Andre Drummond

Pistons Notes: Bradley, Drummond, Jackson

Avery Bradley, who was dealt to the Pistons in exchange for Marcus Morris over the summer, didn’t want to leave the Celtics, but he understands Boston’s decision to make the move, as Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press relays.

“I understand what they did. I have no hard feelings at all. I ended up with a great situation and a great organization so I’m happy and they’re playing well,” Bradley said.

The shooting guard added that the team warned him that a trade was a strong possibility prior to making the transaction.

“There were [conversations] that me and [GM] Danny Ainge had, but when it does happen, it still catches you off guard a little bit destination-wise, where you end up,” Bradley said. “I know it’s part of the business so I respect their decision and I know that Danny is going to make the best decision for the Boston Celtics.”

The Celtics own the best record in the league at 18-4, but the Pistons sit just 3.5 games behind them for the Eastern Conference’s top spot after a pulling out a win on Monday in Beantown.

Here’s more from Detroit:

  • Bradley will be a free agent after the season, though it’s “obvious” that both he and Pistons have interest in a long-term deal, Ellis adds in the same piece. “It’s been really good for me so far,” Bradley said. “We have a great group of guys, a great coaching staff that’s pushing us every day and I feel like we are going to continue to grow as a group.”
  • Andre Drummond was seemingly available for the right price at last season’s trade deadline, but after improving his game this offseason, he is no longer on the table in trade talks, Rod Beard of The Detroit News writes.
  • Executive/coach Stan Van Gundy believes the improvement is a result of Drummond putting in the necessary work and playing hard on a nightly basis, Beard passes along in the same piece. “There were never any doubts about his ability and he’s always been a good guy; the concern was whether he was going to play hard on a nightly basis,” Van Gundy said. “That was the question in my mind — and so far this year, it’s been a lot better.”
  • If the Pistons are going to remain in the conference’s top tier, they’ll need Reggie Jackson to maintain his level of play, Matt Barresi of NBAMath contends. The point guard is shooting a career-high 38.4% from downtown and he’s averaging nearly one more assist per 36-minutes than he did last season.

Central Notes: Rose, Thomas, Liggins

The Cavaliers have been without Derrick Rose since November 7 and may be without him for at least two more weeks, Joe Vardon of writes. The club has announced that the veteran point guard’s sprained ankle will be immobilized in a boot and that he’ll undergo treatment through the end of the month.

Rose’s tenure with the Cavaliers hasn’t gotten off to as a good as start as some may have hoped after a relatively successful year with the Knicks. The 29-year-old has averaged 14.3 points per game but has only seen action in seven of the team’s 15 games this season.

The injured ankle that’s been plaguing Rose is the same one that the Cavaliers guard missed nine days due to from October 20 to October 29.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • It wasn’t long ago when Andre Drummond was the subject of trade rumors due to his inability to hit free throws and a perceived lack of effort. These days, Vincent Goodwill of Bleacher Report writes, the Pistons big man has drastically improved his stock with head coach Stan Van Gundy and around the league.
  • Through 11 games with his sixth NBA team, DeAndre Liggins has impressed. The defensive specialist has made a name for himself as a gritty, energetic perimeter stopper and that’s served him well with the Bucks, Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes.
  • Injured Cavaliers guard Isaiah Thomas stands by his decision to forego surgery on his hip, Sam Amick of USA Today writes. “Every week now, every week I’m getting better and better. I’m doing more and more. I’m getting closer to being back on the floor and being able to play, so the only thing that is the frustrating part is the time.

Central Notes: Bledsoe, Drummond, Parker

Expect Eric Bledsoe to start in his Bucks debut tonight, Matt Velasquez of The Journal Sentinel writes. Milwaukee will clash with the Spurs in San Antonio and Bledsoe will see his first taste of in-game action since October 21.

For his first day of shootaround, you could see the dynamic of his speed, something that we don’t have at that position,” Bucks head coach Jason Kidd said. “We’ll find out here quickly [how he fits with the team].”

The 27-year-old guard has averaged 13.1 points and 4.6 assists per game over the course of his eight-year NBA career, his best two seasons coming with Phoenix last year and the year prior.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Pistons know that Andre Drummond needs to keep his head in the game in order to be most effective. As Ansar Khan of MLive writes, the big man is well aware of that fact himself. “When I play with high energy and confidence it gives everybody else confidence and you can see it in everybody’s face when they’re playing,” Drummond said. “In previous years, I played down and it looked like it could bother me and everybody kind of moved around in slow motion.”
  • If the Bulls are to choose one of Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune believes it would be the former. Portis, he writes, is well liked by his teammates. He’s also on a cheaper contract and would handle coming off the bench behind rookie Lauri Markkanen better.
  • This isn’t Bucks forward Jabari Parker‘s first time recovering from an ACL injury. This time around, Steve Aschburner of writes, he does so well aware of what the process entails – and in a nicer facility, to boot.

