Tobias Harris? Karl-Anthony Towns? Evaluating your Pistons trade proposals

The rare quiet period in the NBA calendar has arrived … or has it?

With the combine, the draft, the initial waves of free agency and Summer League all in the rearview mirror, organizations have a chance to breathe before training camp begins in late September. But some don’t and won’t use the quiet period to take a step back and relax. A little tweak here, a big tweak there; this part of the summer is when franchise decision makers have the most time to really iron out potential trades.

It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if the Pistons are one of the organizations making a deal before the 2023-24 season begins. It wouldn’t be out of the norm when Detroit made a trade with Utah last September to acquire Bojan Bogdanović. The Pistons don’t need to make a deal before the season begins, per se, but moves could be made around the fringes, particularly at the center and point guard spots, to trim some fat and provide more defined roles.

With all of this in mind, I’ll be analyzing draft picks regarding Detroit. I’ll break down each offer, reveal which side I think is saying “no” and why each proposal does or doesn’t make sense.

Let’s get into it:

Trade #1 — from @BrendonCrewNBA

Stamps receive: Evan Fournier, Tim Hardaway Jr., 2024 second-round pick (from New York) and 2027 first-round pick (from Dallas)
The Knicks receive: James Wiseman and Killian Hayes
Mavericks receive: Bogdanović and 2024 second-round pick (from Detroit via Knicks)
Who Says No?: New York

I don’t hate your thinking, Brendon. From Detroit’s perspective, the Pistons would get a safe rotation piece in Hardaway, who will be under contract for this season and next, and a future first-round pick for essentially Bogdanović. Moving Wiseman and Hayes would benefit the rotation by being condensed more than anything else.

The Knicks are saying “no” to this because the feeling around the league is that New York is holding on to Fournier’s deal — which will pay him $18.9 million this coming season and has a $19 million club option for the following season — for a potential bigger deal. Fournier, who was out of the rotation for a good portion of last season, has a salary number that will help New York match salaries in the event an All-Star or borderline All-Star becomes available. I would imagine it would be easier for the Knicks to move Fournier and his $18.9 million deal, with a club option, than both Wiseman and Hayes. They would also surrender a pick that could be a top-35 selection in the 2024 NBA Draft.

I just don’t see why the Knicks are doing this, especially since Wiseman or Hayes will meaningfully crack New York’s rotation.

Trade #2 — from @Detwinningg

Stamps receive: JaVale McGee, Hardaway and De’Andre Hunter
Mavericks receive: Clint Capela
Hawks receive: Bogdanović, Hayes and a 2027 first-round pick (via Dallas)
Who Says No?: Detroit

I’d rather have Bogdanović and his contract — which is only partially guaranteed after this coming season — than Hunter, whose four-year, $90 million deal runs into this season. Is Hunter better defensively? Of course. However, Bogdanović’s shot and shot creation makes up for what he lacks on the defensive end. I like Hardaway and think he could help Detroit, but I wouldn’t move Bogdanović and not get a first back when Hardaway is somewhat redundant with Alec Burks.

The Pistons are a deeper team in this trade scenario, but I think rolling the dice on the development of guys like Ausar Thompson, Isaiah Livers, Marcus Sasser and others is a better move than paying Hardaway and Hunter close to $40 million combined over the next two seasons.


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Trade #3 — from @nbacommentguy

Stamps receive: Kevin Huerter
Kings receive: DeMar DeRozan
Tyres receive: Marvin Bagley, Davion Mitchell, Kessler Edwards and a lottery-protected pick (via Detroit)
Who Says No?: Detroit and Chicago

Before I go any further, the Pistons are not able to trade a future until the pick they traded in 2020 to acquire Isaiah Stewart in the draft conveys. I like where your head is on this deal though, and if you take the lottery-protected pick from Detroit, I could see the Pistons making a move like this.

I could see the Kings being interested in DeRozan. I’m not sure he’s up to the pace the Kings like to play at, but having another bucket-getter for a playoff team could intrigue Sacramento’s decision makers. Additionally, DeRozan is on an expiring deal while Huerter still has three seasons left on his contract, so that too would likely entice the Kings.

The Bulls seem intent on trying to be competitive, and this deal doesn’t really help them do that. Unless Chicago is changing its tune and looking to get younger, I’m not sure why they would do this.

Trade #4 — from @KyleMetz23

Stamps receive: Tobias Harris
Clipper receives: James Harden and 2029 first-round pick (via Philadelphia)
76ers receiver: Bojan Bogdanović, Norm Powell, Marcus Morris Sr., Danilo Gallinari, 2028 and 2029 first-round picks (via Clippers)
Wizards receive: Marvin Bagley III and 2024 second-round pick (from Clippers)
Who Says No?: Philadelphia and, I think, Washington

For a deal involving four big-money teams, this is pretty good. I think every team would say yes, even the Wizards, if they were able to get another second round pick or two to take on Bagley and his remaining two seasons. They don’t really have an incentive to do it for just another election. Getting Washington another second shouldn’t be too hard, though.

The Pistons are upgrading the forward spot with Harris, who has an expiring deal. If Detroit looks to be out of the playoff picture by the trade deadline, Harris could get a solid return. If things go well in the Motor City, which would be Harris’ second stint in Detroit, the Pistons have cap space next summer to bring him back.

The Clippers have Harden pair up with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard without working hard or having to give up anything significant.

The 76ers add three legitimate pieces to help with depth, shooting and shot creation, and they get out of the tax while getting the opportunity to create future roster flexibility by acquiring the deals on Bogdanović, Morris and Gallinari. On paper, this is not one large returns for Harden and Harris, but the value for both guys isn’t at its peak.

That is a good idea. I don’t hate it. I’m sure Philly fans, Daryl Morey and Joel Embiid will.


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Trade No. 5 — from @ChrisFraley20

Stamps receive: Karl-Anthony Towns
The Timberwolves receive: Bojan Bogdanović, Marvin Bagley III and Jaden Ivey
Who Says No?: Detroit

Towns doesn’t strike me as a Troy Weaver type of player. Is he a great shooter for a big? Yes he is. If you ask him, he’s the best ever.

However, the shooting is about where the conversation ends.

I’m not giving up on Ivey’s potential to get a big man back a year from starting a super-max deal when I’m not sure he can be the best or second-best player on a successful playoff team. I like Towns at $30 million to $35 million per year, not the $52 million plus per year he will start making in 2024-2025.

Towns wouldn’t be the player I’d go all in on until I found out how good Cade Cunningham can be and should probably give him a max extension next summer. There are players around the league for whom I would part with promising young players. For now, given where Detroit’s rebuild stands, Towns is not one of those players.

I understand where you are coming from with this suggestion. Towns would fill a void on Detroit’s roster (if you don’t believe in Stewart as a solid floor spacer moving forward). However, I need to see if Jalen Duren can start to take steps toward becoming a dominant defender before I pair him with Towns, who, to put it nicely, is nowhere near dominant defensively.

(Photo by Killian Hayes Tobias Harris: Bill Streicher / USA Today)

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