Will the Detroit Pistons still pursue Deandre Ayton in free agency?

Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons nailed it in the 2022 NBA Draft, but it brings up some questions regarding free agency in a couple of weeks.

After receiving 11th overall pick Jalen Duren, a center, in a trade with the New York Knicks, the Pistons now have a great center rotation that already has chemistry on and off the court, meaning the need for a big move at center through free agency is no longer a huge priority.

This means that the likelihood that they are the suitor for Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton has dropped considerably, despite rumors that he was their main target for the upcoming free agency period.

The Pistons are more likely to focus on developing their current frontcourt of Isaiah Stewart, Jalen Duren and Marvin Bagley III (assuming they retain him) instead.

So who will the Detroit Pistons target in free agency?

Among the available free agents the most likely target for the Pistons would be Charlotte Hornets rising star Miles Bridges who is a restricted free agent.

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Although Bridges is a restricted free agent, and the Hornets have the ability to match any contract he may be offered, they may not have the money to do so as they still have not found a trade partner for Gordon Hayward or Terry Rozier, both of whom are on massive contracts potentially hindering their ability to match a max offer.

Bridges is an explosive athlete with the ability to stretch the floor with his three-point shooting, while being a criminally underrated defensive player.

Bridges is also from Flint,Michigan, making the Detroit Pistons his hometown team. This is notable, especially since there has been a huge trend in the NBA to play in front of your hometown crowd.

Bridges may be the best on court fit for the Detroit Pistons as he plays at the four, the Pistons weakest position as of right now, and his strengths match their biggest weaknesses as well.

Just imagine a fast break opportunity featuring Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey or Killian Hayes with Miles Bridges running the floor ahead of them.

Another option for the Detroit Pistons in free agency

Otto Porter Jr. is a two way forward who can shoot the ball at an elite level. Defensively, he is also a player who can clog passing lanes and stay in front of any player one through five.

The NBA champion has plenty of experience to bring to the roster, although in limited minutes due to injury.

Porter should not be the first choice but may be a great addition to this young roster for the right price as he brings years of experience including extensive time in the playoffs with the Washington Wizards and Golden State Warriors.

Either way, Deandre Ayton is likely not the top option anymore for free agency and the Detroit Pistons will likely look elsewhere. Whether that be a star forward or more depth for their ‘weaker’ positions, they will find somebody to make a difference for them.

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