‘Back in Michigan’: Pistons add ex-Wolverine Glenn Robinson III

By Matt Schoch
Special to The Detroit News
Glenn Robinson III

Many expected the Detroit Pistons to be quiet early during NBA free agency this month and dig through the bargain bin after the big names fell off the board.

Instead, Detroit filled its top need on the first day, reportedly agreeing to a deal with a player familiar to local basketball fans.

Former Michigan star Glenn Robinson III has agreed to a two-year deal with the Pistons, a league source confirmed to The Detroit News on Sunday.

According to Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania, who first reported the deal, the value of Robinson’s contract is $8.3 million, and it includes a team option in 2019-20 for the former Indiana Pacers reserve.

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With Robinson, first-year coach Dwane Casey adds help at small forward, as Stanley Johnson was the team’s only option there.

Robinson, who can’t sign with Detroit until free agents are eligible to ink deals on Friday, seemed to confirm the deal on Twitter.

“Motor city!!!” Robinson wrote on Twitter. “Back in Michigan on a new level!!”Robinson, 24, played two seasons for the Wolverines, and is the son of former Purdue and Milwaukee Bucks star Glenn Robinson.

Robinson III helped Michigan to the 2013 national championship game as a freshman, then averaged 13.1 points per game as a sophomore before declaring early for the draft after an All-Big Ten honorable mention season.

Robinson started all 76 games during his Michigan career, scoring in double figures 51 times.

Robinson was drafted in the second round in 2014 by Minnesota, but was waived by the Timberwolves after 25 games played in his rookie season.

After closing the season with 10 games for Philadelphia, the Pacers signed the Gary, Ind., native to a three-year deal worth $3.24 million.

Robinson averaged 5.0 points and 2.6 rebounds in three seasons for the Pacers, missing the first 58 games last season after a training camp injury forced him to undergo ankle surgery.

He won the slam dunk contest at NBA All-Star weekend in 2017.

Robinson is a career 38.1 percent 3-point shooter, knocking down 41.2 percent of his tries last season, well above the league average of 37.2 percent.

The 6-foot-7 Robinson should help the Pistons defend larger wings, as a glut of shooting guards, including Reggie Bullock, Luke Kennard, Langston Galloway, and rookies Khyri Thomas and Bruce Brown, will battle for minutes.

The Pistons entered free agency above the 2018-19 salary cap of $108 million but below the luxury tax line.

Analyst Bobby Marks of ESPN, who worked with Pistons executive Ed Stefanski with the New Jersey Nets, reported the Pistons were still $1.7 million behind the luxury tax after the signing, assuming the team picks up non-guaranteed deals for Bullock, Eric Moreland and Dwight Buycks.

Rod Beard of The Detroit News contributed to this report.