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WASHINGTON, DC -  JANUARY 15: Alec Burks #14 of the Detroit Pistons handles the ball during the game against the Washington Wizards on January 15, 2024 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2024 NBAE (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)

Pistons Digest: Pistons pull off trade with Wizards, then beat them in MLK Day matinee - and more

In the here and now, the Pistons hope the addition of two big men who’ve always been legitimate 3-point threats jolts their offense in ways that result in ripple effects. The more lasting impact of their trade to add Danilo Gallinari and Mike Muscala will come later when the Pistons take approximately $60 million in cap space to the marketplace.

That type of wallop can get things done. After proceeding cautiously in their rebuilding to avoid quick-fix moves that risk limiting options, the Pistons are poised to make more emphatic deals in the months ahead as a result of the trade that sent Marvin Bagley III and Isaiah Livers, along with reported second-round picks in 2025 and ’26, to Washington.

How Gallinari and Muscala slot in with Isaiah Stewart, Jalen Duren and James Wiseman will be up to Monty Williams to unravel in the immediate future, but he’ll be able to field lineups that feature five 3-point threats more consistently than in the past. 

“I’ve competed against them and have great respect for their game and how long they’ve been around,” Williams said on Monday as the Pistons prepared to take on Washington in a quirky byproduct of the trade. “It’s on me to figure out how to use those guys and figure out if we can use one or two of them just based on where they are in their careers. They both play somewhat of a small-ball five now, so to think you’re going to use them both at the same time is something I’m not even going to try to push.”

With all four players involved in the trade sitting out pending the completion of physicals, the Pistons scored a 129-117 win over the Wizards at Capital One Arena in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee, snapping a seven-game losing streak, an 18-game road losing streak and an 18-game losing streak at Capital One that dated to January 2014. Playing without Cade Cunningham, Bojan Bogdanovic and Monte Morris, the Pistons got 34 points and eight triples from Alec Burks – tying and setting career highs in those categories – and 20 points and 19 rebounds from Jalen Duren.

“He was in that bag today,” Isaiah Stewart, who contributed 16 points, six rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal, said of Burks. “I’m happy for A.B., man. He’s a great vet. He can really score the ball. I love playing with him.”

Jaden Ivey, charged with greater playmaking duties with the absence of Cunningham and Bogdanovic, overcame a four-turnover first half to finish with 24 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots amid a strong second-half defensive performance.

“We executed the game plan,” Ivey said of the Pistons’ defensive effort. “We still have things to clean up with our turnovers, including myself. I’ve got to look at myself, how I can get guys involved and stop turning the ball over. That’s something I’ve got to work on. But as far as our defense, regardless of what happens, that’s what we have to do. Our defensive effort was great.”

Sunday’s trade means the Pistons will be a bit short on the wing after dealing Livers, who struggled to find his shooting stroke after suffering a Grade 3 ankle sprain in September, just ahead of training camp, and missed the season’s first 14 games, debuting on Nov. 20. Livers, 25, who hit 42 percent from the 3-point arc as a rookie two seasons ago, was shooting just 28.6 percent from three and 34.5 percent overall. Rookie Ausar Thompson took on extra minutes Monday and responded with 14 points, eight rebounds, two assists and three steals, hitting 6 of 8 shots.

Bagley, 24, had fallen out of the rotation after winning the backup center spot over Wiseman in the preseason. In his sixth season after being the No. 2 pick in the 2018 draft – taken ahead of Luka Doncic, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Trae Young – Bagley played 86 games for the Pistons since arriving at the 2022 trade deadline. He averaged 10.2 points and 4.5 rebounds in 18 minutes a game over 26 games this season, shooting 59.1 percent while all but abandoning the 3-point shot, taking just six all season.

Gallinari, 35, missed all of the 2022-23 season after tearing his left ACL while attempting to lead the Italian national team into the World Cup field in September 2022. A career 38 percent 3-point shooter who topped 40 percent in each of the three seasons prior to his ACL injury, Gallinari averaged 7.0 points in 15 minutes a game over 26 games this season in Washington while shooting 31.3 percent from the arc.

Muscala, 32, averaged 4.0 points in 14 minutes a game over 24 games in Washington. A career 37.5 percent 3-point shooter who in recent seasons takes more than 70 percent of his shots from the arc, Muscala this season is shooting just 27.5 percent from three with a sporadic role.

To address their depth issues on the wing, the Pistons could expand their use of two-way players Stanley Umude, Jared Rhoden and Malcolm Cazalon. But with more than three weeks until the Feb. 8 trade deadline, there is also the distinct possibility that more moves are in the offing.

PISTONS TRIVIA

Who coached the Pistons immediately before Chuck Daly was hired in 1983?

