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Pistons sign former No. 16 pick Justin Patton, reportedly for above minimum salary

Former Thunder center Justin Patton

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - JANUARY 17: Justin Patton #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on during the game against the Miami Heat on January 17, 2020 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 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 2020 NBAE (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

The No. 16 pick in the 2017 draft, Justin Patton has played just nine NBA games.

But teams keep showing faith in him.

The Thunder signed Patton with a relatively high guarantee last summer. Now, the Pistons are signing him for well above the minimum salary.

Pistons release:

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has signed center Justin Patton to a contract.

John Hollinger of The Athletic:

Pistons had $1.085 million of pro-rated non-taxpayer MLE remaining and, per league source, used roughly half of it on Patton … in return for a non-guaranteed 20-21 deal.

Patton’s rest-of-season minimum would’ve been $183,115.

In exchange for the immediate windfall, Patton gives the Pistons team control for next season. If he performs well, they’ll keep him on a cheap salary. If he doesn’t, they’ll waive him without paying him further.

All this costs Detroit, which is done for the season, is the actual money (about $500,000). Apparently, Pistons owner Tom Gores is willing to pay, even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Patton began his career with the Timberwolves, who declined his third-year option then sent him to the 76ers in the Jimmy Butler trade. In January, Oklahoma City traded Patton to the Mavericks, who waived him.

It’s probably not a coincidence Detroit signed Patton shortly after hiring former Thunder executive Troy Weaver.

A center trying to stick in a league overstocked at the position, Patton faces a tough road. But he has some touch around the basket, passing skills and shot-blocking ability. If he ever stays healthy, he has chance.