*Update: This was written before the Detroit Pistons traded Monte Morris to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Shake Milton, Troy Brown Jr. and a second-round pick.
Detroit has now made their second trade of the 2023-2024 nightmare of a season. The first being Marvin Bagley III and Isaiah Livers to the Wizards for Mike Muscala and Danilo Gallinari last month. Now, Detroit has sent Kevin Knox, a second round pick, and the rights to former Pistons’ draft pick Gabriele Procida to the Utah Jazz for Simone Fontecchio. So how does our out-going production compare to the incoming? Let’s take a look.
Detroit Pistons: Outgoing Production
The main two pieces of this trade are Kevin Knox and the second round draft pick. Although he wasn’t on Detroit’s roster to begin the season, Kevin Knox has played pretty well for the Motor City. Detroit signed the former ninth overall draft pick back on November 8th to help with their incredible need at stretch four. And, while he won’t be winning any awards for his work here, Knox did what the Pistons needed him to do. This season he has averaged 7.2 points, 2.5 rebounds and .6 stocks (steals + blocks) all while shooting 33 percent from deep.
This isn’t the first time that Kevin was traded from Detroit. After signing a multi-year deal with the Pistons back in 2022, Knox was traded last trade deadline from Detroit to the Trailblazers in the same deal that sent Saddiq Bey to the Hawks, and brought James Wiseman to Detroit. Knox was waived by Portland back in October, and subsequently signed, once again, with Detroit, as mentioned. Don’t worry, if history repeats itself, Knox will find his way back to Detroit.
The second round pick that is being sent out is from this upcoming draft, 2024. In the NBA, second round picks are included with almost every transaction, but this is reported to be the 32nd overall selection via the Wizards. This would make it essentially a first round pick, which isn’t ideal for Detroit to part with, but they are at a point where they cannot continue to get younger.
In addition to Knox and the pick, is the draft rights to Gabriele Procida. Procida is a 6-foot-7 guard currently playing in the EuroLeague, but was drafted in the second round by the Pistons as a draft and stash back in 2022. Procida has struggled since being drafted, but is now averaging 8.7 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.9 stocks, and is shooting just 30 percent from deep. All in all, Detroit is parting ways with solid production from their four position, but not in a way that cannot be replicated.
Incoming for Detroit is former starter for the Utah Jazz, Simone Fontecchio. Fontecchio is a 6-foot-8 wing who immediately becomes one of Detroit’s better defenders while shooting 39 percent from three. Averaging 8.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists while connecting at the aforementioned rate of almost 40 percent is a huge upgrade for this Pistons team. Against Detroit this season, Simone is averaging 16 points, 52% FG, 63% 3PT, 4.5 rpg, and +7.5 +/-. Fontecchio is 28, yet still in just his second season in the NBA. The downside here is that Simone is a restricted free agent this offseason, meaning Detroit might have just made a deal for someone who will simply walk away here shortly. I would assume, however, that based on the front office’s rumored opinion on his fit with this core, an extension is in the works. His production seems to be coveted by Detroit’s F.O, as well as other contenders as it was reported.
What this also does for Detroit, is continues to set the table for more trades. Fontecchio is similar to Bojan Bogdanovic, with slightly less offensive prowess but better defense. Even though Bogdanovic is more of a creator than Simone, Detroit is now, if they finally choose to, able to flip Bogey for draft capital and not give up much on the offensive end. Since trading for Muscala and Gallinari, their offense has not been an issue. It’s been their defense. This trade opens up the possibility to move Bojan, get better on the defensive end, and remain average offensively.
All in all, great production trade off for Detroit. If they can get an extension, and not an overpay similar to Marvin Bagley back in 2022, great move by this front office.