After buyout, Wayne Ellington could be Pistons' next target

Rod Beard
The Detroit News
Wayne Ellington

Auburn Hills — The Pistons might not be done with their roster tinkering, even though Thursday’s NBA trade deadline has passed. They could be looking at some options in the other market, with players who are free agents or were bought out of their contracts.

That second group has some interesting names, including wing Wayne Ellington, who was traded Wednesday, along with Tyler Johnson, from the Miami Heat to the Phoenix Suns. The Suns waived Ellington on Thursday, making him a free agent.

It won’t be an easy path for the Pistons, though.

After their two trades this week — sending out Reggie Bullock and Stanley Johnson and bringing back Svi Mykhailiuk and Thon Maker and a 2021 second-round pick — they gained about $2 million in their available cap space below the luxury-tax line.

They could use that money to sign a free agent such as Ellington, 31, who shot 37 percent on 3-pointers and averaged 8.4 points in 35 games with the Heat.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Pistons “will be among the most aggressive” teams pursuing Ellington.

Ellington, though, will be a hot commodity, as several contending teams are looking to add him as well. It would be difficult for the Pistons logistically, as they have 15 players on their roster and would need to waive a current player to make room for any addition.

More than likely, it would be a minimum salary or a player like Henry Ellenson, who has played sparingly this season and will become an unrestricted free agent in the summer.

Knicks at Pistons

Tip-off: 7 Friday, Little Caesars Arena

TV/radio: FSD/97.1

Outlook: The Pistons won the first game of the home-and-home matchup, on Tuesday. They’ll possibly get their first look at Svi Mykhailiuk, who was obtained in the trade with the Lakers. Whether Thon Maker plays will be determined, as the trade hasn’t been finalized.

Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard