Possible Pistons free-agent target to test the market

Feb 13, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA;  Los Angeles Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell (1)
Feb 13, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell (1) / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

With just over two weeks until the NBA Draft Lottery, the Detroit Pistons are still looking for their next president of basketball operations. 

This person will reportedly have full control over all basketball decisions, including the current front office and coaching staff. 

They had better be ready to get to work, as the NBA Draft and free agency are just around the corner, so the person won’t have much time to develop a strategy for fixing this mess. 

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One option would be to keep all of the young players and add as much talent as possible in free agency, which the Houston Rockets did with some success last offseason.  

If the Pistons go that route, we could see them spending on a guard who could compete with Jaden Ivey for a starting job and possibly push him to a bench role. 

One possibility who will likely be available is D’Angelo Russell, who Brian Windhorst of ESPN says is likely to opt out of his player option with the Lakers for next season and join free agency. 

Is he a good option for the Pistons? 

Detroit Pistons free agency: D’Angelo Russell 

D’Angelo Russell has had a strong season for the Lakers, playing 76 games and averaging 18 points, 6.3 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game while shooting 45 percent from the floor and 41.5 percent from 3-point range on a whopping 7.2 attempts per game. 

Russell can play on or off the ball as the secondary ballhandler, as he has done with LeBron in LA, and shoots 43 percent on catch-and-shoot 3’s, which make up the bulk of his attempts. He has shown he can get buckets, make plays and spread the floor, having the kind of season we were hoping to get out of Jaden Ivey. 

Like Ivey, Russell isn’t a great defender, but he has improved and would be an upgrade for the Pistons. 

Basically, D’Angelo Russell is the player we hope Ivey becomes, an efficient secondary option who isn’t a complete sieve on defense. 

So that begs the question of whether this would really be that big an upgrade, as there is a chance that Ivey will develop into this kind of player, as Russell is 28 years old and should be more efficient at this point in his career. There's also his recent antics in the playoffs, which aren't going to help his free-agency cause.

Say what you want about Ivey, but I can't see him doing something like that.

Russell is a better fit with Cade Cunningham and would improve the overall depth, but unless he were part of a much larger shift, his presence alone probably wouldn’t move the needle much and would just increase speculation that Jaden Ivey is going to be traded. 

Russell is a good player, but he’s not exactly the type of player the Pistons need and will likely get a hefty raise on a long-term contract, so Detroit might be wise to spend their money elsewhere.