Beno Udrih

Central Notes: Pistons, Udrih, LaVine, Cavs

After waiving veteran point guard Beno Udrih on Saturday, the Pistons are down to 14 players on their NBA roster to open the season, and head coach Stan Van Gundy doesn’t anticipate filling that final opening right away, per Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press.

“Is there going to be anyone out there right now?” said Van Gundy, who also serves as the Pistons’ president of basketball operations. “I don’t know that. I’m not saying there won’t be, but that’s not really the plan, but as you get going on and you assess needs or get an injury, that 15th spot can give you some flexibility.”

As for Udrih, the 35-year-old has aspirations of getting into coaching once his playing career is over, but he’s not ready to retire as a player quite yet, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News.

“I’m not there yet; I know I can still play, especially in a system that people know what I can do,” Udrih told Beard. “I’m a pick-and-roll player and I’ll make the right play and try to find open shots for my teammates or take the mid-range shot. … I still can play and I still want to play. If it doesn’t happen here, maybe somewhere else, and we’ll go from there.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Although the Bulls and Zach LaVine‘s representatives remained in communication, the two sides never really got close to working out a contract extension for LaVine before Monday’s deadline, says Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago. However, Goodwill reiterates what we’ve heard from other reporters, suggesting that the club has no intention of letting LaVine get away in restricted free agency next summer.
  • With so many new players to incorporate, the Cavaliers are anticipating “somewhat of a bumpy ride” early in the season, writes Terry Pluto of The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
  • One of those new arrivals is veteran guard Dwyane Wade, and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com takes an in-depth look at how the Cavaliers are accommodating the future Hall-of-Famer during his first season with the club.

Pistons Waive Beno Udrih

The Pistons have waived veteran point guard Beno Udrih, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Detroit had already trimmed its roster to 15 players plus a pair of two-way deals, so the decision to waive Udrih could pave the way for another move.

The 35-year-old spent one season with the Pistons after being claimed off waivers last October. Udrih appeared in 39 games in Detroit, averaging 5.8 points and 3.4 assists in 14.4 minutes per night. He will go back on waivers, putting him in a situation similar to last year, when the Heat released him just before the start of the season.

Udrih was a first-round pick by San Antonio in 2004. He has also played for the Kings, Bucks, Magic, Knicks and Grizzlies.

Pistons Re-Sign Beno Udrih, Finalize Camp Roster

The Pistons have formally announced their training camp roster, confirming that 19 players will start the preseason with the club. In addition to the 16 players who were already officially under contract with the club, Detroit has announced the signings of point guard Beno Udrih, forward Derek Willis, and center Landry Nnoko.

The Pistons’ agreements with Willis and Nnoko were reported all the way back in July, so those moves have long been anticipated. However, the team’s deal with Udrih is new.

Udrih, 35, was a Piston last season, spending the year with the franchise after being claimed off waivers in the fall. The Slovenian guard provided some depth at the point, appearing in 39 games for Detroit and averaging 5.8 PPG to go along with 3.4 APG. As Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press tweets, Udrih has spent the offseason working out in Detroit, hoping to catch on with an NBA team.

Details of Udrih’s contract haven’t been reported, but I’d expect a non-guaranteed pact. If that’s the case, the Pistons would head into camp with 13 players on fully guaranteed contracts, and Udrih, Willis, Nnoko, and Eric Moreland also vying for roster spots.

FA Rumors: Muhammad, Farmar, Mbah a Moute, Allen

The Hawks, Nets, Bucks, Knicks and Magic have all expressed interest in swingman Shabazz Muhammad, according to Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com (Twitter links). The Bulls are on that list as well, tweets Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype. Muhammad became an unrestricted free agent last week when Minnesota pulled his qualifying offer to create enough cap room to sign Taj Gibson. He has been with the Wolves for all four of his NBA seasons and averaged 9.9 points in 78 games last year.

There’s more tonight on the free agent front:

  • Jordan Farmar is hoping to return to the NBA and spoke to Lakers coach Luke Walton today about a possible opportunity, Kennedy relays (Twitter link). The 30-year-old point guard played two games for the Kings in November of last season.
  • The Raptors have talked about making a play for former Clippers forward Luc Mbah a Moute, reports Michael Grange of Rogers Sportsnet (Twitter link).
  • The Clippers and Timberwolves are both considering Tony Allen, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Coaches Doc Rivers in L.A. and Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota have connections with Allen from their time with the Celtics.
  • Veteran point guard Beno Udrih is talking to several teams in Las Vegas, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Now 35, Udrih believes he can play for several more years. He got into 39 games with the Pistons last season.
  • Former Baylor standout Royce O’Neale is considering several NBA offers, according to Kyler (Twitter link). The 24-year-old forward went undrafted in 2015 and has been playing in Lithuania, but he has an NBA opt-out in his contract through July 20th.

Central Notes: Pistons, Pacers, Stephenson

After a disappointing 2016/17 campaign, the Pistons will look to shore up their three-point shooting. So says head coach Stan Van Gundy, at least. Aaron McMann of MLive wrote about Detroit’s goal heading into the offseason.

