NBA free agency: Pistons claim Paul Reed after center was waived by Sixers



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The Detroit Pistons have claimed center Paul Reed off waivers, the team announced Tuesday. The Philadelphia 76ers waived the big man on Saturday, and by claiming him, Detroit has acquired his existing contract. 

The contract has two years and $15.7 million remaining, but there’s a twist: both seasons are non-guaranteed. (The Utah Jazz initially designed the deal, with whom Reed signed an offer sheet as a restricted free agent last summer.)

Does Detroit need Reed? Not really, especially if one assumes that the arrival of Tobias Harris means that Isaiah Stewart will no longer start at power forward. Jalen Duren will presumably continue to start at center under new coach J.B. Bickerstaff, and, while Stewart (and Reed, I suppose) can play some 4, it’s not ideal for either of them. As long as Duren, Stewart and Reed are all on the roster, there will be a bit of a frontcourt logjam, just like there has been for much of the previous few seasons.

Value-wise, though, this is a nice move for the Pistons. The Sixers outscored their opponents by 2.8 points per 100 possessions in Reed’s non-garbage-time minutes during the 2023-24 regular season, per Cleaning The Glass, a number that makes him stand out among Joel Embiid’s many, many backups over the years. Reed is 25 years old and was productive in Philadelphia, as the move hardly has any downside. It eats into Detroit’s remaining cap space, which it could (in theory, at least) use to absorb unwanted salary from other teams in exchange for future draft picks … but should it need to create space between now and Jan. 10, when Reed’s 2024-25 salary becomes guaranteed, it can simply waive him.

Maybe Reed’s presence makes it easier for the Pistons to part with Stewart in a trade. Maybe they flip Reed in a trade before the end of this deal. Regardless of what comes next, Detroit’s new front office, led by Trajan Langdon, correctly recognized an opportunity here. Reed was only on waivers because A) he signed a weird offer sheet that specified his 2024-25 salary would be non-guaranteed unless his team won a round in the playoffs in 2024, and B) the Sixers needed to maximize their cap space to sign Caleb Martin.

Speaking of the Sixers: Even though Reed struggled in their first-round series against the New York Knicks, it’s a bit surprising that they had to resort to waiving him in the first place. If they had more time to create a bidding war (or if more teams were interested in taking on salary this offseason), Philadelphia could have at least moved him for, say, a second-round pick. I will refrain from criticizing Daryl Morey’s front office in this regard, though, given that it signed its top target in free agency (Paul George), acquired a cheaper, better backup 5 in Andre Drummond, and then pulled off another magic trick with the Martin deal. B-Ball Paul will be missed, but the Sixers are feeling just fine.





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