Andre Drummond

Central Notes: Pistons, Parker, Rondo

Rumors swirled around Pistons players as the NBA’s trade deadline approached but as Thursday came and went, the Detroit roster went unchanged. Stan Van Gundy spoke with Aaron McMann of MLive about the club’s lack of activity.

Look, we’re not real happy with how we’ve played up to this point overall, but we still do have a young group,” Van Gundy said of the now 28-31 Pistons.. “And as much as you would like the progress to be steadily up hill, it’s not always. That doesn’t mean that you lose faith in your guys.”

The Pistons have struggled since starting guard Reggie Jackson returned to the lineup in early December, previously he had been recovering from a knee procedure and Ish Smith had stepped in to man the point. Over the course of the past month, Jackson’s name has been linked to the Timberwolves in a possible two- or three- team trade, potentially involving the Knicks.

You don’t want to get that deal fever where you just want to make a deal so badly that you end up making a bad one,” he said. Considering that Andre Drummond and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, two names that came up as possible trade candidates at the deadline, are just 23 and 24 years old respectively, patience may still pay off.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Though 2014 second-overall pick Jabari Parker will miss the remainder of this season and part of next season recovering from a torn ACL, his second drastic injury in the past three seasons, the Bucks didn’t consider dealing him at the deadline, tweets Stephen Watson of WISN 12 News. “Absolutely not,” general manager John Hammond told Watson, when asked explicitly.
  • It’s not clear whether the Bulls will embrace a rebuild or continue to push to win now and the continued presence of Rajon Rondo in the lineup embodies the organization’s indirection, Nick Friedell of ESPN writes.
  • After a pair of 10-day contracts with the Hornets, former Pistons guard Ray McCallum – one of the last cut by the Pistons during training camp – is back in the D-League with Detroit’s affiliate in Grand Rapids. The point guard is averaging 17.8 points and 7.5 assists per game with the Drive so far this season.

Latest On The Pistons, Drummond, Caldwell-Pope

The Pistons are “welcoming offers” for Andre Drummond and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, according to Mark Stein of ESPN.com. It’s likely that Drummond stays with the franchise, as he’s beloved by owner Tom Gores, but the softened stance on the big man opens up the door on a potential trade.

The Blazers had discussions with the Pistons about bringing Drummond to Portland, but those talks ended when Detriot insisted on receiving C.J. McCollum in return, sources tell Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. Stein notes that the Blazers view McCollum as untouchable.

Stein adds that the Raptors and Pistons have had exploratory conversations on Drummond. Detroit has also engaged in conversations with the Nets. Before DeMarcus Cousins was traded to the Pelicans, the Pistons discussed a deal with the Kings centered around a Cousins-Drummond swap.

Drummond signed a max contract with the team over the summer. Caldwell-Pope will be a restricted after the season and the team is reportedly wary about having to give the shooting guard a sizable deal. Stein notes that the team is looking for at least one first-rounder in exchange for KCP.

If the Pistons hold onto Caldwell-Pope and re-sign him to a max deal in the offseason, they would be near the luxury tax line. That’s not an attractive position to be in for a team that sits below .500. However, coach/executive Stan Van Gundy tells Vince Ellis of the Detriot Free Press that ownership has not issued any mandate to shed salary this season.

Celtics Notes: Drummond, George, Bradley

The Celtics would be a potential landing spot for Andre Drummond if the Pistons are open to moving their young center, a source tells A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England. Blakely wonders if Boston, having shown little interest in DeMarcus Cousins before he was dealt, could instead be eyeing a big man like Drummond.

While we’ve known for some time that the Pistons are open to dealing anybody on the roster at the right price, Drummond’s recent behavior on Twitter, Blakely argues, could indicate that something is brewing. Earlier today, Drummond retweeted an eyeball emoji tweet that Isaiah Thomas sent out. Worth noting, Blakely writes, is that the point guard did exactly such a thing shortly before the Celtics added Al Horford in the summer. Later, Drummond posted his own eyeball emoji tweet and removed all references to the Pistons from his Twitter biography.

