HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto and The Athletic’s James Edwards III discuss the trade market for Pistons forwards Bojan Bogdanovic and Saddiq Bey, Cade Cunningham’s injury, Nerlens Noel suitors, Alec Burks’ future, and more on the latest HoopsHype podcast episode.
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2:10 Bojan Bogdanovic’s trade value
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Scotto: I think by the trade deadline, he could be arguably one of the biggest names that teams are trying to pry. I think Fat Joe said it best when it comes to Bojan Bogdanovic’s trade market value with the Pistons, “Yesterday’s price is not today’s price!”
Now that Detroit has extended Bogdanovic and signed him through the 2024-25 season, which is only partially guaranteed, and the fact that Bogdanovic was at one point this season the only player averaging 20 points on 50/40/85 shooting splits.
As I reported Tuesday on HoopsHype, the Lakers, Heat, Mavericks, Hawks, and other playoff-caliber teams have expressed interest in trading for Bogdanovic.
James, from your standpoint, being around the team every day, have you heard of other teams specifically who’ve expressed interest in trading for Bogdanovic? What could the price be to pry him from Detroit? As you, Shams and myself have said, Detroit doesn’t want to move him now, but what would it take to tickle their fancy?
Edwards: The teams you listed are pretty much the teams I’ve heard… It’s an interesting situation because the Pistons are near the bottom of the standings. Bogdanovic has shot the ball lights out and is playing arguably the best basketball of his life. Logic would say the Pistons would sell high on that, but I’m not so sure. The Pistons don’t want to be bad forever. Next season was kind of the year they wanted to break out of this rebuild and start pushing for the Play-In Tournament.
Everybody has a price. My guess is the Pistons don’t want to necessarily trade him, but if there’s an offer like an unprotected first and maybe a young player, or multiple firsts, I think that would maybe entice them to do so. Or maybe an unprotected first and a good veteran who’s under contract for a little bit longer. I think Detroit looks around at the odds of them getting someone who can score the ball like Bogdanovic for the price they have him, and they didn’t sign him to an extension to trade him. They wanted to get him in here and be a part of this.
Scotto: In life, you want to find someone who loves you as much as Pistons coach Dwane Casey loves Bogdanovic (laughs). To your point, this was a guy Detroit got relatively on the cheap for Kelly Olynyk and Saben Lee when he wasn’t signed beyond this season. Then, Detroit did the work to get the extension done. That contract looking ahead, if you talk to people around the league, is going to look even better as the cap rises. His shooting is sustainable. His age doesn’t necessarily fit the timeline of this young Pistons squad, but his veteran leadership and scoring do. He’s a floor spacer, and all teams need that.
This is a team operating from a position of strength where they don’t want to move him, so you’re going to have to almost overwhelm them with an offer to get Bogdanovic. It’s likely going to take more than just an unprotected first-round pick, as you mentioned.
8:30 What Cade Cunningham’s injury means for Detroit
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Scotto: Regarding Cade Cunningham’s injury and season-ending surgery, I’m curious if that changes the dynamic and the thought process on whether to keep Bogdanovic. My understanding was coming into this season, Detroit wanted to compete and potentially be in the Play-In Tournament, if possible. It wasn’t a mandate or anything, but if possible. After the acquisition of Bogdanovic, it further signaled that to some people around the league.
I think there’s a question now whether Detroit is going to be a seller at the deadline if they remain at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. I know they want Bojan to be a part of this group looking ahead when they’re trying to compete and be a better team. You can make the case Bojan has been the best Piston so far this season.
Edwards: It’s tricky because you can see both sides of the coin. As you said, I think if the Pistons made the Play-In this year, they would’ve been fine with that. I don’t think many people thought in house that was something for sure that was going to happen by any means.
Do you punt on this season, get what you can for Bojan, and try to restructure and retool next summer when they have some of the most cap space? My question is, what are the odds you’ll get a player as good as Bojan at that price in the open market next summer if the goal next year is to push for the Play-In and turn the corner? If Bojan went into the market as a free agent, he would’ve been one of the more coveted guys on the market.
The Pistons work with the blueprint that you need two top-20 or two top-15 guys in this league to really challenge for a title. Of anybody on the roster, Cade is the one that has the potential to become that player. They see that… On the court, they see Cade as a guy who can be one of the best 20 players in the NBA.
17:30 Saddiq Bey trade rumblings
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Scotto: My sense was Detroit wanted to see what it had with Saddiq Bey and this young group for more time. James, you touched on The Athletic about Bey potentially being gettable, according to other executives, for the right price. Is there any update on how gettable he is and what the right price would be?
