Detroit Pistons: Free agents to target

The Detroit Pistons have a couple of needs to address when free agency begins tonight, July 1, at midnight Eastern time. Some big names are ready to hit the market — Carmelo Anthony, all of the Heat’s “Big Three”, Luol Deng, Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, Lance Stephenson — so this should be an exciting couple of weeks.

The Pistons likely won’t land any of these big names, but they still need to improve before the season begins. Teams can officially begin meeting with free agents tomorrow, but a player cannot sign a contract until July 10. Detroit has a decent amount of money to operate with; speaking of which, the team freed up a little more cap space earlier today.

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The Pistons won’t be picking up Chauncey Billups’ contract option (worth $2.5 million) for next season. Billups will become an unrestricted free agent, and, although the end of his career didn’t go as hoped, will probably look toward retirement. Decisions like these are tough, especially when it comes to a Piston of Chauncey’s caliber, but it needed to be done.

Following this move, the Pistons have approximately $40 million in committed salary on the books for next year. Last year’s salary cap was set at $58.679 million, and that number is sure to increase for the coming season, so Detroit has all the room it needs to operate. The league doesn’t officially set the salary cap for the 2014-2015 season until July 10.

Here’s Detroit’s roster as it stands June 30, at 9:30 p.m. :

  1. Brandon Jennings, PG
  2. Will Bynum, PG
  3. Peyton Siva, PG (Note: Pistons can waive him without financial obligation until July 14, when his salary of $816, 482 becomes guaranteed)
  4. Spencer Dinwiddie, PG/SG (Note: injured, rehabbing from ACL tear in January)
  5. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG
  6. Kyle Singler, SG/SF
  7. Josh Smith, SF/PF
  8. Luigi Datome, SF
  9. Jonas Jerebko, PF
  10. Tony Mitchell, PF
  11. Josh Harrellson, PF/C (Note: Just like Siva, the Pistons can release him without financial obligation until July 20 when his salary of $948,163 becomes guaranteed)
  12. Andre Drummond, C

The Pistons’ two most obvious needs are another wing player, preferably one who can shoot, and a backup frontcourt player. According to coach Stan Van Gundy, Detroit is also on the lookout for a veteran point guard. With Dinwiddie likely out until midseason, if not the entire year, and Billups gone, adding another ball-handler is necessary. Here’s a few free agents the Pistons should be looking at:

1. Greg Monroe, PF/C: First and foremost, the Pistons need to address the restricted free agency of Greg Monroe. Van Gundy has stated that he would like to have Monroe back, but that isn’t going to stop him (and his agent) from seeing what kind of offers are out there. If he signs a contract with another team, the Pistons have three days to decide if he’s worth keeping around.

2. Shaun Livingston, PG/SG: Injuries have derailed the once-promising career of the 6-foot-7 Livingston. He played in a career-high 76 games for the Brooklyn Nets last season, and arguably outperformed Deron Williams at times. Livingston is a capable ball-handler and distributer that can be signed to a short-term contract. He would also add needed size to the Pistons undersized backcourt.

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Avery Bradley (0)

3. Avery Bradley, SG: Bradley is coming off of the best season of his young career where he averaged 14.9 points-per-game with the Boston Celtics. Although he is a restricted free agent, Boston just added guards Marcus Smart and James Young in the draft which makes Bradley more expendable to them. He is a lockdown defender and capable 3-point shooter that could help the Pistons in many needed ways.

4. Anthony Morrow, SG/SF: It’s about time a shooting specialist was added to the list. Morrow has drained 42.8 percent of his 3-pointers in six seasons in the league. The Pistons can address their most pressing need on the cheap if they sign him.

5. Chris Kaman, C: Kaman makes perfect sense if the Pistons decide to sign a backup center in free agency. The Grand Rapids native and former sixth overall pick could play a pivotal role off the bench for Detroit. Kaman shoots and rebounds very efficiently, and he would be able to step in whenever Drummond gets into foul trouble.

6.  Vince Carter, SG/SF: Carter, who spent two years under Van Gundy in Orlando, is a veteran who brings a lot to the table despite being a 15-year pro. He would provide shooting, scoring, and valuable leadership off the bench. However, he’s most likely looking to sign with a contender for his remaining years, so the Pistons might not be able to get his attention.