Detroit Pistons' 2014 NBA Free-Agency Big Board: Ranking Top Targets Post-Draft
The Detroit Pistons enter the offseason in an interesting place. Stan Van Gundy is now the man making decisions, and it'll be interesting to see how his role as head coach will influence those personnel moves.
Van Gundy has already locked down shooting guard Jodie Meeks with a controversial three-year, $19 million contract, wasting no time by grabbing an efficient three-point shooter who can start on Day 1 next season.
But that signing doesn't exactly solidify Detroit as a championship contender, let alone a lock to make the playoffs—even in the pitiful Eastern Conference. Work still needs to be done. Here are five more free agents the Pistons should target in the days ahead, ranked by the likelihood the team actually signs them.
5. Trevor Ariza
After an impressive offensive playoff performance against the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers (two of the best defenses in the league), veteran swingman Trevor Ariza set himself up for a big payday this summer.
Unfortunately, his price tag could be too high for the Pistons, but they could use his services on both ends of the floor. Ariza is a versatile defender who would allow Stan Van Gundy to play more traditional lineups (as opposed to having Josh Smith at small forward) and even shift down to smaller units with Ariza as a stretch 4 and Andre Drummond at center.
Ariza's three-point shooting is deadly, especially in transition. The Pistons have room to give him something around a four-year, $40 million deal (which may not even be high enough to pry him away from the Washington Wizards), but Greg Monroe's potential max deal would push them over the luxury tax.
On the court, this signing definitely makes sense. But finances make it less than likely.
4. Isaiah Thomas
Brandon Jennings is one of Detroit's most disappointing players, and his shoddy performance last season—combined with the probability Rodney Stuckey signs elsewhere—puts Stan Van Gundy in a position to sign another point guard.
Enter Isaiah Thomas, one of the best scoring guards in the league. Adding him to Detroit is an easy decision, and Van Gundy knows it. Here's Grantland's Zach Lowe on the Pistons' interest:
They’ve reportedly inquired about Isaiah Thomas, a bold move for a team that just locked up Brandon Jennings last summer. But Jennings was mostly bad, and creative front offices don’t just shrug and give up after allotting significant money to a guy at one position — especially when that contract only runs two more seasons.
Plenty of other teams across the league would also love to acquire Thomas, so it's far from a sure thing the tiny 5'9" guard signs with Detroit.
3. Jameer Nelson
For all the same reasons Detroit is hot after Isaiah Thomas, the team should also be giving Jameer Nelson a hard look. The Pistons badly need depth at point guard.
The former Orlando Magic point guard is nearing the end of his career (a 32-year-old, 10-year veteran), but Nelson averaged 11.2 assists per 100 possessions last season, which is the highest figure of his career.
He will also come at a much cheaper price than Thomas and has a fantastic professional relationship with Stan Van Gundy from their days making title runs in Orlando. Nelson would be a great fit running Detroit's second unit.
2. Troy Daniels
In order to open up as much cap space as possible, the Houston Rockets declined their option on Troy Daniels' contract. He's now a restricted free agent with the type of shooting range any team in the league would love on its side.
The Detroit Pistons need copious amounts of three-point shooting to space the floor for Andre Drummond, sure, but they also need it because they're coming off a season where they had zero shooters on their roster.
They shot just 32.1 percent from beyond the arc as a team, which was good for second lowest in the league. As one of the most accurate three-point snipers on the market, Daniels will help that. And he'll come in at a reasonable price as long as the Rockets are preoccupied with signing bigger names.
1. Anthony Morrow
Anthony Morrow is a three-point marksman who made more than 45 percent of 195 attempts beyond the arc last season. He's similar to Troy Daniels in many ways, except Morrow is older, wiser and has shown through six seasons he can be a knockdown shooter in the NBA.
He's also a bit more than a spot-up threat from the outside. Last season with the New Orleans Pelicans, Morrow was a stable presence on and off the floor, one of the young team's vocal leaders. He showed he can score off the dribble and flashed a neat in-between game that makes guarding him all the more difficult.
In Detroit, Morrow would provide all those things, which the team badly needs. But the reason he's No. 1 on this list remains the long-ball accuracy. And his price tag won't be anything the Pistons can't handle.
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