The Detroit Pistons have the 5th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, but may have set their targets on a guy who could already be gone.
Jaden Ivey’s name has more frequently been attached to the Pistons of late, but ultimately the Sacramento Kings could decide Detroit’s choice.
Unfortunately, the Kings are reportedly viewing this as a four-player draft and think they hold all of the cards with the 4th pick according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
In a recent report (you can watch the whole thing here) Woj named the Detroit Pistons as one of the teams that might want to trade up for the Kings’ pick in order to take Ivey.
Of course, a lot of this pre-draft talk is just a smokescreen for what teams really want to do, and you never know who they are really targeting based on reports.
Woj listed several other teams, including Indiana (6th pick) and even the possibility of someone outside of the top-10 swooping in with an offer.
If the Pistons really want to trade up for Ivey, it’s likely going to cost them.
Detroit Pistons: Trading up for Jaden Ivey won’t be cheap
If the Pistons truly believed that Jaden Ivey was going to be a star, would be the perfect pairing for Cade Cunningham and was a tier above the rest of the field, then trading up for him makes sense.
They’d love to get a second star to put with Cade, and the right draft pick/free agent duo could propel the Pistons into playoff contention.
But with several other teams potentially trying to do the same, the Kings can hold out for the best offer and Detroit might not be it.
The Kings have stated their desire to win now, so swapping them Jerami Grant and the 5th pick in exchange for the 4th and matching contracts makes sense, as the Kings could walk away with a superior talent in Grant and still have a top-5 pick.
The Pistons had better be sure Ivey is their guy if they make a move like this, as they don’t have an immediate replacement for Grant, so would almost certainly be taking a step backwards in the short term.
But finding that second guy is important, and the Pistons would still have cap space to add depth in free agency. The Detroit Pistons don’t want to get into a bidding war, but they might have to if they want to trade up and take Ivey.
The flipside to this is that if the Kings are already shopping this pick around, are they really even interested in Ivey? He’s not a clear-cut fit with the guards they already have, so the Pistons could just call their bluff and hope they take someone else.
But that would be leaving a lot to chance, so if Troy Weaver and the Pistons really do want a specific guy, I expect they will be cautious but aggressive in trying to pursue him.