By: Will Burchfield
Winners of five straight and closing in on a playoff spot, the Pistons acquired veteran point guard Jameer Nelson from the Bulls on Thursday in exchange for center Willie Reed, just a few hours before the 3 p.m. trade deadline.
Nelson adds some depth to the Pistons’ backcourt amid the absence of point guard Reggie Jackson. Sidelined with a sprained ankle since late December, Jackson isn’t expected to return until after the All-Star break.
Nelson, who will turn 36 on Friday, was shipped from the Pelicans to the Bulls last Thursday as part of the trade that sent Nikola Mirotic to New Orleans. In 43 games with the Pelicans, Nelson averaged 5.1 points and 3.6 assists.
He carries a cap hit of about $1.43 million and will be a free agent at the end of this season.
Before joining New Orleans at the start of this season, Nelson put up 8.9 points and 4.7 assists over two and a half seasons with the Nuggets. The veteran spent the bulk of his prime playing for the Magic under Stan Van Gundy. He was an All-Star in 2008-09 when he helped lead Orlando to the NBA Finals.
Reed, acquired by the Pistons in the Blake Griffin trade, played just three games for Detroit. He was suspended six games on Tuesday for a domestic violence incident last summer. Per NBC Sports, the Bulls plan to waive Reed immediately.
The Pistons are 5-0 since acquiring Griffin, 4-0 with him in the lineup. Their win on Wednesday pushed them over .500 for the first time in almost a month and pulled them into a virtual tie with the 76ers for the final playoff spot in the East.
NBC Sports also reports the Pistons are in talks with the Pelicans to acquire forward Dante Cunningham in exchange for Brice Johnson, the other add-on in the Griffin trade, and a second-round draft pick. The pending unrestricted free agent Cunningham is averaging 5.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.