Cade Cunningham

Pistons Granted Disabled Player Exception

The Pistons have been granted a disabled player exception due to Cade Cunningham‘s season-ending injury, reports James L. Edwards II of The Athletic (Twitter link). The former No. 1 overall pick underwent surgery in December to address a left tibial stress fracture.

A disabled player exception grants an over-the-cap team some extra spending power when it loses a player to an injury deemed more likely than not to sideline him through at least June 15.

The exception is worth either half the injured player’s salary or the value of the mid-level exception, whichever is lesser. In this case, Cunningham’s salary for 2022/23 is $10,552,800, so Detroit’s DPE will be worth $5,276,400.

As we explain in our glossary entry, the disabled player exception can be used to sign a free agent, to claim a player off waivers, or to acquire a player in a trade. The exception can only be used on a single player and can only accommodate a player on a one-year deal. A free agent signee can’t get a multiyear contract, and any trade or waiver target must be in the final year of his contract.

Although the disabled player exception gives a team extra cap flexibility, it doesn’t open up an extra spot on the 15-man roster. The club must have a roster spot available to use the DPE to add a player.

Teams had until January 15 to apply for disabled player exceptions, so if a player suffers a season-ending injury anytime between now and the end of the season, a DPE won’t be available for his club. The Pistons – and any other team with a disabled player exception – will have until March 10 to use their DPE.

Central Notes: Cunningham, Hayes, DeRozan, Haliburton

Cade Cunningham pondered his choices for a long time before electing to undergo season-ending surgery on his left shin, but he’s convinced that he made the right choice, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Cunningham accompanied the Pistons on their flight to Paris for Thursday’s game, marking his first road trip with his teammates since having the operation last month.

The top pick in the 2021 draft was hesitant to miss so much of his second NBA season, and he did a lot of research to make sure surgery was the best option. Detroit’s front office let Cunningham make the final decision, and he consulted with other players who have been in similar situations, such as Jrue Holiday, Rodney McGruder and Tim Hardaway Jr., before making up his mind.

“It’s tough, man,” Cunningham said. “I’m so young into my career, and, to me, I feel like I still haven’t shown people who I am. I started to get a rhythm, but then my shin kept killing me. It was hard for me to put the entire season to the side, sit down and take care of it. After talking with everyone, I realized it’s a long game, and I have a lot more basketball to play. I just want to be able to play my game and not think about my body and try to overcompensate on different things.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Pistons guard Killian Hayes hopes to represent France in the World Cup tournament, according to a Eurohoops report. Hayes, who played for French teams in international youth tournaments, understands that it won’t be easy to win a spot on the team. “I feel ready and want to be part of this group,” Hayes said in an interview with L’Équipe. “Still, your place is not given. You have to fight for it. I discussed, particularly with Nicolas Batum, my state of mind and the training camp planned for this summer. I want to do it, and I want to train with the France team and try to earn my place.
  • The chance to promote the NBA with a game in Paris means a lot to Bulls players such as DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “To be able to compete and do something in front of a fan base you don’t normally get the chance to do something in front of, I don’t take the opportunity for granted one bit,” DeRozan said. “It’s an experience that lasts a lifetime.”
  • The Pacers are suffering from a lack of a closer while Tyrese Haliburton is sidelined with knee and elbow injuries, notes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Indiana has dropped three straight games without Haliburton and struggled to score in the second half of Monday’s loss at Milwaukee.

Cade Cunningham Undergoes Season-Ending Surgery

DECEMBER 16: Cunningham underwent season-ending surgery on Friday, according to the Pistons, who said in a press release today that the procedure will “stabilize and promote complete healing of a left tibial stress fracture.”

The former No. 1 overall pick is expected to return to full basketball activities in the 2023 offseason, per the team.

DECEMBER 12: Pistons second-year guard Cade Cunningham, the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft, has opted for season-ending shin surgery, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports.

Cunningham appeared in just 12 games this season and hasn’t played since Nov. 9. At that time, the team described his injury as left shin soreness.

Cunningham sat out for over a month, hoping that rest and rehabilitation would solve the problem. He consulted with multiple doctors in recent weeks and ultimately decided – with the Pistons and his representatives at Excel Sports – to undergo the season-ending procedure. He’s expected to be fully recovered by next season’s training camp.

It’s a major setback for a team in the midst of a major rebuild. General manager Troy Weaver has accumulated six first-round picks over the last three seasons, with Cunningham being the crown jewel. The team was hoping Cunningham and this year’s No. 5 pick, point guard Jaden Ivey, could develop chemistry this season with the expectation of a playoff push next season. They could still develop into one of the league’s top backcourts but Cunningham’s injury will delay that possibility.

