5:48pm: Detroit has officially waived Gray, the team has announced.
4:39pm: The Pistons will release Aaron Gray to get down to a 15-man roster, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (on Twitter). Gray signed a two-year deal with Detroit in August that included a player option on the final season. The deal was guaranteed for the minimum salary in both years so the Pistons will be on the hook for both seasons, presuming he clears waivers.
With a 16-man roster, the Pistons were put in a position in which they had to either cut or trade a player, with Gray, Tony Mitchell, and Luigi Datome seemingly the likeliest candidates to hit the waiver wire. With all 16 players on guaranteed deals, Detroit had to eat someone’s salary no matter what if it couldn’t find a trade partner. As David Mayo of MLive.com wrote earlier this month, Stan Van Gundy has been high on Mitchell, even though he would have been the most painless cut with a $816K salary.
“He works in the weight room,” Van Gundy said of Mitchell. “He works on his game out here. He simply has a lot to learn and he has to play the game smarter. He picks up some bad fouls. He has some wild turnovers, things like that. But his effort is not a problem at all, either in games or trying to work on his game. We’ve been very, very pleased with that. And he’s a great athlete.”
Gray, a former Pittsburgh standout, averaged 1.8 PPG and 3.0 RPG across 36 games for the Raptors and Kings last season.