Fischer’s Latest: Pistons, Ivey, M. Williams, Bridges

After starting 73 games and averaging 31.1 minutes per night as a rookie last season, Pistons guard Jaden Ivey has started just five of 15 games in 2023/24, with his playing time dipping to 22.7 MPG. As we outlined last night, he was moved back to the bench on Thursday vs. New York and logged just 13 minutes, his second-lowest mark of the season.

Ivey’s inconsistent role under new head coach Monty Williams has “sparked some tension” among the team’s top decision-makers, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who cites league sources.

As Fischer details, there were rumblings back in training camp that Williams’ fondness for rookies Ausar Thompson and Marcus Sasser – who were drafted after he was hired – could lead to reduced minutes for Ivey. For his part, last year’s No. 5 overall pick has taken his fluctuating role in stride.

“There wasn’t anything said,” Ivey told Fischer. “Once I saw what was going on, coming off the bench was no problem for me. I love every single one of these dudes in here. I’d ride for them any day. Coming off the bench isn’t a confidence thing or a downer for me. I’m still confident in my game and play the same way.”

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • If Ivey’s role remains in flux, there will certainly be rival teams calling the Pistons to see what it would take to acquire him, according to Fischer, who notes that several clubs attempted to trade up and acquired the guard during the 2022 draft, even after Detroit made the pick official. For now though, the expectation is that the Pistons will be focused on trading veterans, Fischer says, with Bojan Bogdanovic, Alec Burks, and Monte Morris among the candidates to be dealt.
  • Monty Williams‘ record-setting six-year, $78MM+ contract has led to speculation from rival teams about the type of influence he’ll have in personnel decisions. However, the Pistons‘ head coach said this week that he doesn’t expect to get overly involved in the team’s in-season trade negotiations, even though he and general manager Troy Weaver talk about the roster. “Troy tells me stuff, but that’s not my job,” Williams said, per Fischer. “I trust his ability to evaluate talent. He’s one of the best in the league. He’s gonna ask me about a guy. Does he fit our style? Is he the kind of player we want? That kind of thing. But I’m not one of those coaches that’s gonna be like, ‘No’ or ‘Yes,’ that kind of thing. I gotta trust his judgment.”
  • In the latest episode of his No Cap Room podcast with Dan Devine (YouTube link), Fischer suggested that it’s possible 2023/24 will be Miles Bridges‘ last season with the Hornets. “There’s not a lot of confidence or expectation around the league that’s going to be back in Charlotte next year,” Fischer said. Bridges signed his qualifying offer as a restricted free agent during the 2023 offseason, which means he’ll be unrestricted in 2024.
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