We’ve got to shoot the ball better, there’s no question about that,” Van  Gundy told the media following his exit interviews with Pistons players.

Not long after, he’d go on to complain about the team’s regression throughout the season, as has become somewhat of a custom for the Pistons bench boss.

We just talked about that with our team. I think a lot of that can be internal development. [The Pistons] had virtually an entire roster that took a step back in that area this year.

There’s more from the Central Division:

Central Notes: George, Udrih, The Palace

If Paul George doesn’t get named to an All-NBA team, he “probably” won’t remain with the Pacers, Steven Ruiz of USA Today writes. Ruiz makes the bold claim while describing how the new collective bargaining agreement ties max contract compensation to personal accolades determined by the media.

Should George be named to an All-NBA team, he’ll be eligible to earn about $70MM more with the Pacers than he would with any other franchise. Such is the case with the new designated player exception. With or without the designated player exception, George will be eligible to sign for a longer term with Indiana than with any other squad.

George got off to a slow start with the Pacers this season but has spent much of the past two months demonstrating why he had previously been heralded as a franchise cornerstone. On the season he’s posted 23.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game but in March he ramped those averages up to 25.3 points and 6.9 rebounds.

There’s no shortage of competent competition with which the Pacers star will be in contention for the award but it’s certainly plausible he gets named to an All-NBA team for the fourth time in five season. Expect him to be held in contrast with players like Draymond Green, Gordon Hayward and Jimmy Butler with the two forward positions on the Third Team up for grabs.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The recovery time for Pistons guard Beno Udrih‘s knee injury is six to eight weeks, Rod Beard of the Detroit News tweets. Udrih will be a free agent this summer.
  • As of today, C.J. Miles 2017/18 deal with the Pacers becomes guaranteed at $4.7MM, tweets The Vertical’s Bobby Marks. The veteran guard also holds a player option, however.
  • The silver lining of a disappointing Pistons season is that April has given the team a chance to get a good look at Boban Marjanovic and Henry Ellenson. According to Rod Beard of the Detroit News, head coach Stan Van Gundy has given them favorable reviews.
  • Michigan has said goodbye to two major facilities in two days and David Mayo of MLive considers what the finales of both the Palace of Auburn Hills and Joe Louis Arena mean to the region. The Pistons will join the NHL’s Red Wings in the Little Caesars Arena next season. With the Palace out of the picture, Madison Square Garden serves as the only NBA venue without a corporately sponsored name.

Pistons Unable To Waive Beno Udrih, Sign Lorenzo Brown

11:45am: The Pistons won’t be waiving Udrih and signing Brown after all, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical. According to Charania, league rules dictate that Sunday was the deadline for Detroit to cut Udrih and have him pass through waivers, so the Pistons were unable to complete the pair of transactions, despite the fact that Brown had been set to join the team.

As Bobby Marks of The Vertical explains (via Twitter), multiple teams finish their regular season on Tuesday, so not every team would have the opportunity to claim Udrih if he were to clear waivers on Wednesday.

10:05am: A source tells Rod Beard of The Detroit News (Twitter link) that the Pistons signing Brown and cutting Udrih is “possible, but complicated,” so we’ll wait to see whether the team is able to make it official today.

9:46am: The Pistons will make a change at point guard with just two games left in the season, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical, who reports (via Twitter) that the team will cut Beno Udrih and sign Lorenzo Brown.

Udrih suffered a right knee injury on Sunday, and hadn’t been expected to be available for the Pistons’ last couple games this week, so the move is designed to get a healthy body in to back up Ish Smith at the point guard position. Udrih had been on a one-year, guaranteed deal, so being waived now won’t affect his salary or his summer outlook. For the season, Udrih recorded 5.8 PPG and 3.4 APG in 39 games (14.4 MPG) for Detroit.

As for Brown, he returns to the Pistons after a 2016/17 season that saw him make a number of stops. After failing to earn a spot on Detroit’s regular season roster out of camp, Brown played in Russia and China. He eventually returned stateside and joined the Grand Rapids Drive, the Pistons’ D-League affiliate, with whom he averaged 23.6 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 4.0 APG in 11 games down the stretch this season.

With Udrih out, the Pistons could have inserted Reggie Jackson back into their rotation for the final two games of the season. However, head coach Stan Van Gundy suggested last night that Jackson likely wouldn’t be an option, since the team had already committed to shutting him down for the season, as Rod Beard of The Detroit News details.

Central Notes: Caldwell-Pope, Udrih, Stephenson

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s DUI arrest this week won’t factor into the bidding when he hits free agency, writes David Mayo of MLive. Caldwell-Pope can still expect offers topping $20MM a year, as he will be among the top players on the open market. And the Pistons will still be willing to match any offer sheet that their restricted free agent presents. Coach Stan Van Gundy exhibited his forgiving nature by keeping Caldwell-Pope in the starting lineup for the first game after the incident.

