Door may be open for Pistons to land a star in free agency

Sep 26, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA;  New Orleans Pelicans general manager Trajan Langdon Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans general manager Trajan Langdon Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the same old story for the Detroit Pistons and free agency. 

They have a vault of cap space but little to spend it on, as there aren’t a lot of stars in free agency and most of the big names would never willingly choose to go to Detroit. 

You can’t blame them. 

The Pistons have the fewest wins in the NBA over the last 15 years and haven’t won a playoff game since 2008, not exactly a draw if you are a veteran star looking to win a championship.

The only advantage the Pistons have is money, and if they want to overpay, may be able to draw a free agent who is looking for a max payday. 

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The door may be open according to Brian Windhorst, who said that OG Anunoby wasn’t happy with the Knicks offer and will test free agency on a recent episode of Get Up on ESPN. 

The Pistons have the cap space to make Anunoby a max offer, which could be enough to lure him away from the Knicks, but should they do it? 

Is OG Anunoby worth a max deal for the Detroit Pistons? 

Teams tend to overpay in free agency, that’s the nature of a system designed to maximize player salaries. Players tend to go for the best deal, especially if there is a big enough difference in the numbers. 

The Pistons would likely have to offer a deal that starts at $40 million per season to get any conversation started, as it has widely been thought that Anunoby going back to New York was a done deal. 

Anunoby is a nice player and fits the exact mold of what the Pistons need as an elite defender who knocks down a high rate of 3-point shots. 

The idea of him and Ausar on the perimeter is appealing and Anunoby showed with the Knicks that he impacts games on the defensive end. He’s a former NBA champion in his prime who should continue to improve. 

The counterargument is that he’s not an All-Star and likely won’t be, so paying max money for a second-tier player may not be a sound strategy for a team off a 14-win season.

He’s also missed a ton of games in his career, so it would be risky to tie up this much of your cap space in a guy who has played 50, 67, 48 and 43 games in the last four seasons. 

Now that Trajan Langdon has fired Troy Weaver and Monty Williams, the biggest decision he has is how to use his cap space. 

They could go “all-in” on Anunoby, or Langdon could choose to spread it around or take on a big contract in a trade.