5 Intriguing NBA playoff subplots for Pistons fans to follow

Apr 20, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) shoots the ball
Apr 20, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) shoots the ball / Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons aren’t in the playoffs but will be watching them closely, as their fate may be tied to some of the results. 

Early exits could cause some teams to rethink their positions or players to consider a new home. Deep runs could keep some free agents off the market or drive up their price depending on how they play. 

Here are five subplots Pistons fans should be following in the NBA playoffs. 

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The teams with money issues 

The Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Pelicans are both teams to watch this summer, especially if they get beaten in the first round. Minnesota will be up against the luxury tax next season and may decide to deal Karl-Anthony Towns and the Pelicans could do the same with Brandon Ingram. It will be more difficult to justify the expense of running it back with these players if the two teams don’t progress in the playoffs. 

The Jaden Ivey trade 

Is there a playoff team out there that could use a scoring guard? Pistons fans will be watching closely and coming up with a lot of fake trades involving Ivey, the first-round pick and whatever secondary star looks like they might become available. 

The All-in Teams 

Given their payrolls and futures, the Dallas Mavericks and LA Clippers may be the most interesting first-round series, as both teams are desperate to advance. The Mavs need some evidence that the Luka Doncic/Kyrie Irving pairing works in the playoffs and whether their late surge was for real or just them beating up on bad teams. The Clippers have to decide the future of Paul George and whether the pairing with the injured Kawhi Leonard is viable enough for an extension.  

Teams will be waiting eagerly for the results of this one, as we could see some players hit the market from whichever team loses this first-round matchup. 

The Phoenix Suns 

Speaking of teams that went all in, no one is under more pressure to win than the Phoenix Suns, who have one of the most expensive payrolls in the league. Their new owner has indicated that he doesn’t care about spending money, so they may just run it back either way, but if they lose, we could see them trade at least one of their Big 3 to build a deeper roster around whoever stays. My longshot pipe dream scenario is that Booker plays poorly against Minnesota and that both he and Kevin Durant decide they are better off without each other. Booker decides to come home and orchestrates a trade to the Pistons. This is not going to happen of course but let a man dream. 

How potential free-agent targets perform in the playoffs 

So far, some of the possible free-agent targets for the Pistons have not helped their cases. Tobias Harris hasn’t played well in his two postseason games so far. Jalen Smith and Obi Toppin were ineffective for the Pacers in game one. Buddy Heild struggled in game one and barely played. Pascal Siakam had a huge game one in in the loss for the Pacers.  

Playoff performances and results may change how their current teams view them moving forward but could also have an effect on their price in free agency. So far, most of the top free agents have been mediocre or bad, so it will be interesting to see if these performances affect how the Pistons view free agency in general.