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Pistons and Raptors neared draft-day trade that could’ve involved Brandon Knight, Jonas Valanciunas and two others

Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:

#Raptors get Valanciunas, plus lottery pick. Remember draft night: Joe D said he was on phone w/Raps when Cavs shocked by taking TThompson 4

#Raptors #Pistons had deal near, one for one, plus swap of 5th, 8th picks. Likely Pistons would have Valanciunas in Europe, Raps B Knight

I was a big Jonas Valanciunas fan, so I can’t read these tweets without wishing the trade had occurred. I struggle to figure how Tristan Thompson going to Cleveland at No. 4 affected the Pistons-Raptors trade, though.

Maybe the Raptors thought Valanciunas, their desired target, wouldn’t be available at No. 5 while they were negotiating with Detroit. If that were the case, and Langlois is correct that the Pistons wanted to trade up to draft Valanciunas, the trade never would have occurred. Either Valanciunas would have been available at No. 5 and the Raptors would have rejected the deal, or Valanciunas wouldn’t have been available at No. 5 and the Pistons would have rejected the deal.

Maybe Toronto thought the Bobcats would’ve taken Thompson at No. 7, and with Thompson off the board, Charlotte might take Knight. Then, Toronto wouldn’t get Knight at No. 8. That scenario is a bit more complicated, but it would at least make the trade viable.

As far as the players involved – one from each team, according to Langlois – using the Pistons’ and Raptors’ salaries at the time, here are the possibilities:

  • Richard Hamilton: None
  • Ben Gordon: Jose Calderon
  • Charlie Villanueva: Andrea Bargnani , Leandro Barbosa,* Amir Johnson , Linas Kleiza, DeMar DeRozan , Jerryd Bayless , Ed Davis, James Johnson , Solomon Alabi
  • Jason Maxiell: Amir Johnson , Linas Kleiza, DeMar DeRozan , Jerryd Bayless , Ed Davis, James Johnson , Solomon Alabi
  • Will Bynum: DeMar DeRozan , Jerryd Bayless , Ed Davis, James Johnson , Solomon Alabi
  • Greg Monroe: DeMar DeRozan , Jerryd Bayless , Ed Davis, James Johnson , Solomon Alabi
  • Ben Wallace: DeMar DeRozan , Jerryd Bayless , Ed Davis, James Johnson , Solomon Alabi
  • Austin Daye: Jerryd Bayless , Ed Davis, James Johnson , Solomon Alabi
  • Terrico White: None

*Barbosa would have had to agree not to opt out of his contract. Given that he ultimately accepted the final year of his contract, this probably would have happened.

I hope it was: Gordon-for-Calderon. Maybe the Raptors would’ve considered that trade if it coincided with drafting Knight, but I don’t know why Toronto would trade down just to make an, at best, questionable player swap work.

I hope it wasn’t: Monroe-for-Davis. Davis was my guess for the Pistons’ draft pick two years ago if the Warriors took Monroe instead of Ekpe Udoh, and Monroe’s offensive game hadn’t yet blossomed.

If I had to guess: Daye-for-Alabi. Really, I have no clue. I don’t see a great match.


  • Feb 28, 20129:35 am
    by tarsier


    The Pistons may have wanted Thompson, Biyombo, or Vesely. But yeah, the one for one bit is odd. Maybe CV for Kleiza?

  • Feb 28, 201210:12 am
    by Tiko


    Joe is itching to make a trade.  if one doesn’t happen by the deadline, expect a significant one in the offseason.  these dry spell days are numbered

  • Feb 28, 201212:06 pm
    by Sebastian


    I for one am glad a 2011 Draft Day trade didn’t take place. Brandon Knight will prove to be an asset to OUR roster for years to come.

    Besides, WE already have one Jonas on the roster. And, why in the hell would Joe waste another lottery pick on another eastern European stiff. Has anyone forgotten about Darko Millic.

    • Feb 28, 20122:45 pm
      by tarsier


      That’s like saying Rodney White was a bad pick so Dumars should never draft another black guy. There have been plenty of steals and busts from Europe, just like in any largish demographic. Has anyone forgotten about Nowitzki, Stojakovic, Parker, Rubio, Divac, etc.?

      • Feb 28, 20124:49 pm
        by Marcus


        Yes, but, Joe didn’t draft any of the guys that you have listed. He drafted Darko with the 2nd Pick in the 2003 Draft.

        • Feb 28, 20124:54 pm
          by tarsier


          Why does it matter who drafted them? The point is that players from Europe are not necessarily steals or busts. How terrible would it be if your GM could only learn from his own successes and failures and not everyone else’s? But, just in case that arguments isn’t convincing, lemme throw in Jerebko.

  • Feb 28, 201212:36 pm
    by Pistons87


    That’s just bad reporting by langolis. “likely pistons would have had V”? Uh no, that’s who the Raptors wanted so obviously the trade never happened. Likely if he went to the cavs as a lot of people thought they were looking to move down because they didn’t like anyone else there. My guess is that Pistons really wanted Thompson to fill out the frontline and knew the good bigs would be gone by 8.

    • Feb 28, 20122:48 pm
      by tarsier


      Or perhaps Dumars and Colangelo didn’t realize that they were both targeting the same guy because they were not revealing their cards in discussions.

    • Feb 28, 20125:10 pm
      by frankie d


      bad reporting.
      this entire scenario makes no sense whatsoever.
      what is the point?
      imho, joe probably was targeting biyombo all along.  that is what he was telling his media people and it made sense.
      but joe screwed up because he let his plans be known and charlotte moved ahead of him and picked him up.
      which is why they took biyombo first, let joe take knight and then took walker.
      they knew he was after biyombo – because joe always leaks that stuff to his guys in the national media; everyone knew about both stuckey and daye weeks before the draft – and this time it bit him in the butt cause charlotte had similar designs on biyombo and weren’t going to gamble on joe blowing smoke about him.

      • Feb 28, 20125:16 pm
        by Patrick Hayes


        I’m pretty convinced Thompson is the guy the Pistons wanted in that draft.

        • Feb 28, 20126:52 pm
          by frankie d


          that was a rumor i read also, and langlois’ report would make some sense if that was the case.
          but joe had been making lots of noise about biyombo, the same kind of noise he’d made about stuckey and daye before drafting them.  the detroit media was pretty much counting on biyombo, the unknown sleeper, being detroit’s pick.  one thing about joe d is that he might not talk a lot to the media, but what he does say – or at least what he puts out there – is usually true and consistent with what he does.

        • Feb 2, 20138:32 am
          by Revken


          Yeah, that makes more sense to me.  If Raptors thought Cleveland would take Valanciunas, then they may have been willing to trade.  But when he was left on the board, they nabbed him instead.  I can see them wanting to do a Gordon for Calderon trade – Rudy Gaye is basically a SF version of Gordon.

  • Feb 28, 20124:21 pm
    by Mike Coop


    Could the Pistons have been moving up to get Knight, who many projected to be top 5? Or possibly sneak in front of the Wizards to get Vesely? I also think its very likely both teams were targeting Jonas V. And the Raptors were keeping their options open in case he went at 4, but since he was available they just took BPA and stayed at 5.

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