Inside the Article:
The upcoming 2023 NBA Free Agency period is pivotal for the Detroit Pistons.
After landing their head coach of the future along with adding talent through the draft, the Detroit Pistons are approaching their next phase of roster building with free agents. Teams around the league can start making offers to their desired targets this Friday. With about $30 million available in cap space, the Pistons are expected to be one of the more aggressive teams in free agency.
Detroit is in a position where they can focus their free agency money in one of two ways. They can continue addressing free agents with low-risk signings on a short-term agreement which opens the possibility of trading one of those signings for future assets. The other option is to go all-in with a good chunk of their cap space on one of the top free agents on the market.
General manager Troy Weaver has shown to be somewhat unpredictable with some of his transactions. His restoration plan has preached patience and making the right moves without rushing. However, spending as much as they did to hire Monty Williams as their head coach shows they're ready to start winning sooner than later. This free agency period will heavily influence the direction of this franchise.
Here Are Five Free Agents the Detroit Pistons Should Target This Week:
Forward Cam Johnson
Reports have already confirmed the Pistons are preparing a big offer to try and land the highly coveted forward from the Brooklyn Nets. Johnson is a three-point specialist with an underrated ability to create other shots as well as being one of the best defenders on the market. He averaged 15.5 points per game last season while shooting 47% from the field and 40% from three. His workload increased after being traded to the Nets, and he seemed to handle the change in responsibility just fine.
Acquiring Johnson will not be easy considering he is a restricted free agent. ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported that Brooklyn is willing to match offers up to four years worth $100 million. The Detroit Pistons have more than enough cap space to push Brooklyn's limits of how far they'll go to keep Johnson. Even if a sign and trade is needed to complete a deal, the Pistons have players on flexible deals they could send to the Nets.
Despite being so expensive, Johnson seems like the most seamless fit for the Pistons based on their need for shooting and perimeter defense. The allure of a mega-million dollar payday, reuniting with a head coach who thought very highly of him during their days together in Phoenix on a young team on the rise makes Cam Johnson as a Piston a real possibility.
Forward Harrison Barnes
Unlike Cam Johnson in Brooklyn, Barnes is an unrestricted free agent who would be easier to land for the Pistons. The eleven-year veteran wouldn't be nearly as expensive as Johnson and has a game that would complement Detroit's young core well.
Barnes averaged 15 points per game in his last season with the Sacramento Kings. While playing all 82 games, he shot 47% from the field and 37% from three as a useful secondary scorer. He isn't a lockdown defender at age 31, but he can be serviceable and an obvious defensive upgrade from the forwards on the roster.
Barnes would be a useful bridge starter as rookie Ausar Thompson gets used to the NBA off the bench. A short-term contract with Barnes for two or three years with a team option would be a safe deal.
Forward Cam Reddish
A common trend through the tenure of Troy Weaver as general manager is his interest in reclamation projections. One name that fits that mold and has been linked with interest from the Pistons for a while is 23-year-old Cam Reddish.
Reddish is yet to find a home to develop throughout his four-year career. He is extremely athletic with lots of untapped potential. His first two-and-a-half years were spent with the Atlanta Hawks before they dealt him to the New York Knicks. He barely saw playing time with the Knicks and was traded again to the Portland Trailblazers.
Even though he's a restricted free agent, his return may not be a priority in Portland. The Trailblazers are still trying to put a winning product around star guard Damian Lillard. Keeping a young developing player may not be a part of Portland's plan, especially if they're trying to bring back free agent Jerami Grant. Acquiring Reddish on a short-term deal seems like the low-risk high-reward move that Troy Weaver normally goes for.
Forward Torrey Craig
This easily would be the smallest risk of each name on this list. Craig is a six-year veteran who would have a very specific role as a Detroit Piston.
Craig averaged a career-high 7.4 points per game last season with the Suns. He also reached a career-high average shooting 40% from three, including 44.3% from corner triples. Defense is also a credible calling card for the 6'7 forward.
Phoenix could be in a battle with the luxury tax, especially with the new CBA approaching soon. Keeping their bench depth will be one of the biggest problems for the Suns after trading for star guard Bradley Beal. Losing Craig could be a part of their sacrifice which could be a helpful addition for the Pistons.
Forward Jerami Grant
Bringing back the former Piston forward would be a controversial decision, but it is a likely option considering the circumstances. Grant is an unrestricted free agent reportedly searching for $30 million annually on the market.
Grant broke out playing his best basketball during his days with the Pistons. That growing play picked up with the Blazers averaging 20.5 points per game while shooting 48% from the field and 40% from three. After wanting to show he can be a primary scorer with the Pistons, he settled back comfortably to being a secondary option in Portland.
One of the biggest problems during Grant's last season with the Detroit Pistons was his usage offensively. His ball dominance and heavy isolations took away from the development of franchise point guard Cade Cunningham. Detroit has added more young talent to grow, which remains the team's top priority. If Grant can mesh with Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, and the rest of the young core, the reunion signing would make great sense for Detroit.