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Sleeper free agent could bring ‘Heat Culture’ to the Detroit Pistons

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Sleeper free agent could bring ‘Heat Culture’ to the Detroit Pistons


With the NBA Finals well underway, I stare at the television screen watching the games, thinking to myself: the Detroit Pistons aren’t even on the same planet as these teams.

It’s honestly jarring to think how far our Pistons are from competing for not only a championship, but a play-in spot. The talent, the shooting, the defense, the IQ’s of these players; our Pistons couldn’t be further from it.

The Detroit Pistons have not made the playoffs since 2018 (thanks Blake Griffin) and have not won a playoff game since 2008. Without playoff basketball in Detroit, every year I am forced to hop on a team’s bandwagon. Ever since their NBA Bubble run, I have chosen the Miami Heat. Simply put, I love the way they play. I love the “Heat Culture” thing. I love Jimmy Butler.

Related Story. The Detroit Pistons have a Jaden Ivey problem. The Detroit Pistons have a Jaden Ivey problem. dark

Their teams are never full of superstars, but rather a collection of very good players paired with overachievers and gym-class heroes who play the right way. One of those gym-class heroes is set to be a free agent this offseason, and I want the Pistons to go after him.

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A lot of players have been thrown around that the Pistons could go after this offseason. Malik Monk, Gary Harris, Tobias Harris, Miles Bridges (no thank you), Buddy Hield, and the list goes on.

However, Caleb Martin is rarely mentioned. Throughout my bandwagon fandom of the Miami Heat these last couple of years, Martin always jumps off the screen. He’s a big guard/wing, standing at 6-foot-6 205 lbs, so he can guard larger forwards like Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown, but Martin is quick for his size making him a luxury to plugin any lineup, wherever you need him.

He can slot in at the 2, 3 or 4. He reminds me of Alex Caruso: a very solid defender, a hustler, a shooter, and a sneaky playmaker. He started 49 games during the Heat’s championship run in 2023, shooting 36 percent from three and averaging 10 points and 5 rebounds. He’s more than capable of going off in the biggest of games too, just ask the Boston Celtics:

I can’t emphasize this enough: Caleb Martin cannot be the Pistons BIG signing this offseason, but if he was their second or third notable signing, then that should be a decent offseason.

With over $60 Million in cap space, this Pistons can more than afford to overpay a little bit for a guy like Martin. I see him netting anywhere from $12 to $18 million a year, as he comes from a winning organization, he’s in his prime, he’s a willing “stick your nose in it” defender and a very solid shooter.

Like Caruso, he’s just a guy that every team could use. I am admittedly not this statistical, analyzing machine. I watch games, I check box scores, I look at player profiles and season-by-season stats, and I form an opinion. Caleb Martin checks the boxes. Where would he fit in with the Pistons? Who cares.

Sometimes you don’t need to overthink it. Martin is a big three-and-D guard/forward. Like duct tape, you just plug him wherever you need him. He could start at the 2 or 3, play the 4 in a small ball lineup, or come off the bench. Out of everything I’ve seen from Martin over the years, I am confident in saying he is a team guy who just wants to play ball and win games. Bring him to the D.

Martin has a player option for next season at $7.1 million but is expected to opt out and test free agency.

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Morning 4: Police find body on shoulder of I-96 in Metro Detroit — and other news

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Morning 4: Police find body on shoulder of I-96 in Metro Detroit — and other news


Morning 4 is a quick roundup of stories we think you should know about to start your day. So, let’s get to the news.


What we know after police find body on shoulder of I-96

Police discovered a body on the shoulder of I-96 early Tuesday morning.

Here’s what we know.


Stellantis recalling nearly 1.2 million vehicles: What to know

Stellantis is recalling nearly 1.2 million vehicles in the U.S. and Canada to fix a software glitch that can disable the rearview cameras.

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Read the report here.


Singer Justin Timberlake arrested and accused of driving while intoxicated on New York’s Long Island

Singer Justin Timberlake was arrested early Tuesday and is accused of driving while intoxicated on New York’s Long Island, authorities said.

Read more here.


State has had enough of Metro Detroit cemetery owner’s violations

A longtime cemetery manager in Metro Detroit is up against the state, which is seeking to shut down his operations due to numerous violations.

Read the See the report here.

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Weather forecast: Storms possible amid excessive heat in Metro Detroit: What to expect


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Metro Detroit businesses dealing with repercussions of heat wave

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Metro Detroit businesses dealing with repercussions of heat wave


PLYMOUTH, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – The hot temperatures are impacting businesses in Michigan.  

“Today was a really slow day for us,” said Tanya Yaldo, the owner of Thai House in downtown Plymouth.

Yaldo said the heat is impacting her business in multiple ways. For one, she said not many people want spicy food when they are already sweating. She said it is also uncomfortable for her employees, as two people called out of work on Monday. Yaldo said they are constantly running their air conditioning, which is even more costly when business is slow. 

“We actually had one of our walk-in coolers actually break down today because of the heat because we have our compressors indoors. So, it’s really really hot upstairs. That’s another problem we’re facing here,” she said.

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She said she worries about how they will cope with multiple days of high heat.

“We’re not looking forward to it. Downtown usually is better in the summer, but when it’s a heat wave like that, it’s bad,” said Yaldo.