Edwards: I didn’t get much clarity on what the right price is. I think teams poked around once he went to the bench and started to kind of scour the interest and where the Pistons are with him going forward… Coach Casey moved him to the bench to try and find balance in scoring with the second unit and balance defensively with the first unit. He’s probably having his biggest up-and-down year as a pro, even though he’s improved in putting the ball on the floor and getting to the free-throw line at the best rate of his career. It’s just his shooting has been pretty bad so far this season.
I think Detroit sees a world in which Saddiq figures it out and puts it all together. There’s maybe some hesitancy there with trading him because I can see him being one of those guys who moves and goes to another team, and it bites you because he works so hard and has added to his game.
Bojan’s presence has kind of made Saddiq not expendable, but they were able to move him to the bench and maybe not feel as worried about doing such because Bojan’s shooting well. They’re both not the best defenders, but Bojan’s consistent scoring gives him the upper hand.
21:45 Nerlens Noel trade possibilities
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Scotto: James, you mentioned several teams: Portland, Sacramento, Miami, and Dallas (as Noel trade possibilities). Dallas is a potential team to keep an eye on for Nerlens if Detroit and Dallas are able to make a Bojan Bogdanovic trade happen. I can see him being in the mix as far as a bigger package there due to the salaries. To make a theoretical deal happen with Detroit, you’d have to be giving up Dwight Powell’s contract, and they’d need some center depth. JaVale McGee, who’s also been a trade candidate I’ve touched on, could also be a guy to watch out for that would be in the mix there.
Edwards: This is something both sides have kind of agreed on. There are no hard feelings. It’s been done cordially and respectfully. The Pistons are rebuilding. They have Jalen Duren, Isaiah Stewart and Marvin Bagley III in the frontcourt and have to get them minutes for development. Nerlens is the odd man out there. These teams have shown interest, but I don’t know how much they’d be willing to give up for him since he hasn’t played much this year. He does have a team option for next year. It depends on where teams see him at this point in his career… I think what ends up happening, unless he’s part of a package deal, is he probably gets bought out, and then one of these teams moves on him… If it’s just Nerlens himself, I guess, a second-round pick at best.
25:30 Is Alec Burks a trade candidate?
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Scotto: To my understanding, Alec Burks is a guy who Detroit views as more than just a veteran mentor because he can contribute now. He could fit into this team looking ahead.
Edwards: I haven’t heard of any specific teams at this point. I’m under the impression teams plan to see what it would take to get him. He’s shooting the ball at a great clip, and the Pistons have played better since he returned from injury… Burks is a guy who answers a lot of needs for Detroit in terms of three-point shooting, scoring, and leadership. He’s under control and has a team option for next season.
28:45 Killian Hayes
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Scotto: As a starter for 16 games thus far (entering play Thursday), Hayes has shot 39 percent from 3-point range and averaged 11 points and 6.6 assists in 28.3 minutes. He’s played some of the best basketball of his career. Around the league, before Cunningham’s injury, some people wondered if there would be a place for Killian with the Pistons long-term, as he’s blocked by Cade and Jaden Ivey from being a starter.
Edwards: I think he’s done a good job of rehabbing his value not only to teams around the league that liked him going into the draft, I think he’s also rehabbed his value in Detroit. They’ve always been patient with him and not pressured him to be a scorer or a shooter. They always wanted him to be the quarterback of the defense. He’s probably their best on-ball defender from the guard spot… I don’t think he’d cost a lot, given he’s settled in as a guy you’re probably looking at as a high-end backup guard. I see a world where the Pistons could run Cade, Ivey and Killian together if Killian continues to show this shooting is legit.
32:10 Isaiah Stewart
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Scotto: Stewart has made some strides in terms of being able to stretch the floor. His scoring (12 points) and rebounding (8.7 rebounds) are up, but Jalen Duren has also played better than expected. A lot of people thought he’d be pretty raw as a rookie, but he’s shown some flashes. So, what’s Detroit’s vision for that center tandem? Who’s the long-term center of the future?
Edwards: I think what they see is those two being the frontcourt. The league is kind of pushing more toward bigger lineups again. Isaiah, being that he’s a little undersized for the center position, is the perfect size for the power forward spot. He’s shooting threes at a great clip… They rate Isaiah highly. When he came into the league, everybody saw him as a guy who works hard and is going to muck things up and capped his ceiling because of that. The Pistons view him as somebody with skill who could potentially be a great pairing with Duren defensively.
They love Duren. They did a lot of maneuvering in the draft to get him. I’ve always been under the impression that if Ivey was off the board at No. 5, they might have moved back a couple of spots to get Duren. They fell in love with him during the pre-draft process.
You can follow Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) and James Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) on Twitter.
Story originally appeared on HoopsHype