The giant little Caesars Arena may have some fans as the Detroit Pistons take some serious steps to solidify their team’s future young core.
It all started on Wednesday when they traded Jerami Grant to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for their 1-4 protected 2025 first-round pick from the Milwaukee Bucks. The trade frees up enough cap space for the Pistons to sign a max free agent or make some moves this offseason. That alone gave the Pistons victory.
Grant played well for the Denver Nuggets in the 2020 NBA playoffs and earned him a three-year, $60 million contract with the Pistons. He’s been solid both seasons, averaging about 20 points per game and shooting over 35 percent from 3-point range. With his athleticism, defense and shooting ability, he’s a formidable player, but not enough for the Pistons to sign a five-year max contract to keep their talent.
With their salary cap released and the No. 5 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, the Pistons were ready for Thursday night. They got the player in Jaden Ivey they wanted to pair with last year’s No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham.
The Purdue guard was arguably the best perimeter player in men’s college basketball last year. He improved from 11.1 points per game in 39.9/25.8/72.6 to 17.8 in 46/35.8/74.4 on a team that was the favorite to win the national championship and proved to be a key player. He scored Purdue’s last seven points against Wisconsin late in the regular season at Cole Center, and hit a 3-pointer that he would have been if it weren’t for Chuckie Hepburn’s pull-up 3-pointer. The game went into overtime. One second left. Then in the sweet Round of 16, he had a tough game against St. Peters, but still hit Purdue’s last two shots. His first 3-pointer (with eight seconds left) closed the gap to one. He got back on the court and shot a 3-pointer to tie the missed game.
Ivey will be Cunningham’s backcourt partner, and Cunningham showed in the second half of the season why he was first drafted in 2021. The Pistons had a good few days in the week leading up to free agency, but they’re not done yet. Another player they like in this draft is Jalen Duren. He was named the No. 6 player in the country in 2022, according to 24/7 Sports. After a first-team All-League season in Memphis, he’s considered the top big man in this draft. Duren hasn’t turned 19 yet, but is 6-foot-11, 250 pounds with a 7-foot-5 wingspan at the combine. The Pistons acquired him with the 2025 draft pick they acquired from the Blazers on Wednesday.
In less than 36 hours, the Pistons created a maximum salary bracket and Got two young talents who should be able to help their young team right away. Plus, next season Isaiah Stewart and Durham’s frontcourt — which could be scary.Or maybe the biggest money can find its way DeAndre Ayton.
The Pistons’ home court has struggled to fill since Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace left. That will change soon because this group of young people will be very interesting.