Anthony Tolliver

Pistons Rumors: Morris, Ilyasova, Drummond

Marcus Morris hot start for the Pistons is a product of coach Stan Van Gundy encouraging his starting small forward to take mid-range jumpers, Keith Langlois of reports. Van Gundy told Morris to work on his mid-range game after acquiring him from the Suns in July and Morris has responded by averaging a team-high 19.3 points during the team’s 3-0 start. “Marcus is a guy we can go to and isolate and can shoot a high percentage on mid-range jumpers,” Van Gundy told Langlois. “Across the league, it’s not a high-percentage shot. We know that. But everything is based on individuals. It’s not based on a league-wide average. The league-wide average on those shots might be 37 percent, but Marcus is shooting 52 percent.”

In other Pistons news:

  • Ersan Ilyasova is having his minutes monitored closely by the coaching staff, David Mayo of reports. The power forward who was acquired from the Bucks during the offseason, is averaging 26.0 minutes, less than any other starter. “I’m concerned with him,” Van Gundy told the team’s beat reporters. “He plays at a real high pace and intensity level. He had a long summer. I am somewhat conscious of not over-playing him needlessly.” Ilyasova played for the Turkish national team during the offseason.
  • Center Andre Drummond became the first Piston in nearly six years to win the league’s Eastern Conference Player of the Week award, Mayo notes in a separate story. Drummond had double-doubles in each of the first three games, including a 20-point, 20-rebound outing against the Bulls.
  • Rookie forward Stanley Johnson will likely develop into an ideal complement to the team’s core duo of Drummond and point guard Reggie Jackson, Ananth Pandian of opines. Johnson has the defensive prowess to match up with division’s top wing players and his offensive game is more suited to the NBA, Pandian adds. “College basketball is a lot different with the rules,” Johnson told Pandian. “I think the NBA game is a help for me because when I drive to the basket there is not three or four defenders at the rim, there is only one. This makes my reads a lot easier and it makes attacking the basket a lot easier.”
  • The Pistons’ quick start has reserve power forward Anthony Tolliver feeling bullish about the team’s prospects this season, as he told Ric Bucher in an Sirius XM Radio interview (Twitter link). “I just don’t see us not making the playoffs,” Tolliver boasted in the interview.

Pistons Notes: Ilyasova, Tolliver, Hilliard

Stan Van Gundy didn’t change the roster much in his first few months with the Pistons, and that was by design, he says, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. Now, the process has accelerated, and Andre Drummond, Brandon Jennings and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are the only holdovers from before his tenure.

“You had to be cautious because you hadn’t had time to really have your processes in place to make great decisions and so you were rushed in your decision-making compared to what we have this year,” Van Gundy said, according to Ellis. “We didn’t want to take any big risks. Now we’ve had a chance to go through a year and thoroughly evaluate the draft and thoroughly evaluate free agents and pro personnel.”

See more on the revamped Pistons:

  • Van Gundy puts trade acquisition Ersan Ilyasova in a class with only Kevin Love and 2016 free agent Ryan Anderson among those who can both rebound and shoot three-pointers effectively, even though Ilyasova’s per-36-minute rebounding numbers have steadily declined the past few years, MLive’s David Mayo observes. Ilyasova contends that’s only because of a change in the way the Bucks used him, Mayo notes.
  • Anthony Tolliver, who like Ilyasova is one of the keys to replacing Greg Monroe‘s rebounding, poured effort into getting himself in shape for the final season of his contract this year, as he detailed on his blog and as he addressed in camp Thursday, as Mayo relays in a separate piece. “I didn’t really train as a basketball player. I trained as an athlete,” Tolliver said Thursday. “I worked on running mechanics, worked on jumping mechanics, speed training, all kinds of different things that I’ve never done before. So I just feel like I’m in a lot better shape than I have been in the past going into this year. It’s going to be a big one for me.”
  • The Pistons are making the most of Darrun Hilliard‘s versatility and having him play some point guard in camp, a position that this year’s 38th overall pick, who usually plays on the wing, is ready to embrace in his uphill battle for a regular season roster spot, as MLive’s Aaron McCann details. “Darrun’s a smart guy, knows how to play,” Van Gundy said. “It’s real easy to blend him in with other guys because he really understands how to play with other players easily.”

