Pistons add Wayne Ellington, release Henry Ellenson

Rod Beard
The Detroit News
Wayne Ellington

The Pistons have done a little addition by addition in the past few days.

They added another piece for their potential playoff run Saturday, signing veteran guard Wayne Ellington to a free-agent contract on Saturday. In a corresponding move, the Pistons waived forward Henry Ellenson to make room on the roster.

Ellington, 31, is a 10-year NBA veteran who averaged 8.4 points and 1.9 rebounds and shot 37 percent on 3-pointers in 25 games with the Miami Heat.

His addition gives the Pistons another wing option, after they traded two forwards in their rotation, including a starter in Reggie Bullock, this week. Stanley Johnson was sent to the New Orleans Pelicans in a three-team deal, leaving the Pistons thin at a key position.

Getting Ellington is a bit of a coup for the Pistons, who had to manage their salary cap perfectly in order to get his rights.

Before the trades, the Pistons were less than $500,000 below the luxury tax and unable to make any moves. By sending Reggie Bullock to the Lakers for rookie Svi Mykhailiuk and a 2021 second-round pick, they gained about $1 million in cap space. In the Johnson trade, they got Thon Maker, who earns about $1 million less than Johnson.

With those two deals, they got two players, plus another pick, which opened enough cap space to add Ellington, who figures to join the rotation as a scorer who can create his own shot off the dribble or score on 3-pointers, where the Pistons rank 28th in the league, at 33.7 percent.

The Heat traded Ellington, along with Tyler Johnson, to the Phoenix Suns this week. The Suns waived Ellington, allowing him to become a free agent after he cleared waivers on Saturday.

The Pistons pounced from there.

Other teams, including the 76ers, were in the market for Ellington’s services, but he chose the Pistons, who entered Saturday at a half-game behind the Heat for the final playoff spot in the East.

As for Ellenson, he played in just two games this season and had fallen out of the rotation. He was a first-round pick in 2016 but never found a steady role or playing time with the Pistons, who declined the option for next season on his rookie contract. Ellenson was set to become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason but Ellington’s addition hastened his departure.

In 59 career NBA games, he’s averaged 3.8 points, 2.2 rebounds and 0.5 assists.