The Phoenix Suns are in Motown tonight to take on the Detroit Pistons. With the NBA trade deadline just a day away, I can’t help but wonder; when the Suns’ jet leaves Detroit will guard Luke Kennard be on-board?
One can assume the Detroit Pistons roster will look drastically different tomorrow evening than it currently does. There are a plethora of players that remain in the league-wide trade rumors; at the top of the list is center Andre Drummond and veteran guard Derrick Rose, but Luke Kennard‘s name is gaining a lot of momentum.
Although tonight will be the 23rd consecutive game, he will miss his name remains tied to Phoenix. Not too long ago, names were released of a potential trade the two sides were discussing. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski mentioned Detroit could receive the Suns’ first-round lottery pick along with Jevon Carter and Elie Okobo in exchange for Kennard.
It’s hard to give up on a third-year shooting guard that seemed to emerge earlier this season until the injuries occurred. Kennard is just 23-years old, but knee injuries are a growing concern. The fact that it’s both knees and not just tendinitis in one knee makes me nervous. Not very often do we see knee injuries improve as an athlete ages.
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Perhaps this is a great time to move Kennard, especially if the team has the potential to land another top-ten pick in the draft to compile with their own. Also, Kennard is just a year away from seeing a significant salary increase. He’d likely be seeking in the neighborhood of $18-million. Is that something a rebuilding Pistons team would be willing to do? Maybe replacing his roster spot with a player on a rookie deal is more appealing to where the team currently sits as a whole.
Two lottery picks in the same offseason can drastically change the direction of the franchise almost overnight.
The emergence of Svi Mykhailiuk, who plays the same position, helps to soften the blow if Kennard is indeed traded. Svi is a very fluid three-point shooter, he’s seen a nice spike in minutes of late, and he’s rewarded head coach Dwane Casey with an extraordinary effort on both ends of the floor; something Detroit needs more of.
Unfortunately, Kennard isn’t able to showcase his skills in person tonight with the Suns in town. Still, before the injury, he was averaging nearly 16 points along with 4.1 assists/game, shooting a respectable 40% from three.
His replacement, Svi, who will also miss tonight’s game with a hip injury, has averaged 12.2 points, 2.2 assists, and shot 38% from three over his last five games.
Detroit will be looking to add a point guard or two with both Reggie Jackson and Derrick Rose not expected to be with the Pistons next season. Perhaps Detroit can catch fire with either Okobo or Carter in a potential Kennard deal, but the critical piece would, without a doubt, be the lottery pick.
Expect a very different looking Pistons roster after 3 pm Est Thursday, February 6th.