The franchise is bound for another high lottery pick and is a major contender in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes. The Pistons have a 7-22 record and figure to have one of the league’s worst records with their franchise player out of action.

Cunningham was averaging 19.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and six assists in 12 games this season. He got off to a slow start during his rookie season after suffering an ankle injury during training camp. He came on strong during the second half of the season and finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting behind Scottie Barnes and Evan Mobley.

Cunningham wound up averaging 17.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists last season, including 21.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 6.5 assists in the second half.

The Pistons will now focus of the development of their other young players this season.

Ivey is off to a relatively strong start in his rookie campaign, averaging 15.3 points and 4.0 assists. Third-year guard Killian Hayes, who was part of Weaver’s first draft class, has shown some improvement while receiving steady playing time in Cunningham’s absence. He’s averaging 8.1 points, 5.1 assists and 1.1 steals, though it’s uncertain whether the front office views him as part of the long-term picture.

With Cunningham out, the team’s brass may be more inclined to trade veterans such as top scorer Bojan Bogdanovic and guard Alec Burks.

Central Notes: Cunningham, Caruso, Green, Terry, Hield, Haliburton

Pistons general manager Troy Weaver said that Cade Cunningham was resistant to having season-ending surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left shin, according to Mike Curtis of the Detroit News (subscription required). Cunningham hoped that a few weeks of rest would allow him to get back on the court, but he ultimately chose to undergo the procedure this week.

“No player wants to sit out,” the Pistons GM said. “He’s a highly-competitive young player and he wants to play and he wants to be a part of the group. Of course, this is a tough deal for him to have to sit down and get this taken care of.”

The Pistons’ rebuilding timeline won’t be affected by Cunningham’s injury, Weaver insists: “Injuries are a part of it, but it doesn’t change anything. It changes for Cade, but not for what we are trying to accomplish. We’re trying to continue to grow the program and compete every night. … We’re still going full blast ahead.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Alex Caruso and Javonte Green were inserted into the Bulls‘ starting lineup in place of Ayo Dosunmu and Patrick Williams a couple of weeks ago. That lineup only lasted one game before minor injuries to Caruso and Green led to more adjustments. Caruso and Green could be back in the lineup again when the Bulls host the Knicks on Wednesday, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • Bulls rookie Dalen Terry isn’t ready to be a rotation piece, coach Billy Donovan told Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Terry has spent a majority of the last two months with the G League Windy City Bulls. “If you’re throwing him in the rotation you’re having to sit somebody else,” Donovan said of the 18th overall pick. “And right now, clearly, I don’t think he’s at the level of some of our guys. “
  • Pacers guards Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield have formed a strong bond and are constantly putting each other down in joking fashion. Their relationship has helped bring the entire team closer, Oshae Brissett told Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star. “All the time,” Brissett said. “Practice, on the plane, lunch, dinner, they’re always like that. But it’s all love. Brotherly love. If those two are like that, it brings the team together and everyone else has to follow.”

Pistons Notes: Bogdanovic, Cunningham, Burks, Bey

The Pistons were relieved that Bojan Bogdanovic‘s injuries weren’t more severe, according to Mike Curtis of the Detroit News. Bogdanovic was injured late in Friday’s game against Phoenix when Torrey Craig stepped on his ankle.

Bogdanovic, who leads the Pistons in scoring, missed Sunday’s game against Cleveland due to right knee and ankle soreness.

“It was a torque action where he stepped on his ankle and it went to his knee,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “… It’s not as bad as it seemed, but it’s still sore and still hurting. Bogey’s a tough kid, a tough guy. He’ll fight through it and come back from it.”

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Casey says there’s no update on Cade Cunningham, who is out indefinitely due to a shin injury that could require season-ending surgery, Curtis relays in the same story. “I have no clue,” Casey said of the Pistons star guard. “It’s up to the medical group and to Cade. Whatever’s best for his health, I’m all for it. One way or the other, whatever he decides to do, I’m 100% behind him, his family, his people,”
  • While many NBA observers believe the Pistons may look to trade Alec Burks for an asset, there’s a good chance they’ll retain the second-unit guard, James Edwards III of The Athletic writes. The Pistons, who hold a $10.49MM option on Burks’ contract next season, want to become a legitimate playoff contender next season and they’d have a tough time finding another productive player like Burks at that price tag.
  • Forward Saddiq Bey was the only Pistons opening-night starter to answer the bell against Cleveland. Bey, who missed the previous four games with a right ankle sprain, scored 15 points. “I thought he came back with a focus,” Casey said, according to Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press. “I was concerned about his game conditioning, but he came in and gave us what he had. I thought he was sharp in the first part of the game, and as the game went on he wore down a little bit.”

