The Detroit Pistons made their first of what could be a busy NBA trade deadline season for the worst team in the league.
The Pistons and Wizards are finalizing a deal to trade Marvin Bagley, Isaiah Livers, and two second-round picks for forwards Danilo Gallinari and Mike Muscala, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 14, 2024
The Wizards will get 2025 and 2026 second-round picks in the trade, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 14, 2024
Detroit Pistons Rumors: What Is Next For The Pistons After Trade With Wizards
This trade between Detroit and Washington is a little bit surprising. Neither team will make the playoffs as the Pistons sit at 3-36 and the Wizards at 7-31. Plus, the trade was a minor deal.
Marvin Bagley III and Isaiah Livers saying goodbye to their teammates. You don’t see this kind of immediate reaction too often in pro sports. pic.twitter.com/JFPU7EeWRx
— Mike Curtis (@MikeACurtis2) January 14, 2024
After sitting out nearly the first month of the season due to injury, Livers immediately jumped into Detroit’s rotation. Known more for his defense and athleticism, the 25-year-old combo forward struggled on both ends of the floor this year. Livers is slated to be a restricted free agent this offseason.
Bagley played very well in his two-plus years in Detroit despite being in and out of the Pistons rotation throughout his tenure with the team. He only appeared in 86 games for the Pistons, including 43 starts, averaging 12.9 points and 6.9 rebounds.
Gallinari is close to the end of his career. The 35-year-old averaged 7.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.2 rebounds over 14.8 minutes in 26 appearances for the Wizards this season. He also produced a shooting slash line of .435/.313/.839.
Like Gallinari, Muscala is in the final year of his contract. The 32-year-old is a decent backup center who averaged 4.0 points and 3.1 rebounds in 14.1 minutes over 24 appearances this year. Muscala also compiled a shooting slash line of .367/.275/.750.
What Does The Trade Mean For The Pistons?
Detroit needs a reboot; that is essentially what the trade with Washington starts. The Pistons essentially flipped Bagley’s $12.5 million for salary cap space this summer.
In the meantime, Gallinari and Muscala are theoretically upgrades over Bagley and Livers. The veterans will at least provide leadership, and neither player will hurt their team.
With coach Monty Williams committed to a 10-man rotation, expect at least Gallinari to see some regular minutes possibly, particularly if Bojan Bogdanovic (calf) remains out.
While definitely on the backend of his solid career, Gallinari can provide the Pistons some reliable 3-point shooting, though he struggled with his perimeter shot this season. Gallinari is a career 38.1% marksman from beyond the arc while nearly two treys a game. He is also an excellent defensive rebounder.
Muscala likely will see little time with the Pistons unless injuries occur, as James Wiseman should be the Pistons’ fifth big. However, Muscala is a tougher and more physical defender. He also can space out the floor with his shooting, although the 11-year vet has struggled from beyond the arc this year.
Detroit also created a $5.7 million trade exception in the trade.
This means the Pistons are still operating as a slightly over-the-cap team for now. https://t.co/Fey1IGOyJS
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) January 14, 2024
Trade Grade: B-
This from ESPN Insider about the trade:
“Most importantly, Gallinari and Muscala both have expiring contracts. The main value of the second-round picks the Pistons sent the Wizards is undoubtedly freeing themselves of Bagley’s salary, allowing them to upgrade the roster in the name of unlocking their young talent the way the Houston Rockets did using cap space last summer. As compared to giving up more valuable picks to add players on long-term contracts, that’s a wiser approach to the deadline for Detroit.”
Detroit still has a lot of decisions to make. The biggest decision will be whether the Pistons move Bogdanovic, as he carries the most trade value.
Bogdanovic has one year and $19.0 million left on his contract, although that is nonguaranteed. The 34-year-old forward is the Pistons’ second-best scorer behind Cade Cunningham and their top shooter.
According to The Athletic’s Fred Katz, league sources told him that the Pistons would trade Bogdanovic only if they receive a large offer.
“The situation with Bogdanović is akin to the one with Jerami Grant from a couple of seasons ago when Grant had two years remaining on his contract, and Detroit held onto him despite its losing record. The Pistons eventually flipped Grant for a late first-round pick once the rangy forward was in the final year of his deal.”
Like Bogdanovic, Alec Burks’ name also has been bantered around as a trade candidate for a while. Burks is a “microwave type” player who can put up points instantly, whether he starts or comes off the bench. Burks is on an expiring contract.
Morris has been out the entire season due to a quad injury. But the 29-year-old point guard started ramping up Monday his comeback and is expected to return by the end of January,
Harris has struggled this season, averaging 2.6 points on 36.1% shooting from the field and 34.5% from the 3-point line.