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The Golden State Warriors picked James Wiseman out of Memphis with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Then when the youngster didn’t give the defending NBA champions what they needed, the franchise gave up on him at the 2023 NBA trade deadline. Now, he’s on the young and up-and-coming Detroit Pistons and looking like the top prospect his draft status suggested. And that means the Pistons may have a deadline day steal, but a big James Wiseman contract decision is looming.

The James Wiseman contract

James Wiseman contract, James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors, Detroit Pistons
James Wiseman | Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

As the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the initial James Wiseman contract with the Warriors was a four-year, $39,619,840 fully-guaranteed deal with an annual average salary of $9,904,960 per season, according to Spotrac.

After the Pistons-Warriors (and Hawks and Blazers, more on that below) trade that sent Wiseman to Detroit, the Pistons have the young 7-footer under contractual control for several years. In 2022-23, Wiseman is earning $9,603,360. Next season, that salary will be $12,119,440, which is estimated at just over 9% of the team’s salary cap.

In the 2024 offseason, without an extension, Wiseman would become a restricted free agent. In that scenario, if Wiseman took the qualifying offer, it would only cost the Pistons $15,815,870 for the 2024-25 season.

The issue the Pistons face now is that after the third year of the rookie James Wiseman contract, the team has to make a decision about giving the big man a max rookie extension.

As a No. 2 overall pick who is now showing glimpses of superstar potential with his new team, Wiseman surely wants the max rookie extension. But will Detroit be willing to hand out a five-year, $195,000,000 deal that runs through 2028 and pays the now-21-year-old $33.63 million per season?

If he keeps playing like he has through 14 games with the Pistons, they might.

James Wiseman was a steal for the Pistons 

After James Wiseman played 39 up-and-down games for the Warriors in his rookie year, the 7-foot center then suffered a knee injury that sidelined him for the rest of the 2020-21 season and the entirety of the 2021-22 campaign.

When he returned in 2022-23, Wiseman bounced between the Warriors and the franchise’s G League team. The developing young center never fit in with the Warriors’ style of play or their needs for every night production as the defending NBA champions.

At the 2023 NBA trade deadline, the Warriors finally gave up on Wiseman.

The defending champs shipped him to the Pistons in a four-team deal. The Warriors, Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, and Portland Trail Blazers were all involved. There were a lot of moving pieces (and a lot of second-round picks), but in the end, the Pistons sent Saddiq Bey to the Hawks, the Warriors got Gary Payton II from the Blazers, and Wiseman ended up in Detroit.

Now the big man is looking like a top-two draft pick.

In Wiseman’s first 13 games with the Pistons, the center is averaging 26.4 minutes, 13.2 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game. He is also 54.0% from the field.

On Sunday, March 19, Wiseman had a monster 14th game for Detroit. The center played 33 minutes in a 112-100 loss to the Miami Heat and scored 22 points with 13 rebounds. Wiseman also shot 77% from the floor.

If the soon-to-be 22-year-old (March 31) keeps this up and the Pistons ink a long-term James Wiseman contract, he could become a major force, especially when paired with returning star Cade Cunningham in 2023-24.


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