A: Dick Vitale

B: Richie Adubato

C: Scotty Robertson

D: Herb Brown

THIS WEEK IN PISTONS HISTORY

BOSTON - 1985: Kelly Tripucka #7 of the Detroit Pistons drives against the Boston Celtics during a game played in 1985 at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1985 NBAE (Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)

On Jan. 19, 1986 Kelly Tripucka hit a corner 3-point shot with two seconds left to propel the Pistons to a 118-115 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in a CBS network nationally televised game at a time before ESPN and cable TV brought the NBA into America’s homes routinely. It was a significant time in Pistons franchise history as it was the second game since Hall of Fame coach Chuck Daly started a rookie named Joe Dumars alongside Isiah Thomas in the backcourt. Dumars had started a November game with Thomas sidelined, but moved to the starting lineup over John Long in a Jan. 17 win over Denver and stayed there. In the win over the Lakers, both Thomas (18 points, 10 assists) and Dumars (18 points, 11 assists) recorded double-doubles to lead seven players in double figures for the Pistons. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 38 points for the Lakers while Magic Johnson had 10 points and 18 assists. The win boosted the Pistons to 17-19 and they would finish the season 46-36 before losing to Atlanta 3-1 in a first-round playoff series. The 1986 draft then produced John Salley and Dennis Rodman and the Bad Boys as they came to be known were nearly complete.

DID YOU SEE THIS?

The Pistons scored 47 points in the first quarter of what became a 131-110 loss to Sacramento last week, their most points in any quarter since they scored 47 in the fourth quarter of a 122-105 win over Chicago on Nov. 6, 1985 in a game played at the Pontiac Silverdome. Isiah Thomas led the Pistons that night with 23 points and 16 assists while Kelly Tripucka and John Long added 22 points apiece. The Pistons trailed 87-75 entering the fourth quarter before trouncing the Bulls 47-18 in the fourth. Orlando Woolridge, who would later play for the Pistons, led all scorers that night with 37 points.

THE WEEK AHEAD

  • WEDNESDAY – The Pistons host the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first meeting of the two this season. The Timberwolves are battling for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and count as one of the best surprise stories of the NBA season to date after finishing 42-40, battling through the play-in tournament and losing to eventual champion Denver in the first round of the playoffs last season. Anthony Edwards, in his fourth season, has emerged as Minnesota’s central figure, averaging 26.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists while shooting 38.5 percent from the 3-pont arc. Karl-Anthony Towns (21.7 points, 8.9 rebounds) and Rudy Gobert (13.1 points, 12.3 rebounds, 2.1 blocks) are a formidable 1-2 interior force. The Timberwolves will come to Little Caesars Arena off a big win over the red-hot Los Angeles Clippers behind 33 points from Edwards on Sunday.

7 p.m. on BALLY SPORTS EXTRA and WWJ-AM 950

  • SATURDAY – The Pistons host Milwaukee in a rare Saturday matinee as the Bucks start the week on Boston’s heels for the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference with a 28-12 record and a three-game winning streak, the latest Sunday’s rousing 143-142 overtime conquest of Sacramento behind Damian Lillard’s 29 points and a 27-10-10 triple-double from Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks stick around after the game to play the Pistons again on Monday. Milwaukee holds a 2-0 edge in the season series, winning both games on its home court. Antetokounmpo is lurking in the MVP race, averaging 31.2 points, 11.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists while shooting 60.8 percent from the field. Lillard averages 25.2 points and 6.8 assists while shooting 35.4 percent from the 3-point arc, a bit under his career norm.

             3 p.m. on BALLY SPORTS DETROIT and 97.1 FM THE TICKET

TRIVIA ANSWER

Scotty Robertson was Pistons coach when Jack McCloskey reached into his University of Pennsylvania roots to tab Chuck Daly, who coached at Penn from 1971-77 before joining pal Billy Cunningham as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia 76ers. Daly got his first head coaching job in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but knew quickly – due to mercurial owner Ted Stepien – that he was doomed to fail, never bothering to live anywhere but the Holiday Inn near Cleveland’s Richfield (Ohio) Coliseum. Robertson lasted three seasons with the Pistons and, other than interim stints previously with New Orleans and Chicago, didn’t serve as an NBA head coach again. Robertson oversaw a 21-61 season in his first year as Pistons coach, 1980-81, then went 39-43 and 37-45 in the first two seasons with Isiah Thomas. McCloskey was very fond of Robertson and praised his work in laying a foundation, but ultimately decided Daly – and his keen ability to shape defenses – was the necessary next step to build a winner. “I really liked Scotty and I hated to do that,” McCloskey said. “I really hated to do that. We got along so well. But I just felt like he’s taken it this far (and) I don’t know if we can go any farther.” Robertson would go on to become an assistant coach with Indiana, Phoenix, San Antonio and Miami before retiring with the Heat after the 1996-97 season.

(Eddie Rivero, Pistons basketball information specialist, contributed to this report.)