Pistons rumors: Detroit tied to scapegoat free agent again

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

Even though NBA free agency is over two months away, there has already been plenty of speculation about what the Detroit Pistons are going to do. 

Speculation is all it can be at this point, as the Pistons don’t even have a decision-maker in place. They’ve only just started their search for a new president of basketball operations and that person will have some big decisions to make right away, namely whether to keep GM Troy Weaver and head coach Monty Williams. 

With the NBA Draft Lottery and Draft right around the corner, there is precious little time to waste. 

As we’ve noted many times before, the Pistons will have the most cap space of any team this summer and many believe they will use it to pursue free agent Tobias Harris. Harris is past his prime, but still a solid player at a position of need, so he does make some sense, especially considering his ties to Detroit. 

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That speculation ramped up recently when a Philly beat writer posited that Harris would be made the scapegoat if the 76ers don’t make it out of the first round of the playoffs, and that Detroit was a likely suitor when he leaves.

Detroit Pistons tied to Tobias Harris again 

According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly fans have turned Tobias Harris into the latest scapegoat for their potential failures. With Embiid injured nearly every year, fans have turned to Ben Simmons, Matisse Thybulle and now Tobias Harris to blame if/when Philly is bounced from the playoffs. Pompey believes Harris' time in Philly is nearly over:

"The power forward’s tenure with the 76ers is expected to end once their postseason run concludes. Several NBA executives believe there’s a chance he’ll land with the Detroit Pistons in free agency. "

Of course, all of this is irrelevant while Philly is still playing and Detroit doesn’t have a boss, but the 76ers are definitely a team whose playoff fate could be connected to the Pistons. 

The real question is not whether the Pistons could pursue Harris but whether they should, as he’ll be 32 by the start of next season and played poorly in the first play-in game even though Philly did win. 

We know Harris is a pro who can get buckets and shoot the 3-ball, but he needs the ball in his hands and is more effective in the pick-and-roll than in catch-and-shoot situations, where he only shoots 37 percent. 

Whether he’s worth signing as a free agent will largely depend on his demands, as he is currently getting paid like a 2nd option, but realistically isn’t at this point in his career. If his next contract is in the 30 million+ range, that‘s a lot of cap space to use on a guy who is probably better suited to be the 4th or 5th guy on a good team.  

We saw how good the Pistons were with Bojan Bogdanovic as their second option and it’s fair to question how big an upgrade Harris would really be. He’s a better all-around player, but Bogdanovic was also making significantly less money.  

This is a name the Pistons won’t be able to shake, but they can’t overpay to get him, as Harris is not enough to turn this team around unless they were to land a star to go along with him.