Detroit Pistons get 2 for 1 in trade proposal with Grizzlies

Alec Burks #5 of the Detroit Pistons reacts against the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Alec Burks #5 of the Detroit Pistons reacts against the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Pistons
Brandon Clarke #15 of the Memphis Grizzlies looks on against the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

Detroit Pistons: Trade proposal with Memphis Grizzlies

Given the context of Burks’ expiring deal, this seems like the high end of what the Detroit Pistons could expect in a trade, as they’d getting two guys in Clarke and Williams who could potentially be in the rotation.

Clarke is a versatile big who would give the Pistons an actual backup power forward and another guy who can occasionally play the five in small-ball lineups. He’s a better defender than any of the options they currently have, and Clarke is still only 27 years old and has been a part of a winning organization for his entire career.

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In Williams, the Detroit Pistons would be getting another big wing/forward with great athleticism and size for the position. He has two-way potential and would help the Pistons’ right away defensively as his offensive game evolves.


There are some issues with both guys. Clarke is coming off a serious injury that cost him a big part of last season and has never played more than 64 games in a season in his career. He also has four guaranteed years left on his deal at $12.5 million per season, so he’d be a long-term financial investment that Detroit might not want to make in a guy who hasn’t stayed healthy and profiles as a backup big.

Of course, that’s about the going rate for backup bigs these days, and if the Pistons could eventually move Marvin Bagley III, that salary slot would open up for Clarke.

Williams is less of a financial burden, as he only has a team option left on his deal after next season that pays him $6.1 million in 2024-25, which could be a great investment if he continues to progress. He’s not gotten much of a chance in Memphis, but he’s an athletic 6-foot-8 forward who fits the profile of what the Detroit Pistons need.

Neither player can shoot at all from 3-point range, though Williams at least has some potential in that regard, so they’d be trading out one of their best 3-point shooters for two athletic forwards who can’t shoot.

This comes down to whether the Pistons view Alec Burks as part of the long-term plans and if they thought a four-year investment in Brandon Clarke would be a bargain or a burden.

Clarke’s $12.5 million salary could be a great deal or another one that Troy Weaver ends up regretting, so my guess is that the Detroit Pistons would stay with the devil they know and keep their financial flexibility by turning down this deal if it were offered.

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