2019-2020 Season Review: John “Expiring Contract” Henson will Likely Play Elsewhere

John Henson was acquired in the Andre Drummond trade, but his primary net positive is his expring salary. (Image via Dylan Edenfield)

There is not a tremendous amount to say about John Henson, who played only 11 games for the Pistons this past season. Hard to really judge a player who saw the court a grand total of 188 minutes. But we will give it a shot.

Henson, a 29-year-old center who was traded to Cleveland in 2018 as a salary dump, actually appeared in 29 games with the Cavaliers before being shipped off. He missed time with a hamstring injury and did not see the court in Cleveland at all in 2018-19 while recovering from wrist surgery. For the Pistons, Henson saw time behind starter Christian Wood and played fairly well. He averaged 6.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, one assist, and just under a block per game. Those are modest numbers, but Detroit was arguably the worst team in the league after trading Drummond so there is little meaningful information take away.

As you could imagine, Henson shoots around the rim for the most part. Though he did attempt some 3-pointers (and some of them were even before one second left on the shot clock). (via nba.com/stats)

The real advantage of Henson comes on the cap sheet. Between him and Brandon Knight (also acquired from Cleveland), Detroit acquired two enormous expiring contracts that come off the books. Where Drummond would have likely accepted his massive $29 million player option and locked the Pistons further into financial burden, the trade gives them some breathing room. Henson and Knight combine for around $25 million in salary, which will be wiped off the books. Couple that with the expring Langston Galloway and Detroit no longer paying Josh Smith and suddenly the Pistons have more breathing room than they have had in quite some time. Yes, Blake Griffin and his gargantuan contract loom over the franchise like the jet-black cloud, but Rome was not built in a day.

The frontcourt for Detroit is in flux, to say the least. Signing Christian Wood, who was really a diamond in the rough this past season, is priority one. But having a quality backup center should be high on the list as well. The Pistons are very clearly going young and rebuilding, so they could very well bring in a young big thought he draft. But Henson is going to come at a pretty low cost and Detroit has dollars to spend. It would not be all that surprising to see them hold on to a veteran like John Henson.


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