Today the Detroit Pistons acquired G Avery Bradley and a 2019 second-round pick from the Boston Celtics for F Marcus Morris.
The trade effectively put an end to any hope of resigning Kentavious Caldwell-Pope even before they renounced him. Avery Bradley is a slightly better Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and will be much cheaper than resigning KCP. Bradley is making $8.8MM this season, while Caldwell-Pope is looking to command $20MM+ per season. This past season, Bradley averaged 16.3 points per game to KCP’s 13.8. Bradley had a 46.3 FG percentage, and shot 39 percent from behind the arc to KCP’s 39.9 FG percentage and 35% from behind the arc. Defensively, Bradley is among the best defenders in the league. And while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is one of the better wing defenders in the league without a doubt, but is nowhere near the level of Avery Bradley.
To get Bradley, the Pistons had to give up Marcus Morris. Morris was more of a stretch four for the Pistons last season, and will undoubtedly be a big loss. Morris averaged 14 points and 4.6 rebounds, shooting 41.8% from the field and 33.1% from behind the arc. Trading away Morris was likely for the best, but also leaves a big hole on the Pistons roster. The Pistons don’t really have someone to fill that stretch four role either, or even a more traditional four. Jon Leuer could maybe fill that, but he is much better coming off the bench, and struggles when shooting from behind the arc. The Pistons do have Tobias Harris as well, but he should play at the three this season. That leaves Henry Ellenson, and he would be more of the stretch four that Marcus Morris was. And while Ellenson is good offensively, and has a lot of potential on that side of the court, we don’t know how good he is defensively. Even this year in the Summer League, Ellenson got bullied when defending, and just doesn’t have the athleticism or foot speed to keep up with more athletic power forwards. Finally, we have Stanley Johnson, who could very well start at the three and push Tobias Harris to the four. Stanley Johnson could play the four, though he is significantly undersized to play the position, and would likely struggle mightily initially at the position.
The trade was a good one for both teams without a doubt. Boston got to clear cap space, and Detroit upgraded their shooting guard position without overpaying for anybody. However, Detroit lost a good stretch four in Marcus Morris, and don’t really have anyone to fill that role.