Pistons news: Cade Cunningham, misses and smart passes in free agency

Memphis Grizzlies v Detroit Pistons
Memphis Grizzlies v Detroit Pistons / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

It was a relatively quiet first day of free agency for the Detroit Pistons and the rest of the league, as teams and agents adjust to the new tampering penalties that put some teeth into the rules. 

Detroit did take care of one offseason piece of business by inking Cade Cunningham to a new max extension. This after hiring JB Bickerstaff to be their next head coach. 

The five-year deal could balloon up to $270 million if Cade hits certain marks. The contract amounts to a vote of confidence from new team president Trajan Langdon, who has his franchise cornerstone locked in and now needs to build around him. 

Will he use free agency to do it? The Pistons haven’t signed anyone so far, missing out on a few players who would have been nice additions and rightfully passing on others. 

The Detroit Pistons were smart to stay away from these free agents 

I’ll stay away from the obvious ones like Paul George, Chris Paul and James Harden. Don’t get me wrong, I’d take PG or Paul as veteran mentors who could move the needle, but they weren’t coming to Detroit willingly, which may be a common theme in free agency. 

6 Best free agents for the Pistons after the draft. dark. Related Story. 6 Best free agents for the Pistons after the draft

Side note: Look at how San Antonio immediately put complementary players around Wembanyama and made him the focal point of their offseason. Take note, Pistons. 

Here are some other players I am glad they didn’t pursue: 

Obi Toppin: Too much crossover with Isaiah Stewart, but not as good a defender.  

Andre Drummond: A lot fans wanted to bring Drummond back, and it did make some sense, but Jalen Duren is already a good rebounder, the Pistons need a better rim protector. Drummond is headed to Philly, good luck to him. 

Kevin Porter Jr.: No scumbags please. Thanks. More reason to cheer against the Clippers. 

Jonas Valanciunas: I like Jonas, very good player, good teammate, but he’s worse defensively than Duren. Go get a veteran center, yes, but one who can defend. 

Possible free-agent misses for the Detroit Pistons 

I’m not gutted none of these players are coming to Detroit, but I would have been happy to have them, especially given the money involved. 

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: I am an unashamed KCP stan, so would have loved to bring him back to Detroit. Love his fit with Cade Cunningham and the defensive identity they are building. Great signing by Orlando. 

Naji Marshall: Great bargain signing for the Mavericks getting Naji for less than $10 million a year. Another hard-nosed defender who could help change the culture, he’ll be great in Dallas. 

Derrick Jones Jr.: A role player who stepped up big time, he probably isn’t a great fit in Detroit but I am all for collecting as many 3-and-D wings as possible. 

Kelly Oubre Jr.: I’m not a huge fan of his game, as he’s not a great shooter, but Oubre Jr. can definitely get buckets and is on a short-term, value deal. 

Isaiah Hartenstein: News just broke that Hartenstein is going to the OKC Thunder, so the rich just got richer. That's a big blow to the Knicks, and to Pistons fans who were hoping to bring him to Detroit. You can't blame him, as OKC is set up to win for the foreseeable future.

Jalen Smith: Smith has a hard time staying healthy, so I'm not completely gutted the Pistons missed out on him, but he signed a team-friendly deal with the Bulls that pays him just $9 million a year, which is great value for a guy who can shoot and play both big man spots.

Day one of free agency is in the books and the Pistons haven’t added players, but that could all change soon, as there are plenty of good free agents remaining (list is dwindling now) including Gary Trent Jr. and Tobias Harris.