And-Ones: Harris, Barea, Matthews

Jamal Crawford (Clippers), Jon Leuer (Suns) and Anthony Tolliver (Pistons) had their salaries fully guaranteed when they remained on their respective rosters Tuesday, as the schedule of salary guarantee dates indicates, along with Robert Sacre (Lakers) and Chris Kaman (Blazers), as we previously noted. Matt Barnes (Grizzlies) joins that group today, while Langston Galloway (Knicks) and Markel Brown (Nets) pick up partial guarantees of $220K and $100K, respectively. Cory Jefferson was originally thought to have a partial guarantee coming his way if he stuck on the Nets roster through today, but he’ll remain non-guaranteed until July 15th, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link).

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Magic would not be willing to match a max salary offer sheet to restricted free agent forward Tobias Harris, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe relays (Twitter link). The Hawks could be a potential suitor, though Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders noted previously that Atlanta’s level of interest in Harris was dependent on how the team’s pursuit of its own free agents, DeMarre Carroll and Paul Millsap, went. Millsap is reportedly set to ink a three-year, $58MM pact with Atlanta, and Carroll is on his way to the Raptors after inking a four-year, $60MM contract.
  • Free agent point guard J.J. Barea is leaning toward signing with the Heat, David Aldridge of TNT tweets. Barea appeared in 77 games for the Mavs last season, averaging 7.5 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 3.4 assists in 17.7 minutes per contest.
  • The Raptors and the Mavericks are still battling over free agent Wesley Matthews, Marc Stein of tweets. Toronto is still in on Matthews despite signing Carroll, Stein notes.
  • The Wizards have expressed interest in free agent swingman Alan Anderson, Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post tweets.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Pistons Eye Danny Green, Other Wing Players

The Pistons will make DeMarre Carroll and Danny Green higher priorities in free agency this summer than fellow target Tobias Harris, as Carroll and Green, both unrestricted free agents, are likely easier to sign than Harris, a restricted free agent, would be, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter links). Sean Deveney of The Sporting News first reported Detroit’s interest in Carroll, while Shams Charania of RealGM today identified the Pistons as a leading contender for Harris. The small forward spot, which both Carroll and Green could fill, appears to be a focus for Detroit, even after it drafted Stanley Johnson eighth overall in Thursday’s draft.

Dallas is also reportedly targeting Green, though he’d like to re-sign with the Spurs and San Antonio is apparently making that a priority. It would nonetheless seem like a fair chance exists that the Spurs would renounce their rights to the 28-year-old and his nearly $7.648MM cap hold if they can secure a commitment from LaMarcus Aldridge or another marquee target. That would make it difficult for San Antonio to re-sign the three-and-D swingman, whom at least one executive wouldn’t mind paying $6MM a year, as Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops reported this spring.

Green, if he could be had for that kind of money, would be less than half as expensive than Carroll, if the Hawks forward ends up with salaries at the high end of estimates. Atlanta is growing pessimistic about its chances to retain both Carroll and Paul Millsap, though the Pistons will have plenty of competition even if Carroll doesn’t stay with the Hawks. Detroit nonetheless has plenty of buying power, with only about $39MM in commitments for next season. That includes a fully guaranteed $3MM for Anthony Tolliver, as the Pistons have decided to keep Tolliver past Tuesday, when his $400K partial guarantee would jump to a full guarantee, a source tells Ellis (Twitter link).