Pelicans, Suns, Pistons Discussed Bledsoe Trade

6:28pm: It turns out the third team involved in the Bledsoe/Jackson trade discussion was New Orleans. Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated writes that the Suns would have landed Detroit’s 2019 first-round pick, New Orleans’ 2018 first-round pick, Alexis Ajinca, and Omer Asik. Jackson would have gone to the Pelicans in that scenario. The talks are now “dead,” the report states.

2:25pm: According to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders, the Pistons offered the Suns a package including Jackson and a first-round pick for Bledsoe.

12:06pm: If they make a deal with the Pistons, the Suns would prefer to get a third team involved to take Jackson, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

It makes sense that the rebuilding Suns wouldn’t want to absorb Jackson’s contract, which runs through 2019/20, but involving a third or fourth team typically makes trades more difficult to complete, so we’ll see if this goes anywhere.

11:39am: The Pistons should be added to the list of teams that have exhibited interest in disgruntled Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe, league sources tell Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link). However, Stein cautions (via Twitter) that for a deal to appeal to Phoenix, the Pistons would have to attach additional pieces to Reggie Jackson.

Shortly after Bledsoe publicly expressed his dissatisfaction with his situation in Phoenix a week and a half ago, the Suns sent him home and began aggressively seeking a trade. At that point, it seemed as if the Suns may resolve the situation quickly, but GM Ryan McDonough said this week that there’s no timetable for a Bledsoe deal, suggesting the team isn’t rushing to get something done.

Reports last week indicated that the Nuggets and Bucks might be the most likely landing spots for Bledsoe, but Jamal Murray and Emmanuel Mudiay have played well lately for Denver, and Malcolm Brogdon – whom the Suns would reportedly target – is off to a good start in Milwaukee. As such, the Suns may be looking to engage other teams in trade discussions.

The Pistons would be an interesting trade partner. It’s worth noting that the Suns were said to have expressed “strong” interest in Andre Drummond back in June. Jake Fischer of, who initially reported Phoenix’s interest in Drummond, tweeted today that Bledsoe’s name was part of those discussions as well.

For what it’s worth, Detroit has been linked to multiple point guard trade candidates over the course of the year, including Kyrie Irving in August and Ricky Rubio back in January. Those rumors never led to anything real, so it’s possible Stan Van Gundy and the Pistons are just doing their due diligence again here. However, the fact that they’ve kicked the tires on so many other point guards may also suggest they’re open to moving on from Jackson.

After enjoying a career year in 2015/16, Jackson struggled through an injury-plagued 2016/17 campaign. He’s off to a good start this season, averaging 16.4 PPG and 6.0 APG through eight games.

Central Notes: Pacers, Drummond, James

The Pacers won the Paul George trade, even if the Thunder happened to win it as well, Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star writes. The scribe, who memorably critiqued Indiana’s handling of the George saga prior to the deal, says that he didn’t initially appreciate Kevin Pritchard‘s haul for their disgruntled star.

While it seems likely that Victor Oladipo won’t end up averaging the 23.8 points per game he’s averaged through eight games so far this season, he’s a more valuable player than what he came across as during his lone season with the Thunder. It’s reasonable to expect the Pacers two-guard to continue to post a scoring average in excess of the 17.9 points per game he posted in his career-high season with the desolate 2014/15 Magic.

Of course the component that makes or breaks the deal will be Domantas Sabonis. Fortunately for the Pacers, the 21-year-old big man has looked excellent averaging 13.1 points, 11.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in just 27.1 minutes.

Doyel compliments Pritchard for winning a trade that seemed unwinnable, considering the lack of leverage the Pacers were left with after George’s agent leaked that George wanted out.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pistons have had success running Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson in the pick-and-roll. Lately, Rod Beard of The Detroit News writes, the big man has added a new tool, the ability to take his man off the dribble, giving the club another option to utilize on offense.
  • The business partner of Cavaliers forward LeBron James – long-time friend Maverick Carter – says that location won’t influence where James signs as a free agent next summer. “Could he sell a few more sneakers if he was in a gigantic market like Boston, Chicago, New York, or L.A.? Maybe. But not as much as if he wins. What matters the most is if he wins. When you win as an athlete that matters the most,” Carter said in an interview on The Rich Eisen Show (via Chris Fedor of
  • After vastly improving his free-throw shooting over the offseason, Pistons center Andre Drummond should look to get to the line more, Ansar Khan of MLive writes. Historically terrible from the free-throw line, Drummond has shot 70% from the line in 2017/18. He could now benefit from attacking the basket more aggressively.

