Pistons double down on defense in trade proposal with Cavaliers

Detroit Pistons guard Alec Burks (5) puts up shot over Cleveland Cavaliers guard Isaac Okoro (35) Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons guard Alec Burks (5) puts up shot over Cleveland Cavaliers guard Isaac Okoro (35) Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Pistons
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Caris LeVert (3) reacts with forward Isaac Okoro (35) Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Pistons: Trade proposal with Clevland Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers were one of the teams mentioned in trade rumors with the Pistons last season, as Detroit had reportedly expressed interest in Caris LeVert.

Okoro is also an interesting player, as he is already a versatile and high-end defender who can cover a couple of spots.

His shooting is not as bad as advertised, as he hit over 49 percent of his shots last season, including 36.5 percent from 3-point range, so he’s far from hopeless, especially when you consider his age.

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This would potentially give the Pistons two plus wing defenders in Thompson and Okoro, but also potentially create spacing issues in the second unit.

This comes down to whether Detroit believes Okoro has another level as a 3-point shooter and whether the additions of Harris and Morris would be enough to offset the loss of Burks’ shooting.

Detroit is at a crossroads with Burks, as he will be an unrestricted free agent after this season and plenty of contenders will be interested in his services. If Burks is determined to reach free agency, then Detroit has to consider trading him before he walks for nothing.

If the two sides can work something out, a short-term deal for Burks might not be a bad idea, as he is as steady as they come off the bench.

But if that deal isn’t likely to come, then a project player (former #5 pick) and three second rounders is probably as good as they are going to get in a trade.

The Pistons have already taken their share of flyers on draft busts, and though Okoro isn’t there yet, this will be an important year for him to prove he can make a consistent impact on both ends.

This would be one way to cash in on Burks while they can while bolstering the defense. If Detroit wants to build their identity around defense as they claim, then this would be one way to do it.

If Okoro works out, they could get a good player on more cost-effective deal after next season and if he doesn’t, they still picked up some extra draft assets. It’s not a blockbuster but it’s the type of package Detroit might expect if they do trade Burks.

But at some point the Pistons need to stop chasing upside and put a team on the floor that can actually win games, and this trade would be giving up proven production for hope.

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