Pros and cons of controversial offseason strategy for the Detroit Pistons

November 20, 2022; Sacramento, California, USA; Detroit Pistons general manager Troy Weaver
November 20, 2022; Sacramento, California, USA; Detroit Pistons general manager Troy Weaver / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It’s difficult to know what approach the Detroit Pistons will take this offseason, as currently they don’t even have a person in place who can make decisions. 

With the NBA Draft Lottery just two weeks away, the Pistons haven’t even interviewed anyone for their president of basketball operations job, you know, the one who will be making all of the decisions. 

All that person has to do is decide the fate of the front office and coaching staff before dramatically retooling the worst roster in the NBA. No pressure. 

Once the Pistons’ secretive search is finally over, the new POBO will have plenty of cap space and a multitude of ways to use it. 

Related Story. Grade the trade: Proposal has Pistons moving two young players. Grade the trade: Proposal has Pistons moving two young players. dark

With few impact free agents available, cap space may be “Fool’s Gold” according to one insider, as it looks great but is ultimately meaningless if you can’t find a positive way to use it. 

ESPN’s Bobby Marks recently spoke about some of the Pistons’ options with their cap space, one of which would not please fans.

Detroit Pistons rumors: Taking on a “Bad” contract? 

Marks suggested that the Pistons could once again punt their cap space down the road by taking on a bad contract in exchange for assets. This was the approach they took last offseason which led to the worst season in franchise history so it’s safe to say this would not be a popular strategy depending on just how bad the contract is. 

I wrote about some possibilities here, but none of them are nearly as “bad” as the one Marks suggested. He mentioned that the Pistons need extra draft assets and are the only rebuilding team without them, which is true. He then suggested the Pistons could take on the contract of Ben Simmons in exchange for a first-round pick. 

I recoiled in horror, as I am sure most of you did while reading that, but I’ll play along and discuss the pros and cons of such a move. 

Pros of trading for Ben Simmons 

Simmons is owed $40 million next season in the final year of what has arguably been the worst contract in NBA history. Simmons played just 15 games this season after playing only 42 last year. The year before that? He didn’t play at all, the second full season he has missed in his eight year career. 

As a player, he might be finished, though he did have some ok games last season, averaging 6.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.7 assists when he was in there. Simmons is far from the All-World defender he once was, but he’s still versatile on that end and can guard three spots. 

If the Pistons were to get a first-round pick for taking on the final year of his deal, they’d then be in a position to make a bigger trade, as right now, they can’t trade their 2024 pick until draft day and can only attach one additional pick, which limits their options. 

Even if the Pistons didn’t send a deal back in return, they’d still have $20 million in cap space and would now be in a position to make a bigger trade. So, you take a flyer on a broken player hoping he gives you something and pick up the draft assets you need to make a trade. 


Everything else. 

Simmons is the least reliable player in the NBA, so you’d be paying $40 million for a player who may not even step on the floor next season. He’s been a problem on every team he’s played for, a constant media distraction who hasn’t contributed anything positive since the 2021-22 season. 

You’d be giving up 2/3 of your cap space for a guy who can’t play, which is exactly what they did last offseason with Joe Harris with disastrous results. This would delay the rebuild once again, and set the team back another season after potentially signing Cade Cunningham to a max deal. How long before Cade asks for a trade if your big offseason move is to dump all of your cap space on Ben Simmons for a measly pick? 

There is no guarantee any pick from the Nets (most of the ones they have are from Phoenix and protected) would lead to a big trade, so all you’d really be doing is adding one of the NBA’s worst shooters to a team that already lacks spacing for the hope it would lead to better players in the future.

I can’t think of a better way to alienate the fanbase than to make a move like this, which would just be the Pistons dangling another manure tainted carrot in front of our donkey faces trying to lead us down the road for another year. 

No thanks. I’d rather they do nothing than bring on Ben Simmons.