This Pistons-Spurs Trade Sends Keldon Johnson To Detroit

Keldon Johnson, Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

One NBA writer is proposing that the Detroit Pistons acquire small forward Keldon Johnson from the San Antonio Spurs this summer.

James L. Edwards III proposed that the Pistons send the Spurs the fifth overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft for Johnson and a 2024 first-round pick. San Antonio has the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft and will select Victor Wembanyama. Their roster plans go from there.

The all-around skill set and scoring ability that Johnson would bring to the Pistons would present a needed boost. He would fit well next to Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey, while adding a more dynamic element to their overall team.

“My logic here was pretty simple: Johnson fills a void for the Pistons as a solid offensive wing who can be effective without the ball,” Edwards III wrote. “His defense can be better, and I think it could be in a more winning situation. He’ll only be 24 when next season starts and, in my opinion, is on a valuable contract (4 years/$74 million). His annual salary decreases in the deal’s first three years, which starts next season. The Pistons also get a future first because I don’t believe Johnson alone is worth the No. 5 pick in this draft.”

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Keldon Johnson, San Antonio Spurs & Detroit Pistons Updates

Johnson averaged 22.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists for the Spurs this season while shooting 45.2% from the field, 32.9% from beyond the arc and 74.9% from the free-throw line. The 23-year-old Olympian appeared in 63 games and led San Antonio in points per game.

Johnson signed a four-year, $74 million rookie scale extension with San Antonio in July 2022. He will make $20 million next season. The Spurs drafted Johnson with the 29th overall pick in the 2019 draft out of Kentucky. The Virginia native has career averages of 16.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Keldon Johnson, San Antonio Spurs & Detroit Pistons Updates

The idea for the Spurs would be to gain a high-level draft pick to add a wing that better fits Wembanyama’s timeline as the team rebuilds. There will be plenty available on the board with the 5th pick.

“Why would the Spurs do this, you ask? Well, San Antonio could use the No. 5 pick to get a different wing or forward who, like future Spur Wembanyama, will be on a rookie deal for the next few seasons,” Edwards III wrote. “It’ll open up even more cap space for San Antonio this summer, as well. I just don’t see Johnson with the Spurs by the time they’re truly contenders again, so I could see a deal like this benefitting both sides. Cam Whitmore or Amen Thompson would be fun alongside Wembanyama, no?”

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