Column: Pistons must sell on NBA Trade Deadline

By Jake Carroll | 2/19/17 10:11pm

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Friday, Apr 8, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson (1) celebrates with center Aron Baynes (12) during the fourth quarter against the Washington Wizards at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Pistons win 112-99. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

by Raj Mehta / USA TODAY Sports

‘Tis the season for NBA trade rumors. The Detroit Pistons have been no stranger to the rumors this year, and for good reason.

They’re not performing nearly to expectations and fans are blaming Pistons’ point guard Reggie Jackson.

I’m supposed to write a full article, but the Pistons' trade deadline could be summed up in five words: Reggie Jackson and Aron Baynes.

Sure, both of these players were great last season, but Baynes is leaving in free agency this year, and Jackson is not leading the team nearly as well as he should be.

This lack of leadership and floor command is clear every time backup point guard Ish Smith comes onto the floor. At the beginning of the season, Smith started for the Pistons because Jackson was sidelined due to a knee surgery.

When Jackson returned, The Pistons were one game above .500. Fifteen games after Jackson’s return, the Pistons were three games below .500.

The game Jackson returned, the Pistons had won five of their last six behind Smith. It seemed like Smith was just getting into his groove and putting up numbers with scary consistency.

The Pistons were also the number one defense in the NBA, and the team that gave up the least amount of turnovers.

The problem with trading Jackson, however, is there is little to no trade market for him. He hasn’t produced numbers lately, and no teams want him all that badly.

Now onto Aron Baynes. He was the saving grace of the Pistons last season because center Andre Drummond couldn’t be in the end of games due to his shoddy free throw percentage. He was arguably one of the biggest reasons why the Pistons made the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

This season, however, I like to call him Butterfinger Baynes. The man cannot hold onto a rebound, pass— anything. His hands are frying pans and the ball bounces right off of them.

The one thing the Pistons would miss if they were to trade Baynes is speed at the center spot. Drummond and Boban Marjanovic are not all that quick, whereas Baynes can keep up with the quicker big men that like to play around the three point arc like Anthony Davis and Dirk Nowitzki.

So, trade Reggie and trade Baynes. But for who?

New Orleans has been looking for another big man to play with Anthony Davis and Baynes could fill that role. New Orleans is also trying to deal away Jrue Holiday. The Pistons seriously lack at the shooting guard position and Tyreke Evans is a young, proven, hard-working player that I think could truly excel in coach Stan Van Gundy’s system.

That being said, I have played around with the ESPN trade machine quite a bit, and a deal of Reggie Jackson and Aron Baynes going to New Orleans for Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans works out.

Another player the Pistons might want to go after is Kemba Walker from the Charlotte Hornets. He’s one of the best point guards in the Eastern Conference and has never played with a true big man like Drummond since Al Jefferson.

How that deal would go, I have no idea. Van Gundy has done magical things in the past, though.

I couldn’t talk about the magic of Stan Van without bringing up the Phoenix Suns. Two seasons ago during free agency, Van Gundy finessed Reggie Bullock and Marcus Morris away from the Phoenix Suns for one second round draft pick. Maybe this season Phoenix would be willing to deal away Eric Bledsoe?

Bledsoe is another player that could potentially replace Jackson at the starting point guard spot.

Thursday, Feb. 23 is the NBA Trade deadline, so we are in for an exciting week. The Pistons are known to make deadline day moves, and I’m all for it. Something needs to change for this team. I think a trade is just the way to rally and galvanize them.

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