Detroit Pistons full 2024 offseason guide: Draft picks, trade targets, rumors & more

Detroit Pistons v Chicago Bulls
Detroit Pistons v Chicago Bulls / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

This is your comprehensive guide to the Detroit Pistons offseason. Feel free to bookmark and come back as information is updated.

The vibe entering the 2023-24 was one of cautious optimism for fans of the Detroit Pistons. Most people didn’t believe Detroit was a real playoff contender but did think they’d make the type of leap in the standings we’ve seen from other rebuilding teams. 

Flash forward six months and all of that optimism has been dashed on the rocks of the worst season in team history, one in which the Pistons provided far more questions than answers. 

Did the Pistons figure anything out this season or will they be starting from scratch again? 

Questions the Detroit Pistons had to answer this season 

  1. Are Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey a fit? 

2. Which players should be part of the core and which should be traded away? 

The first question not only wasn’t answered, but it’s even foggier than it was at the beginning of the season. Both players were arguably better when the other one wasn’t on the floor. Cade’s scoring numbers shot up to 26 points per game in the five games he played without Ivey, and it was the same for Ivey, who was more aggressive and dynamic when Cunningham was out. 

Cade needs a two-guard who can spread the floor and/or defend, which are not Ivey’s strengths. Ivey has also proven to be more effective with the ball in his hands, which doesn’t happen as much with Cade on the floor. Staggering them could potentially work, but unless Ivey improves his shooting it’s hard to see this pairing working long term. 

The second question did somewhat get answered this season, as Cade Cunningham proved himself to be the only Piston whose job is completely safe. Ivey regressed. Jalen Duren couldn’t defend. Isaiah Stewart couldn’t stay healthy. Ausar Thompson would probably be the only other guy who won’t be mentioned in copious trade rumors this summer. So, the Pistons did answer this question, but it wasn’t in a positive way, as all they did was prove that this team doesn’t have a core. 

Should the Detroit Pistons trade from their “Core Four?” 

The answer to this is that there isn’t a Core Four, so let’s stop using that term, which was first applied to Saddiq Bey, Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart and Saben Lee and how did that work out? 

The real answer to this is that they might have to. This roster needs significant upgrades, and the Pistons don’t have many ways to get them without trading away one of their young talents. 

They have loads of cap space but not much to spend it on. They still owe the New York Knicks a first-round pick, so are limited in trades. Without including one or two of their young players, the Pistons can’t put together a trade package that will land them an impact player, it’s that simple. 

Who will be running the Detroit Pistons? 

Until this question is answered, all of the speculation about trades and free agents is just hot air, as Detroit needs a decision-maker to get those things done. 

Given what we’ve heard so far, the new president of basketball operations will have full control over who stays and goes, so we could see that person come in and clean house, starting with the front office and coaching staff. 

If so, they aren’t going to have much time to hire new people and get them in place before the upcoming NBA Draft, which is looming already. 

We put together a list of possible candidates, but other names to watch will be John Hammond from the Magic and Jon Horst of the Bucks. Bryson Graham from the Pelicans is another interesting name considering his ties to Monty Williams, as the next person might have to be willing to work with the coach that is already in place for Gores to hire them. 

Key offseason dates for the Detroit Pistons 

May 12: NBA Draft Lottery 

The Pistons will have a top-5 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. They do have maximum odds for the #1 pick at 14 percent but are more likely to land 5th with a 47.9 percent chance. You can find more information about the Draft Lottery and odds here. 

May 12-19: NBA Draft Combine 

Considering how little we know about some of these draft prospects, this could be one of the most interesting combines in ages, as teams will be looking to collect data and not just confirm things they already know. We could see some relatively unknown players make a big leap in the draft order this year with a strong combine performance. 

Day after NBA Finals (TBD): Teams begin negotiation with their own free agents 

This should be a quick meeting for the Pistons, as they only have one free agent (Simone Fontecchio) worth bringing back and the rest should be shown the exit. 

June 26-27: 2024 NBA Draft 

The Draft will be held over two days this season. For more information about the draft, click here. 

June 29: Last day options can be exercised, and qualifying offers extended 

This will be another short meeting and hopefully the day we find out that the Pistons officially did not extend a qualifying offer to James Wiseman. 

June 30: Free agent negotiations begin 

This will be the official date teams can start negotiating with their own free agents. 

July 1: Free-agent moratorium 

This is always the biggest joke of the offseason, as teams are already “unofficially” negotiating, though recent tampering punishments may push this even further underground. 

This is also when teams can sign their first-round picks, exercise rookie options, extend offer sheets to restricted free agents, convert two-way deals and sign players to minimum deals of two years or less. It will be interesting to see if the Pistons try to steal any restricted free agents from teams who are unwilling to match their offer. 

July 6: NBA Free Agency begins 

This is the date when teams can start announcing the free agents they miraculously have deals for five seconds after free agency opens. It’s AMAZING that they are able to negotiate this quickly, as the bell will ring and Woj bombs will start to drop immediately, almost as if they've been working on deals all along, wink wink.

July 12-22: NBA Summer League 

Also known as the time when Pistons fans fall in love with some random player who won’t end up on the roster. 

