Detroit Pistons: 4 bad contracts worth trading for this offseason

Minnesota Timberwolves v Detroit Pistons
Minnesota Timberwolves v Detroit Pistons / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

The Detroit Pistons could go in a lot of directions this summer. 

They have cap space for free agency or trades, a top-5 draft pick and young players they could move in the right deal. 

Another option would be to target a contract to absorb from a team looking to cut payroll. The Pistons may be able to get an impact talent without giving up much more than money, an option if they strike out in other areas. 

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Here are four “bad” contracts they could target. 

Duncan Robinson  

Robinson may not even qualify as a bad contract anymore, as he only has one guaranteed year left at $19 million with an early termination option on the last season. But the Heat have a ton of money wrapped up in their top four guys (Butler, Adebayo, Herro, Rozier) with new contracts for Butler and Adebayo looming, so might be willing to give up Robinson without taking a contract back to clear his money. If so, the Pistons may be able to land an impact shooter who has improved his overall offensive game for a couple of second-round picks. 

Zach LaVine 

LaVine’s flaws are well documented, namely that he can’t stay healthy and doesn’t play much defense. There’s also the fact that he has three years left on his deal at $43, 45 and 48 million, a steep price to pay for an oft-injured guard. When healthy, LaVine is an All-Star talent, a better complement to Cade Cunningham who has shown he can knock down a high percentage as a volume 3-point shooter. 

But the Pistons should only be interested if the Bulls are giving him away to clear his cap space, as his contract is potentially toxic, and they can’t give up assets and bail the Bulls out at the same time. If they can get LaVine without giving up a top young player, it’s something to consider. Knowing Chicago, they’ll want to just run it back anyway, but I’d only take LaVine off their hands if it were a steal. 

Jerami Grant 

Grant’s contract isn’t bad per se, but it does run through the 2027-28 season when he’ll be 34 years old. Portland has a lot of money tied up in a bad team, so they almost have to sell off Grant and Malcolm Brogdon to retool around their young players along with Deandre Ayton and Anfernee Simons. Grant is coming off his season of hitting 40 percent from long range and would be an upgrade at a position of need, but at what cost?

The Trail Blazers will try to recoup as much as possible for Grant and there may be interest from several teams, as he’s a useful player who could be slotted in just about anywhere. There’s also the question of ceiling if Grant is your 3rd-best player, especially considering he’s getting paid like he’s more. Grant is solid, but would he be worth the cost of trade assets and cap space? That’s debatable. 

Karl-Anthony Towns 

The Timberwolves are a team to watch, as they have some front office disarray and an expensive roster. If they get beaten in the first round, will they pay a huge tax to run it back with this same team? If not, Karl-Anthony Towns is probably the guy they’ll try to trade, as his contract runs through 2027-28 and balloons from $49 to 61 million in those four seasons. 

KAT is coming off an amazing All-Star season where he was a smidge away from being the first big man in the 50/40/90 club, coming up just short (87%) on the free throws. But he’s also been injured and is now trying to return for the playoffs and a tough matchup against the Suns. 

KAT has mostly been healthy in his career, but his recent injury history is troubling given that contract. But he would be a big upgrade and is able to spread the floor, so could play with Duren. Even with their financial problems, the Timberwolves aren’t going to just give him away, but the Pistons are one of the few teams that have the cap space to take on such a contract. Could Detroit land him for their 2024 first-round pick and a bit of filler?

KAT is a guy to keep an eye on, especially if Minnesota flames out in the first round.