Detroit Pistons: 3 Potential Early Trade Deadline Targets

Courney Lee, Lance Thomas, Lauri Markannen, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

#3: Courtney Lee

Courtney Lee has not played for the New York Knicks yet this year, but he is expected to return soon and when he does he will likely be traded. The Knicks are finally going all-in on rebuilding and Courtney Lee does not fit with their future plans. He is another player who moves well without the ball and is a career 38.9 percent shooter from deep.

The biggest roadblock to a potential trade for Courtney Lee is his contract, which is over $12 million for the next couple years (per Spotrac). The Pistons are far too close to the luxury tax line to take on a contract like that, so a deal would likely have to involve the albatross contract of Jon Leuer. Due to that fact, it means the asking price for Lee goes up because the Knicks would have to be incentivized to take on Leuer’s contract.

For basketball reasons, a trade for Lee would be perfect, but the financials make things difficult. Lee is another veteran player who could help bring some knowledge to the Pistons’ young players like Luke Kennard, while still being able to contribute.

The Pistons aren’t really desperate for another shooting guard, as they are more in need of a small forward, but Lee has the size to play a bit of small forward in a pinch. He could be the pseudo small forward in one of Dwane Casey’s three-guard lineups and bring better perimeter defense than any of the trio of Reggie Jackson, Ish Smith, or Langston Galloway provide.

Lee is the longest shot to acquire out of the three players on this list because of his contract and the fact that he will have a lot of suitors once he returns from injury. However, he would be ideal because he can also be insurance once Reggie Bullock likely leaves in the offseason because the Pistons cannot afford to pay him after his contract expires.

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