Bruce Brown

Pistons Notes: Griffin, Rookies, Johnson, Bullock

There’s a good chance that Blake Griffin can return to elite status after a healthy summer and a few months of working to develop chemistry with Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Griffin played 25 games for the Pistons after being acquired in a trade with the Clippers, and although his scoring and rebounding numbers declined from where they were in L.A., Griffin averaged a career-best 6.2 assists per game after coming to Detroit.

Beard also states that he doesn’t expect Griffin to be among the first players moved if owner Tom Gores decides to break up the team. Griffin signed a max extension with the Clippers last summer and is owed $141.6MM over the next four years, although the final season is a player option. That type of contract would be difficult to trade, Beard notes, and tough to get anything of value for.

There’s more today out of Detroit:

  • Dwane Casey’s history of giving minutes to young players in Toronto could be good news for Khyri Thomas and Bruce Brown, but they’ll still face a challenge in cracking a talented rotation, Beard states in the same piece. The Pistons sent two second-round picks to the Sixers for the 38th pick in this year’s draft, which they used to grab Thomas, a shooting guard who specializes in defense. They took Brown, a wing who can also play the point, four picks later. Both were adequate but not overly impressive during Summer League, and Beard believes there will have to be injuries for either to get regular playing time as rookies.
  • The Pistons brought in Glenn Robinson III as insurance in case Stanley Johnson receives a huge offer sheet as a restricted free agent next summer, Beard adds. Detroit is already near the projected cap for 2019/20 and may not be willing to go into the luxury tax to keep Johnson.
  • Reggie Bullock‘s 3-point shooting prowess should keep him in the starting lineup, even though the Pistons’ coaches are strong believers in Luke Kennard, writes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Bullock, who shot a sizzling 44.5% from 3-point range last year, will be a free agent next summer.

Pistons: Leuer, Brown, Robinson, Kennard

Injuries have sidetracked Jon Leuer‘s career but the Pistons will likely need him to provide minutes at both frontcourt spots during the upcoming season, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes in his latest mailbag. The Pistons have only two true centers and three power forwards on the roster, including Leuer, Langlois notes. He missed most of last season with an ankle injury that required surgery in January, then underwent a knee procedure this summer for a meniscus injury that occurred during a workout. He is expected to be ready by opening night.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Bruce Brown, one of two second-round picks from this June’s draft on the roster, will have a successful season if he proves he can play multiple positions, Langlois writes in a player profile. Brown will likely spend most of the season playing for the G League’s Grand Rapids Drive, where he could develop his skills at both wing positions and point guard. Offensively, he needs to improve his perimeter shooting and become a better finisher in the paint, Langlois adds.
  • Glenn Robinson III will soon have lunch with Dwane Casey to discuss his role at length but the former University of Michigan standout has a pretty good idea what his new coach wants, Langlois reports in a feature story. Robinson signed a tw0-year, $8.35MM contract with Detroit after an ankle injury wrecked his 2017/18 season with the Pacers. “We’ve got a spread offense,” he said. “My ability to shoot and help our big guys, Dre (Andre Drummond) and Blake (Griffin), my ability to defend, those are the main things I’ve been focusing on this summer – really knocking down that shot for us, being able to make plays for others, but also defending.”
  • Robinson and second-year wing Luke Kennard are the team’s most likely breakout candidates, Langlois opines in his mailbag posting. The timing could be just right for Robinson to emerge as an above-average wing, given his skill set. Kennard shot 40% from the 3-point line as a rookie despite his rotation spot being in flux. Casey’s penchant for spacing and ball movement should play to Kennard’s strengths, Langlois adds.

Contract Details: CP3, MCW, Nurkic, Anderson

The Rockets‘ four-year max deal for Chris Paul includes a player option in year four, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). While that added detail on CP3’s new agreement with Houston is interesting, the possibility of an opt-out probably won’t be a factor in 2021 when a decision is due. Paul will be 36 years old when he has to decide on that $44MM+ option, so he seems unlikely to turn it down.

Pincus has several more specific details on recently-signed contracts, so let’s round them up…

  • Michael Carter-Williams‘ one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Rockets isn’t fully guaranteed. The deal, worth $1,757,429 in total, has a $1.2MM partial guarantee for now (Twitter link).
  • The Trail Blazers‘ agreement with Jusuf Nurkic can be worth up to $54MM, but has a base value of $48MM, with $6MM in unlikely incentives. The fourth and final year is also currently only partially guaranteed for $4MM (Twitter link).
  • Kyle Anderson‘s new four-year contract with the Grizzlies features a 15% trade kicker (Twitter link).
  • Bruce Brown (Pistons) and Keita Bates-Diop (Timberwolves) got three-year, minimum-salary deals with two guaranteed seasons from their respective teams (Twitter link).
  • Of the two-way contracts signed so far this offseason, Billy Preston‘s deal with the Cavaliers is the only one confirmed to be for two years rather than just one (Twitter link).

