Given the recent reports linking incoming rookie point guard LaMelo Ball to the Detroit Pistons, a recent list of trade ideas suggested that the team could improve its chances of drafting the 19-year-old prospect through a deal that would have them swapping draft picks and star players with the Golden State Warriors.
As noted by Bleacher Report, the Pistons are a team that “[needs] help everywhere” following a season where they finished 13th in the Eastern Conference with a 20-46 record. According to the outlet’s Preston Ellis, one of their needs can be met by re-signing young big man Christian Wood to a “healthy salary,” while others can be addressed through the free-agent market.
While Detroit could also trade down for more picks in order to plug the organization’s many holes, Ellis added that it might also be plausible to send Blake Griffin and their No. 7 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft to the Warriors, with Detroit getting Andrew Wiggins and Golden State’s No. 2 selection in return.
“[A] player with upside such as LaMelo Ball could be worth the gamble to move up, and the Pistons may not have to do as much as they would in other drafts to acquire him given the divisiveness over his value,” he wrote.
According to his Basketball-Reference player page, Wiggins averaged 19.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in 12 games after joining the Warriors midway through the 2019-20 season in the trade that sent D’Angelo Russell to the Minnesota Timberwolves. While he has yet to make an All-Star appearance since getting drafted first overall in 2014, the former Kansas Jayhawks star could team up with Luke Kennard to give Detroit a solid pair of starting wingmen.
Aside from allowing the Pistons to have a better shot of drafting Ball, the recommended deal would allow the Warriors to free themselves from Wiggins’ five-year, $147 million contract, which expires in the summer of 2023. Furthermore, as Ellis pointed out, Golden State would still have several players to choose from at No. 7, including Devin Vassell, Isaac Okoro, and Saddiq Bey, if they decide to upgrade their wing rotation via the 2020 draft.
As for the Warriors, Ellis noted that Griffin might be an attractive enough asset to attract the attention of general manager Bob Myers. Despite the fact he missed most of the 2019-20 season due to knee problems, the 31-year-old was coming off a 2018-19 campaign that was “arguably his best” in terms of scoring numbers and efficiency. While he may no longer be an elite-level athlete, the Bleacher Report writer added that Griffin will only be expected to put up solid numbers for another two years at the most, as he has an option on the final year of his contract in 2021-22.