size. Unfortunately, he seems to be very popular in Dallas and has a lot of fun playing with fellow Europeans, so a reunion is less than likely.
Dwight Howard will probably be looking for any contract that he can get, so if the Detroit Pistons throw a generous offer his way he would absolutely suit up and play minutes. How productive those minutes would be is unpredictable, so while it’s very plausible, it would not be a popular move.
Moritz Wagner could enjoy a homecoming to the Great Lakes State, and his decent three-point shot would complement Plumlee’s lack of any sort of range. Coming off the bench he’d be able to provide some spacing. If he doesn’t re-sign with Boston, he’s my personal favorite pick for Detroit to take a shot at.
If big men shooting threes isn’t appealing, maybe Hassan Whiteside is the ideal fit. A more conventional and old school center, he has declined heavily since his time in Miami but is still a blocking machine. Interior defense has been a weak spot for this Pistons squad, and he could certainly help with that. It is a high-risk move, as he doesn’t show much promise of returning to his former self. He could sign a veteran minimum contract with a contender, so Detroit would have to throw some cash at him, but he might be worth the risk if the price is right.
Some Detroit fans would rejoice if Andre Drummond made a return while others would be ready to find a different team to cheer for.
If the Lakers win the 2021 Finals, he probably won’t run it back with LeBron and co. and will probably just take the biggest deal offered. Plumlee has established himself as the better player and Isaiah Stewart does many of the same things at a fraction of the cost, so there is not much chance Drummond would return, though Finishing out his career in Detroit after winning a ring would be a nice way to close the door on an excellent career.
All of these signings are contingent on Detroit not drafting Evan Mobley. If he’s picked up, there wouldn’t be any need to add another big man to the rotation. Maybe Whiteside could provide some shot-blocking mentorship, but he’d probably rather play real minutes elsewhere.
Drafting Mobley is the best case scenario though, and it’s good to have an established veteran free agent as a second option.