The Detroit Pistons haven't exactly leveled up in 2023-24 the way optimists anticipated. As the February 8th trade deadline fast approaches with Detroit owning the worst record in the NBA, though, it's still unclear if management would rather act as sellers or buyers.

Case in point: The uncertain status of Bojan Bogdanovic. Simple logic and basic prudence suggests Detroit should move Bogdanovic to a contender before the trade deadline, stocking its coffers with more draft assets while the veteran forward holds additional value with this season's playoff run and a final, barely guaranteed year on his existing contract remaining.

But the Pistons' actual interest in trading him by the deadline is reportedly a “matter of debate” within league circles, the hope of avoiding the NBA record for most losses in a single season looming large in the front office's thought process.

“Word is that the Detroit Pistons, late in 2023 before the calendar flipped, did engage in some exploratory discussions with various teams about highly coveted veteran swingman Bojan Bogdanović,” veteran league insider Marc Stein reported Tuesday. “Whether the Pistons are actually willing to trade Bogdanović before the Feb. 8 buzzer, however, remains a matter of debate…Do the Pistons want to keep Bogdanović for the rest of the season so he can help them try to scratch out six more wins and avoid further infamy after the Pistons recently established a new single-season league record for consecutive losses with 28?”

Pistons must move Bojan Bogdanovic at trade deadline

Pistons' Bojan Bogdanovic looking serious

There's no staving off the embarrassment Detroit surely wants to elude by winning double-digit games come season's end, more than the infamous 9-73 owned by the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers. The team's quest for just one win became a national talking point in late December, transcending the basketball world to emerge as among the most discussed stories in all of sports. The Pistons' season will always be remembered for historic ineptitude; getting a 10th win won't change that reality.

What can change is the return Detroit gets for Bogdanovic if he remains in the Motor City past February 8th. Troy Weaver and company would already be moving him at a loss compared to what the Pistons could've received in return for Bogdanovic at last year's trade deadline. Its fate as one of the worst teams ever already sealed, what could Detroit possibly gain from keeping Bogdanovic into the summer, when he'll have just one more season left on his contract and be poised to enter next year's playoffs at 36 years old?

Previous dreams of getting an unprotected first-round pick for Bogdanovic are already dead. The most the Pistons can hope for now in a Bogdanovic deal is a heavily protected first-rounder, an asking price some good teams in need of more floor-spacing and scoring punch ahead of the postseason may deem too steep given his declining isolation numbers, free throw rate and overall defensive value. Offers won't be any better come June and July.

Detroit signed Bojan Bogdanovic to a two-year, $39.1 million extension before last season with the hope his presence would ease an arduous rebuild before yielding a worthwhile return package in a trade. While that first plan went up in white-hot flames, it's still not too late for the Pistons to make the best of yet another bad situation by moving Bogdanovic before his value lowers any further.