The Detroit Pistons have taken over striker Bojan Bogdanović of the Utah Jazz for center Kelly Olynyk and guard Saben Lee.
While the move may seem odd at first, given both teams are undergoing a remodel and Bogdanović is 33 years old, there is logic to Detroit’s decision-making process here.
Bogdanović will be Cunningham and Ivey. help out
Last summer the Pistons took Cade Cunningham in first overall, and this year the Pistons chose Jaden Ivey in fifth. The guard duo needs all possible distances to establish lanes, and Bogdanović is one of the better movement shooters in the NBA.
While Olynyk was also a good marksman, he needed his feet and took more time, making it easier for the defense to turn towards him. Bogdanović is quicker on the trigger, can catch and shoot from odd angles, and plays both forward spots, giving both Isaiah Stewart and Jalen Duren more minutes in center position.
So yeah, while it might seem odd at first glance why a rebuilding team would hire a 33-year veteran, it’s all with a keen eye for long-term improvements.
Bogdanović scored 18.1 points for Utah last season and averaged 18.4 over his three seasons there. He is a highly competent scorer who has never relied on his athleticism, suggesting that he will age gracefully.
The offensive injection also means less pressure on Cunningham to consistently produce points, meaning a more focused approach on the Detroit side to finish him off well as a player. At times, Bogdanović will allow both Cunningham and Ivey to deepen their playing skills, which need to be improved in the coming years.
With both Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert finding new homes during the off-season, it was time to break the core. Royce O’Neale was also sent to Brooklyn a few months ago, and it should come as no surprise if Mike Conley also finds a new home soon.
The prize for Utah here was Lee, which, all things considered, was a modest prize. The 23-year-old has played rotational minutes for Detroit over the past two seasons, averaging 5.6 points and 3.3 assists for his career. Is there a bigger role for the point guard? Time will tell, but it’s curious Utah couldn’t squeeze more for Bogdanović all things considered.
They don’t even get financial flexibility. While Bogdanović has an expiring contract, Olynyk has a $3 million contractual guarantee on a $12.1 million salary next year.
Of course, the Jazz can only just begin. They could see Olynyk’s deal as the perfect connecting element to get them into other conversations, which seems likely due to their newfound organizational direction to aim for higher odds in the lottery next summer.
Overall, Detroit looked extra good in this trade. Not only did they get the better player, but they also got extra flexibility for future salary caps.
Some might argue that the addition of Bogdanović means fewer ping pong balls for Detroit next season, but nothing like that can ever be guaranteed. The Pistons probably won’t be very competitive even with this upgrade, and if they are, you could argue that regular season success would be of immense value to the team’s youngsters.
(Note that the Pistons owe their first-round 2023 pick to the New York Knicks, but it’s protected by the top 18 rosters.)
Unless otherwise stated, all statistics are via NBA.com, PBPStats, Cleaning the glass or Basketball Reference. All salary information via spotrac. All opportunities through FanDuel Sportsbook.