Pistons Notes: Drummond, Ellenson, Johnson, Jackson

Many teams remain interested in trading for Pistons center Andre Drummond, according to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. Ellis talked to several talent evaluators around the league, who say that at age 24, Drummond still has the potential to become a successful big man despite questions about his energy and defense. Teams don’t seem reluctant to take on Drummond’s contract, which will pay him more than $105MM over the next four seasons.

The people Ellis spoke with don’t believe the Pistons are currently shopping Drummond, athough they were over the offseason and before February’s trade deadline. However, he cites two potentially interested parties in Knicks GM Scott Perry, who was an assistant GM in Detroit when Drummond was drafted, and Clippers executive VP Lawrence Frank, who coached the Pistons when Drummond was a rookie.

There’s more this morning out of Detroit:

  • Henry Ellenson‘s impressive preseason could mean more minutes for the second-year big man, Ellis adds in the same piece. Coach Stan Van Gundy said Ellenson is “playing at a high level” after he scored 16 points in 17 minutes Friday. He is competing with Tobias Harris, Jon Leuer and Anthony Tolliver for playing time at power forward.
  • The competition at power forward will keep Stanley Johnson at small forward, which may not be his best position, Ellis writes in a separate story. Many observers believe Johnson would excel as a stretch four, but Van Gundy expects nearly all of Johnson’s minutes this season to come at small forward. “We just don’t really have a need for another [power forward],” Van Gundy said. “There may be some defensive things late in the game where teams go small and we could go small with him, but we’ve got enough stuff we could run without having him to spend a lot of time there. I’m not going to confuse him and have him having to work and know all the sets at [power forward].”
  • Point guard Reggie Jackson is ready to take on a larger leadership role this season, Ellis writes in a another story. Now one of the oldest players on the team at 27, Jackson wants to erase the nightmare of last year when knee problems forced him to miss the start of the season and the team wasn’t able to incorporate him smoothly once he returned. Part of the problem was physical, as assistant coach Tim Hardaway says Jackson never fully recovered. “He’s the catalyst,” Hardaway said. “He wants to come out here and be the man. He can be the man, but first he has to be healthy. Once he’s 100% and shape, everybody’s going to see a different Reggie because last year he was hurt all the time.”

Central Notes: Bucks, Williams, Drummond, Pistons

The Bucks have a couple of options beyond making a trade to drop back below the luxury-tax line, as Gery Woelfel of points out. Citing sources, Woelfel calculates the current Milwaukee payroll at $120.6MM, which would put it approximately $1.4MM over the tax threshold. The Bucks could shed some payroll by either releasing point guard Gary Payton Jr., who has a non-guaranteed $1.3MM deal, and/or waiving Spencer Hawes $6.5MM contract. By using the stretch provision, the Bucks could reduce Hawes’ 2017/18 cap hit by more than $4MM.

In other items involving the Central Division:

  • Unrestricted free agent forward Derrick Williams could wind up back with the Cavaliers, Sam Amico of reports. Williams has drawn little interest in the open market but the Cavs could sign him to a one-year, $2.4MM contract once they decide whether to trade Kyrie Irving, Amico adds. Williams averaged 6.2 PPG and 2.3 RPG on 51% shooting in 17.1 MPG over 25 regular-season games with Cleveland but was used sparingly in the playoffs.
  • Andre Drummond has already noticed a significant difference in his breathing and stamina since undergoing sinus surgery this summer to correct a deviated septum, Rod Beard of the Detroit News reports. Playing at a high altitude in the NBA Africa Game in South Africa, the Pistons center said he was breathing much easier on and off the court, as he told Beard. “Just being able to breathe, I can’t even explain how great it feels to sleep easier and breathe easier when I play,” Drummond said. “I’m not worried about gasping for air when I go hard.” Drummond had been breathing mainly through one nostril during his NBA career prior to the surgery.
  • Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy will have difficult decisions on his power forward rotation, as Keith Langlois of notes. Tobias Harris could wind up splitting his time between both forward spots and the rest of the power forward minutes will be soaked up by a combination of Jon Leuer, Anthony Tolliver and second-year man Henry Ellenson. Leuer, who signed a four-year contract last summer, could wind up as the starter despite slumping badly after the All-Star break, Langlois continues. Tolliver signed up for his second stint with the franchise this summer and brings the elements of toughness and 3-point shooting, while Ellenson put his shot-making ability on display in summer-league action, Langlois adds.

