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Report: Pistons exercise team option on Hamidou Diallo, extend offer to Marvin Bagley III

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

The Pistons are following up their stellar week in the NBA Draft with some additional moves to prep themselves for free agency, which begins this week.

After drafting Purdue guard Jaden Ivey at No. 5 overall to bolster their backcourt and Memphis big man Jalen Duren to fortify the frontcourt, the Pistons look to be bringing back some of their players from last season as well.

The Pistons are exercising their team option on wing Hamidou Diallo and made a qualifying offer to big man Marvin Bagley III, according to a report by Keith Smith of Spotrac.

Both moves were expected, as Diallo was coming off a good season and was on a very reasonable team option of $5.2 million. Bagley's qualifying offer was just $7.2 million, and that could pave the way for a new contract when NBA free agency opens this week. 

Hamidou Diallo was a key contributor on the second unit for the Pistons last season.

Diallo had a breakthrough season, posting 11 points and 4.8 rebounds and shooting a career-best 55% from the field last season in 58 games, including 29 starts. He shined during a stretch when many players on the roster tested positive for COVID-19 and he got extended playing time in the starting lineup

He was acquired at the trade deadline in the 2020-21 season and had similar numbers: 11.2 points and 5.4 rebounds in a 20-game stint. That year, Diallo shot a career-best 39% from beyond the 3-point arc, which raised expectations of his potential.

As an athletic wing who was acquired from Oklahoma City — where Pistons general manager Troy Weaver had served prior to his arrival in Detroit — Diallo won the Slam-Dunk championship and showed that he can be a solid two-way option with stellar athleticism.  

Diallo, 23, missed the last 16 games of last season after suffering a fractured index finger in March. He projects to be a valuable asset in the second unit, and if Ivey has trouble adjusting to the NBA initially, Diallo could soak up some of the minutes in the starting lineup as the rookie gets acclimated. 

That the Pistons made a qualifying offer of $7.2 million to Bagley isn’t a surprise, either. They acquired Bagley in a trade from the Sacramento Kings in February to add to their frontcourt, with Weaver making another calculated gamble that a young player could excel as a reclamation effort.

Bagley, 23, is a 6-foot-11 big man who can play either center or power forward, and he showed in 18 games with the Pistons that he can be an asset. Bagley posted 14.6 points and 6.8 rebounds and shot 62% from the field.

Those are numbers similar to what he posted in his time with the Kings, but in his short audition, he made an impression on Weaver and the Pistons. A former No. 2 pick in the 2018 draft, Bagley had languished with the Kings and was looking for a better opportunity, which he got with the Pistons in the short stint.

Marvin Bagley III averaged 14.6 points in 18 games with the Pistons after being acquired at the trade deadline.

Completing the qualifying offer paves the way for Bagley to become a restricted free agent on July 1, and when free agency opens, the Pistons would like to come to terms with Bagley on a better deal.  Bagley has a hold on the salary cap for $28.3 million, which would be plenty of motivation for them to negotiate a new deal.

The Pistons also could consider pursuing higher-priced free agents such as Phoenix center Deandre Ayton or Charlotte forward Miles Bridges. On Tuesday, the Suns extended a qualifying offer to Ayton for $16.4 million, and the Hornets made the qualifying offer of $7.9 million for Bridges. 

Charlotte went further in signaling that they want to keep Bridges in the fold.

"As an organization, we love Miles. We're going to bring him back," Hornets president and general manager Mitch Kupchak said Tuesday. "He's been great for the franchise, and I believe with his work ethic, he's only going to get better."

The Pistons project to have more than $40 million in cap space available ahead of the league's new fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Beyond the decisions on Bagley and Diallo, the Pistons also will have to make decisions on a few more of their free agents. They have team options on guard Frank Jackson ($3.15 million), as well as Carsen Edwards ($1.8 million) and Luka Garza ($1.6 million).