Pistons, Suns in talks of deal centered on Luke Kennard

Luke Kennard

Luke Kennard could soon be on the move. The former Duke Blue Devils scoring machine is reportedly the main ingredient in a trade being discussed by the Detroit Pistons and the Phoenix Suns, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

“Detroit and Phoenix are discussing a deal centered on guard Luke Kennard, league sources tell ESPN. Suns’ first-round pick is in play. Kennard has missed 22 straight games with bilateral knee tendinitis.”

Kennard has seen his minutes and production on the floor get nice bumps this season, but he’s viewed by many as a one-dimensional player who can’t do much outside of getting buckets. This season, Kennard is averaging career-highs of 15.8 points and 4.1 assists per game, but is a defensive liability. Among Pistons players with at least 900 minutes played this season, Kennard has the third-worst defensive rating, with opponents scoring 111.3 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor. 

It appears that the Pistons may have given up on their former first-round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. The Suns, on the other hand, could use Kennard’s offensive talent to provide a spark for their bench that’s only 25th in the league with 31.7 points per game.  

Detroit’s interest in trading Kennard away may also have something to do with the team’s financial outlook. Kennard will enter the last year of his rookie contract after this season and will be a restricted free agent in 2021, and by then, his qualifying offer would be at the price of $7.2 million.  The Pistons are currently $23.48 million above the salary cap.

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