Community Shootaround: Pistons Stars

After a stellar 2015/16 campaign in which they qualified for the playoffs and showcased their potential in a first-round series with the Cavaliers, the Pistons took a significant leap backwards in 2016/17.

Although the team struggled across the board last year, much of the team’s general disappointment can be traced either directly or indirectly to the injury that sidelined point guard Reggie Jackson for over a month to start the season.

When Jackson finally did return to the court after undergoing platelet-rich plasma injections to treat a knee issue, the Pistons were a far cry from the unit that fired on all cylinders the year prior.

As Jackson struggled to regain form, Detroit big man Andre Drummond struggled as well, initially unable to establish the same connection with his point guard that helped him to a career season in 2015/16.

While backup point guard Ish Smith performed admirably when called to fill in for Jackson, much of Detroit’s struggles in 2016/17 can be attributed to the fact that the dynamic inside-outside combination the club relied on previously was missing.

The resulting campaign can be summed up rather simply: the Pistons dropped from 44 wins to 37 and missed the playoffs.

Meanwhile Drummond’s line of 16.2 points and 14.8 boards per game in 2015/16 fell to 13.6 and 13.8 last season, while Jackson’s own line plummeted from 18.8 points and 6.2 assists per game down to 14.5 and 5.2.

Not surprisingly, the pair have found themselves front and center in trade rumors since partway through season. While Stan Van Gundy didn’t end up pulling the trigger on any deals, it’s been written that the barrage of speculation impacted Drummond.

The question we have for readers in this Community Shootaround is whether Drummond and Jackson should be moved as soon as the franchise can get a reasonable return or whether the Pistons should hold on to the tandem because their value couldn’t possibly dip lower.

Put another way, will 2017/18 mark a bounce back season for two former up-and-coming young stars? Should they be given the benefit of the doubt? Weigh in below.

Pistons Notes: Marjanovic, Backcourt, Kennard

Long one of the NBA’s most intriguing reserve big men, Boban Marjanovic will be utilized differently this season than he was during his first under Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy. Keith Langlois of the team’s official website spoke with the Van Gundy about his 7’4″ backup.

The questions are going to be how [Marjanovic’s stellar play at the end of 2016/17] holds up over time and how many minutes he can take on a nightly basis,” Van Gundy said. “Those we don’t know, but we do know that he’s got unbelievable size and skill and that’s a pretty good combination.”

With Aron Baynes now a member of the Celtics, Marjanovic figures be the primary backup to Andre Drummond, splitting duties perhaps with Jon Leuer when more mobility is required.

There’s more out of Detroit:

  • Point guard Reggie Jackson made a point of travelling to meet Avery Bradley as soon as possible, Ansar Khan of MLive writes. Jackson said he wants the new-look backcourt to hold each other accountable this season.
  • Rookie Luke Kennard will need to outplay Langston Galloway and Reggie Bullock for a prominent place in the Pistons’ rotation but in his defense he has already assuaged some concerns about his mobility that Stan Van Gundy had prior to the summer league, Keith Langlois of writes in a mailbag.
  • Big man Andre Drummond has shouldered the blame for Detroit’s lousy 2016/17 campaign, Michael Lee of The Vertical writes. “It starts with me,” Drummond said. “I didn’t come out playing the way I was supposed to. I needed to take it upon myself to be a leader this summer, to really take care of myself, take care of my body to make sure my team got better.

Central Notes: Irving, Drummond, Pritchard

Although they didn’t make Cavaliers All-Star Kyrie Irving‘s specifically curated list of preferred destinations, the Suns have come up as a potential landing spot for the disgruntled point guard. Details of a supposed Phoenix offer have come to light, an azcentral report writes.

The Suns are said to have offered the Cavaliers Eric Bledsoe, Dragan Bender and a first-round pick, the article says, attributing the initial report to an ESPN radio station in Minnesota.

It’s not hard to see why the Cavaliers didn’t immediately accept the offer. While Bledsoe is a serviceable veteran guard, his injury history only reduces his already limited value (relative to Irving, that is).

Further, 19-year-old Bender was quite raw during his first NBA season and wouldn’t likely impact the Cavaliers’ chances of contending with the Warriors next season.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • After a sinus operation, Pistons center Andre Drummond is breathing easier, sleeping better and growing less tired on the court. Rod Beard of the Detroit News documents the big man’s offseason, noting that the soon-to-be 24-year-old has taken trade rumors to heart.
  • When the Pacers let Kevin Seraphin go, they freed up more cap space, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. His contract would have become guaranteed on August 1.
  • Although it’s hard to truly gauge the Paul George trade, Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard has had a successful offseason since, Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star writes. Unfortunately, he suggests, the franchise may have been better off temporarily bottoming out.
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