No amount of 1st-round picks would be worth this possible Pistons trade

Jun 13, 2023; Detroit, MI, USA; Troy Weaver general manager of the Detroit Pistons
Jun 13, 2023; Detroit, MI, USA; Troy Weaver general manager of the Detroit Pistons / Brian Bradshaw Sevald-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023-24 season still has 20 games left for the Detroit Pistons, but fans are already looking to the future.

It's natural for the fanbase of a team that isn't fighting for anything except lottery position and has only won 10 games as we creep towards the middle of March.

The future is all we have.

And there is reason to be excited. The Core Four is starting to gel, Cade Cunningham looks more and more like the star the Pistons need him to be, and Detroit has a ton of cap space to go along with another high draft pick to improve the roster this summer.

With limited impact free agents available for the Pistons, they may have to look to trades to find the talent they need and will have to get creative with their cap space. But they can't be stupid.

Best remaining free agents for the Pistons at each position. dark. Related Story. Best remaining free agents for the Pistons at each position

The Pistons could theoretically take on a bad contract in exchange for assets, but there is one that they should avoid.

The Detroit Pistons trade for Ben Simmons

Yesterday it was announced by Shams Charania among others, that Ben Simmons would miss the rest of the season, which is probably the least surprising development in the NBA:

The oft-injured Simmons has played just 57 games in the last three seasons combined while collecting over $105 million in salary, which isn't bad work if you can get it.

Simmons is owed over $40 million next season, the final year of a contract that can only be called one of the worst in NBA history.

I immediately started seeing fans speculate what it might take for the Detroit Pistons to relieve the Nets of that salary, an idea that is bad for a lot of reasons.

The first is that the Pistons are trying to improve and Simmons isn't going to help that cause by eating up nearly all of their available cap space. Even if you could guarantee his health, which you absolutely can't, he hasn't looked like the same guy since he was a three-time All-Star.

Even if the Pistons wanted to eat that contract in exchange for picks, the Nets don't have them to give, as they owe their pick to Houston in 2024 and 2026 to go along with a swap in 2025.

They don't control their own pick outright until 2028 and there are still so many protections and caveats that it's hard to guess how this will turn out. Can you make sense of this mess?

"Two most / more favorable of BRK, PHL 9-30 if not already settled and if PHL has conveyed 1st round pick to OKC by 2026, and PHX; more favorable of (i) WAS and (ii) least / less favorable of BRK, PHL 9-30 if conveyed to BRK, and PHX to WAS then other to PHX (via BRK swap of BRK or PHL for PHX; via WAS swap for PHX, BRK or PHL)"

Me either.

Even if the Nets had the picks to give, it wouldn't be worth it to tank another season for a team already built around young players.

I feel sorry for Simmons, who once looked like a future MVP, but has been relegated to a meme that symbolizes being injured.

The Pistons will need to get creative, but they can't take on sunk costs, especially when there is no clear payoff in terms of assets. If the Nets wanted to chuck in Mikal Bridges, we might have a conversation, but given Simmons has an expiring contract, the Nets aren't going to give up their best player just to get rid of one year of money.

So let's just put this one to bed now, shall we?