The Pistons are determined not to let Caldwell-Pope leave with nothing in return, Mayo notes. They might be willing to entertain thoughts of a sign-and-trade, but the fourth-year guard would have to agree to any deal and it would have to happen before he has an offer sheet.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Veteran Pistons guard Beno Udrih wants to coach when his playing days are finished, relays Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Udrih, 34, was claimed off waivers at the start of the season because of Reggie Jackson‘s knee problems. Almost immediately, he was sharing pointers with newly appointed starter Ish Smith“He’s a very, very smart basketball guy and makes some very, very good points,” Van Gundy said of Udrih. “It’s always nice to have those guys around.”
  • Pacers players stayed after practice Saturday to welcome Lance Stephenson back to the team, according to Nate Taylor of The Indianapolis Star. Stephenson signed a three-year deal Thursday and will play his first game in three years in an Indiana uniform today against Cleveland. “I still think I’m dreaming right now,” Stephenson said. “I keep waiting to wake up and say, ‘Ah, it was just a dream.’ But that hasn’t happened yet and I’m happy I’m here. I just want to get back on the right path and get back to where I used to be.”
  • The return of Khris Middleton from a hamstring injury has sparked the Bucks‘ playoff push, notes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Milwaukee is 17-7 since February 8th in games that Middleton has played and currently holds the fifth spot in the East.

Pistons Notes: Jackson, Van Gundy, Trades

Although the Pistons maintain that Reggie Jackson is not on the trade market, rival teams get a sense that he’s more available than Detroit has let on, Zach Lowe of ESPN.com writes. It was previously reported that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has moved ahead of Jackson on the team’s list of untouchable players. KCP and Andre Drummond are reportedly the only players ahead of the point guard on that list.

The Pistons struggled while Jackson was sidelined with knee tendinitis and when he returned to the court, it didn’t help them improve as much as they anticipated.  The team owns a record of 19-24 and sits two games behind the Bulls for the eighth seed in the conference.

Here’s more from Detroit:

  • The Pistons aren’t likely to make a major deal before the deadline, David Mayo of MLive writes. Executive/coach Stan Van Gundy believes this year’s trade deadline will be different than it has been in the past. “You’re not going to get the deals, or at least very few of them, where people don’t want to pay people,” Van Gundy said. “We’ve been able to take advantage of that a little bit. With Tobias, [the Magic] wanted to be under the cap to do stuff next summer. We were able to do that with Reggie, same reason, [the Thunder] didn’t want to meet his price. I don’t know that those kinds of deals are going to come up now. They’ll be more straight, basketball-type deals.”
  • In the same piece, Mayo speculates that Beno Udrih and Aron Baynes could be trade candidates. Udrih would be expendable if the Pistons feel Jackson and Ish Smith can remain healthy for the season and Baynes is likely to opt out of his deal in the offseason, so getting value for him now may be a smart move.
  • Van Gundy said the Pistons won’t look to make a trade simply “for the sake of change,” as Rod Beard of the Detroit News relays (Twitter link). “It would have to be a deal that in our mind was a pretty obvious step forward,” Van Gundy said.
  • Van Gundy believes the Pistons need to play harder on defense, Beard passes along in a separate tweet. “It’s not enough to say they’re trying hard. That’s a start, but [that] should be a given. This isn’t the YMCA; it’s the NBA–you got to do both,” Van Gundy exclaimed.

Heat Notes: Winslow, Weber, Haslem, Wade

Justise Winslow‘s ballhandling skills gave Miami the confidence to cut Beno Udrih and Briante Weber, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The second-year forward has been helping Goran Dragic run the offense and allowing coach Erik Spoestra to put another shooter on the floor. Winderman speculates that as Josh McRoberts becomes available, the Heat will play more often without a traditional point guard on the floor.

There’s more news from Miami:

  • Weber has been promised a full opportunity to display his skills in the D-League, Winderman relays in a separate piece. With the Sioux Falls team last season, Weber shared the point guard role with Tre Kelley and DeAndre Liggins, but now he will be the clear starter. “They did everything right. They made him feel like he’s still very much in their plans,” said Weber’s agent, Bill Neff said. “To me, that was the sole criteria: They made it clear they have plans. They said, ‘He’s the point guard [at Sioux Falls] and we want to see him get better offensively.’ They told him, ‘Even though we cut you, we see real value.'”
  • Late-season collapses like the one Friday night against Charlotte as to be expected for a team with so much roster turnover, writes Shandel Richardson of The Sun-Sentinel. Veteran forward Udonis Haslem understands the need to be patient with all his new teammates. “You have to learn from the mistakes,” he said following the game. “You can’t come back the next game and continue to make the same mistakes and have the same errors. The key is learning from those things and being able to adjust and make those corrections the next game.”
  • The absence of Dwyane Wade hung over Friday’s home opener, according to Ethan Skolnick of CBS Sports. Even in the pre-game introductions, where Wade’s name used to be the last one called, fans and players could feel there was something missing. After 13 years with the Heat, Wade signed with the Bulls in July.
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