Pistons set to sign Cade Cunningham to richest contract in franchise history


Cade Cunningham is set to make history in Detroit, as he’s agreeing to a rookie max extension of five years worth $226 million, which is 25% of the 2025-26 projected salary cap. A source around the NBA told the press this past Sunday that the contract could even reach $270 million if the young star meets the criteria for a supermax deal (like making the All-NBA team, for example). 

The soon-to-be 23-year-old is coming off the best campaign of his career, which started back in 2021, and will be secured to a contract that will run until the 2029-30 season. The point guard averaged 22.7 points, 7.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game on 44.9% overall shooting and 35.5% from range this past year.

“As for Cade, he and I have had some really good conversations thus far,” said Tragan Langdon during his introductory news conference on June 21. “High-character human being, mature beyond his years and a big time basketball player at a young age, averaging 23 and 7 assists last year. We’re going to put a group around him that can bolster his growth, but not make it as hard for him to do the things he had to do this last year, but also help other players get better.”

The club’s new president of basketball operations assured that they are already looking to trade in athletes that will complement their star player. “We want to have other players help him so he can help the other players as well, because he is an unselfish player who I do think has a chance to really be impactful at a high level and be the best player,” he explained.

Cunningham bounced back from a shin injury that limited him in the 2022/23 campaign, and recently became one of the only positive performances after a disappointing 14-68 season.

This past year only went to prove that the Detroit franchise wasn’t following the correct path into their team-building and coaching strategy. “Obviously not the year that we hoped for coming in, but we learned a lot for sure,” Cunningham said back in April.

“A lot of lessons came out of it. For me, I’m just thankful to have been able to make it through another season, to be healthy, to find who I am again on the court after missing most of my second year. Those are the positives that I’m taking away from a tough situation like this. I’m really looking forward to what’s to come,” he added.

Cunningham will now play under the leadership of new coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who replaced Monty Williams after a single season

Monty Williams’ reign in Detroit only lasted a single campaign, after leading the squad through a historic 28-straight defeats at the start of the year. Only hours after NBA free agency kicked off this weekend, they had already announced the hiring of new coach  J.B. Bickerstaff.

Sources revealed that the deal is for five years, with a team option for the fifth season. The 45-year-old tactician lands in Michigan after four years trying to lead the Cavaliers to a title.

The team’s new president explained what they were looking for in a coach. “I think you have to have a teacher who can teach the fundamentals of the game, and I don’t mean dribbling and passing,” he said last month. “I mean defensive X-outs, box outs and hold these things accountable to those things that impact winning every day.”

The Pistons’ GM also talked to the press this weekend and also gave the reasons behind this decision. “Someone with a new approach, someone with a different voice, a fresh set of eyes to help us move forward,” Koby Altman said. “We’ve accomplished a lot in the last few years, getting to a conference semifinal, and we don’t want to be complacent.”