October 1: Training camp begins 

By this time we’ll know exactly how pessimistic we should be heading into the season. 

October 21: Offseason ends 

If you haven’t signed or traded a player by now, it is too late, as rosters must be set on this date. 

October 22: 2024-25 regular season beings 

The Detroit Pistons roster, free agents, locks and question marks 

The Pistons will have five free agents this offseason, including Evan Fournier, James Wiseman, Troy Brown Jr., Malachi Flynn and Simone Fontecchio. 

Of these five, it would be shocking to see any of them back except Fontecchio, who is a restricted free agent with a low qualifying offer. 

The Pistons can’t pick up the Fournier option for $19 million unless they need their heads checked, so he’ll be a free agent. 

Same with James Wiseman’s $15 million qualifying offer, as he would probably just accept it, which would be a disaster at that price. 

Brown Jr and Flynn are as good as gone, so only Fontecchio has a real chance of returning to the Pistons. 

They have Cade Cunningham, Ausar Thompson, Jaden Ivey, Isaiah Stewart, Jalen Duren, Marcus Sasser and Quentin Grimes under full, guaranteed contracts for next season. Stanley Umude has a team option that the team must exercise by June 26, or he becomes another free agent. 

The biggest question marks are not around the free agents, but which players under contract the Pistons may or may not trade this offseason. As of right now, I fully expect one of Jaden Ivey or Jalen Duren to be traded. 

2024 NBA Draft prospects to watch 

Good luck with this one, as the 2024 NBA Draft is as wide open as any since 2000, and no one with any credibility will claim to know what is going to happen this far out. If the Pistons keep their pick, they could draft for need with someone like Zaccharie Risacher, a big two-way wing. 

If they draft for upside, they could go with Alex Sarr, who many experts believe is the only prospect with possible superstar upside, though his fit with the Pistons is questionable. 

If they end up falling, we could see them go with a shooter like Dalton Knecht or a defensive stopper like Stephon Castle. The main takeaway here is that no one knows, and the Pistons are as likely to trade their pick as they are to keep it. 

Pistons complete draft picks from 2024 to 2030 

2024: Own 

2025: 1-13 (own), 14-30 (NYK) 

2026: 1-11 (own), 12-30 (NYK) 

2027: 1-9 (own), 10-30 (NYK) 

2028: Own 

2029: Own 

2030: Own 

The biggest question around the Pistons’ future draft picks is whether the one they owe the Knicks will ever convey. If it doesn’t convey in 2027 (which means the Pistons still suck), then it turns into a second rounder, which didn’t seem like a possibility way back when the Pistons traded it to get Isaiah Stewart. 

Because of the pick they owe the Knicks, the Pistons can’t trade their 2024 pick until draft day and can only add one future pick in any trade, which obviously isn’t great for a team looking to make a big splash. 

One of Troy Weaver’s biggest failures was his inability to get a single first-round pick for Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks, which would have given them more flexibility in trades this offseason. The Pistons, who have been the worst team in the NBA over the last decade, somehow managed not to pick up any extra draft assets and are still one in the red. 

Pistons offseason rumors to monitor 

So far, this has all been blind speculation, as we don’t even know who will be calling the shots for the Detroit Pistons. 

However, they have been attached to both Tobias Harris and Miles Bridges (puke) in free agency. 

They’ve also been mentioned as potential suitors for guys like Karl-Anthony Towns, Brandon Ingram and Mikal Bridges, but those may be wishful thinking on the part of fans. 

The biggest rumor to watch is a potential draft trade involving their pick and one or two of their young players.  

The Detroit Pistons financial outlook 

Finally, some good news! 

One of the only things Troy Weaver has done well is avoid bad contacts, as the Pistons don’t have any on the books for next season. Isaiah Stewart will be the highest paid player on the team, so the Pistons did at least manage to keep some financial flexibility. 

You can find cap space for every team here. 

Detroit should enter the offseason with more than $60 million to spend, which would be the most in the NBA. But money only matters if you have something to spend it on, and depending on how the playoffs shake out, the pickings are slim for the Pistons, who have to avoid giving a max deal to a non-All-Star like Tobias Harris. 

Pistons potential trade targets 

I mentioned a few above, but the Pistons will be hoping there is an unhappy star who demands a trade or a team that needs to cut payroll this summer. 

Minnesota and New Orleans are teams to watch, as both have rosters about to get more expensive and are not accustomed to paying the luxury tax. Minny could be forced to trade Karl-Anthony Towns and the Pels might be compelled to trade Brandon Ingram. If so, the Pistons should be ready with offers. 

If they wanted to take a swing on a buy-low target, Zach LaVine could be an option they re-visit and Patrick Williams from the Bulls could be discussed if they are looking for a player with upside who hasn’t hit his prime. 

The dream candidates would be someone like Lauri Markkanen or Mikal Bridges who would be difference makers at positions of need. It doesn't look like Markkanen will be dealt, but Bridges is definitely one to watch.  

This section will be updated when more names are mentioned, but that won’t begin until teams start flaming out of the playoffs and we see who becomes available. There will certainly be some names we’ve not discussed, such as one of the players from the Phoenix Suns, especially if they get bounced in the first round. 

So, bookmark this page and come back, as we’ll be updating information as it becomes available.