Pistons Sign Second-Rounder Bruce Brown

The Pistons have signed second-round pick Bruce Brown to his first NBA contract, per RealGM’s official transactions log. While full details of the deal aren’t yet known, it’ll be a multiyear pact.

Detroit is over the cap, but the team could give Brown a contract longer than two years by using a portion of its mid-level exception to complete the signing. Glenn Robinson‘s agreement with the Pistons will eat up part of that MLE, but there’s more than enough remaining to sign Brown with it too.

Brown, a 6’5″ shooting guard, declared for the 2018 draft after a somewhat disappointing season for Miami. Despite a slight uptick in minutes, he saw his PPG (11.4), FG% (.415), 3PT% (.267), and FT% (.629) decline in his sophomore year, though he did increase his RPG (7.1) and APG (4.0). Brown’s season came to an early end due to a left foot injury — he played his last game on January 27.

The Pistons remained bullish enough on Brown – who is a strong perimeter defender – to make him the 42nd overall pick last month. While there’s no rookie scale for second-rounders, most of the players picked in the 40-45 range in 2017 still received two guaranteed years, so Brown could be in line for a similar deal.

Pistons Notes: Thomas, Scouting, Gores, Brown

The Pistons were looking to add depth at the wing spots and got two players who will compete for minutes next season, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. Detroit didn’t have a first-round pick but traded away two future second-rounders to the Sixers to nab Creighton’s Khyri Thomas at No. 38, then chose Bruce Brown of Miami (Fla.) four picks later with their own selection.

“You never know how the draft’s going to go,” senior advisor Ed Stefanski said. “It didn’t look like we were going to be able to move like we did. People were asking for some big asks, but as the night went on it got much better and we were able to make the move. … We need some young guys, especially, to play that position.”

Stanley Johnson, Reggie Bullock and Luke Kennard are projected to eat up most of the minutes at those spots but Thomas and Brown could get into the mix if an injury strikes.

In other news regarding the Pistons:

  • Stefanski notified the team’s scouting department that their contracts would not be renewed at the end of the month, Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated tweets. The team’s front office is undergoing a complete makeover after head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy and GM Jeff Bower were dismissed. The team is still seeking one or more young executives to take front office roles. Spurs executive Malik Rose has been offered a front office job. New head coach Dwane Casey is in the process of building his staff. The team reached an agreement with Bucks assistant Sean Sweeney to join its staff.
  • Top players Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson were asked for their input when owner Tom Gores was conducting the coaching search, Langlois writes in a separate piece“I did consult with them, (though) they weren’t making the decision,” Gores said. “I texted Reggie, Andre, Blake. ‘What kind of coach do you want? Let’s check the boxes.’ I did engage with them. I know them pretty well. Meeting Dwane, he really did check all those boxes.”
  • Bruce Brown underwent season-ending foot surgery in his final season with the Hurricanes but he has no restrictions this offseason, as he told Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press and other media members. “I’m good to go,” Brown said. “I’m fully cleared. All my medicals look fine at the combine so I’m ready to go 100 percent.”

Draft Notes: Bulls, Bamba, Clippers, R. Williams

There are a number of signs that the Bulls may be focusing on Mohamed Bamba as a prime target in Thursday night’s draft, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. As Johnson details, the club has had “consistent contact” with Bamba throughout the pre-draft process, with team president Michael Reinsdorf among those who has talked to the young center.

According to Johnson, the Bulls have been intrigued by Bamba’s “game-changing defensive potential” from the start of the pre-draft process. However, there’s a sense around the NBA that Chicago may have to trade up if the club wants to be assured of landing Bamba.

As we wait to see if Bamba is indeed the player Chicago covets, let’s round up a few more draft-related rumors and news items…

  • Texas A&M big man Robert Williams visited the Clippers on Tuesday and had a conversation with owner Steve Ballmer, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Wojnarowski, who notes that the Clips have taken an extensive look at Williams, adds that the center won’t attend the draft, opting instead to watch it at home in Shreveport with friends and family.
  • Speaking of the Clippers, they’ve been rebuffed by the Kings (No. 2), Hawks (No. 3), Grizzlies (No. 4), and Mavericks (No. 5) in their efforts to move up in the draft, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. While the team will continue to explore ways to get it hands on Luka Doncic, L.A. is confident that it can get two talented players at 12 and 13.
  • Miami prospect Bruce Brown is squeezing in a second workout with the Celtics today ahead of Thursday’s draft, he tells Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link).
  • Aaron Holiday (UCLA), Ray Spalding (Louisville), Donte Ingram (Loyola-Chicago), and Jonathan Williams (VCU) worked out for the Knicks on Tuesday, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.com, who adds (via Twitter) that the club also auditioned Penn State’s Tony Carr this week.

