Trade Machine Spectacular! Part 2: Ryan Anderson.
Part 1: Markieff Morris. + intro.(even if you're not interested in Markieff Morris, please read the intro stuff. It will help things.)
Trade #2. Trade for Ryan Anderson: Ryan Anderson is allegedly available from the Pelicans. And has been somewhat connected to the Pistons for a couple reasons. #1. SVG has coached Anderson in Orlando before so they have a connection there. #2. Ersan is the weakest link in the starting lineup. In some ways Anderson would be less risky, and in some ways he would be more risky than Markieff Morris would be. On the less risky side, Anderson has not had any of the off court (or on court) issues that Markieff has had in his career, and also is probably just a better player than Kieff. He is a little more risky though because the asking price has been much higher (allegedly) and Anderson will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. (and his impeding free agency is one of the reasons the Pelicans are looking to try and move him.) One quick aside, is that looking at his career numbers, he has been very consistent as a good shooter and scorer in his career, with the exception of last season which was a down year for him. It has been said that his poor(ish) play was caused by the suicide of his girlfriend. And while there are a lot of off court things going on with guys all the time, anyone who has been close to someone who has dealt with depression can attest to that it wears on you in a unique way. And if there is one off court issue that I can absolutely understand affecting a guys play in a significant way, it is that. I can only imagine how horrible that must have been. Also since Anderson will be a free agent this offseason, this post can be seen as a look at potentially signing him this offseason as well. And just FWIW, it might not necessarily be better to just not trade for him and try and sign him this offseason. He figures to be a fairly pricy guy this offseason so it might be good to unload a little salary somewhere to make more space.
How would he fit?
Anderson would almost certainly be an excellent fit on the Pistons, in the same way that Ersan is basically a better version of Anthony Tolliver, Anderson is a better version of Ersan. Anderson has been a more consistent shooter over his career from outside, and is little bit better defender. But the main thing that separates him from Ersan (and most other stretch 4s for that matter) is Anderson's ability to create his own shot. He is not a super scorer by any stretch, but he has a very capable post up and face up game that he can use to great results, especially against smaller guys. As such him at PF makes your team much more "small ball proof". (I'm not sure if I remembered to mention this, but this is a big positive for Markieff Morris as well) So if, for instance, the Warriors put out their death squad with Harrison Barnes at PF. Anderson is a good enough 1 on 1 scorer that he could post up Barnes and cause very real trouble for the Warriors. (not that it would break the Warriors small ball but that is a real outlier) Ersan has a nice little drive game and can pull out the occasional stepback, but he is not on Anderson's level. Anderson has spent most of his career as a upper teens scorer, which is a lot more than Ersan can say. Most of the trade ideas would involve Ersan, as such Anderson would slot into the starting PF position. Anderson would do all the stuff Ersan does as far as hitting spot up 3s and spacing the floor, but he would also give another legit scoring option in the starting lineup. And could join Marcus Morris in attacking any mismatches that are had as a result of the Jackson/Drummond PnR. His defense is not great by any stretch, but it is (probably) better than Ersan as well, so there would figure to be fewer games where Tolly is forced into high minutes for defensive purposes. Essentially, Anderson would make the Pistons significantly better on both ends of the floor. The biggest question would be whether or not Anderson could be the missing piece on the team. Because if the Pistons were to get him, he would likely cost a high amount.
What if the Pistons signed him this offseason?
Until we know the final cap number it is hard to say exactly what sort of a contract Anderson will fetch this offseason, but it figures to be a pretty hefty one. So as mentioned before, it might not actually be better to sign him instead of trading him. (I'm not saying either way would be better, just have to consider all the ramifications) If the Pistons were to simply sign him (while assuming no other major trades are made) then he would be slotted into the starting PF role as mentioned before, and Ersan would be pushed to the bench, and Tolliver would likely be allowed to walk in free agency. Ersan would be a very good bench player, but the issue I would have with this plan would be similar to my issue with Aron Baynes. Ersan cannot really play anything but PF, so he won't play a ton. And while he is better than Tolly, (assuming Tolly gets a similar contract to the 3mill a year one he is on now, which I would expect) Tolly will be much cheaper. And so for a guy who figures to play just 15(ish) minutes per game, it might be a much better idea to just keep Tolly around and then unload Ersan in some other way. But if Ersan stayed he would become a big bench piece along with Meeks as 2 very good shooters who can create a little for themselves and also can slot in with the starters with no worries if needed.
Would I take him?
Probably not. His asking price would be very high, and I am not sure that he is quite good enough to be the missing piece. It is hard to say since we do not know what sort of offers he will receive this offseason, but if the Pistons gave up serious assets to get him, and then failed to resign him it would be close (depending on what assets exactly given up) to a disaster. Don't get me wrong, Anderson would be an awesome fit on the Pistons and he would make them much better. But if, for instance, keeping him around ends up nearly capping out the Pistons, (essentially locking in this as the team that the Pistons would have going forwards) I am not sure he would put them over the top. But if they could get him for a relatively good price (whether in a trade or as a free agent) it would be a excellent land. The main thing to consider also for me, is that PF is actually a pretty strong spot in the Pistons rotation. Ersan is a very solid starter, and Tolly is a very solid backup. And once you throw in that both Morris and Johnson can (and occasionally do) give some minutes at PF I am not sure how needed Anderson would be. Because even though he would be better than any of those guys, when all of it is combined, I think that the Pistons might end up giving up a substantial amount for a slight improvement to the team.
Best case scenario: Pistons manage to get him at a good price (through trade or free agency) for a extended time. He is the missing piece, his more consistent shooting opens up the PnR even more, and him and morris form a very tricky pair of forward who attack mismatches consistently. He puts the Pistons over the top and they become a legit contender.
Worst case scenario: Pistons give up substantial amount to trade for him, he is good but is not "the missing piece" and the Pistons only improve a small amount, and then Anderson walks in free agency, leaving a large whole at the PF spot for the Pistons going forward.
Would you rather have him or Markieff Morris?
I would rather have Anderson on my team every day of the week and twice on Sunday. But given the price required for them, if the Pistons were to make a move for one of them I would rather have it be Kieff I think. Because it is actually possible they could get Kieff while giving up no real assets, so if he did not work out that well at least it did not screw anything else up. And if he did work out Markieff could be almost as good as Anderson and would be on a much friendlier contract. But to be clear, purely as basketball players and whatnot, Anderson would be better on court and off. It is just the possible price of him that would worry me.
Possible Trades: (most would likely also involve the Pistons sending Picks to the Pelicans)
Pistons receive: Anderson. Pellies receive: Brandon Jennings.
Pistons receive: Anderson. Pellies receive: Ersan, Dinwiddie, Hilliard.
Pistons receive: Anderson, Holliday. Pellies receive: Ersan, Dinwiddie, Jennings. (lol I'm not sure how I would like this but it would be interesting.)
Once again those trade scenarios are not per say even ones I would like the Pistons to make, they are just a couple of examples of combinations that would work. Feel free to mess with the trade machine yourself and try your own combinations.
What do you think? Think Anderson would be the missing piece? Would he cost too much? Let me know! We all get smarter!