Detroit Pistons: Players to trade or retain at the NBA deadline

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Pistons
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

With the Detroit Pistons off until March. 11 due to the NBA All-Star break; it’s time to start predicting which players are expected to finish out the season with the organization and which players may find themselves looking for real estate in other cities.

In recent weeks the Detroit Pistons shipped former MVP point guard Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks for another reclamation project in Dennis Smith Jr. He enjoyed a triple-double before the All-Star break after being forced into a starting role due to various injuries.

Smith Jr. joins a list of players looking to revive their career in 2020-21 with the Pistons.  Josh Jackson and Jahlil Okafor also fit into this category.

Jackson, a 23-year old wing, seems to be enjoying his time in Detroit, where he’s currently playing the best basketball of his career.  On the other hand, Okafor has only appeared in 12 games for the Detroit Pistons, and the often-injured center recently underwent a knee surgery that once again derailed his season.  Okafor, even if healthy, would struggle to find minutes behind starter Mason Plumlee and the emergence of rookie big-man Isaiah Stewart.

The Detroit Pistons recently granted Blake Griffin his release as the two sides came to terms on a buyout.  Griffin willingly returned a whopping $13.3 million and is expected to sign with a championship contender in hopes of winning his first NBA Title.

So what is next for the Detroit Pistons leading up to the NBA trade deadline?

In this article, we’ll determine if the Detroit Pistons should trade or retain some potential trade candidates leading up to the NBA trade deadline.

Let’s jump into it.

What should the Detroit Pistons do with Wayne Ellington?

Last fall, when newly appointed Pistons’ general manager Troy Weaver signed veteran shooting guard Wayne Ellington to a one-year deal, I snickered. I wondered if he’d even be able to shoot his way into head coach Dwane Casey’s rotation.

Not only has Ellington shot his way into Detroit’s rotation, I believe he’s shot himself into the trade deadline conversation.

Just a year after averaging 5.1 points per game, the 33-year old Ellington is enjoying somewhat of a revival averaging 10.8 points per game while shooting 45.4% from the field and 43.3% from beyond the arc.

Teams won’t necessarily line up to add Ellington, but there should be a few playoff teams that hope to add a low-priced shooter that can come in off their bench and hit a couple of threes.  Ellington is also a pros-pro and, by all accounts, a great teammate and locker-room guy.

Suppose the Detroit Pistons can secure a late second-round pick for Ellington. In that case, he’s been everything and more than anyone could have expected when the organization signed him to a $2.5 million deal that carries a very affordable $1.6 million cap hit.