After 24 straight losses, fans of the Detroit Pistons have little left but dreams of a future when the team is not the worst in the NBA.
That includes plenty of hypothetical situations in which they acquire better players to put around Cade Cunningham.
Reporters have been speculating that Lauri Markkanen, who would be ideal at the four spot for the Pistons, could become available if the Jazz continue to slide.
This seemed unlikely, as Markkanen is an All-Star just entering his prime and on a team-friendly deal, so the biggest obstacle to the Pistons trading for him is plain old common sense.
But there are others, including his alleged asking price.
The Pistons have no chance against OKC
One of the biggest things standing in the way of the Pistons and any desirable trade target is the OKC Thunder.
The Thunder are 17-8, sitting in the 2nd position in the Western Conference and there has been speculation that this is the year they might go for it.
There might not be a team in the NBA better prepared to compete now and in the future, so the Thunder don't have to do anything, but if they want to add a star player, there is not a team in the league that can realistically outbid them.
The Thunder have a ton of draft assets and young players, so if Markkanen does hit the trade block, OKC will have first dibs and there isn't anything the Pistons can do about it considering the best they can offer for anyone is a young player and one pick.
Lauri Markkanen's trade value
And then you have a recent report from Kevin O'Connor from The Ringer, who said the asking price for Markkanen is going to be astronomical anyway:
"My impression from talking to teams is that it’s something resembling the haul the Jazz received for Mitchell and Gobert: so, five-ish firsts and/or players of comparable value. "
So even if the Pistons had the ammo to outbid teams like OKC, they don't have anywhere near five picks or players of comparable value. Of course, it's unlikely that Markkanen would actually net that much, but the Pistons aren't even close.
So if you were dreaming of a sharpshooting seven-foot power forward coming to the Detroit Pistons, there is a better chance of Santa leaving a couple of million in cash under your tree.