The Pistons were backed into a corner last summer, staring down Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s free agency and contract demands that would have pushed Detroit into the luxury tax. So, the Pistons kicked the can to next summer.
Detroit traded for Avery Bradley, who’s earning just $8,808,989 this season but will surely seek a massive raise in unrestricted free agency come July. The Pistons have lost eight straight to fall three games out of playoff position, and Bradley has struggled this season.
Maybe it’s time to cut bait.
The Detroit Pistons have made starting shooting guard Avery Bradley available in trade talks, league sources told ESPN.
So far, Detroit’s asking price for Bradley, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, is significant, league sources said.
If the Pistons’ asking price is significant, just how “available” is Bradley? Available for the right offer, but so is pretty much everyone, especially players of Bradley’s caliber.
He jacks – and misses – too many long 2s, a rate high enough to undermine his effectiveness this season. He remains an excellent perimeter defender, but he doesn’t help on the defensive glass enough nor is he comfortable switching onto bigger players. And then there are those contract demands.
The Pistons should explore trading him. There’s a good chance he’d provide more value to another team, one more likely to reach the postseason. And Detroit will face dilemmas in trying to re-sign him without paying the luxury tax. This should be a discussion of whether the teams that could get more from Bradley – i.e., playoff games – and/or are better-positioned to use Bird Rights to re-sign him have the right assets to deal for him.
But Pistons president/coach Stan Van Gundy seems more inclined than most front-office leaders to value the present over the future, especially as his seat warms amid another losing season. He absolutely could trade Bradley for assets that would help more in future seasons, but it just seems Van Gundy would require a greater return than most to actually accept a deal. He can convince himself Reggie Jackson‘s return from injury will right the offense and his team hasn’t dug itself into too deep a hole.
Or Van Gundy could get an offer for Bradley worth accepting. Plenty of teams could use another shooting guard, especially one with a history of (relative) success against the Warriors. But the way Bradley has played this season, will anyone meet Detroit’s asking price?