Things couldn’t have gone better for the Detroit Pistons on NBA Draft night. Now they may not be so desperate to pursue their biggest free agency targets.
The Pistons hit paydirt during Thursday’s NBA Draft when Jaden Ivey fell to them at No. 5 and then they successfully maneuvered to land Jalen Duren as well.
It wasn’t the most likely scenario, but it was the “best-case scenario” in the team’s eyes, per James Edwards III of The Athletic. It also could impact their strategy for the rest of the offseason.
Suns star DeAndre Ayton is a restricted free agent and was considered a major target for Detroit. That may not be the case anymore.
NBA rumors: Pistons draft class cooling interest in DeAndre Ayton
“DET obviously could still pursue Ayton given their cap space, but I get the sense the draft went so well in their favor (they didn’t expect ivey at 5) that they could role with the youngsters and seek veteran assistance in free agency. Troy has said many times no skipping steps,” Edwards tweeted.
Edwards continued his reporting in The Athletic calling Ayton “Plan A” for Detroit going into the draft.
“In all actuality, though, the events on Thursday signal the Ayton route being Plan B. Plan A manifested in Brooklyn, when Ivey unexpectedly slid to the Pistons and they found a way to get back into the lottery to add Duren. Per sources, this was the best-case scenario,” Edwards wrote.
The Pistons now have one of the most intriguing young cores in the league, including Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey. Adding Ivey and Juren to the mix could set them up for years to come.
That doesn’t mean they won’t try to grab Ayton, who is certainly ahead of Juren in terms of development. However, the pressure to get him is a lot less than it was.