Draft Workouts: Sixers, Grizzlies, Pacers, Hornets, T-Wolves

The Sixers will host Kentucky forward Kevin Knox and Texas Tech guard Zhaire Smith for the second time on Tuesday, according to a team release. Knox’s workout will be separate from the other six players they will bring in, including Smith. The Sixers hold the No. 10 selection in the lottery. Knox is currently ranked No. 9 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, while Smith is slotted at No. 16.

The other members of the group workout are all guards, including B.J. Johnson (La Salle), De’Anthony Melton (USC), Tyler Nelson (Fairfield), Malik Newman (Kansas) and Landry Shamet (Wichita State). Melton (No. 24, Givony) is a possibility for the Sixers with their other first-rounder at No. 26.

We have numerous other draft workouts to pass along:

Sixers Notes: Colangelo, Workouts, McConnell, Holmes

The Sixers insist the loss of Bryan Colangelo hasn’t affected their draft preparations, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Colangelo resigned last week as president of basketball operations after a Twitter-related scandal involving sensitive information released through burner accounts.

The front office has tried to stick to business as usual in his absence, conducting pre-draft workouts over the past three days. Coach Brett Brown has taken over Colangelo’s responsibilities on an interim basis, and draft decisions will be made as a group effort.

“I don’t think it’s going to change much, to be honest with you,” said VP of player personnel Marc Eversley. “All of our scouts have been on staff here for the past two years. I’ve been here for the last two years. You know, we’re in a position where we feel we are going to be able … to select somebody who’s going to be able to come in and help us contribute.”

There’s more tonight from Philadelphia:

  • After two days of bringing in high-profile prospects, today’s workout focused on potential second-round picks, summer leaguers and G League acquisitions, Pompey writes in a separate story. West Virginia’s Jevon Carter and Miami’s Bruce Brown highlighted the session, with Brown saying he is motivated by a stress fracture in his left foot that required surgery in February and limited his effectiveness at the combine. “I just have a chip on my shoulder that I know I can get back to where I was,” said Brown, who was viewed as a possible lottery pick before the season began. “I know teams are going to believe in me, and believe that I can do that. So it just adds a chip on the shoulder, and I’m ready to go after guys that go before me.”
  • Today’s move to exercise team options on Richaun Holmes and T.J. McConnell could lead to free agency decisions next summer, Pompey notes in another piece. Both will have non-guaranteed $1.6MM salaries next season then will become unrestricted free agents if they aren’t signed to extensions. “Like I said, I want to be here,” McConnell said. “So I’m excited they picked it up. But that’s not going to change how I approach every day.”
  • The Sixers are in contention for the top players on the free agent market, but Brown promises they won’t spend recklessly if they don’t get their main targets, tweets Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Eastern Notes: Hood, Ellington, Knicks, Sixers

The consensus among NBA insiders is that Rodney Hood cost himself a significant amount of future earnings in free agency after struggling to find his way in the playoffs, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. Hood made slightly under $3.39M this past season and is set to become a restricted free agent once the league’s new year begins July 1.

Sources tell Vardon that the Cavaliers still like Hood and can envision a future with him on the team. The shooting guard fell out of the rotation during the latter half of the team’s postseason run before playing 52 minutes over the team’s last two NBA Finals contests. He finished the postseason with a plus/minus of -92 in a total of 260 minutes.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

Draft Notes: M. Porter, T. Brown, Sixers, Wizards

As the Cavaliers prepared on Friday for what turned out to be their final game of the 2017/18 season, the team also had at least one front office representative present at Michael Porter Jr.‘s Pro Day in Chicago, a source tells Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Depending on how confident teams are about the health of Porter’s back, the young forward could still be on the board when Cleveland picks at No. 8 in this month’s draft.

While it’s not clear if Porter will last until No. 8, the Knicks – who hold the No. 9 overall selection – are also doing their homework just in case. As Marc Berman of The New York Post writes, “top-level” Knicks officials will travel to Chicago this Friday to work out the Missouri product. Porter said at last month’s combine that being drafted by the Knicks would be “awesome,” but sources tell Berman that the 19-year-old is probably a long shot to slip to No. 9.

Here are more notes and updates on pre-draft workouts: