Grading the trade for the Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons are on a long arduous quest. That quest is one for their first win since October. After finishing last in the NBA a season ago, the Pistons are well on their to another last-place finish.
It's certainly seeming like the Pistons should go full Oklahoma City Thunder. Acquire draft picks and youth in exchange for taking on bad contracts. That's where Maxi Kleber comes in.
Kleber has been a vital piece of the Dallas rotation for the past half-decade. But now, it's clear Kleber is on the decline. The longtime Mav has dealt with a plethora of injuries to begin the season. And to make matters worse, Kleber hasn't produced in his limited action.
Throughout the season, Kleber holds averages of 3.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. The points per game mark is a career low for Kleber. Furthermore, the German big's shooting numbers are abysmal. In five games, he's shooting 25 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Perhaps the worst part of Kleber's decline is his salary. After signing an extension with Dallas in 2022, the Dallas forward is owed $33 million over the next three seasons. If Kleber continues to play poorly after his return from injury, the $11 million per year pact will look like a waste.
Although Detroit wouldn't improve with Kleber on the roster, adding another draft pick is of grave importance. Over the next seven seasons, Detroit only has 15 draft picks. While that's more than the average of two per season, a rebuilding team should be stockpiling assets.
Trading away a young talent like Wiseman may look counterintuitive, but he's owed $12 million this season and on pace to become a restricted free agent in the offseason unless a team picks up his $15 million option.
Already set at the center position, it's unlikely Detroit extends Wiseman. There's no reason not to ship out Wiseman now in exchange for a draft pick and a capable 3-and-D forward.
Potential starting lineup: Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Ausar Thompson, Isaiah Stewart, Jalen Duren
The Pistons receive a B+ for this trade. After trading for Wiseman just a year ago, shipping him out seems like the best plan moving forward. After all, Detroit only traded one player away in exchange for the rights to the ex-Warrior.