Detroit Pistons: Trading for Russell Westbrook
One of the biggest arguments this offseason is whether the Detroit Pistons should be tanking one more season or if they should try to fight for the play-in tournament. This debate intensified after Cleveland traded for Donovan Mitchell, making the Central Division even tougher.
There is also the matter next year’s draft, as there is a potential generational talent in Victor Wembanyama and plenty of fans would love for the Pistons to tank for one more season for a chance at the Wembanyama sweepstakes.
Trading for Westbrook would certainly accomplish that goal, as it would leave the Pistons without any veteran depth and put them more in line with teams like Houston, San Antonio and Oklahoma City as the youngest in the league.
Young teams don’t usually win and this would be one way to ensure the Pistons were in the running for a top pick.
But that isn’t the only benefit. You could argue that this would be the best thing for the young players, as it would guarantee they would all get big minutes, and give the Pistons a chance to try out a number of different possibilities.
Guys like Isaiah Livers, Hamidou Diallo, Jalen Duren and Kevin Knox would all have bigger roles without those veterans in the way, all of whom are guys that are on short-term deals and not part of Detroit’s long-term plans anyway.
Then there’s the matter of the pick. It’s very possible that the Lakers will stink by 2027 and that the Pistons will actually be good, so this would give them a chance to add another high pick to a team that is already in the playoffs (hopefully) which is how you build sustained success.
If the Pistons were willing to buy Westbrook out, allowing the young guys to play big minutes the whole season, possibly set themselves up for another top-5 pick and get another one in the future, it actually makes a whole lot of sense.
As much as I would hate punting on another season, it’s very possible Detroit wasn’t going to be good anyway, so this would give them a chance to get big developmental minutes for their guys while maxing out their chances for a star in the lottery.
I hate tanking, but I may have talked myself into this one, but only if Tom Gores is willing to spend $47 million to make Westbrook go away.