Detroit Pistons: Should signing free agent Fred VanVleet be a priority?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

With money to spend in free agency, should the Detroit Pistons make signing guard Fred VanVleet a priority?

Fred VanVleet is set to become a free agent leaving the Detroit Pistons with a tough decision to make.  Detroit enters the offseason with potentially upwards of $40-million to spend. With the uncertainty of the NBA salary cap situation due to COVID-19, it may leave the Pistons with a rare opportunity.  Detroit may not have nearly as much competition signing free agents with so many organizations tight against the cap.

There is an obvious connection with VanVleet and the Detroit Pistons.  Detroit’s head coach Dwane Casey brought in the undrafted VanVleet during his time as the head coach of the Toronto Raptors and allowed the budding-star to play in the association; an opportunity he’s since made the most of.

The Detroit Pistons recently hired Troy Weaver formally of the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he served as the organizations’ assistant general manager and proven to be an excellent talent evaluator.

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I can’t help but wonder what direction this Pistons franchise is headed under Weaver, especially after team owner Tom Gores openly embraced a full-scale rebuild.  The dominos started to fall after acting general manager Ed Stefanski dealt long-time Piston center Andre Drummond to Cleveland.  After that, Detroit granted both Reggie Jackson and Markieff Morris their release.  Morris is currently enjoying a trip to the NBA finals with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The organization is currently at a crossroads.

Weaver has a tough decision to make with Derrick Rose, in particular.  Rose is entering the second of his team-friendly two-year deal.  Detroit opted to keep Rose last season even after receiving trade deadline calls for his services.  Will Weaver deal Rose this offseason or hold his valuable asset until the deadline?

Will Detroit pursue a high-end free agent like VanVleet, or save the cap space until Blake Griffin‘s lucrative cap number comes off of the books?  Should Weaver make a last-ditched effort to build around Griffin and Rose?

The 26-year old VanVleet averaged nearly 18 points per game in 2019, to go with 3.8 assists and 6.6 boards.  He stashed an intriguing line of .413/.390/.848 this past season.

To get this done, Detroit will need to, in a sense, ‘over-pay’ for his services, but Detroit will have the ability to offer VanVleet a contract in the neighborhood of $20-million plus per season.  A massive bump from his current expiring contract that pays him $9-million.  Toronto is not expected to have the cap space to offer VanVleet that kind of money.

VanVleet anchoring the Pistons backcourt alongside Rose will vastly improve the roster.  It also creates an exciting pick and role option with Griffin.  Detroit has some young emerging talent with Christian Wood, Luke Kennard, Sekou Doumbouya, and whoever the organization selects with the seventh overall pick in the 2020 draft.

If the Detroit Pistons want to take one final run at building around Griffin, signing VanVleet should be a priority.

If the team hopes to remain relevant five years from now, they should elect to continue down the path of a wholesale rebuild and save the cap space and be prepared to spend after Griffin’s deal comes off of the books.

Next. Acquiring Brandon Ingram is essential to rebuild. dark

It’s a situation to follow over the next month or so.