Tempering expectations on the Drummond speculation is Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, who says that multiple people with firsthand knowledge of the Pistons claim it’s very likely the 23-year-old stays in Detroit through the deadline.

There are a few more Celtics rumors bouncing around today:

  • The Celtics may be unlikely to move one of their Nets picks for Jimmy Butler but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t include it in a deal for Pacers swingman Paul George. A CSN New England report filed Tuesday cites an article published by Frank Isola at the New York Daily News. “Everyone is talking about Butler to Boston but Danny Ainge and Larry Bird go way back. Paul George could be the sleeper,” said Isola’s source, an anonymous executive.
  • One player that could make an interesting pieces at the trade deadline is Avery Bradley, says a recent CSN New England report. In a podcast, Zach Lowe of ESPN mentioned that Bradley will see his contract expire next season at the same time that Isaiah Thomas’ contract comes due and for that reason might be moved ahead of time.
  • A report out of Toronto links the Celtics to both Jimmy Butler and Paul George but adds that the Celtics will likely hold onto their potential top pick. Ryan Wolstat of the National Post thinks Boston can offer an enticing package for Butler without including the pick.

Pistons Listening To Inquiries On Andre Drummond?

More and more teams that have spoken to the Pistons recently are saying that they believe Detroit won’t discourage inquiries on Andre Drummond this week, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein (via Twitter). While Stein’s report doesn’t suggest the Pistons are shopping their standout center, it sounds like Drummond isn’t necessarily untouchable.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported last week that the Pistons had “quietly explored” the trade market for Drummond, but came away underwhelmed by what teams might be willing to offer. At that point, Lowe classified a Drummond trade as an “extreme long shot.”

It’s not clear if Detroit’s stance has changed at all since then or if the team is simply doing due diligence. Stan Van Gundy has suggested that no one is necessarily off-limits if the Pistons have an opportunity to improve their long-term outlook, and it’s possible the offers for Drummond have gotten a little stronger with the deadline approaching, but it would still be a surprise to see the recently re-signed 23-year-old on the move this week.

For what it’s worth, a report earlier today suggested that the Raptors made a pitch for Drummond centered around Jonas Valanciunas before they acquired Serge Ibaka from Orlando.

Eastern Rumors: Butler, Raptors, Magic, Celtics

Although he acknowledges that posturing goes on at this time of year, and that one blockbuster offer could change everything, K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter links) says the Bulls are telling teams that Jimmy Butler isn’t available. While Chicago is open to listening to calls on Butler, the club is rebuffing all offers and isn’t actively shopping its star forward, says Johnson. The report is in line with what we heard on Monday from Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times, who said that Butler’s camp has a growing belief that the Bulls’ All-Star won’t be moved.

Here are a few more items of interest from around the Eastern Conference, with the NBA’s trade deadline just two days away:

  • Jake Fischer of SI.com passes along a number of notable updates in his league-wide look at the trade landscape. Among Fischer’s notes? Before they acquired Serge Ibaka, the Raptors made a play for Pistons center Andre Drummond with a package centered around Jonas Valanciunas. Additionally, Fischer reports that the Sixers have no interest in moving T.J. McConnell.
  • It doesn’t appear that the Magic and Pistons have any traction on a Reggie Jackson swap at this point, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Kyler notes that things could change by Thursday, but the latest round of Jackson rumors had the Pistons in talks with the Timberwolves and Knicks. While they’re not on the verge of anything with Jackson, the Magic are on the lookout for a point guard upgrade, Kyler tweets, adding that Suns guard Brandon Knight is on Orlando’s radar to a lesser extent.
  • The Celtics have identified a “small group of role players” that would interest them, including P.J. Tucker, per Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. However, the club has no plans to give up a first-round pick for a modest piece like Tucker, a source tells Himmelsbach. The Globe reporter adds that Sixers big man Jahlil Okafor isn’t presently on Boston’s radar, though ESPN’s Marc Stein said in a recent radio appearance that the C’s hadn’t entirely closed the door on that possibility.
  • Beat reporters in Boston haven’t suggested that the Celtics are close to any deal, but Isaiah Thomas put fans on high alert with a tweet on Monday night. As Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com notes, the last time Thomas sent the eyes-wide-open emoji in a tweet, it happened right before the C’s agreed to sign Al Horford.

