Pistons add free agents Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee, others as busy offseason continues
Continuing the flurry of moves they made during the NBA Draft on Wednesday, the Pistons were one of the most active teams and made some big moves in free agency, but not the one that many expected.
The Pistons added several players Friday night and into early Saturday morning and plan to execute multiple trades and roster moves to continue the overhaul under new general manager Troy Weaver.
The Pistons agreed to terms on new contracts with forward Jerami Grant and center Mason Plumlee, guard Josh Jackson and center Jahlil Okafor, league sources confirmed. They also added guard Delon Wright in a complicated multi-team deal that included the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder.
More notably, the Pistons lost big man Christian Wood, who became one of their top players last season, to the Rockets after Wood agreed to a three-year deal for $41 million with the Houston Rockets, a league source confirmed to The Detroit News.
Adding Grant looks to be the big prize for the Pistons. At three years and $60 million, the total is more than Wood's deal, but as the negotiations progressed with Wood, the numbers appeared to be more than the Pistons were comfortable paying.
Grant, 26, a 6-foot-8 combo forward, brings a two-way presence that Weaver and the Pistons coveted. He averaged 12 points and 3.5 rebounds and shot 39 percent on 3-pointers last season in 71 games with the Nuggets, including 24 starts. He projects to become the starting small forward for the Pistons next season.
The Pistons reached an agreement with Plumlee for three years and $25 million in the opening hour of free agency. Contracts can't be signed officially until Sunday afternoon.
The Pistons also agreed to two-year deals with Jackson and Okafor, league sources confirmed.
It’s been a busy week for Weaver, who has remade the roster through the draft and four trades, but the initial part of free agency has been surprising because the top priority appeared to be re-signing Wood, who was an unrestricted free agent.
Plumlee, 30, has played seven seasons in the NBA with the Nets, Trail Blazers, and the last three-plus seasons with the Denver Nuggets. Last season, he averaged 7.2 points and 5.2 rebounds in about 17 minutes per game in a reserve role in 61 games.
Entering the draft on Wednesday, the Pistons had just one center on the roster, Justin Patton. They selected Washington center Isaiah Stewart with the 16th pick in the first round and traded with the Hawks to get Dewayne Dedmon, and also added Tony Bradley in a draft-night deal with the Utah Jazz. Patton was later traded to the Trail Blazers.
Jackson, 23, a Detroit native, played his first two seasons with the Phoenix Suns and had a resurgent year with the Memphis Grizzlies last season with 9 points and 3 rebounds, and shot 32 percent on 3-pointers in 22 games.
Okafor is 6-10, 270 and was the No. 3 pick in the 2015 draft. Like Plumlee, he played collegiately at Duke. After a good rookie season with 17.5 points and 7 rebounds with the Philadelphia 76ers, Okafor has bounced around with the Nets and Pelicans in his five NBA seasons. He played in 30 games with the Pelicans last season and posted 8.1 points and 4.2 rebounds in 30 games in a reserve role.
The Pistons were just getting started Friday with the addition of Plumlee, Jackson and Okafor.
Early Saturday the Pistons also sent wing Trevor Ariza to Oklahoma City in a three-team trade that also included Dallas. The Pistons will get Wright in the deal from the Mavericks, and Wright has two years left on a three-year, $28 million contract.
Oklahoma City will be Ariza's fourth team this week. Portland first sent Ariza to Houston, and the Rockets dealt him to the Pistons in what turned out to be a sign-and-trade, allowing Houston to take on Wood.
The Pistons were therefore able to offload the $12.8 million Ariza is set to earn this season on an expiring contract.
The Pistons entered the week with about $30 million in available cap space but through the flurry of trades and adding players with bigger contracts while also gaining draft assets, they reduced that number to about $9.5 million entering the start of free agency on Friday.