Pistons sign former No. 16 pick Justin Patton, reportedly for above minimum salary

Former Thunder center Justin Patton
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The No. 16 pick in the 2017 draft, Justin Patton has played just nine NBA games.

But teams keep showing faith in him.

The Thunder signed Patton with a relatively high guarantee  last summer. Now, the Pistons are signing him for well above the minimum salary.

Pistons release:

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has signed center Justin Patton to a contract.

John Hollinger of The Athletic:

Pistons had $1.085 million of pro-rated non-taxpayer MLE remaining and, per league source, used roughly half of it on Patton … in return for a non-guaranteed 20-21 deal.

Patton’s rest-of-season minimum would’ve been $183,115.

In exchange for the immediate windfall, Patton gives the Pistons team control for next season. If he performs well, they’ll keep him on a cheap salary. If he doesn’t, they’ll waive him without paying him further.

All this costs Detroit, which is done for the season, is the actual money (about $500,000). Apparently, Pistons owner Tom Gores is willing to pay, even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Patton began his career with the Timberwolves, who declined his third-year option then sent him to the 76ers in the Jimmy Butler trade. In January, Oklahoma City traded Patton to the Mavericks, who waived him.

It’s probably not a coincidence Detroit signed Patton shortly after hiring former Thunder executive Troy Weaver.

A center trying to stick in a league overstocked at the position, Patton faces a tough road. But he has some touch around the basket, passing skills and shot-blocking ability. If he ever stays healthy, he has chance.