This year’s NBA free agency started off with a bang. Before the official start of the moratorium period Thursday, Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant requested a trade. The announcement sent shockwaves around the NBA world, and the big names of this class could have to wait till the Durant sweepstakes are over to find their new homes.
That is not to say big contracts have not been signed. The Phoenix Suns extended their All-Star guard Devin Booker, and the Denver Nuggets handed two-time MVP Nikola Jokic a new contract. Bradley Beal signed a max extension with the Washington Wizards as well.
The likes of Deandre Ayton and Zach Lavine are yet to ink new deals. Once the Durant situation clears up, they are likely to find their home quickly.
The Detroit Pistons wasted no time extending Marvin Bagley III. Yahoo Sports NBA Insider Chris Haynes reported that the 23-year-old big man agreed to terms on a three-year contract worth $37 million. Bagley was the team’s only restricted free agent, and it came as no surprise that a deal was done quickly.
Bagley’s return gives Detroit options in the front court
Detroit initially acquired Bagley at the trade deadline this past season. The change of scenery gave Bagley the chance to rejuvenate his career after a lackluster first few seasons with the Sacramento Kings. He made a big impression by averaging 14.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in 18 games as a Piston.
After trading Jerami Grant to the Portland Trail Blazers, the Pistons have a hole in their starting lineup. Bagley’s return gives Detroit another option to fill the void at power forward. While he is probably best suited as a sixth man, Bagley could find himself as the de facto starting four.
With Bagley’s return alongside the acquisition of rookie Jalen Duren and veteran Nerlens Noel via trades, Detroit’s frontcourt has found itself a bit crowded. The trio joins Isaiah Stewart and Kelly Olynyk in the Pistons’ big man rotation. Whether he is the starting four or comes off the bench, Bagley’s role is unlikely to shrink. He is not getting paid roughly $12 million each season to not play an important role moving forward.
Bagley proved to be a springy big for Cade Cunningham to lob the ball up to. He is a superb offensive talent with floor-spacing potential. The 23-year-old is just one season removed from shooting 34.3 percent from beyond the arc. However, his shot has been inconsistent, as he struggled from deep this past season.
With this new contract, Pistons’ GM Troy Weaver has made it clear Bagley is part of the core moving forward. Well, at least for the next three years.
Pistons sign Kevin Knox to two-year $6 million deal
Rounding out the roster, Weaver and the front office signed Kevin Knox to a two-year deal worth $6 million. Knox is another in a long line of reclamation projects in the Motor City. The former lottery pick had a lackluster start to his career. Knox spent his first three seasons with the New York Knicks before splitting time between the Big Apple and the Atlanta Hawks this past season.
Barring another trade, this could be Detroit’s roster heading into next season.
(Featured Image Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)