With the Feb. 21 trade deadline gaining, it shouldn't come as a surprise to hear that the rebuilding Pistons might not be done this "trade season." Back in January, Pistons 101 wrote an article on who would likely be generating some trade rumor buzz on the Pistons roster. Will Bynum was one of those names. (read here) Now, it seems as if our speculation has turned to real, NBA rumor whisper.
Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com, talked about a potential Bynum to Oklahoma City Thunder scenario:
…it would not surprise me at all if the Oklahoma City Thunder made a bid for Bynum, who would bring stability and scoring to the backup point guard position behind Russell Westbrook.Thunder coach Scott Brooks has used backups Eric Maynor and Reggie Jackson sparingly (both average less than 11 minutes per game), and one of the side effects of trading away James Harden was removing a player who took some of the distribution and ball-handling duties away from the turnover-prone Westbrook, allowing him to spend more time off the ball.With the Pistons in rebuilding mode, and the Thunder in win-now mode, don’t be surprised if there is a fit here. Oklahoma City owns one of the league’s most valuable non-player trade assets — the rights to Toronto’s No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft (Top 3 protected), which the Thunder obtained from Houston in the Harden trade.
The Pistons wouldn't be getting that first round pick for Bynum alone. The package that would likely have to be thrown together for the draft pick would include some pieces that the Pistons are unwilling to deal. Still, the Thunder do have a solid amount of young talent on the roster that might be enticing to the Pistons' youth-rebuild.
What has been suggested by Dan Feldman of Pistons Powered, is for the Pistons to ask the Thunder for one of the young players listed below:
Eric Maynor, PG
Hasheem Thabeet, C
Reggie Jackson, PG
DeAndre Liggins, SG
Perry Jones, SF/PF
Daniel Orton, C
Jeremby Lamb, SG
(Note: If a player above isn't discussed below, a Bynum-for-(insert name) should not be considered)
Eric Maynor averages about 10.9 minutes per game with 2.7 points and 2.0 assists, but after that it's a collection low-minute leaguers and impressive D-League stints.
Lamb and Jones are both on four year contracts, making $2.2 and $1.3 million respectively. Neither player has seen much time for the Thunder this season, and both have spent time in the D-League. The Thunder picked Jones in the first round of the draft, and they specifically asked for Lamb when they sent James Harden to Houston. The two might not be in the fold right now, but the Thunder are definitely hopeful that both Lamb and Jones become weapons in the coming years.
Jeremy Lamb was a great finisher in college, and his lottery pick status might cause the Thunder to think twice about trading him away for what could end up being a rental in Will Bynum. It would be a high-price for Dumars to ask, but if the Pistons could add Lamb they'd potentially be adding their shooting guard of the future. Problem is, with Jose Calderon having already placed Brandon Knight at the two, adding Lamb would send an interesting message to Knight.
That said, the Pistons are also in need of a small forward since trading Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye has left Kyle Singler and Rodney Stuckey splitting the duties. Perry Jones has very sparingly been playing a reserve four role in Oklahoma City, but some believe he could become a stretch four or even three in time. The 6'11" forward was a mountain of potential while playing at Baylor, but his numbers told the story of a player who didn't measure up to expectation. Whether or not he'll develop into an impactful NBA player remains a mystery, but Jones would be an intriguing project for the Pistons as his ceiling remains very high.
Thabeet has three more years on his contract at $1.2 million a year. The 7'3" center is still learning the NBA game despite this being in his fourth year in the league. The Pistons could use him in a backup role once the Drummond-Monroe tandem becomes a starting lineup fixture. Still, Lawrence Frank seems to enjoy pushing the ball with his reserves, and having Thabeet coming off the bench would greatly slow down play both offensively and defensively.
If Bynum were to be traded to the Thunder, the immediate hole created would be at backup point guard. Eric Maynor has showed the most promise of the guards listed above, and his $2.3 million contract runs out after next season. The Pistons would have Maynor long enough to get a solid look at him without having to commit the potential three or four years they'd be taking on with Lamb, Jones or Thabeet. A Bynum-for-Maynor trade would be something worth looking into.
Who knows what will happen with Will Bynum, but those watching him the past few weeks had to be expecting that the trade rumors were coming. Next to Drummond, Bynum has been the most electric scorer off the Pistons bench and he's be on the floor for nearly every late-game moment. If the Pistons don't get something for Bynum at the trade deadline then they'll likely get nothing for him, as Bynum is not expected to return to the Pistons after his contract expires this season.