Mailbag: GM Troy Weaver paves way for Pistons' rebuilding plan

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Pistons general manager Troy Weaver means business.

When he was hired in the offseason, Weaver spoke about restoring the Pistons franchise to its greatness and the championship legacy. When he outlined the rebuild ahead, he said wanted to take advantage of the young core and get back to relevance quickly, by remaining competitive and by finding the right pieces.

Before the NBA draft was done, Weaver made significant moves that brought two additional first-round picks and a second-round pick and by the time the training camp started, the roster overhaul left just four players left from last season.

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The two veterans were Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose — and now that era is ending too.

In just a few months, Weaver has transformed the roster and once the front office determines how to move forward with Griffin’s contract, Weaver will have cleared up the finances as well, with only one player making more than $10 million per season (Jerami Grant).

Blake Griffin

It’s an amazing development in paving the way for the Pistons’ future with the young players as the centerpiece. Even with simply determining a path for Griffin — which, for now, is not being in the lineup, but still being able to use the team facilities — Weaver and the front office have opened some playing time for young players such as Saddiq Bey and Sekou Doumbouya.

There is a clear plan of how to move forward, and in many ways, Weaver and the Pistons are ahead of the timeline that many expected. The team is more competitive, with three wins in their last four games, and the young core is getting more playing time, to help determine which will be part of the long-term plan.

This week’s Pistons Mail Satchel looks at the path forward and how the roster could shake out in the longer term:

Question: If the team is able to negotiate a reasonable (loose term) trade to move Blake, would you see this season as somewhat of a success in that Weaver moved two pieces needing to be moved (DRose)? – @RickyLaBlue

Answer: For those reasons alone, this season already has been a success. The move always was going to be trading Rose, who was a mentor to first-round pick Killian Hayes. After Hayes’ hip injury, that plan was done, and Rose wanted to different situation. To get a free look at Dennis Smith Jr. and a second-round pick was a decent return. Moving on from Griffin opens a starting spot, which can allow Grant to play power forward — which could be his better position — and get more minutes for Bey and Doumbouya. Aside from losing what Griffin brought in leadership and on-court smarts, that’s a big success.

Q: We’re not really thinking about attaching 20-year-old Sekou to a Blake deal, are we? – @kyle_warwick

Sekou Doumbouya

A: I would think it’s highly unlikely that the Pistons attach any assets to a potential Griffin trade. They’d have to get some good players back to even consider something like that. They still don’t know what kind of player Doumbouya is because he hasn’t had enough playing time to make an impression.

At this point, the Pistons are in the business of getting assets, not giving them away. Though the Griffin contract is monstrous, the Pistons seem to be prepared to take their medicine and either pay him most of it in a buyout or just ride out the whole thing. It would seem more likely to do a buyout, but stranger things have happened.

Q: Have or would the pistons entertain any Grant offers? – @RotoDanny

Jerami Grant

A: I’ve seen a few similar questions recently and I don’t understand this. If the purpose in a rebuild is to get talented players, then why would the immediate reaction be to trade them when it’s recognized. The Pistons value Grant’s big jump in production and what he brings to their culture and that he’s a very good two-way player. What’s that worth? Let’s suppose the Knicks were offering their first-round picks this year and the Pistons’ 2021 second-round pick. That’s worth pondering, but to what end?

Grant’s on a three-year deal worth a very reasonable $60 million. That supersedes everything else — and he wants to be here. I don’t know what an acceptable deal would look like, but I’ld like to see it.

Q: Percent chance Killian plays at all the rest of the season? How would rotation play out once Blake departs? – @J_Lawnicki

A: There hasn’t been a recent update on Killian Hayes’ health status, but the thought is that he can come back and play at least a few games. The more games that are postponed in the first half of the season and pushed to the second half offer more chances for Hayes to play in them. Some of the answer will depend on how he does in rehabbing the labrum injury, but I’d give it higher than 50% chance that he’ll play this season.

Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard