Brandon Knight

Draft Notes: Perry, Hagans, Ball, Wiseman

Mississippi State’s Reggie Perry has signed with CAA Sports and will remain in the draft, Evan Daniels of 247 Sports reports (Twitter link). Perry is No. 46 on ESPN’s Big Board and ranks No. 7 among centers.

Here’s more from the upcoming draft:

  • Ashton Hagans will also sign with CAA Sports and will remain in the draft, Daniels tweets. The Kentucky guard is No. 48 on ESPN’s Big Board.
  • LaMelo Ball would be a nice selection for Detroit if the Pistons climb into the top three in the NBA draft, James L. Edwards of The Athletic writes. The Pistons have not drafted a point guard in the first round since they selected Brandon Knight, who was the No. 8 overall pick in the 2011 draft.
  • One rival scout believes James Wiseman would be in consideration for the Pistons with their No. 1 pick, as Edwards adds in the same piece. “I think they need a little bit of everything, right? He’s an athletic center with the ability to step out a little bit,” the scout said.

Pistons Notes: Doumbouya, Thomas, Knight, Rose

Rookie forward Sekou Doumbouya is buried in a shooting slump, but that’s not why the Pistons are concerned about him, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press relays. The first-round pick, who grew up in France, is struggling to adjust off the court and seems unhappy on it. He’s shooting 28.1% from the field over his last 13 appearances following a 24-point outing against Boston.

“I’ve got to be the papa bear and stay on him and make sure he’s doing the right things, but nothing takes the place of having fun and the joy of playing basketball,” coach Dwane Casey said, “I know there is a culture barrier, but he’s got to continue to play hard, play with passion.”

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Second-year guard Khyri Thomas, who has been sidelined since late October after undergoing right foot surgery, has returned to practice, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com tweets. Thomas, a second-round pick, appeared in 26 games during his rookie campaign but only played in two games this season before the foot issue cropped up. He has a partially guaranteed $1.66MM salary for next season.
  • Point guard Brandon Knight said he’s “excited” to re-join the team that drafted him, Langlois writes. Knight was one of the players acquired in the Andre Drummond deal with Cleveland on Thursday. His second stint may only last a couple of months, as Knight has an expiring contract. But Casey said the veteran guard will get some playing time to show what he can add to the team. “It’s a great opportunity for us to get a look at him and him to look at us at the same time,” Casey said.
  • Point guard Derrick Rose and shooting guard Svi Mykhailiuk could return against Orlando on Wednesday, according to Ellis. Neither has played since February 2 due to an adductor strain and a hip injury, respectively.

Pistons Trade Andre Drummond To Cavaliers

9:21pm: It’s a done deal, with the Cavaliers and Pistons both issuing press releases to confirm the trade. Detroit announced in a separate release that, as expected, Frazier has been waived to make room on the roster for the incoming players.

1:19pm: The Cavaliers are finalizing a trade with the Pistons that will see them acquire center Andre Drummond, a league source tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer (via Twitter), Detroit will receive Brandon Knight and John Henson, both of whom are on expiring contracts. Cleveland will also send the Pistons a second-round pick, per O’Connor.

The pick will be the lesser of Cleveland’s 2023 own pick or the 2023 second-rounder Golden State owes the Cavaliers, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com tweets.

Drummond, the league’s premier rebounder, holds a $28.75MM option on his contract for next season and he’s expected to opt out and test a weak free agent market. The Pistons reportedly were prepared to retain Drummond after talks with the Hawks and Knicks fell through but ultimately decided to move on and go into rebuild mode. Detroit was looking for a first-round pick for Drummond but settled on the second-rounder, along with those expiring contracts.

The modest haul for Drummond was surprising but Detroit’s front office wanted to avoid the possibility of Drummond opting in, O’Connor adds in another tweet. It also gives Cleveland the opportunity to see how Drummond meshes with the young backcourt of  Collin Sexton and Darius Garland.

The Pistons will now have approximately $35MM in cap space this summer, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Cleveland will be close to the cap if Drummond opts in or re-signs with the starting salary in the $29-$30MM range, Marks adds.

Knight is making approximately $15.64MM and Henson has a $9.73MM contract, so the Pistons will shave some money off this year’s cap. They were perilously close to the luxury tax line prior to the proposed deal. Detroit was less than $4,000 under the tax line but moves to $1.7MM under the threshold via this trade, according to Marks (Twitter link).

Drummond has a $857K trade bonus that will be applied to his $27.1MM cap hit for this season, Marks relays in another tweet. Drummond, who has spent his whole career with Pistons since being chosen in the 2012 lottery, is averaging 17.8 PPG and an NBA-best 15.8 RPG this season.

The Pistons will have to open up a roster spot before making the trade official since it is at the 15-man limit. It’s likely that Tim Frazier, who has served as the No. 3 point guard behind Derrick Rose and Reggie Jackson, will be waived unless Detroit makes another trade, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press tweets.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2020: Central Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Central Division:

Christian Wood, Pistons, 24, PF (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $3.16MM deal in 2018
There aren’t many waiver claims in the NBA but Detroit got itself a bargain when it snared Wood after the Pelicans made him available. Wood won a training camp battle with veteran forward Joe Johnson for Detroit’s final roster spot and has turned into a valuable rotation member. He’s averaging 10.2 PPG and 5.3 RPG in 17.4 MPG, including a 20-point, eight-rebound outing against the Nets on Wednesday. A lack of maturity and focus were the reasons Wood bounced around the league for a few years but he’ll get a much bigger contract as an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Shaquille Harrison, Bulls, 26, PG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $1.62MM deal in 2019
Harrison won a battle for Chicago’s final roster spot and eventually had his salary guaranteed. Harrison, who worked his way through the G League ranks before making his NBA debut two seasons ago with Phoenix, has only seen spot duty this season. In his last 16 appearances, Harrison has not played more than 11 minutes. He was a much bigger factor last season when the Bulls were banged up, appearing in 73 games, including 11 starts. The Bulls can make Harrison a restricted free agent by extending a qualifying offer of $2MM but he doesn’t appear to be in their long-range plans.

Brandon Knight, Cavaliers, 28, PG (Down) – Signed to a five-year, $70MM deal in 2015
Knight’s career has been sidetracked by injuries and once again he’s out of action due to left knee soreness. Knight’s $15.6MM expiring contract could still be used in a major deal but even when he’s able to suit up, he rarely receives playing time. The addition of Dante Exum pushed him further down the bench. In his last two appearances in mid-January, Knight totaled one point in 38 minutes. The former lottery pick, who averaged 19.6 PPG for Phoenix during the 2015/16 season, will likely have to settle for a veteran’s minimum deal this summer.

JaKarr Sampson, Pacers, 26, PF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $1.7MM deal in 2019
Sampson got a chance to start on Wednesday with Myles Turner sidelined by the flu. Otherwise, playing time has been scarce for the journeyman forward, who has also played for Philadelphia, Denver, Sacramento and Chicago during his NBA journey. He spent a good chunk of time last season in China and the G League. Sampson has appeared in 17 games this season, including 10 starts. Signed to a veteran’s minimum contract in August, Sampson will be an unrestricted free agent once again this summer. He’ll probably be looking at similar offers this July.

Dragan Bender, Bucks, 22, PF (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $3.5MM deal in 2019
The former top five pick made a minimal impact in his three seasons with the Suns. He’s been even less of a factor with the Eastern Conference’s top team, appearing in seven games. He’s played four games this month as an injury fill-in but contributed just 11 points with four turnovers in 62 minutes. Bender has spent quite a bit of time in the G League and perhaps his biggest accomplishment this season was staying on the roster and getting his salary guaranteed. His $1.82MM salary for next season is not guaranteed and it’s likely Bender will return to the free agent market for the second straight offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injuries Give Cavs Opportunity To Showcase Trade Candidates

While the Cavaliers would surely prefer to have Larry Nance Jr. and Kevin Porter Jr. healthy and in their rotation, knee injuries to both players have given the team the opportunity to showcase a pair of veteran players for potential trades, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

As Vardon observes, John Henson and Brandon Knight each played a season-high 23 minutes during Sunday’s loss to Minnesota after seeing limited action for most of the first half of 2019/20. Henson, who made his first start of the season due to Tristan Thompson‘s illness, scored seven points and grabbed 11 rebounds against the Wolves, as the Cavs look to showcase him in advance of the trade deadline.

With Henson’s $9.7MM contract set to expire at season’s end, Cleveland would like to move him, according to Vardon, a reality the big man seems to have accepted.

“Expiring deals, rebuilding team, young guys — it’s part of the game,” Henson said. “You do the best you can within what you can control, and that’s me going out there and trying to play well within a team concept — and that’s what I’m going to do.”

As for Knight, 14 of his 23 minutes on Sunday came after Porter went down in the third quarter, Vardon notes. While the veteran guard made just 2-of-8 shots vs. Minnesota, he may get a chance to continue playing a regular role, since Porter is expected to miss at least the next two weeks.

“I like Brandon Knight,” one scout told Vardon before Sunday’s game. “But he never gets to play.”

Knight’s $15.6MM cap hit will probably make him trickier to move than Henson, especially since he has struggled in his limited minutes this season. Still, it’s an expiring deal and could appeal to a team looking to create future flexibility.

The Cavs, who have already traded Jordan Clarkson this season, appear open to moving Kevin Love and virtually any of their veterans in contract years, including Matthew Dellavedova and possibly Thompson. Now that Henson and Knight are in the rotation, the Cavs will hope the little-used vets show potential trade partners they’re worth a look.

Cavaliers Notes: Windler, Veterans, Porter, Beilein

Cavaliers rookie Dylan Windler could be ready for his NBA debut next week, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The 26th pick in this year’s draft continues to make progress after being sidelined with a stress reaction in his leg. He has been ruled out for the team’s upcoming three-game road trip, which starts Friday, but may be ready for the next home game on November 14.

The Cavs are counting on Windler to add another shooting threat to their lineup, with Jordan Clarkson and Kevin Porter Jr. most likely to lose minutes, Fedor states, noting that Porter still gets lost on defense and slows down the flow of the offense. Cleveland needs a reliable backup for Cedi Osman, and the front office is encouraged by Windler’s performance this summer.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • Brandon Knight, Tristan ThompsonJohn Henson and Matthew Dellavedova and Clarkson are all veterans on expiring contracts. While the Cavaliers will shop all of them between now and the trade deadline, they will consider long-term deals with whomever who still remains, Fedor adds in the same piece. Management considers all five players to be good for the team culture and accepting of their roles.
  • Porter has expressed regret over the one-game suspension he received for running into an official, Fedor relays in a separate story. It happened during Sunday’s game when Porter bumped into Bill Spooner after not getting a foul call. “He was very contrite, very disappointed in himself,” coach John Beilein said. “I didn’t see the bump (at the time). I just saw him running that way and I turned to talk to the assistants. I didn’t even know about it until (general manager) Koby (Altman) told me.”
  • Celtics coach Brad Stevens marvels at the Cavs’ progress since the teams met twice in the preseason, Fedor writes in another piece. Boston picked up a victory in Cleveland last night, but Stevens believes Beilein has the team headed in the right direction. “I have a lot of respect for him,” Stevens said. “I watched how they’ve even tweaked and changed since we played him in the preseason. He’s just really advanced, he’s very good. Structurally, they’ve changed so much on offense and defense. I feel like they’ve really adjusted too as they’ve gotten back healthy, playing to the strengths of (Kevin) Love, playing to the strengths of Thompson.”

Central Notes: Knight, Morris, Brown, Nance

Cavaliers point guard Brandon Knight, an NBA All-Rookie First Team member after averaging 12.8 PPG and 3.8 APG for Detroit during the 2011/12 season, hasn’t played 60+ games since the 2013/14 season. But, as Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes, Knight is looking to bounce back from a series of injuries in what is a contract year for the 27-year-old former McDonald’s All-American.

“I just try to be myself,” Knight said. “I think I stood out just because people haven’t seen me, like the actual me, in over two years. I was really just myself and I think I shot the ball well. I think that’s one of my strengths. I’ve been working on my body a lot, being quick, being explosive. From what guys saw at the end of the year (with the Cavaliers) I think that’s what guys probably thought they would see coming into the year.”

Knight, who estimates it’s been two or three years since he’s had a healthy offseason, has been able to focus more on his game than on rehab while preparing for his second season with the Cavaliers. As part of that focus, Knight has bought some top-of-the-line equipment to help improve his body as well.

Fedor specifically notes that Knight looks more explosive during Cavaliers’ training camp, easily making his way to the basket and finishing at the rim while also repeatedly draining jumpers off the dribble. He believes he’s finally back to pre-injury form, if not better.

“I feel like I’m there. Or even a little bit better,” Knight said. “A little bit smarter, my pace is a little bit better, so I feel good. It’s still early. Just trying to maintain that throughout the (Cavaliers’) season and just trying to stay on top of doing the right things for my body.”

There’s more from the Central Division this afternoon:

  • Markieff Morris was not particularly interested in the Pistons when free agency began this year, but was steered toward Detroit by his twin brother, Marcus Morris, who played for the Pistons from 2015 to 2017, writes Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. “My brother told me it was a great place. Honestly, Detroit really wasn’t on my list. I really didn’t look into it much until I sat down with my brother and looked at the roster… It was kind of a perfect fit.”
  • In more Pistons news, Rod Beard of The Detroit News says that second-year player Bruce Brown has improved his game to become a better all-around player this season, especially on offense, after being mostly a defensive specialist last season as a rookie.
  • In another article for Cleveland.com, Fedor adds that Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. is thrilled to not be playing center anymore. “I don’t play anymore 5 really. Thank goodness. I’ve been doing a whole lot of 4. A little bit in the post, a whole lot on the wing. The biggest difference between a 4 and 5 in this offense is kind of the freedom it gives you. I think with my playmaking ability that I kind of found last year I think that best suits me.”

Eastern Notes: Carter, Clarkson, Fall, Tyndall

Bulls second-year center Wendell Carter will be the foundation of the team’s defense, Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago writes. Carter will do most of the dirty work, along with being used as an offensive facilitator. The Bulls will rely on him for shot-blocking as well as to mask some of his teammates’ defensive shortcomings, Strotman adds.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Jordan Clarkson and Tristan Thompson are the Cavaliers veterans with the most trade value beyond Kevin Love, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Matthew Dellavedova, John Henson and Brandon Knight rank next in terms of trade value, as all have expiring contracts, Fedor notes, but none are core pieces.
  • Celtics rookie center Tacko Fall suffered a mild knee sprain in a collision going up for a block during a workout, Jared Weiss of The Athletic tweets. He’s expected to be sidelined for only a week, Weiss adds. Fall, an undrafted 7’6” center, was signed to an Exhibit 10 contract in July.
  • Donnie Tyndall has officially been named head coach of the Pistons’ G League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive, the NBAGL team tweets. The Pistons’ plan to hire Tyndall was first reported in July. Tyndall has spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach with the Raptors 905, helping win a league championship under Jerry Stackhouse in 2017.

Cavs Notes: Smith, Coaching Search, Expiring Deals, Draft

Cavaliers GM Koby Altman told reporters Friday that he has already been contacted by a team interested in trading for J.R. Smith, relays Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The interest isn’t so much in Smith as a player – he parted ways with the team in November and only appeared in 11 games this season – but in his contract, which is valued at $14.72MM but carries only a $3.87MM guarantee.

[RELATED: Why J.R. Smith May (Or May Not) Be A Valuable Offseason Trade Chip]

A team looking to unload salary could deal for Smith and be on the hook for just $1.29MM annually if he is waived and stretched over three seasons. The Cavaliers showed a willingness this year to take on unwanted contracts in exchange for draft picks, trading for Brandon Knight, Marquese Chriss, Matthew Dellavedova and Nik Stauskas.

“We are actually the only team in the NBA that can provide guaranteed cap relief from teams or salary relief until July 1,” Altman said. “We can guarantee that right now and we actually had a phone call yesterday on that (Smith) trade chip, so, we’re going to keep on being aggressive adding those assets because we do eventually want to consolidate and be really good at some point.”

There’s more from Cleveland, all courtesy of Vardon:

  • Altman promised an “open-minded” approach to the team’s coaching search and brought up the possibility of making history by hiring a woman for the job. Though he couldn’t mention her by name because she’s under contract, Spurs assistant Becky Hammon is an obvious candidate if Altman wants a female coach. Hammon interviewed for the Bucks’ head-coaching job last year, ran the Spurs’ summer league team and has a player development background, which Vardon states is important to the Cavaliers.
  • Other coaching possibilities that Cavs players mentioned to Vardon include the Nets’ Bret Brielmaier, the Mavericks’ Jamahl Mosley and the Trail Blazers’ Nate Tibbetts. All three have previous experience in Cleveland. Altman said interviews will begin soon with candidates whose teams aren’t in the playoffs.
  • The Cavaliers believe their expiring contracts for next season might generate some interest on the trade market this summer. Knight and Dellavedova will both be free agents in 2020, along with John Henson, Jordan Clarkson and Tristan Thompson.
  • Cleveland won a tiebreaker with the Suns for second place in the draft order heading into next month’s lottery. If they Cavs do wind up with the No. 2 pick, Vardon notes, their view of what type of player Collin Sexton will develop into may determine whether they opt for a point guard in Ja Morant or a wing player in R.J. Barrett.

Eastern Notes: Knight, Sixers, Bucks

Brandon Knight, who was sent to the Cavaliers at this season’s trade deadline, is embracing his role as a mentor to Collin Sexton, Joe Vardon of The Athletic writes.

“I don’t know what the process was before I got here … I do know since I’ve gotten here I try to talk to [Sexton] as much as I can,” Knight said. “I see myself a lot in him as a young guard having vets around me, having to learn when to score and when not to score, trying to use my speed but also trying to slow down. There’s a lot of things I had to deal with. So when I see him do certain things I’m like, ‘Man, I used to do that.’ ”

Knight and Sexton were each selected eighth overall in their respective drafts. Knight started for most of his career and he knows what it’s like to feel the pressure of being a top selection.

“It took me a couple years,” Knight said. “If we can get him to do that — what I learned year four — by year two, how much better will our team be? I just try to tell him those little things.”

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Sixers assistant coach Billy Lange has interviewed for the St. Joe’s head coaching job, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Lange has been with the team for six seasons.
  • The Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks‘ G League affiliate, has fired coach Jordan Brady, according to the team’s Twitter feed. “We greatly appreciate Coach Brady and his staff for their efforts the past 2 seasons,” GM Dave Dean said. “While they have played a significant role in the organization’s growth on the court and in the community, we feel it’s in the best interest of the Herd to explore other options.”
  • Something needs to change in Boston, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports contends. Inconsistency has plagued the Celtics all season, prompting Forsberg takes a look at some potential lineup changes that coach Brad Stevens could make.