While the Detroit Pistons don’t have many trade assets that make sense for the San Antonio Spurs, they do have the cap space to inherit a bad contract.
Not every trade has to be a blockbuster and sometimes, NBA teams adapt to changing trends with addition by subtractions. If the San Antonio Spurs want to get off of some bad contracts to open up space for a free-agent this offseason, calling up the Detroit Pistons is probably the way to go.
It’s hard to gauge what the Pistons are actually doing with their team right now. Trading for Blake Griffin a two offseasons ago and signing Derrick Rose last summer indicated that they were trying to win now, but then they traded Andre Drummond for chump change. Now, I don’t really know what to believe about them, but I think it’s safe to say that no one on their roster is considered unexpendable this offseason.
Detroit has about $34 million coming off the books this season and only eight players under contract next season. They’re a team that I’d expect to take on contracts in order to gain back assets, which opens up their conversations with the Spurs. While San Antonio mostly has expiring contracts for next season, they could shift around their lineup and sign someone in free agency by shipping an overwhelming contract to Detroit and tacking on a sweetener.
The San Antonio Spurs dump Rudy Gay’s contract and their 2020 second-round pick for Svi Mykhailiuk.
For as great of a guy as Rudy Gay is, he was a shell of himself this season in San Antonio. The shooting percentages that earned him a two-year contract to stay with the franchise dropped off early this season and now, the team might be better off allocating that cap space elsewhere. Pistons fans really seem to like Svi Mykhailiuk and I’m sure the front office does too, but they could likely produce his value with that second-rounder while bringing in an established veteran.
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As for San Antonio, they’d be bringing in a lengthy 6-foot-7 forward who can slot in at positions -through-4 and hail triples from the wing. Through 56 games in Detroit, Svi hit 40.5 percent of 289 3-point attempts en route to a 54.8 percent effective field goal rate. Shooting is always going to be the No. 1 draw with Mykhailiuk, but he’s much more than just a catch-and-shoot guy to stash in the corner.
The 23-year-old is sneakily good off the dribble, using an array of moves to fake defenders out on his way to the basket while finishing with either hand. He takes long strides going up and down the court which make it easy for him to find space to score in transition. The Ukrainian has only just scratched the surface of what he could do in this league, which makes the deal so sweet for San Antonio. Since he went 47th overall in 2018, Mykhailiuk is only making $1.7 million next season on a club-option.
By swapping Gay for Mykhailiuk, the Spurs keep a rotation player and open up about $12 million in cap space to spend on the open market. They can seek free agents who better align with their future outlook and fill out an unsteady rotation. There are a lot of players on the open market who make sense for the silver and black, but unless DeRozan opts out or they make a trade, there’s not going to be enough money for them to pursue anyone who can make a major impact.
You can find other articles in this series by clicking on the team name below:
Western Conference: LA Clippers, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies. Eastern Conference: Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls.