NBA trade rumors: Why are rebuilding Pistons signaling they want to keep Bojan Bogdanovic around?
Bojan Bogdanovic turns 34 years old in April, and he’s averaging a career-high 21.5 points on a career-high 63.4 percent true shooting for a young team that has the second-worst record in the league. It is not hard to figure out why he’s a candidate to be moved before the Feb. 9 trade deadline.
The 12-37 Detroit Pistons, however, continue to broadcast that they are not necessarily going to trade Bogdanovic. In other words, suitors shouldn’t waste time lowballing them.
The latest report on this subject comes from James Edwards III of The Athletic:
Per league sources, as of late January, the Pistons, who have aspirations of turning a corner next season, would need significant value in return to consider moving Bogdanovic within the next two weeks, with the minimum starting point being an unprotected first-round pick. Detroit values Bogdanovic highly and doesn’t want to move him unless an overwhelming offer makes too much sense.
This situation is similar to the one that the Pistons were in with Jerami Grant before last season’s trade deadline. They ended up keeping Grant for the rest of the season, then sending him to the Portland Trail Blazers for a top-four-protected 2025 Milwaukee Bucks first-round pick and two seconds. But there are differences:
- Bogdanovic is five years older than Grant, so acquiring him is more of a short-term play.
- Any team trading for Grant needed to be prepared to offer him a lucrative contract extension or risk losing him in free agency at the end of the 2022-23 season. Bogdanovic, on the other hand, signed a two-year, $39 million extension in late October, five weeks after Detroit acquired him from the Utah Jazz. This is a team-friendly deal, particularly because only $2 million of his $19 million 2024-25 salary is guaranteed. If he’s still this productive at the end of next season, his team can keep him around at an affordable price; if he declines, he can be waived for a small penalty.
- The Pistons are another year into their rebuild, so their priorities could be different now.
That last point is the most interesting one. If Detroit has “aspirations of turning a corner next season,” how much pressure will there be on the front office and coaching staff? How much will the results of the draft lottery have to do with that? Cade Cunningham’s season-ending shin injury has forced the Pistons to be more patient than they planned to be, but if there’s a playoff (or play-in) mandate in 2023-24, then Troy Weaver’s front office must approach the Bogdanovic situation — and this trade deadline, and 2023 free agency — differently than if there isn’t one.
This is not to say that Detroit should be seen as a win-now team. It just shouldn’t be seen as a lose-now team. Bogdanovic is not on Detroit’s timeline, really, but he’s a 6-foot-7 veteran who can score in a variety of ways, space the floor and defend competently. For a franchise trying to take a step forward and establish some structure, this has value.
Bogdanovic might not, however, be worth quite as much to the Pistons as he is to another team. If they are offered a high-value first-round pick in exchange for him, they could potentially use that pick in a trade a few months later to upgrade the roster. Ideally, they’d turn it into someone kind of like Bogdanovic, only younger.
Last week, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans and Toronto Raptors have all expressed interest in Bogdanovic. On Monday, The Athletic’s Jovan Buha reported that the Lakers are willing to part with only a lottery-protected first-rounder but could change their stance closer to the deadline.