The Clock Is Ticking. It's Time For Pistons To Sell, Once And For All

As the deadline nears, Detroit has been eerily quiet.

Will Burchfield
February 05, 2020 - 3:38 pm
Drummond, Kennard

© Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports


With the NBA trade deadline less than 24 hours away, the Pistons are nearing a crossroads. We know the route they've taken before. Here's to hoping they take the other. 

This organization has spent the last several years running in place. It has an opportunity to shake things up by Thursday at 3 p.m., and perhaps give its fledgling rebuild a boost. And yes, anyway you slice it, this is a rebuild. Even owner Tom Gores seems to have reached the conclusion that Detroit needs to scrap the win-now plan and start over. 

Tom Gores Indicates Pistons Open To Rebuild

Andre Drummond is available. So is Derrick Rose. So are Luke Kennard, Langston Galloway and Reggie Jackson. The Pistons are taking offers on basically anyone other than Sekou Doumbouya, and to a lesser extent Svi Mykhailiuk, Bruce Brown and Christian Wood.

Problem is, they don't seem all that keen on pulling the trigger. 

The Drummond talks have all but died out. The Pistons still want a first-round pick in return, and it's beginning to feel like they won't move him for anything less. So either Drummond will walk this summer for nothing, or opt in for 2020-21 and put the Pistons on the hook for another $29 million. Neither scenario benefits Detroit. 

Drummond Reportedly Losing Value On Trade Market

The Rose talks have hit a similar snag, with the Pistons searching for a lottery-level pick. As well as Rose has played this season, and as much as his contract might entice, it's hard to envision a non-playoff team stepping up with an offer. Numerous contenders are said to be interested, but the Pistons will have to lower their price to strike a deal. 

Detroit deserves credit for taking a chance on Rose last summer, and Rose deserves credit for revitalizing his career. He's said he wants to stay in Detroit, and we can appreciate the sentiment. But this isn't about doing right by Rose -- this is about doing right by the organization. The Pistons need to cash in on the opportunity they've afforded themselves. 

Pistons' Price On Rose Could End Chance Of Trade

Kennard is the most interesting name out there. He first popped up in rumors last week, and reports say the Pistons and Suns have discussed a deal. A first-round pick and two young pieces would be coming to Detroit. It's an encouraging sign of outside-the-box thinking on the part of the front office. While Kennard's ostensibly a piece of the future, the future might be better served by trading him. 

Pistons, Suns Talking Luke Kennard Trade

While they're getting creative, the Pistons should go one step further and try to package Kennard with Drummond. If the return is similar -- centered on that first-round pick -- it achieves several aims at once. You add premium draft capital, you ensure Drummond's off the books next season and, as painful as it might be down the stretch, you improve your odds in the lottery this spring. 

Detroit is closer to last place in the East than the final playoff spot. This is a bad team whose focus should be on next season and beyond. They're seventh in the lottery at the moment, 2.5 games out of the top five, 4.5 games out of the top three. With a shaved-down roster, they can close that gap in the next two months. It's another incentive to trade Rose, too. 

And then there are the ancillary names. Has Galloway been a nice find for the Pistons? He has. Is he a respected vet in a young locker room? He is. Should the Pistons trade him amid a season in which he's shooting a career-high 40 percent from three and his value is on the rise? Absolutely. Even for a second-round pick, if that's all you can get. While we're here, the same could be said of Markieff Morris and Tony Snell. 

As for Jackson, the Pistons will be hard pressed to a suitor, even with his $18 million expiring contract. But if there's a team out there that wants a little scoring off the bench and some cap relief this summer, Detroit should take whatever it can get. Drummond and Jackson have their defenders, and the former certainly has his strengths, but the duo has turned so stale it's time to move on. 

It's time to move on for the organization as a whole, from an era it would rather forget. The Pistons spent most of the last decade trying to win, and there's some honor in that. But there was delusion in the way they went about it, which is why it ultimately went nowhere. They have the chance now to go somewhere else. It's a road they're headed for already -- might as well get a head start.