Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Pelicans and Pistons are engaged in discussions on a deal that would send Dante Cunningham to Detroit in exchange for Brice Johnson and a second-round pick, reports Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link). ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link) classifies those talks as “serious.”

As I noted earlier today when Scott Kushner of The Advocate described Cunningham as a trade candidate for the Pelicans, the veteran forward has the ability to veto a deal that involves him. However, league sources tell Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link) that Cunningham has requested a trade, so he seems unlikely to take advantage of his ability to block a move.

The Pistons have already reportedly struck a deal with the Bulls to acquire point guard Jameer Nelson in exchange for Willie Reed. Johnson, like Reed, arrived in Detroit as a result of last week’s Blake Griffin trade. If the Pistons can complete a deal with the Pelicans, they’ll end up flipping both of those non-Griffin pieces from the Clippers to new teams in order to fortify their rotation with some additional veteran help.

Cunningham, 30, has spent the last three and a half seasons in New Orleans, appearing in 263 total games for the club during that time and starting almost exactly half (132) of them. Although he has been a reliable rotation piece for most of that time, Cunningham’s 2017-18 marks of 5.0 PPG and .440 FG% are his lowest since he joined the Pelicans, and he was benched for the entirety of the club’s most recent game.

For the Pelicans, Johnson – who has appeared in just 12 NBA games – would offer little upside, but a trade would allow the team to pick up an extra second-rounder and move a little further away from the luxury tax threshold. If the two teams can complete a deal, New Orleans could also absorb Johnson using one of their existing trade exceptions, creating a new trade exception worth Cunningham’s $2,300,000 salary.

If the Pistons and Pelicans don’t get anything done, the Timberwolves would be another team to watch for a Cunningham trade, tweets TNT’s David Aldridge.

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This article first appeared on Hoops Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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