After sitting out for over two months, Kelly Olynyk stepped on the court and scored 22 points for the Detroit Pistons in their come-from-behind win over the Sacramento Kings. If he keeps playing at this level, does Olynyk become a sought-after player, NBA teams want to trade for?
Apparently, Kelly Olynyk knows a good rust protector, because when he stepped came back, January 19 against the Sacramento Kings, he showed no signs of collecting dust for almost 70 days.
For those who could not stay up that late, or turned off the TV when Cade Cunningham fouled out with the Pistons trailing by 10 (me), Olynyk scored 22 points and added nine rebounds and five assists in a stunning 133-131 victory.
It was Olynyk’s first action since November 10, when he sprained his knee in a win over Houston (Hey, Detroit has won its last two games Olynyk’s played).
After the game, Pistons coach Dwane Casey praised the 30-year-old Canadian for his poise and experience, as he helped them outscore the Kings by a 13-1 margin to close out the game.
Olynyk certainly gives Detroit a boost. This is why he was their lone big free agent signing in the off season, three years for $39 million.
With Olynyk out of the lineup, Casey had been forced to play power forward Trey Lyles out of position (good on offense, not so good defensively) and put rookie Luka Garza into action earlier than expected.
And Olynyk’s three-point shooting (career 36.6 percent) had been counted upon to open things up for Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes and Hamidou Diallo for drives to the hoop.
Olynyk’s return is quite valuable for the Pistons. But, if he continues to play this well, would he be even more valuable to Detroit as a trade chip?
What could Kelly Olynyk bring the Detroit Pistons on the open NBA market?
While Olynyk could certainly be helpful to Detroit playing this season, he will turn 31 in April. He is someone who can aid a team now, and maybe would be better off not with a rebuilding club looking a couple of years down the road.
While Olynyk spent part of last season with an awful Houston Rockets team, he had been a key reserve in the past on contenders. He was on Miami when they reached the NBA finals in 2020 and played for the Boston Celtics when they reached the Eastern Conference finals, where they fell to LeBron James’ Cavaliers team.
The 6-foot-11 forward/center has proven he can help a team win in the playoffs. This is very valuable particularly this season, when so many teams have a shot at making at least the Play-in tournament.
That is why Jerami Grant is a popular name being bandied about NBA circles. Detroit is one of the few teams not looking at the post-season this year, so their players are more likely to be traded (except Cunningham of course, he is not going anywhere).
It is a sellers market so how much could Pistons general manager Troy Weaver get in a trade for Olynyk?