The Pistons have 17 players with guaranteed contracts plus Adonis Thomas ($60,000 guaranteed), and they might sign Eric Moreland.
But they clearly value training-camp competition.
So, they’ll also add Eric Griffin.
Shams Charania of RealGM:
Griffin’s leverage has fallen. He got $150,000 guaranteed last season from the Mavericks, who cut him before the regular season.
Why couldn’t Griffin get more this year? Dallas assigned his rights to its D-League affiliate. Because the Texas Legends now hold Griffin’s rights, the Pistons can’t assign Griffin to their affiliate if they waive him.
So – unless they just want another practice body, which is possible – that indicates the Pistons really like him. He’s not in camp just to funnel him to the Grand Rapids Drive.
Griffin is an explosive leaper who’s trying to develop NBA-level skill before his athleticism slips. The 25-year-old has played overseas and in the D-League since going undrafted out of Campbell in 2012.
It’ll be tough for him to make the Pistons’ regular-season roster. Griffin will have to best at least three players with guaranteed salaries. Danny Granger, Cartier Martin and Reggie Bullock are all candidates to be dropped. If Brandon Jennings is healthier than expected, Detroit might even consider waiving Steve Blake, despite trading for him this summer.
So, there’s a path for Griffin to make the team. It’s just extremely narrow.
The Pistons already had a pretty crowded roster – 17 players with guaranteed contracts.
They’ll need to trim that to 15 by the start of the regular season, but for now, they’re going the opposite direction.
The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has signed guard/forward Adonis Thomas.
Jason Smith of The Commercial Appeal:
Thomas, a D-League All-Star for the Detroit Pistons-affiliated Grand Rapids Drive last season, will sign a two-year partially guaranteed deal with the Pistons today, his agent, Travis King, told the Commercial Appeal.
Thomas went undrafted out of Memphis in 2013. The 6-foot-6 wing has nice physical ability, but his skills lagged a bit behind NBA level when he turned pro. He has continued to develop since, and he’s on the cusp of being NBA-ready.
But it will be difficult for him to make the Pistons.
Danny Granger, whose career has been derailed by injury as he’s hit the wrong side of 30, is probably Detroit’s easiest cut. Cartier Martin and Reggie Bullock are competing for roster spots, too. It’s possible second-round pick Darrun Hilliard needs to prove his worth, but I doubt the Pistons waive him so soon after signing him.
So, Thomas would likely have to beat Martin and Bullock, both of whom have fully guaranteed contracts. Detroit might not mind eating those low-paying deals, but it would be cheaper just to waive the partially guaranteed Thomas.
The Pistons clearly like Thomas, and he’ll have a chance to prove himself in training camp. But this might end up being a way to funnel him some money to entice him to return to Detroit’s D-League affiliate rather than playing overseas next season.
It was a bit surprising when the Pistons picked Darrun Hilliard with the No. 38 pick in the draft.
But they obviously liked the 3-and-D wing from Villanova then, and they haven’t changed course.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:
If the Pistons haven’t officially signed Reggie Jackson, who agreed to an $85 million deal, they could fit Hilliard into cap space. Otherwise, they had to use part of their room exception. (Minimum-salary exceptions can be for up to two years.)
Giving Hilliard three years makes sense, because it gives the Pistons his Bird Rights if he plays well through three years. With a partially guaranteed second season and non-guaranteed third season, the downside is low for Detroit.
The Pistons’ more-immediate challenge is trimming the roster. They’re committed to 17 players, including Jackson and Joel Anthony, who has yet to formally sign. Danny Granger and Cartier Martin are prime candidates to get waived, and Reggie Bullock could fall in that group, too. There’s no rush. Detroit doesn’t need to reach a 15-man roster until the regular season begins.
So, these battles could extend into training camp. The Pistons will explore trades in that time, too.
Really, it shouldn’t be out of question to waive Hilliard if other players shine in the preseason. But given the contract he got today, I’d be shocked if Detroit seriously considers it no matter how he plays before his rookie year.