Central Notes: Osman, LaVine, Middleton, Matthews, Pistons

Cedi Osman has received sporadic playing time and has been the subject of trade rumors but the Cavaliers forward has usually taken advantage of his opportunities, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes.

After playing just seven minutes against Charlotte on Friday, Osman got 37 minutes of court action the next night against Miami and put up 20 points and 12 rebounds. He’s likely to receive plenty of playing time on Monday with Caris LeVert out due to an ankle sprain.

“He’s one of those guys where there’s a spirit and an energy that we depend on, and we know the lift he gives us,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “I think Friday night he didn’t play as much, and I think he wanted to show he was going to take advantage of his minutes.”

Osman’s future beyond 2022/23 is uncertain, as his salary for next season isn’t guaranteed.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Zach LaVine said there’s no ill feelings between him and Bulls coach Billy Donovan, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic writes. LaVine was upset when he was benched during a loss to Orlando on Friday. “Me and Billy talk all the time,” LaVine said. “It’s a tough decision. Obviously, I’m a competitive guy. I want to play. I just told him I feel like I’ve earned the right to go out there and try to play through a bad game. His decision was to try to do the best thing for the team, which I respect. If we won, obviously I would’ve been ecstatic. We lost, I wasn’t. I had a terrible game.”
  • The Bucks assigned Khris Middleton and Wesley Matthews to the G League’s Wisconsin Herd, Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. That allowed the rehabbing players to get some practice time. The Bucks didn’t practice since they’re playing against Portland on Monday.
  • The Pistons played without three injured starters — Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart — at Sacramento on Sunday and lost despite scoring a season-high 129 points. Coach Dwane Casey said the team needs to push through adversity, Keith Langlois of writes. “It’s not ‘Woe is me’ right now in the locker room,” Casey said. “We’ve got to stay together, stay connected.”

Cade Cunningham Out Indefinitely, Surgery A Possibility

10:44am: Cunningham is feared to have a stress fracture in his left shin, according to James L. Edwards III and Shams Charania of The Athletic, who say the Pistons and Cunningham remain hopeful that the injury will get better with rest.

If the pain continues to linger, it’s possible surgery will be necessary, but Cunningham is trying to “turn over every stone” before deciding to take that route, per The Athletic’s duo.

Cunningham is currently considered to be out indefinitely, Edwards and Charania add.

9:59am: The Pistons and second-year guard Cade Cunningham have been trying to determine whether or not surgery will be required to address Cunningham’s injured left shin, according to veteran reporter Marc Stein (Twitter link).

Cunningham has missed Detroit’s last five games (all losses) due to what the team is referring to as “left shin soreness.” Based on Stein’s report, it sounds like it must be more than a simply a contusion if surgical treatment is under consideration.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 draft, Cunningham was averaging 19.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 6.0 assists in his first 12 games (33.3 MPG), though his shooting numbers (.415/.279/.837) were a little below last season’s marks.

Cunningham was considered one of this year’s top breakout candidates, and the Pistons signaled their intent to push for a play-in spot when they acquired forward Bojan Bogdanovic from Utah in September. However, the club is off to a 3-14 start and currently ranks dead last in the NBA standings. As Stein notes, if Cunningham has to go under the knife, he’d be out for an extended period, making it even more challenging for the Pistons to be competitive this season.

It’s unclear if there’s a timeline for the franchise and its 21-year-old centerpiece to come to a decision on how his injury will be treated. For now, he remains unavailable, with no set timeline for his return.

Cade Cunningham Out At Least Four Games With Left Shin Issue

Cade Cunningham will miss the next four games due to soreness in his left shin, the Pistons announced in a press release. Cunningham’s condition will be reevaluated in a week.

The second-year guard won’t play in tonight’s game against Boston, Monday’s contest against Toronto, or the first two games of Detroit’s upcoming road trip against the Clippers and Lakers. If the pain subsides, he could be activated for a November 20 game at Sacramento.

The pain in his shin also forced Cunningham to sit out Friday’s loss to the Knicks as the Pistons fell to 3-10, putting them in a tie for the worst record in the Eastern Conference.

Cory Joseph took Cunningham’s place in the starting lineup against New York, but he got into early foul trouble and played just six total minutes. Killian Hayes and Alec Burks may also see more playing time while Cunningham is sidelined.

Coach Dwane Casey said Cunningham started experiencing the soreness in training camp, tweets James L. Edwards III of The Athletic.

“The medical team is working with it and treating it,” Casey said. “They felt those days off would take away the pain, soreness.”

