Detroit Pistons: Why it is good to be patient in free agency

From left, Detroit Pistons general manager Troy Weaver, owner Tom Gores and draft picks. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
From left, Detroit Pistons general manager Troy Weaver, owner Tom Gores and draft picks. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

Some Detroit Pistons fans won’t want to  hear this.

Especially because it’s the same phrase each sports franchise in Detroit has been preaching over the past half decade: Patience.

With the opening of NBA free agency on August 2, signings are being made and rumors are floating. Some of those include the Pistons and higher-caliber names – which come with higher salary demands – such as Charlotte Hornets guard Malik Monk and Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan.

At Piston Powered, we outlined the three reasons to go after one of these guys, and while the logic makes sense to get the young core playoff experience, let me ask you this.

Does DeRozan or Monk or another big name still out there put the Pistons over the top as NBA title contenders? No.

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The future of Pistons basketball is as bright as it’s been since the ‘Goin’ to Work’ Pistons era in the mid 2000s but, as bright as it is, the team shouldn’t spoil it with a bloated contract. That had the franchise eventually sniffing the bottom half of the Eastern Conference standings, like it did during the Andre Drummond era.

While this core has much more potential, the trajectory of a higher-caliber signing this offseason  has a similar path, where the team is trying to figure out how to escape the middle of the league.

So why not wait a year?

The Detroit Pistons will be poised to compete next offseason, so why not wait?

Let’s see how No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham changes the dynamic of the roster and  organization. Give general manager Troy Weaver and head coach Dwane Casey a season with this roster, and see what they need outside of a shooter.

Cunningham is going to make everyone better, so the Pistons are best served playing this season out to see where they are.

The Pistons aren’t in position to spend $20 million per season on a shooter like a Tim Hardaway Jr., but are better served for the budget-friendly menu option. Less surf ‘n’ turf, more grilled chicken, if you will.

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So, while not on Hardaway Jr.’s level, the Milwaukee Bucks had shooters like Pat Connaughton surrounding the perimeter and knocking down shots. He’s on a three-year, $16 million deal. See, healthy options are good for you. Worked for them.

Pistons fans are hungry for playoff basketball, and bringing in a guy like DeRozan or a Monk, gives the franchise a better chance at granting that wish. But let’s wait another season and continue bringing in quality, high-character guys on reasonable contracts that help shape the culture Weaver and Casey are building.

Maybe I’m hesitant to spend because I still can’t get former Pistons forward Josh Smith’s contract out of my head, maybe I’m seeing the rumors of Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins on the brink of a $120 million deal that screams mistake, or maybe, just maybe, there are real difference makers in the 2022 NBA free agent class that can put the Pistons over the top once they know what they have after this season.

Regardless of which it is – or even if it’s a combo of all three – rushing the process this offseason to taste the playoffs doesn’t seem like the right move for a franchise looking to build long-term sustainability. For that, I say, patience…still.

Next. Cade Cunningham's rank among the last decade of #1 picks. dark