The NBA trade deadline is just a few short weeks away and the Detroit Pistons' intentions are still a mystery.
Their recent trade of Marvin Bagley III to Washington is an indication that there is more to come, as the Pistons opened up more future cap space by trading the last year of his deal for expiring contracts.
That doesn't mean the Pistons will make their splash right away, but we've already outlined some of the reasons why waiting for free agency may not be a luxury Detroit has.
Reports indicate that the Pistons want to be a buyer, and have been connected to names like Pascal Siakam, Zach LaVine, Dejounte Murry and Tobias Harris.
But would any of those players drastically change their trajectory?
Dan Favale of Bleacher Report doesn't think so, as he said it could be a "disaster" if the Pistons misread the situation and tried to be buyers at the trade deadline:
"But if the Pistons are actively considering trade pursuits for bigger veteran names, it shows a fundamental misunderstanding of where they sit. Most of the names they have been linked to would come at the expense of young players and, since they have zero extra first-rounders, the Pistons own draft equity...That is...not OK. It is brazen and foolish and completely out of touch with reality...Fans should cross their fingers that general manager Troy Weaver does not short-circuit the future for a chance to strengthen his job security and standing with team governor Tom Gores."
While he agreed that it wouldn't be catastrophic to keep a guy like Bojan Bogdanovic, Favale doesn't think the Pistons should make a big move at the expense of their young players or future draft assets.
Is he right?
Should the Detroit Pistons be buyers at the trade deadline?
My answer to this question is a big fat, "It depends."
When you look at the above names, all of them have red flags in terms of fit, cost and future contract, not to mention taking developmental minutes away from their young players.
Pascal Siakam will be an unrestricted free agent, so the Pistons would not only have to give up a ton to get him but would have to be sure he'd re-sign and then they are looking at giving a 30-year-old a max deal. No thanks.
Zach LaVine might be cheap, but only in terms of trade cost, as he has just started a $215 million deal. Not only that, he'll take minutes away from Jaden Ivey, who may be as good as LaVine himself someday, as their early career numbers are similar.
Dejoute Murray is not a great fit and the Pistons don't have the assets to get him anyway. Tobias Harris makes little sense, as Detroit could just wait until the end of the season and try to sign him as a free agent, and does Harris really move the needle for this team anyway?
Making a big trade might placate fans for a few minutes, but if it's the wrong guy, the Pistons could end up paying for it for years to come.
Detroit should explore every option, including making moves around the fringes and adding veterans who help better balance their roster and depth while not trodding all over the future.
What they can't do is let a desperate GM make a panic trade that grabs headlines but ultimately costs the Pistons any chance of being good in the next five years. It is a tricky balancing act for Troy Weaver, who is under pressure to do something but doesn't have the assets to make a big trade that is not fraught with risk.