Embed from Getty Images Jon Leuer had fallen out of favor with Detroit Pistons fans. Leuer suffered a foot injury in 2017-18 that limited him to just eight games and he has not been the same since. Leuer’s expiring contract was viewed as an asset, which the Pistons decided to cash in Wednesday.
Wednesday night Ed Stefanski traded Jon Leuer to the Milwaukee Bucks for forward Tony Snell and the 30th pick in the draft. That’s right. Jon Leuer who has not been the same since he was injured. Netted a nice bench player and the Bucks first round draft pick giving Detroit two first round picks.
Tony Snell is set to make $11.4 million next season and has a player option for $12.2 million for 2020-21, the final years of a four-year deal worth $46 million that he signed in the summer of 2017.
Snell’s arrival in Motown fills a big need for veteran wing help, as the Pistons dealt both Reggie Bullock and Stanley Johnson at the trade deadline and finished the season with a three-guard rotation. Snell give Detroit a bigger player off the bench.
Appearing in 74 games this season, Tony Snell, averaged 6 points, 2.1 rebounds, and shot 40% on 3-pointers, taking about three per game. That is more productio they got from Jon Leuer at $9.5 million.
The question now for the Detroit Pistons and the fan base is does Ed Stefanski package the teams two first round draft picks and move up? Tonight is the NBA’s 2019 draft.
As the Pistons continue to construct the roster to maximize the window of All-Star Blake Griffin, it is possible the Pistons look to move up. the 27 year old Snell is slightly overpaid, his contract is moveable in case next season does not go well, or Snell simply does not mesh with the rest of the team.
In my opinion Detroit will likely pencil Snell in as the Pistons’ starting small forward on opening night in October. He did play well with Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo. The hope here is he plays just as well with Blake Griffin.
Embed from Getty Images Ed Stefanski blocks all negatives out. Social media, talk sports radio, news papers, t.v.. That turned out to be good news for the team Stefanski oversees. The Detroit Pistons.
Ed Stefanski, has a belief in the Detroit organization. The Pistons winners of 12 of their last 15 games are the product of Stefanski’s faith. Even though the noise outside was screaming for a teardown and total rebuild.
There are two thought processes, if you tank you win. If you do not there is a good chance the team will be stuck in mediocrity. The Pistons took an educated chance and went with not tanking.
Stefanski, sought advice from Sachin Gupta the Pistons assistant general manager and a person who is widely considered around the NBA as a analytic specialist.
They saw that some of the teams players who struggled if the first half of the season were due for a breakthrough. It is a daring place to venture. If wrong the Detroit Pistons season would have ended very poorly.
The calculated move has paid off. Struggling players are red hot during the Pistons turnaround. It has been well documented the moves the Pistons made during the trade deadline.
The team has also been greatly helped by star Blake Griffin who takes his role seriously. He wants to help the Pistons get back to the playoffs. Griffin was asked about the Detroit front office and his role. “I am not a general manager, I am a player. I focus on my job, the front office focuses on their job.”
Fair enough. But from the time Griffin took over as team leader, the team, front office and coaching staff all seemed to find a unifying consistency.
One more point Ed Stefanski, does not like the idea of tanking. Ever. “I do not believe in losing games to get better draft picks, I want to compete every night. I want to win every game.”
As long as Ed Stefanski has a say in the Motor City, it is a safe bet Detroit will never tank. They will kick, scream and fight. Just the way Stefanski likes it.
Embed from Getty Images Detroit Pistons executive Ed Stefanski was brought in to Detroit for two reasons. To help the team get out of bad contracts handed out by Stan Van Gundy and help groom a new general manager.
The 2019 NBA trade deadline has come and gone. The Detroit Pistons made few moves to help their cause. The team traded guards Reggie Bullock and Stanley Johnson freeing up salary cap money.
In each case the Pistons received both players (Svi Mykhailiuk and Thon Maker) as well as draft picks. Stefanski, did a very solid job as he began a lengthy process of re-shaping the Detroit Pistons roster.
The team then released Henry Ellenson and added Wayne Ellington from the Miami Heat. The Heat are going nowhere. While the Detroit Pistons have won three in a row to climb within one game of .500 as well as back into the playoff picture.
Ellington fits what Detroit is trying to do this season. Get into the post season. Ellington is a 10 year NBA veteran. At 31 years old still has a lot left in the tank and a lot to give a playoff hopeful team.
He is averaging 8.4 points per-game as well as 1.9 rebounds and is shooting 37% on 3-pointers in his 25 games with the Miami Heat. It is his veteran leadership that Ed Stefanski and the Pistons covet.
The signing of Ellington is a smart move for a Pistons team in need of leadership from anyone not named Blake Griffin. Griffin simply can not do it all. The deal also makes sense as Ellington is playing on an expiring contract.
Detroit will most likely let him walk after the season while cashing in on the draft pick and get younger, more athletic and further un the salary cap.
The Pistons may look to make other deals after the season. This will allow them to do what Stefanski and owner Tom Gore said they were looking to do. Build around Griffin.
It will take some time. But it is a start. While no one knows what Stefanski’s vision is for the future. It is easy to see that it is not bad contracts with players with a low ceiling and limited ability. To move on from Stan Van Gundy.