The NBA trade deadline is the perfect time to assess where a team is, both for the present and the future. The Detroit Pistons have been mentioned in numerous trade rumors, but so far, it's unclear whether they will be buyers or sellers at the deadline.
The Pistons don't have the trade assets that some rebuilding teams have, as they've no extra first-round picks (they are actually down one) and don't want to break up their young core without at least seeing what they look like with a competent team around them.
The one thing they do have is expiring contracts and financial flexibility, which Troy Weaver has valued more than anything even though cap space is no longer as important as it once was.
That does put the Detroit Pistons in a position to potentially help another team out of their financial situation while bringing back a valuable player in the process.
2 Teams the Detroit Pistons should be monitoring
There are two teams that stand out as having future financial issues.
The first is the New Orleans Pelicans. As Mike Scotto of HoopsHype recently reported, the Pels will have some tough decisions to make when it comes to their roster, which is rapidly getting more expensive.
"Following the move, there was a question circulating quietly among NBA executives looking toward the summer. Which Pelican could be on the move this summer to help New Orleans avoid the tax again?...Rising young forward Trey Murphy III is eligible for a rookie scale extension during the summer and a significant pay raise down the line. How much will he command and do the Pelicans want to pay that figure?"
The other team is the Memphis Grizzlies, who will have over $81 million tied up in Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Marcus Smart next season. This will be the first season of the new Desmond Bane extension, so add another $34 million, making for $115 million tied up in four players.
Memphis also has some bad contracts on the books with Brandon Clarke and Luke Kennard. Clarke hasn't played at all this season and Kennard has also missed time with injuries.
The Grizzlies would be well over the cap before they even got to the team options they hold for next season and are not a team accustomed to paying heavy luxury tax as a small-market franchise.
Could the Detroit Pistons take advantage? Here is a blockbuster trade with each team.