They closed their patio as most people don’t want to brave the heat, but not everyone.

“I didn’t even have to light this. The heat lit it,” said Anthony Kellum, referencing his cigar from La Casa cigar shop. “It’s funny I was in there; it was a little cool, came out here, and you’re uncomfortable. But once you sit down for a while, your body adjusts to the temperature, you’re good.”

He said the heat isn’t something to ignore. 

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“You have to be conscious and concerned for the elderly, right? And then you have to also be conscious and concerned for people who don’t have air conditioning. It’s hot,” said Kellum. 



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No Detroit Tigers position players in first wave of All-Star voting, not even Riley Greene

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No Detroit Tigers position players in first wave of All-Star voting, not even Riley Greene


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ATLANTA — The Detroit Tigers don’t have any position players in the running for the 2024 All-Star Game in the first update of balloting, which lists the top 10 players at the five infield positions, 10 players at designated hitter and 20 players in the outfield.

MLB released its first update of fan voting Monday afternoon, but there isn’t a single Tigers player listed among the 80 position players from the American League, not even outfielder Riley Greene.

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Twenty position players from each league make the All-Star team, with at least six outfielders. Fans can vote on MLB.com, but Phase 1 of the voting concludes June 27 at noon ET. (Fans cannot vote for pitchers.)

WATCHING HIM GROW UP: After taking the next step, Tigers’ Riley Greene is thinking ‘pure’ at the plate

Greene is by far the Tigers’ best position player, especially with fellow outfielder Kerry Carpenter on the injured list.

“He’s a hell of a player,” said Tigers left-hander Tarik Skubal, seemingly on track to be the AL’s starter in the All-Star Game. “I don’t think that embodies him as a player. I’m about as big of a 31 fan as there is. I love the way he does everything. Watch the series he just had, too. That kind of speaks to who he is as a player.”

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Other teams in the AL Central have multiple players on the leaderboard, including nine players from the Cleveland Guardians and six players from the Kansas City Royals, though the Minnesota Twins have just one player — shortstop Carlos Correa — on the 80-player leaderboard.

Among AL outfielders, Greene ranks 10th in fWAR (1.9), fifth in wRC+ (133), fifth in OPS (.824), 11th in batting average (.252) and tied for fifth in home runs (14). The 23-year-old, who plays all three outfield positions, also ranks sixth in plate appearances (301) and tied for 10th in games played (70).

“The fans obviously have the power in this to do what they see fit,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “I think Tarik is well-positioned, one way or the other, Jack (Flaherty) has had a really good year, Riley, I would love to see him get some love. It’s not something I pay huge attention to, but it’s fun for the guys and fun for the fans.”

HIM: How Tigers’ Tarik Skubal matured into an Opening Day ace with Cy Young potential

In fWAR, which is the number of wins a player adds to his team compared to a replacement-level player, Greene’s 1.9 trails only Aaron Judge (5.0), Juan Soto (4.5), Kyle Tucker (3.2), Jarren Duran (2.9), Daulton Varsho (2.2), Colton Cowser (2.1), Willi Castro (2.1), Yordan Alvarez (1.9) and JJ Bleday (1.9) on the list of 25 qualified AL outfielders.

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Castro played for the Tigers from 2019-22, but he was cut loose alongside third baseman Jeimer Candelario and utility player Harold Castro in November 2022 — exactly two months after Scott Harris took over as the president of baseball operations — because the Tigers didn’t think he was worth paying a projected $1.7 million in his first year as an arbitration-eligible player.

Castro, a 27-year-old switch-hitter who plays infield and outfield, has turned into an above-average player for the Minnesota Twins over the past two seasons, making $3.3 million in 2024.

REMEMBER WILLI? Ex-Tiger Willi Castro: ‘I really appreciate A.J. Hinch’ for instilling versatility

Meanwhile, Greene is hitting .310 with five home runs across his last 18 games, dating to May 29. He set career highs in Saturday’s 13-5 win over the Houston Astros with four hits and six RBIs, delivering his second multi-homer game of the season.

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The Tigers selected Greene with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2019 draft. He has never made the All-Star team in his three MLB seasons, hitting a combined .266 with 30 home runs and a .761 OPS in 262 games.

Tarik Skubal, a win-first player

Skubal is the frontrunner to win the AL Cy Young Award. He’s also shaping up to be the AL’s starting pitcher for the 2024 All-Star Game, which is scheduled for July 16 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

But Skubal isn’t focused on the All-Star Game (or the Cy Young Award).

“I’d much rather win a lot of games than be in the All-Star Game,” Skubal said. “That’s kind of how I’ve always felt. I think winning cures everything. Think about every team that wins a World Series. What happens with their guys after that?”

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Skubal, 27, has a 2.20 ERA with 16 walks and 98 strikeouts across 86 innings in 14 starts this season. His 2.7 fWAR ranks second among AL pitchers, trailing only Tanner Houck (3.2).

The Tigers have 10 wins in Skubal’s 14 starts.

There hasn’t been an All-Star starting pitcher from the Tigers since Max Scherzer in 2013.

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him @EvanPetzold.

Listen to our weekly Tigers show “Days of Roar” every Monday afternoon on demand at freep.com, Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. And catch all of our podcasts and daily voice briefing at freep.com/podcasts.

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