The Detroit Pistons are trading guard Delon Wright for the Sacramento Kings for guard Cory Joseph and two second-round picks, ESPN sources Adrian Wojnarowski said.
What does this mean for a potential post-season push-in play-in and Pistons rebuild?
Kevin Pelton shares trade ratings for both teams.
Kings get: Delon Wright
Clips get: Cory Joseph, second round selection 2021 (via LAL) and second round selection 2024
You will get more ratings from Pelton here
Sacramento Kings: B +
My ESPN colleague Zach Lowe reported earlier this week that the Kings are unlikely to be in sales mode on the deadline because they don’t feel they are that far from the playoffs. Instead, with this deal Sacramento looks like a customer.
Despite their gloomy difference of minus 4.5 points, we can’t write off the Kings as a candidate to enter the playoffs, which would be an achievement for the organization that last came to the playoffs when rookie Tyrese Haliburton was six years old. After Wednesday’s win over the Atlanta Hawks, the Kings are three games behind the Golden State Warriors for 10th place in the West, and have gained an advantage in the past 10 games. (Sacramento is 6-4 in that range, Golden State 3-7, and Stephen Curry is missing the last three.)
Combined are other teams – the Kings also stand behind the New Orleans Pelicans, who are predicted to win two games more than them before trading by FiveThirtyEight – but hope is still flickering. The FiveThirtyEight model gave Sacramento a 7% chance of making it through the playoffs, while projections using ESPN’s Basketball Strength Index to Kings did so 4% of the time before Wednesday night’s results.
Passing Wright should help Sacramento’s playoff attempt. Although Joseph is a solid quarterback on the ball, his lack of outside shooting (33% on 3s this season, exactly on his career) has limited the threat he can pose offensively. This season’s .536 shooting percentage is Josep’s best way from 2014-15, but still exceeds Wright’s average score of .565. Wright is a slightly stronger scorer for 3 points (36% this season, 34% of his career) who gives most of the same pluses the same pluses to most defensive players.
It will be interesting to see Kings coach Luke Walton mix and match Joseph with current guards Haliburton, De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield. Haliburton and Wright should be particularly interchangeable as they both have the ability to defend multiple positions on the perimeter and play on or off the ball, depending on the matchups.
The greater benefit of replacing Joseph with Wright should come in 2021-22. I would expect Sacramento to give up Joseph before his full $ 12.6 million salary guarantee ahead of free agencies, leaving them under attack for $ 2.4 million. Wright has a $ 8.5 million contract, along with an additional $ 1.05 million incentive as reported by my colleague Bobby Marks which he is unlikely to achieve. (Wright’s All-Star boost is among the most optimistic in the league.)
Basically, then the Kings add just $ 6 million to a 2021-22 salary to give Wright a contract, making him suitable for next season worth a late second round pick, Sacramento giving up this season (from the Lakers) and their second round pick in 2024.
It’s unlikely the Pistons ever looked at Wright as a long-term part of their future after acquiring him last season in a three-team trade in exchange for Trevor Ariza. He was there to serve as a veteran cadet for rookie striker Killian Hayes, who started the season as a starter before suffering a hip injury that still has him on his side. Joseph can certainly fulfill that role just as well for the rest of the season for the team going to the lottery.
From a Detroit perspective, then, Wright’s actual trade under contract for next season, as opposed to choosing between paying Joseph $ 12.6 million or simply eating his $ 2.4 million guarantee. I’d rather have Wright, but I can understand if the Pistons preferred a choice in the second round. There’s something wrong with the Lakers ’second-round pick, and Anthony Davis and LeBron James are on the sidelines, and the second-round pick from the Kings has worked pretty well in history.