After finishing third in the Rookie of the Year voting last season, Cunningham’s numbers have improved across the board. Through 12 games, he is averaging 19.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists per night.

Injury Updates: Beal, Bucks, Suns, Banchero, Lakers, More

Wizards guard Bradley Beal has cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the team announced. However, Beal will still miss Saturday’s game against Utah due to “return to competition reconditioning,” with further updates to be provided as he continues to inch closer to a return.

Beal has missed three games while in the protocols, with the Wizards going 2-1 without their star shooting guard. Through nine games, he’s averaging 21.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 5.7 assists on .517/.325/.917 shooting in 35.1 minutes per night.

Here are several more injury-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Bucks stars Giannis Antetokounmpo (left knee soreness) and Jrue Holiday (right ankle sprain) were both ruled out for Friday’s loss to the Spurs, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Both players missed their second consecutive game for the league-leading Bucks, holders of a 10-2 record in the early going.
  • Similarly, Suns guard Chris Paul was ruled out for the second straight game Friday, in what turned out to be a loss to the Magic, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Fellow guard Landry Shamet (concussion symptoms) was also sidelined after scoring a season-high 16 points in Wednesday’s win over Minnesota. “We didn’t see anything. Just kind of jumped up on him last night. It just speaks to how complicated those things are. Can go for a while and not even know something is going on and then it just jumps up on you,” head coach Monty Williams said of Shamet (Twitter link via Rankin). For Orlando, No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero missed his second straight contest with a left ankle sprain.
  • The Lakers provided an update today on center Thomas Bryant and guard Dennis Schröder, both of whom are recovering from thumb surgery. They were evaluated this week and are said to be progressing well, and both players will be reevaluated next Thursday, as Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times relays (via Twitter).
  • Shaedon Sharpe, the No. 7 overall pick, has suffered a volar avulsion fracture to his right fifth finger, the Trail Blazers announced in a press release. He’s considered day-to-day going forward and is officially listed as questionable for Saturday’s contest at Dallas.
  • Nuggets guard Bones Hyland has entered the league’s health and safety protocols and was ruled out for Friday’s loss at Boston, Denver announced (via Twitter). Hyland is a key reserve for Denver, with averages of 14.0 points and 3.7 assists through nine games (20.7 minutes). He’ll need to pass some testing requirements before returning to action. The Nuggets play Sunday, Wednesday and Friday next week.
  • Last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Pistons guard Cade Cunningham, was downgraded from questionable to out on Friday with left shin soreness, tweets Keith Langlois of On a positive note, wing Alec Burks made his 2022/23 season debut following foot surgery, scoring 17 points in 25 minutes during Detroit’s loss at New York.

Pistons Notes: Ivey, Cunningham, Bogdanovic, Duren, Lineups

The Pistons have lost six of their last seven games but the last two outings have been encouraging. They snapped a five-game losing streak by defeating defending champion Golden State on Sunday and lost on the road to Milwaukee by two points on Monday.

Jaden Ivey, the fifth pick in the draft, has scored in double digits in every game he’s played, including a combined 34 points the last two nights. Backcourt partner Cade Cunningham notched a total of 50 points, 16 rebounds and 16 assists in those two games.

“It’s a confidence builder for a young group, for a kid like Ivey and we keep forgetting Cade’s in year two, for those guys to understand what it takes to beat great teams like we’ve played the last couple nights,” coach Dwane Casey said during Monday’s postgame press conference.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • When Bojan Bogdanovic was acquired from Utah just before training camp, many people speculated he’d be flipped this season for assets. That could still happen but it seems less likely after he signed a two-year extension, Keith Langlois of writes. Having a veteran like Bogdanovic has been a boon to an otherwise green starting group, and his deal looks quite reasonable compared to recent extensions given to other veterans around the league with the salary cap expected to significantly rise.
  • Rookie center Jalen Duren is grateful 21-year-old Isaiah Stewart has taken him under his wing, he told Sam Yip of HoopsHype. “It means a lot, because I came in kind of with the same mentality, just team success,” he said. “However we can do that I’m all for. So, for me coming in, of course, playing the same position as Isaiah and him already being there, you know, just welcoming me with open arms was huge.” Duren missed Monday’s game with a left ankle sprain but could rejoin the team for its next game at Milwaukee on Wednesday, Mike Curtis of Detroit News tweets.
  • Nerlens Noel made his Pistons debut on Monday, though Marvin Bagley III is still sidelined by a knee injury. When all of Detroit’s frontcourt pieces are healthy, Casey may utilize bigger lineups, according to Curtis. Casey has been hesitant to play Duren and Stewart together because he didn’t want either of them to get into foul trouble.