Central Notes: Deadline Previews, Butler, Williams, Rubio, Caldwell-Pope

The Bulls are at a “real crossroads” at this year’s trade deadline, Mark Strotman of CSN Chicago writes. With a 28-29 record, Chicago enters the All-Star break as the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. Given the top-heavy conference, Strotman notes, even the most optimistic fan wouldn’t have the Bulls projected to advance past the first round of the playoffs. Taj Gibson will be mentioned in trade rumors, as will Robin Lopez and Doug McDermott. While Jimmy Butler has “peak trade value,” the Bulls have incentives to keep the 27-year-old; particularly on his team-friendly contract.

For what it’s worth, Butler reportedly isn’t interested in being traded. Sources told Seerat Sohi of ESPN that Butler is “grounded in Chicago,” and feels loyalty to the franchise that took a chance on him in the 2011 draft.

More from around the Central…

  • Still on his first 10-day contract, Derrick Williams has made quite an impression on the Cavs. According to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, the team envisions Williams as their seventh or eighth man against the Warriors in the Finals. The Cavs are going to sign Williams to a minimum contract for the rest of the season, Vardon writes, but the 25-year-old is expected to pursue a bigger payday over the offseason. In order to maintain roster flexibility through the trade deadline, the Cavs will postpone signing Williams to a minimum deal until after his second 10-day contract expires.
  • ESPN’s NBA Insiders discussed the best deadline deals for teams around the Central. Three of ESPN’s four contributors advocated the Cavs stand pat (largely due to cap restrictions), while Jeremias Engelmann suggested the team shop Kyrie Irving. Such a trade would never materialize, Engelmann writes, but the four-time All-Star’s “market value is many times greater than the actual impact he has on the game.” Amin Elhassan cited Ricky Rubio as a natural fit for the Pistons, calling him a “true set-up man” to summon Andre Drummond‘s offensive potential.
  • Bobby Marks of The Vertical profiled the Pistons and Bucks in his deadline preview series; two teams “fighting for the East’s last playoff spot.” The Pistons have limited roster flexibility, and would likely be best off holding onto current and future draft assets, Marks writes. Detroit may shop Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a restricted free agent-to-be, particularly in light of an underwhelming shooting guard market. Marks cited the Bucks’ need to acquire a stopgap for the injured Jabari Parker without selling off assets. As evidenced by Milwaukee’s recent trade with the Hornets, GM John Hammond won’t be afraid to shake up the roster if need be.

Pistons Rumors: Drummond, Jackson, Johnson

The Pistons have “quietly explored” the trade market for Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, two of their roster’s centerpieces, Zach Lowe of ESPN.com reports in his latest piece, which is a deep dive into the situation in Detroit. According to Lowe, the Pistons came away disappointed with what teams might be willing to offer for Drummond or Jackson, reducing the likelihood of either player being moved in the next eight days.

Still, while a Drummond trade remains an “extreme long shot,” a deal involving Jackson isn’t entirely off the table. Lowe suggests the Timberwolves, Magic, and Pelicans are among the potential suitors for the veteran point guard, if Detroit is willing to settle for a modest return. Per Lowe, Jackson’s value has “cratered,” and a player like Ricky Rubio is one of the few solid starters the Pistons could get in any trade package. Lottery teams seeking a long-term solution at point guard are unwilling to move their first-round picks for Jackson, and Detroit isn’t ready to simply dump him for a collection of expiring contracts.

In his attempt to find a potential trade partner for a Jackson deal, Lowe identifies the Magic and Nuggets, pointing to players like Elfrid Payton and Emmanuel Mudiay as possible trade pieces. However, while Mudiay is believed to be available, Denver doesn’t appear to have interest in Jackson. Lowe notes that Orlando is an “intriguing” possibility, since GM Rob Hennigan was in Oklahoma City’s front office when the team drafted Jackson.

