Cleveland — The Pistons are mired in a freefall – they have lost eight in a row – and are nearing the Feb. 8 trade deadline in ninth place in the Eastern Conference.
It could be time to make some changes, to try to salvage the season, or just to make a run toward the playoffs. There’s no sense of desperation, but a report by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski suggests that the Pistons are looking at more options.
Wojnarowski, citing league sources, reported Monday that Pistons guard Avery Bradley is available in trade talks.
While a Pistons team official would not confirm the ESPN report to The Detroit News, Pistons coach and president Stan Van Gundy in the past has said that general manager Jeff Bower is always open to trade discussions for any player.
The Bradley report is not a big surprise, given that Bradley — acquired last summer in a trade with the Boston Celtics for Marcus Morris — will be an unrestricted free agent after the season. Bradley’s value on the open market could be in the range of $18 million per season, a salary the Pistons might balk at picking up, as they’re already near the luxury tax.
The report says the Pistons’ asking price for Bradley is “significant” but it’s unclear what a return package would yield. The most likely target would be a playoff team that covets Bradley’s defensive acumen, but he has struggled offensively, posting 15 points and shooting a 42 percent inside the arc, his lowest mark since his rookie season in 2010-11.
Wojnarowski reported this month that the Pistons are one of the more aggressive teams in the trade market, looking to add talent to make a run toward the playoffs. They’ve swooned since Reggie Jackson was injured on Dec. 26 and they’ve gone 3-12 since, including a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. Bradley missed the game because of a sore right hamstring.
They have five games remaining before the trade deadline and could be looking at getting some value for Bradley’s expiring contract — a very reasonable $8.8 million this season — rather than lose him for nothing this summer.