The Detroit Pistons did not make any major splash in the free-agency market this offseason, but they did pull off a significant trade by giving away Marcus Morris and some cap relief to the Boston Celtics in exchange for the stopper, Avery Bradley. Stan Van Gundy is still hoping that a bona fide superstar will emerge from his current crop of players, if not a blockbuster trade is in the offing.

Gunning for a star

Van Gundy has never been gun shy in engaging in trade talks. The Pistons were one of the teams lining up for Kyrie Irving before the Cleveland Cavaliers eventually dealt him to the Boston Celtics, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.

Veteran NBA writer Rod Beard reported that Van Gundy was willing to break up the current core of his team just to land a superstar in Irving several weeks ago.

“Whether Pistons president Stan Van Gundy would be willing to give up a king’s ransom for Irving — reportedly three starters: Reggie Jackson, Andre Drummond and Stanley Johnson — for Irving and Tristan Thompson is a bit of a stretch,” per Beard.

Van Gundy understands that in order to contend for a championship his team is going to need at least two superstars in the fold. Drummond hasn’t developed into a Dwight Howard-type of player entering his sixth season in the league. Last year, the former UConn standout averaged 13.6 points and 13.8 rebounds per game, a year after he posted career highs in points (16.2 ppg) and rebounds (14.8 rpg).

Jackson is another player whose development plateaued following a big year (14.5 ppg and 5.2 apg), though a recurring knee issue (tendinitis and UCL sprain) played a role in his regression.

What’s next for Drummond, Jackson

Drummond and Jackson will have another chance to prove themselves to Van Gundy, but they better be quick in making impressions.

Knowing Van Gundy, he won’t have any second thought shopping either or both these core players for legit star player he’s craving for. He tried to offer them for Kyrie Irving. It won’t be surprising if he offers these players again if the opportunity arises again.

Sports Illustrated writer Jake Fischer believes the Pistons would be willing to take a part in a potential three-team trade with Houston Rockets and the New York Knicks.

The Rockets have been trying to land Carmelo Anthony for quite some time now, but the Knicks are never interested in taking Ryan Anderson’s bloated contract ($20 million over the next three years) as compensation. Fortunately for them, Van Gundy is a fan of Anderson’s long-ball game. This makes the Pistons a potential conduit party to finalize the trade.

“The Pistons had eyes on Ryan Anderson before he hit free agency last summer. Perhaps Detroit finagles its way into the Melo-to-Houston talks, moving Drummond to New York and taking back Ryan Anderson—a Stan Van Gundy favorite from Orlando—in return,” Fischer stressed.

For now, Drummond and Jackson will be the key players for the Pistons’ campaign next season.

They hope to return to the playoffs after bombing out last season. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that these players also happen to be Van Gundy’s precious trade assets he’s willing to throw away. This year’s trade deadline will be interesting for the Pistons. That’s for sure.

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