Detroit Pistons are planning to include Avery Bradley in long-term future

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Earlier this summer, the Detroit Pistons made a major defensive upgrade when they traded veteran forward Marcus Morris to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Avery Bradley.

The Celtics dealt Bradley for two reasons. First, they had to create cap room to sign free agent Gordon Hayward to a max deal. And secondly, he’s entering the last year of his current four-year, $32 million contract, set to make a ton of money next summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Bradley will make just over $8.8 million this season.

In 55 regular-season games in Boston last year, Bradley posted career-highs in points (16.3), rebounds (6.1), assists (2.2) and minutes (33.4) per contest. He also showed off his much-improved offensive game in the playoffs, averaging 16.7 points over 35.8 minutes per game while maintaining his status as perhaps the best on-ball perimeter defender in the NBA.

While Bradley will presumably have a full season to prove his worth to the Pistons, it’s hard to ignore the possibility that he might bolt from Detroit next July, just like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope did this summer.

In an effort to return to the NBA Finals in the near future, Pistons head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy revealed that the team will have no issue going over the cap and paying a steep luxury tax penalty if they have to in order to keep Bradley. Due to the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement, the Pistons will hold a slight advantage in free agency during their future negations with Bradley, as they'll be able to offer him an extra year and slightly more salary per season than if he elects to sign elsewhere.

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“In the right situation for the right people, Tom’s more than willing to pay the tax,” Van Gundy told about owner Tom Gores. “I think about half the league’s going to be paying the tax this year. Tom’s not opposed to that.”

Heading into next summer, the team already has a number of different scenarios that they’re discussing when it comes to the future of the organization.

“We’ve got other strategies,” Van Gundy noted. “The finances will not inhibit our ability to re-sign Avery at whatever it takes. If we’re in a situation where we want Avery back and Avery wants to be here, we’ll be able to bring him back.”

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The Pistons will have Andre Drummond ($25,434,263), Reggie Jackson ($17,043,478), Tobias Harris ($14,800,000), Jon Leuer ($10,002,681), Langston Galloway ($7,000,000), Boban Marjanovic ($7,000,000), Ishmael Smith ($6,000,000), Luke Kennard ($3,275,280) and Henry Ellenson ($1,857,480) under contract while Stanley Johnson, Reggie Bullock and Eric Moreland currently hold non-guaranteed contracts for that season as well.

Therefore, the team will likely be able to bring back Bradley if they’re impressed by him this season, but might have to do a bit of maneuvering to feel comfortable with shelling out $20-plus million per season in the current market for a difference-maker.

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