And-Ones: Pistons, World Peace, Calderon

There’s a chance that soon-to-be free agents Kyle Singler and Jonas Jerebko return to Detroit this summer, but it’s unlikely either winds up back with the Pistons, who traded them both away at the deadline, MLive’s David Mayo argues in his weekly mailbag. Mayo also figures Tayshaun Prince will leave in free agency while the team retains Anthony Tolliver on his partially guaranteed contract next season.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Metta World Peace, 35, says that he won’t quit playing professionally until he’s 40 years old, Daniella Matar of writes. The veteran recently inked a deal with Italy’s Pallacanestro Cantù for the remainder of the season. ”I always wanted to play in Europe for a long time,” World Peace said. ”They move the ball and they move bodies, and that’s what I like doing. I’m looking forward to playing team basketball and being smart as well as scoring. I can score but I’m excited about team basketball.”
  • With the season winding down a number of coaches could soon find themselves out of work. Kevin Arnovitz of runs down six top prospects who could be hired as replacements. Arnovitz’s list includes Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga, Arizona coach Sean Miller, and Spurs assistant Ime Udoka.
  • Knicks guard Jose Calderon is expected to be in a walking boot for another 10 days, Ian Begley of tweets. Calderon still hopes to return to action this season, but he admitted that scenario was unlikely, Begley adds. The 33-year-old averaged 9.1 points and 4.7 assists while shooting a career-low 41.5% from the field for New York this season.
  • The Rockets announced that Donatas Motiejunas will be restricted from basketball activities for one to two weeks, and he’ll be reevaluated at that time. The forward is suffering from lower back issues. In 71 games this season, including 62 starts, the seven-footer is averaging 12.0 PPG, 5.9 RPG, and 1.8 APG in 28.7 minutes per contest.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Central Notes: George, Cavs, Tolliver

Paul George would like to be back by March, a timeframe that Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird hinted at earlier this week, but George indicated that it’s nonetheless unlikely as he spoke today with reporters, including Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star (three Twitter links). He’s targeting March 1st to be back in full practices with the team and said that if Indiana still has a shot at the playoffs later this season, it’d help sway him to return if he’s on the fence, as Buckner notes (three Twitter links). The Pacers are three and a half games out of the playoffs, but they’d have to pass four teams to get there. Here’s more on their Central Division rivals:

  • Executives around the league wondered if teams in the East would more aggressively try to make deals that would help them fill the void atop the conference as the Cavaliers failed to live up to expectations earlier this season, as Ken Berger of hears. Now, with the Cavs having won 11 in a row and the trade deadline two weeks away, Berger wonders if those teams will abandon that strategy. The Pacers are nonetheless in “win-now mode,” Bird said this week.
  • The Cavs have assigned Joe Harris to the D-League, the team announced. It’s D-League stint No. 5 for the 33rd overall pick in the 2014 draft, and all of those assignments have taken place since January 20th.
  • Anthony Tolliver fondly recalled his time with the Warriors when MLive’s Brendan Savage asked the well-traveled eighth-year NBA veteran to name his favorite stop aside from the Pistons, with whom he’s under team control through next season. Tolliver also said that Miami, where he played for the Heat during the 2009 preseason, is his favorite NBA city, responding to another question from Savage.

Eastern Notes: Williams, Marble, Tolliver

Nets point guard Deron Williams returned to action today but didn’t start the game out on the court. Williams said that he’s fine with coming off of the bench as long as the starters play well,  Mike Mazzeo of writes. “I’m all for the team. It doesn’t really matter to me,” said Williams. “I’m still trying to get my rhythm back and obviously I’m on a minutes restriction right now, so I’m all for it.” Williams has been the subject of trade rumors involving the Kings recently, but he did not want to address the subject, saying, “When a trade is final, then I’ll talk to y’all about trade rumors. How about that? When a trade happens I’ll talk about trade rumors because then it’ll actually be a trade.”

