DETROIT (AP) — The rebuilding Detroit Pistons have dealt Monte Morris to the contending Minnesota Timberwolves and acquired Simone Fontecchio from the Utah Jazz, according to a person familiar with the deals on the eve of the NBA trade deadline.
Detroit acquired Shake Milton, Troy Brown and a second-round selection from Minnesota and sent a 2024 second-round pick to Utah in the transactions, according to a person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the trades had not been announced.
The Timberwolves are in a closely contested, four-team race for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, a surprising season for a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff series in 20 years.
The league’s stingiest defense has fueled their success, but despite plenty of firepower from All-Stars Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns, the Wolves have been lagging on offense. Four times in their last 10 games, they’ve had a fourth-quarter lead of 10-plus points and lost.
Milton and Brown were offseason free agent signings, but on a deep team neither has been able to crack the rotation on a regular basis and averaged just four-plus points per game.
The 28-year-old Morris, who has averaged 10.5 points and four assists in his career that includes playoff experience, potentially gives Minnesota a much-needed boost off the bench.
Fontecchio adds a desperately needed outside shooter in Detroit, and the Jazz landed a second-round pick for a 28-year-old player with an expiring contract. Utah, which is in contention for the playoffs, signed Fontecchio to a two-year, $6.3 million contract in 2022.
Fontecchio, an Italian small forward, averaged nearly nine points and made 39.1% of his 3-pointers for the Jazz in 34 starts and 16 games as a reserve this season, his second in the NBA.
The Pistons, who have the NBA's worst record a year after losing a league-high 65 games, are expected to make more moves before Thursday's trade deadline.
Morris was acquired by the Pistons from Washington for a second-round pick last summer. They had relatively high hopes for Morris this season in a homecoming for the point guard from Flint, Michigan, but injuries limited him to averaging 4.5 assists and 1.3 assists in just six games.
Milton, who spent the last five seasons with Philadelphia, has not played at all in 13 of the last 27 games. Brown, a sixth-year forward, will join his fifth NBA team.
AP Sports Writer Dave Campbell in Minneapolis contributed.
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