Pistons: 2nd-tier free agents if Detroit strikes out on top guys

T.J. Warren #1 of the Indiana Pacers (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)
T.J. Warren #1 of the Indiana Pacers (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Pistons
Orlando Magic guard Gary Harris (14) goes to the basket against Detroit Pistons forward Saddiq Bey Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Pistons will have another high draft pick and plenty of cap space this offseason to add impact players.

The problem is that there aren’t a lot of top guys in free agency, and the guys who are there are unlikely to end up in Detroit for various reasons.

Deandre Ayton and Miles Bridges are both restricted free agents who can get more money staying with their current teams.

Zach LaVine would be the best get for the Pistons, but if he decides to leave Chicago (for less money) there will be a long line of suitors.

Guys like James Harden, Bradley Beal and Kyrie Irving are highly unlikely to come to Detroit, who picked a bad year to have more cap space than any other team.

I’d love to believe that the Pistons could land Ayton, draft in the top-3 and contend for the playoffs next season, but the truth is that they may have to settle for second-tier free agents or maybe none at all.

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I’ve written that this is the most important offseason in years, and who the Pistons choose NOT to sign will be just as important as who they do.

So this list of second-tier free agents is not a recommendation, more to show what else is out there and that the Pistons’ options could be limited.

Here are some second-tier unrestricted free agents who could fill needs for the Detroit Pistons if they strike out on their top targets.

Detroit Pistons: 2nd-tier 2022 NBA Free Agents

Gary Harris: Shooting guard

Shooting is clearly the Pistons’ biggest weakness and has been all season. They are next to last in 3-point shooting and dead last in 2-point shooting, so this team needs efficient shooters at all three levels.

Harris is a 27-year-old who shoots 38.4 percent from long range on five attempts per game this season for the Magic. He’s a proven double-digit bench scorer who will occasionally have a big game. He had a streak of scoring double digits in 21-of-22 games the season and would give the Pistons a reliable hand in the second unit.

But is he really that big an upgrade over Frank Jackson? Jackson has been disappointing this season, mostly because of injuries, and has a team option for next season that the Pistons may decide not to pick up.

Harris would be a nice addition to the bench, but it really depends on cost, as he is coming off a $20 million salary this season, but won’t get nearly that on his next deal.

Ultimately, I’d pass in favor of the internal options unless Harris was willing to take minimum deal.