Grade the trade: Pistons make desperate, risky move in proposed deal

Dec 23, 2023; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Ausar Thompson (9) knocks the ball
Dec 23, 2023; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Ausar Thompson (9) knocks the ball / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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Would the Detroit Pistons make this trade? 

The pros are that the Pistons would be getting the best player in the deal, a proven All-Star in his prime who is a better fit with Cade Cunningham and on a relatively team-friendly deal. His four-year extension starts next year and ramps up from $25-31 million, which is now basically minimum wage for an NBA starter. 

Murray is better at everything than Ivey. He’s improved as a 3-point shooter and now launches over seven per game at just under 37 percent. He’s a better defender, playmaker and should make Cade and the team better. 

They’d also be getting the #1 pick in the draft, which they could use to grab Alex Sarr or to address their needs on the wing, which would be more pronounced with Ausar Thompson leaving. 

But this trade would be a huge risk. 

The first thing is that a pick in this draft, whether it is #1 or #5, is worth about the same. It’s possible that Ausar Thompson would be the #1 pick in this draft, so there isn’t a lot of value in moving up. 

This is especially true if the plan is to take Sarr while retaining Duren. Are we really going to go through this again, hoping a big can spread the floor when there is scant evidence he can? It’s possible he will eventually be able to shoot enough to successfully flank Duren, but right now he cannot. 

Although Murray is immediately a better fit with Cade, there are still questions about how the two would work, as both like to have the ball in their hands and run the show, the same issue Murray had with Young in Atlanta. On paper, they are a better fit, but there are still issues. 

The sticking point for me is the inclusion of Ausar Thompson, as he has already flashed elite defense on the wing along with winning intangibles, and now the Pistons are back to square one with too many centers and no wings. 

This trade would make more sense if the Pistons were to include Duren instead of Thompson and take back Capela along with Murray. Give me Murray, Capela and #1 for Ivey, Duren, and #5 and we are talking, as the Pistons would then have their center position locked up (taking on the one year of Capela along with Sarr) without giving up their best wing player to do it. 

The bones of a trade are here, but the details would have to be altered for it to be a no-brainer for the Pistons. As it is, I’d go lower on the grade, as it’s too risky for Detroit and makes less sense with Thompson. 

Grade: C+