Look for Pistons to target these free agents
Auburn Hills – You can forget Jimmy Butler, Kevin Love and DeAndre Jordan. Free-agent players like that don't often come to Detroit in the prime of their NBA careers.
However, there are a number of middle-tier free agents that will take the Pistons calls, as well as their money.
Pistons coach / president Stan Van Gundy says he will target two unrestricted and two restricted free agents.
Detroit is in the market for a starting small forward and a backup center. First-round draft pick Stanley Johnson is the starting small forward of the future. But Van Gundy wants to take immediate pressure off him and find a veteran starter, so that Johnson could begin his NBA career as the Pistons' sixth man.
It was believed that the Pistons were in the market for former Michigan State forward Draymond Green, a restricted free agent. The NBA champion Golden State Warriors are expected to re-sign him and the Pistons would be forced to tie up cap money for at least three days after waiting out a one-week moratorium before the Warriors made a decision on keeping him. That would prevent the Pistons from making offers on other targets. And they may not know about getting Green until the middle of the month.
With that in mind, here are some of the free agents the Pistons are expected to target when the market opens Wednesday.
Reggie Jackson, 6-4 guard, Pistons (restricted): Van Gundy said re-signing Jackson is a top priority and it will be the first call he makes. But is Van Gundy totally sold on Jackson, 25, being his point guard? Jackson is still learning to run the offense and he shot just 29.4 percent on 3-pointers and 34.7 percent from 10 feet and beyond. The Pistons need better numbers from their lead guard. He is also a poor defender. Jackson did average 14.5 points and 6.0 assists last season and had some monster games after being traded from Oklahoma City. But he is also a penetrator that only got to the free throw line 1.8 times per game. Last year's salary: $3.4 million.
DeMarre Carroll, 6-8 forward, Hawks (unrestricted): The Hawks are prepared to give him $50 over four years, but if they blink, a team like the Pistons could sneak in and take him. He has gone from journeyman to a pretty good player. He shot 39.5 percent on 3-pointers and averaged 12.6 points. He is a good perimeter defender, which the Pistons sorely need. The Pistons believe he might be easier to sign than some unrestricted free agents. Last year's salary: $2.5 million.
Tobias Harris, 6-8 forward, Magic (restricted): This is the type of guy that can end up in Detroit. He is no longer needed in Orlando after the Magic drafted Mario Hezonja. They are better off letting him go. He hit 38 percent of his 3-point attempts and can be a good backup at small forward, and power forward when the Pistons go smaller. He will be pursued if Pistons strike out on unrestricted free agents. Last year's salary: $3.5 million.
Arron Afflalo, 6-5 guard / forward, Trail Blazers (unrestricted): The Pistons wish they hadn't traded him away seven seasons ago, when there wasn't as much confidence in his abilities. He is a plus player at age 29. Afflalo averaged 13.3 points and shot 35.4 percent on 3-pointers. Last year's salary: $7.6 million.
Kosta Koufos, 7-0 center, Grizzlies (unrestricted): The Grizzlies can't afford to keep him because his size might lure teams into paying more than they should. He could give Andre Drummond a breather, and the Pistons still would have a solid inside presence where he averaged 5.2 points and 5.3 rebounds last season. Last year's salary: $3.0 million.
Danny Green, 6-6 forward, Spurs (unrestricted): He is likely to stay win SanAntonio, where he proclaimed himself a "Spur for life," though he could end up with the Knicks, who have $27 million in cap space. It would be a shock to see him come to the Pistons. Green averaged 11.7 points and shot 41.8 percent on 3-pointers last season. Last year's salary: $4 million.
Wesley Matthews, 6-5 forward, Trail Blazers (unrestricted): Matthews must come down from his asking price of $15 million per season. If he does the Pistons might be able to sneak in because he is coming off an Achilles injury that could slow him defensively. Last season he averaged 15.9 points and shot 38.9 percent from three. Last year's salary: $7.2 million.
ONLY IF PISTONS ARE DESPERATE
Jared Dudley, 6-8 forward, Bucks (player option): He is a solid defender and decent 3-point shooter (career 39.6 percent). He could exercise his $4.25 million player option and return to the Bucks. Last year's salary: $3 million.
Mike Dunleavy, 6-9 forward, Bulls: (unrestricted): He is getting long in the tooth at 34 years but provides a veteran presence and can still shoot the long ball (career 37.6 percent on 3-pointers). Last year's salary: $3 million.