The Detroit Pistons may have to get creative if they want to upgrade their roster at the NBA trade deadline.
So far, they have shied away from the cost of guys like Zach LaVine, and may not get the return they want for Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks.
Of the two, Burks is more likely to get traded, as his contract expires at the end of the season and he will be an unrestricted free agent.
The Pistons can't just give away Burks for nothing, but if they can reap a talented young player and a pick for him, that's an offer they'd have to consider.
In a recent conversation for HoopsHype, Mike Scotto and Jovan Buha broke down some of the challenges the Lakers face in their quest to land Dejounte Murray, namely that they will need a third team to take on the contract of D'Angelo Russell, which the Hawks do not want.
They listed the Detroit Pistons as a possibility to be that third team, with the idea of young wing Max Christie being used to sweeten the deal for Detroit.
Possible 3-team trade with the Pistons, Lakers and Hawks
The Detroit Pistons might be willing to take on D'Angelo Russell if the price is right, and it would be a way to move Alec Burks and get some kind of return other than just picks.
Russell has a player option for next season remaining on his contract at around $18.6 million. He may decline it if he doesn't want to play in Detroit or thinks he can get more in a long-term deal. If he does, the Pistons get the cap space, if he doesn't, they get a solid scoring guard for one season as a major upgrade from Killian Hayes that isn't going to kill their cap sheet.
I question whether this would be the best deal Atlanta could get for Murray, but if you view JHS as a first-round pick, they are basically getting two first rounders and a middling expiring contract. But I'm going to focus on the Pistons.
In this trade, the Pistons get Max Christie, Russell and a crappy 2nd-round pick in exchange for Alec Burks. The Lakers get their splashy addition and the Hawks get a young wing prospect, first-round pick and expiring contract in Burks, who can help them for the rest of this season without adding any future money.
Christie is an interesting prospect, as he is just 20 years old and already in the Lakers' rotation. He's a streaky shooter but has good size for a two guard at 6-foot-6 and has upside as a defender. He played at Michigan State, so might like the opportunity to get minutes on the Pistons.
On paper, he's the type of 3-and-D prospect they need, as the Pistons have too many players who are terrible on one side of the floor, negating their strengths on the other.
Christie and a 2nd-round pick might be the best the Pistons are going to get for Burks and they'd also get the opportunity to take a flyer on D'Angelo Russell as a bench guard.