Pistons trade and cap space only matter if something comes next

Dec 23, 2023; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Marvin Bagley III (35) warms up
Dec 23, 2023; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Marvin Bagley III (35) warms up / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

After a 3-36 start to the season, the Detroit Pistons finally made a change via a low-level trade with the Washington Wizards.

This trade wasn't about the players involved, it was about money, as it allowed the Pistons to get rid of the final year of Marvin Bagley III's deal, which will open up more cap space for the summer.

Stop me if you've heard this one before.

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Cap space has never been the problem in the Troy Weaver era, as he's had plenty to splash around over the last three offseasons. The Pistons had plenty before this trade, so fans shouldn't get too excited, as cap space is just a bunch of numbers unless it's turned into something, and it's not what it used to be anyway.

Cap space is no longer as important

It figures that the Detroit Pistons finally have cap space in a time when it doesn't much matter. The NBA has made it easier for teams to keep their players, so not nearly as many stars hit free agency as in the past.

Players have also figured out that they can just sign max deals with the team they are on and demand a trade anyway, so we're not seeing superstars hit free agency as often as it could cost them money.

So just like last summer, the group of free agents for 2024 isn't deep with star players or guys who necessarily fit the Pistons.

Everyone has copped onto Troy Weaver's promise of financial flexibility, as that only matters if you use it for something that will help the team win games, not help another team clear cap space or help the Pistons gain a couple of second-round picks they can use to bribe bad teams to take their bad players, as they just did with MBIII.

Detroit Pistons' cap space only matters if they use it

I have to believe this move was done with future moves in mind, which could include both trades and splashes in free agency.

The Zach LaVine rumors have kicked up again, and the Pistons have also been connected to players like Pascal Siakam and Tobias Harris among others.

One player is not going to save this team, but Detroit needs to add more talent and then fill out the roster with legitimate NBA players who can still play.

Keep in mind that Detroit has seven expiring contracts, so even with $60+ million at their disposal, it's not going to be easy to add an impact talent and then fill out the rest of the roster with good role players.

The work has just begun for Troy Weave et al. who can no longer dangle hope and cap space in front of angry fans who are tired of watching a glorified G-League team.

He has to do something and has the money to do it, which should excite and terrify you in equal measure.