The Detroit Pistons have a talented young core of players, but will be looking to add a star that complements them at some point.
It’s more likely this player will come via trade and you know Troy Weaver will be scouring the league looking for a star or team that is unhappy with their situation.
The New Orleans Pelicans are a team to watch over the next season or two, as they have two stars in Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram who could be relocated at some point.
We’ve seen some Zion to the Pistons trade proposals, most of them laughably lopsided for Detroit, which I am certainly not against.
It’s Zion’s health and uncertain future that could cause the other Pelicans’ star to eventually look for a way out.
Detroit Pistons: Another star player who might become available
According to NOLA.com, Brandon Ingram is not expected to sign an extension with the Pelicans this summer even though he is eligible.
That doesn’t mean he is going anywhere, as this move makes sense for both sides, as Ingram would potentially be eligible for a bigger payday by waiting, especially if he makes All-NBA next season.
From the Pelicans’ point of view, they probably want to see if Ingram can stay healthy for a full season given his history, especially after already committing to a max deal for Zion Williamson, who played in just 29 games last season after missing the entire previous season with injury.
Zion’s extension hasn’t even kicked in yet, so next season is when the Pelicans will really feel the financial pain if he doesn’t play much, as he is due $34 million.
With CJ McCollum set to make over $30 million for the next three seasons and Brandon Ingram $33 and 36 million over the next two, the Pels will have a lot of money tied up in three players who are either past their prime or injury prone.
What often gets lost in the Zion talk is how much time Ingram has missed, as he only played 45 games last season and has missed significant time every year since his first in the league when he played 79 games.
This might prompt the Pelicans to try and move one of them to mitigate their risk. Right now, Zion’s trade value is on the low end for a guy who could potentially be one of the top-10 players in the league. McCollum’s contract will make him difficult to move considering he’s nearly 32- years-old and still has three guaranteed years left on his deal, though he is still a productive player.
That leaves Ingram, who has decided to bet on himself next season by not taking the early extension. If this works out for him, he’ll be due a massive payday as a 26-year-old in his prime who is one of the best scorers in the league when he’s healthy. The Pelicans will likely be the team to give it to him considering he can make the most money staying put and signing a max extension.
But if Zion gets hurt again, or the Pelicans don’t want to continue building their team around two injury-prone players, Ingram could find himself on the trade block, in which case the Detroit Pistons might have interest.
The Detroit Pistons have the contracts to match up, though they could come up short of other assets necessary to land a player like Ingram.
The Pelicans are in a tough spot with these two, so it’s a situation for the Detroit Pistons to monitor.