Here’s more from Lowe on Jackson, along with a few other intriguing Pistons-related tidbits:

  • The Pelicans have kicked the tires on Jackson, but never engaged in serious talks, league sources tell Lowe.
  • According to Lowe, several Pistons players criticized Jackson during a December players-only meeting for his apparent lack of effort on defense. Drummond tells Lowe that the criticism “wasn’t cool,” since Jackson was coming off an injury and wasn’t yet 100%. However, both Drummond and Stan Van Gundy acknowledge that the team has struggled to adjust to Jackson’s presence on the court this year after finding a groove early in the season with Ish Smith handling the point.
  • According to Lowe, a fear that top free agents won’t come to Detroit has pushed the Pistons to acquire solid players on good contracts when they become available. Those players aren’t always a fit with Drummond and Van Gundy, which has contributed to some of the team’s roster issues.
  • Multiple teams, including the Spurs, made an effort to nab Stanley Johnson in a trade after Van Gundy publicly called out the second-year forward earlier in the season. Although the Pistons rebuffed those efforts, the team has been frustrated by Devin Booker‘s development in comparison to Johnson’s, since the draft room was “almost deadlocked” between those two players in 2015, says Lowe.
  • The Pistons are unlikely to make a major move until closer to the draft, since they want to make the playoffs and are reluctant to do anything that will adversely impact their odds of earning a postseason spot, says Lowe. The ESPN analyst notes that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s pending restricted free agency will be an interesting case to follow this offseason, since the Pistons may have to shed a salary – perhaps Tobias Harris‘ or Boban Marjanovic‘s – if they need to match a max offer sheet for Caldwell-Pope.

Central Notes: Butler, Maker, Drummond

Though he hasn’t been officially ruled out for Sunday’s contest, Jimmy Butler may have reaggravated the heel injury that kept him out of three games last week. On Friday night, in his first-game back, the Bulls swingman was seen limping on the court, visibly affected by the foot injury.

When asked if the pain on Friday will limit him heading forward, the Bulls All-Star didn’t seem sure. “That’s a good question,” Butler told ESPN’s Nick Friedell following a loss to the Suns. “That’s a really good question.”

In 49 games with the Bulls this season, the 27-year-old has put forth career-high averages of 24.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Even despite the lingering heel pain, Butler managed to post 20 points in his return from the injury.

Earlier in the week, an MRI concluded that there was no structural damage in the Bulls forward’s heel but it may be beneficial in the long run for the organization to rest their star before it grows worse. As of today, Butler is expected to play in the NBA All-Star Game on February 19.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Rookie Thon Maker started in place of the injured Jabari Parker for the first time Friday night but wasn’t as effective as he wanted to be. “I thought I came out a little flat, and I can’t do that from here on out,” the Bucks prospect told Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I have to be effective. I can’t wait until we’re down 30 or whatever it was. I’ve got to do that from the jump.” To Maker’s credit, his energy in the second half led to the Bucks at least temporarily cutting into the lead before they ultimately lost to the Lakers.
  • Second-year Bulls forward hasn’t seen as many minutes as he was seeing earlier in the season but he’s committed to staying ready, writes Sam Smith of Bulls.com. “Before every game I psych myself up like I am going to play,” Portis says. Though typically efficient with the court time he’s given, Portis has averaged just 5.6 minutes per game in February after averaging 14.4 in January.
  • Though he’s always posted decent steal numbers, Andre Drummond is starting to round out his game on the defensive end, writes Eric Woodyard of MLive. “I think he’s improved a little bit over the last three or four games, in terms of coming to block,” Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy said. The Pistons have won four of their past six contests and currently sit eighth in the East with a 25-29 record.

