As the NBA offseason gets closer and closer, there are a couple of familiar faces that could return to the Motor City via free agency. If the Pistons decide to let Ish Smith, Wayne Ellington, Jose Calderon, Zaza Pachulia, and Glenn Robinson III walk and sign elsewhere, that will leave them with approximately $13 million of cap space, according to The Athletic’s James Edwards III. With minimal cap space to work with, there are three former Pistons who could be targeted for the front office during free agency.
Small Forward: Marcus Morris
Morris had a productive tenure with the Pistons from 2015-17. In his two seasons in Detroit, Morris Sr. had averages of 14 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game on 42.6 percent shooting from the floor and 34.7 percent from beyond the arc in 34.1 minutes a game.
Morris was then traded to the Boston Celtics as a part of the Avery Bradley trade in the 2017 offseason. Morris’ numbers did not take that much of a downfall in Boston, even though he was playing nearly seven minutes less a game. Morris is coming off of a regular season where he averaged 13.9 points and 6.1 rebounds in his 75 games played, 53 of which were starts.
The combo forward enters the free agent pool this summer after finishing a four year, $20 million contract where he saw $5.4 million this past season. I would expect Morris to sign a deal worth about $8 million annually this offseason, a deal the Pistons should sign him to.
Morris would be a nice fit in Detroit due to the Pistons need for size on the wings, as well as shooting.
Center: Greg Monroe
With Morris now on the books for $8 million dollars next season, Detroit has approximately $5 million dollars left to spend in free agency. Part of this money can be used to fill the backup center void: enter Greg Monroe.
Since leaving Detroit for Milwaukee in 2015, Monroe has struggled to find his niche, having played for seven teams in four years. Monroe’s latest stop has found him in Philadelphia, where he’s played pretty well. Even though Monroe only saw 52 minutes of action during the regular season for Philadelphia, he managed to put up 13.7 points and 4.3 boards in 17.3 minutes per game.
However, Monroe has seen a minutes decrease since the playoffs, only 10.3 minutes per game toting averages of 5.1 points and 3.9 rebounds on 43.8 percent shooting from the floor and 33.3 percent from three.
I feel Monroe could help the Pistons second unit out immensely. Unlike Pachulia in 2018-19, Monroe can somewhat spread the floor, as he can step out and hit a 15-18 foot jump shot. At 6’11” and 265 pounds, and only 28 years old, Monroe could become a solid rebounder for the second unit, especially if he takes some tips from his former teammate Andre Drummond.
If the Pistons go after Monroe, I would expect them to offer him a two-year deal worth about $4 million annually.
Power Forward: Anthony Tolliver
The third and final former Piston who could make a return to Detroit this offseason is fan favorite Anthony Tolliver. After signing a one-year deal worth $5.75 million with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2018 offseason, Tolliver struggled to find consistent minutes in the North Star State, only playing 16.6 minutes per game in 66 games.
The inconsistent minutes led to poor numbers for Tolliver compared to the year prior. Tolliver only averaged five points and 2.7 rebounds per game on 38.2 percent shooting from the floor and 37.7 percent from three after averaging 8.9 points and three rebounds on 46.4 percent shooting from the floor and 43.6 percent from three.
Due to poor numbers in Minnesota and his age, he turns 34 in June, Detroit could sign Tolliver to a one-year, veteran minimum deal, worth about $2.3 million. At 6’8”, the Pistons could use a guy like Tolliver to back up Blake Griffin and spread the floor for the second unit.
There are no guarantees of who the Pistons will go after or sign this offseason. However, these three familiar faces could help the Pistons strengthen their roster to help them make another playoff push in the 2019-20 season.
All statistics via Basketball-Reference
Featured Image: Brandon Dill/Associated Press