Here’s more from the East:

  • The Magic have assigned rookie Devyn Marble to the D-League, the team announced. Marble will join the Erie BayHawks after appearing in just five minutes of action for Orlando all season.
  • Cavs big man Anderson Varejao underwent successful surgery to repair his torn left Achilles tendon today, the team has announced. Varejao is expected to miss the remainder of the season.
  • Stan Van Gundy called the Pistons’ acquisition of Anthony Tolliver a “no-brainer” and labeled the veteran sharpshooter as a “solid pro with a very good contract,” notes Keith Langlois of

Charlie Adams contributed to this post.

Pistons, Suns Swap Tolliver, Mitchell

The Pistons have acquired Anthony Tolliver from the Suns in exchange for Tony Mitchell, the teams announced via press release. It’s a straight one-for-one swap. The Suns are expected to waive Mitchell, reports Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link). Both teams had cap space going into the deal, and both remain under the cap, so there was no salary matching necessary. Detroit is just a sliver under the cap after taking on Tolliver’s $3MM salary, while the Suns open up nearly $2.184MM in additional cap room in the exchange, even though Mitchell’s guaranteed minimum salary will stick on Phoenix’s books if he indeed hits waivers.

Tolliver, a 6’8″ combo forward, helps make up for the loss of Josh Smith, whom the Pistons shockingly waived Monday. He’s a much more proficient outside shooter than Smith is, having nailed 38.5% of his three-point attempts so far this season and 35.5% for his career. He shot 41.3% on three-pointers last season, helping him earn a two-year, $6MM deal with the Suns, who needed to replace Magic signee Channing Frye. Tolliver nonetheless saw only 11.3 minutes per game for Phoenix, which clearly saw him as expendable. Only $400K of next season’s $3MM salary is guaranteed for Tolliver, so the Pistons largely preserve their cap flexibility for the summer ahead.

Mitchell, a power forward not to be confused with the former Bucks small forward by the same name, had been on his fourth D-League assignment of the season since December 12th. The 37th overall pick in the 2013 draft had yet to appear in a regular season game this season for new coach/executive Stan Van Gundy after seeing only 79 minutes spread over 21 games as a rookie last year.

Suns Sign Anthony Tolliver

JULY 21ST: The deal is official, the team announced on its website.

“Anthony is a great fit for our style of play,” GM Ryan McDonough said. “His shooting, professionalism and leadership will help us as we try to continue to build a strong foundation going forward.”

JULY 16TH: 10:03am: Each season is worth $3MM, but only $400K of Tolliver’s salary is guaranteed in the second season, according to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. In any case, a full $3MM salary for 2014/15 means the club will have to use cap space on him, rather than the room exception.

8:34am: The Suns and forward Anthony Tolliver have agreed on a two-year, $6MM deal, agent Larry Fox confirmed to Shams Charania of RealGM. Phoenix beats the Clippers, Cavs, Pistons, Spurs, Wizards and the incumbent Hornets, all of whom apparently had serious discussions with the 29-year-old who was coming off career-high 41.3% accuracy from three-point range last season.

Tolliver averaged 6.1 points in 20.3 minutes per game for Charlotte in 2013/14, though he wasn’t much of a factor in the team’s four-game ouster in the first-round of the playoffs, totaling just 21 minutes for the entire series. The Hornets renounced his Bird rights last week, but they still had the means to re-sign him using cap space, at least until they came to their deal with Lance Stephenson.

Phoenix is likely using cap space on Tolliver, though it’s possible that the Suns could squeeze him into the $2.732MM room exception, depending on the timing of the official signing, if the precise figures in his contract add up to slighly less than $6MM. In any case, Tolliver, who went undrafted in 2007, is in line for the highest salary of his career, per Basketball-Reference.

Renounced Players: Thursday

Many of the agreements signed during the July moratorium were contingent on teams clearing cap space to accommodate them, and to do so, teams must sometimes renounce their Non-Bird, Early Bird or full Bird rights to their own free agents to erase their cap holds from the books. Teams that renounce those rights no longer have the ability to exceed the cap to re-sign those players unless they use an exception like the mid-level or the biannual. The end of the moratorium usually brings about a fair number of renouncements, so we’ll track today’s here, with the latest on top:

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