Pistons Notes: Bullock, Caldwell-Pope, Drummond

Swingman Reggie Bullock is still mulling his surgical options after tearing meniscus in his left knee, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports. Bullock will have the knee re-examined this weekend in Detroit before he makes his final decision, Ellis continues. He will either undergo arthroscopic surgery, which would allow him to come back within a month, or undergo more extensive surgery, which could potentially sideline him the rest of the season, Ellis adds. This refutes a report by The Vertical that Bullock had opted for surgery that would keep him out 2-4 months. Bullock, who suffered the injury November 23rd against the Heat, has already received a second opinion. Bullock, who failed to reach a rookie extension with the club prior to the deadline a month ago, said his decision will not be influenced by becoming a restricted free agent (if he receives a qualifying offer) after the season. “My mind-set is pretty much trying to save my career longevity-wise, not really thinking about free agency and all that come this summer,” he told Ellis.

In other Pistons developments:

  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has enhanced his value with his recent play, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes. Coach Stan Van Gundy is running more of his offense through Caldwell-Pope and the shooting guard has responded well. He’s averaging 19.5 points over the last six games and has racked up 21 assists over the last four outings. “It’s all about what he sees and the progress I’m making on offense,” Caldwell-Pope told Beard. Caldwell-Pope and the club also couldn’t agree on a rookie extension this fall, which will make him a restricted free agent in the summer. Some projections have Caldwell-Pope’s value at upwards of $18 million per season, Beard adds, and it’s unclear if the Pistons are willing to go that high.
  • Andre Drummond was fined $15K but averted a suspension for elbowing Hornets center Roy Hibbert in the back of the head on Tuesday, the league announced via press release. Drummond was assessed a Flagrant Foul 2 and ejected for the incident.
  • Bullock’s injury status has not helped Stanley Johnson regain his rotation spot. Johnson did not play in the team’s 121-114 win over the Celtics on Wednesday, the second time this season he has been benched by Van Gundy. The 2015 lottery pick also missed a game last week when he served a one-game suspension for violating team rules. Darrun Hilliard, the team’s 2015 second-round pick, is currently serving as Caldwell-Pope’s backup.

Eastern Notes: Drummond, Knicks, Wizards

Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy wants to increase Andre Drummond‘s workload but he’s willing to sit his All-Star center if he’s not playing well. Van Gundy said this week that he plans to rest Drummond in shorter bursts this season. “He’s capable of playing big minutes,” Van Gundy said. “We want him out there a lot. Barring foul trouble, we’re trying to get him to where his rests are shorter.” Drummond took a long rest on Wednesday, when the Pistons lost to the Nets. He was benched most of the second half after being outplayed by Brook Lopez. “He was just, in my opinion, bringing absolutely nothing to the game,” Van Gundy told the assembled media in his postgame press conference. “I don’t know if he was tired or what the deal was, but he didn’t bring any energy to the game.”
 
In other news around the Eastern Conference:
  • Forward Lance Thomas is off to a rough start after being re-signed this offseason to a four-year, $27MM deal by the Knicks, Marc Berman of the New York Post points out. He is averaging 3.3 points on 33% shooting in 20.6 minutes and his defense hasn’t been good enough to make up for his offensive woes, Berman continues. New coach Jeff Hornacek has stuck with Thomas in the rotation even though European rookie Mindaugas Kuzminskas might be a better option, Berman adds.
  • Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue admits he wasn’t paying much attention during the free agency period, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reports. Lue was impressed when he found out about the Celtics’ signing of Al Horford, making Boston of one the main threats to Cleveland in the Eastern Conference, Fedor adds. “Whenever you are able to acquire another All-Star automatically you are going to get better,” Lue told Fedor. “That’s a great piece in going in the right direction.”
  • Wizards rookie point guard Tomas Satoransky may have already moved ahead of Trey Burke in the rotation behind starter John Wall, according to Candace Buckner of the Washington Post. Satoransky played 10 second-half minutes against the Raptors on Wednesday in place of Burke, who was acquired in a trade with the Jazz this offseason, Buckner adds. “It’s definitely something that’s going to be considered,” new coach Scott Brooks told Buckner. “Tomas brings a lot of energy and brings some toughness and has good size and athleticism. He’s played that position his entire life.”
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