Cedi Osman

Central Notes: Cavs’ Rotation, Pacers’ TPE, Vaulet, Cunningham

Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff is planning on a 10-man rotation but the last two spots could change from game-to-game, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer speculates.

“We’re working our way to what will be probably a 10-man rotation and then there’s different nights that are going to call for different things and we will go to those different guys,” Bickerstaff said.

By process of elimination, Denzel Valentine, Kevin Pangos, Cedi Osman, Dylan Windler, Dean Wade, Lamar Stevens and Mfiondu Kabengele are the players vying for those rotation minutes and each brings a different skill set to the table.

We have more on the Central Division:

  • The Pacers picked up a $7.33MM traded player exception from the Spurs in the Doug McDermott sign-and-trade but it’s highly unlikely they’ll use it this season, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. They were just $763,905 below the luxury tax line before dumping Edmond Sumner‘s contract on Wednesday, which moved them $2.8MM under the tax line. That’s still not nearly enough incentive to use the exception, since the franchise has no desire to be a taxpayer.
  • The Pacers received the rights to Juan Pablo Vaulet in the Sumner trade with Brooklyn but he won’t be playing in the NBA this season, Nat Newell of the Indianapolis Star notes. He signed a two-year contract with AEK Athens in July. The 6’6” Vaulet was originally drafted by Charlotte in 2015.
  • Top pick Cade Cunningham sat out the Pistons‘ preseason opener against San Antonio on Wednesday, Rod Beard of The Detroit News tweets. Cunningham is recovering from a mild ankle sprain.

Rosters Announced For Olympic Qualifying Tournaments

Four qualifying tournaments to determine the final four teams in the men’s basketball pool at the Tokyo Olympics are set to tip off on Tuesday. In advance of the Olympic qualifiers, the 24 teams involved have officially set their 12-man rosters, according to a press release from FIBA.

More than two dozen current NBA players are participating in the tournament, and 11 of the 24 teams competing for Olympic spots have at least one current NBA players on their respective rosters. Of those clubs, Team Canada has the biggest contingent of NBA players — eight of the 12 players on Nick Nurse‘s squad finished the season on an NBA roster. Turkey is next with four NBA players.

The four qualifying tournaments will take place in Serbia, Lithuania, Croatia, and Canada. Only the winner of each six-team group will advance to Tokyo. Those four winners will join Japan, Nigeria, Argentina, Iran, France, Spain, Australia, and the U.S. in the 12-team Olympic tournament.

The teams that move onto the Olympics may tweak their rosters for Tokyo, depending on the availability of certain players. For instance, if Greece were to win its qualifying tournament, perhaps Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo – who remains active in the playoffs for now – would make an effort to join the team in Tokyo next month.

Here are the NBA players on the OQT rosters:

Belgrade, Serbia

Kaunas, Lithuania

Split, Croatia

Victoria, Canada

There are also many former NBA players among the 24 rosters, including Mario Hezonja (Croatia), Milos Teodosic (Serbia), Jan Vesely (Czech Republic), Timofey Mozgov (Russia), and Anthony Bennett (Canada).

To view the full rosters, be sure to visit FIBA’s official site and click through to each team from there.

Olympic Notes: Spain, Simmons, Nigeria, Turkey, Garland

Veteran center Pau Gasol, who has represented Spain in four Olympic tournaments so far, remains on track to be part of the team in Tokyo, per an Associated Press report. Gasol was one of 18 players included on Spain’s preliminary roster for the Tokyo games, joining his brother – Lakers center Marc Gasol – and Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio.

Timberwolves forward Juan Hernangomez, Pelicans big man Willy Hernangomez, and projected first-round pick Usman Garuba are among the other notable names on Spain’s preliminary roster, according to The Associated Press.

Here’s more on the Tokyo Olympics:

Central Notes: Osman, Holiday, Pacers, Pistons Rookies

Cedi Osman has temporarily regained a rotation spot, giving the Cavaliers forward another shot to prove his value before the season ends, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. Due to injuries, Osman made his first start since March 26 and his first appearance since April 14 on Sunday. Osman, whose front-loaded contract lasts through the 2023/24 season, had 19 points and five assists in 37 minutes.

“It was a lot of him putting the time in and working on his own game,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “I think he had some struggles early on, but I believe that Cedi is a good basketball player. And when given the opportunity, when playing with confidence and playing assertive, he can have an impact on the game.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Jrue Holiday is the biggest reason why the Bucks are a different team than last season, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic, and Nehm breaks down some of Holiday’s plays over the weekend to demonstrate his impact. Holiday signed a four-year extension worth up to $160MM earlier this month.
  • The Pacers have played well using small-ball lineups with Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner sidelined by injuries and that should help them in the postseason, according to J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star“It makes us a better team because guys get time on the floor, which means, come playoff time, if those guys play they’ll be ready,” Justin Holiday said. “Whatever happens I think we’re going to be ready for it.”
  • Pistons rookies Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart are all receiving rotation minutes, prompting Pistons.com’s Keith Langlois to review past drafts to see how other teams with three or more first-rounders in the same year fared with their selections — so far, Detroit stacks up favorably to those clubs.

O’Connor’s Latest: Collins, Bogdanovic, Gordon, Oladipo, More

The Hawks are receiving significant interest on star John Collins ahead of the trade deadline, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer writes. Among the interested teams are the Celtics, Kings, Mavericks, Pistons and Timberwolves.

Collins, who was drafted 19th overall by Atlanta in 2017, is averaging 18.2 points and 7.8 rebounds in 30.6 minutes per game this season. The 23-year-old’s role has decreased a little with the additions of Danilo Gallinari and Clint Capela, though he’s started in all 42 contests for the team this year.

Atlanta is seeking one young player and a first-round pick in any deal involving Collins, O’Connor notes. The team reportedly sought Malik Beasley and a first-rounder from the Timberwolves, but Minnesota ultimately declined the offer.

Here are some other notes from O’Connor as the March 25 deadline nears:

  • The Celtics‘ and Hawks‘ discussions surrounding Collins have also included Bogdan Bogdanovic, according to O’Connor. Bogdanovic signed a contract to join Atlanta in free agency, appearing in just 17 games this season due to injury.
  • The Rockets have discussed a deal with the Magic involving Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, though the team’s may need to find a third club to finalize any deal, O’Connor notes. Oladipo likely wouldn’t have a future in Orlando, as the 28-year-old spent the first three seasons of his career there and is set to reach free agency this offseason. The Rockets could also add a first-round pick or other assets to make a deal happen.
  • The Mavericks are among the teams who’ve held trade discussions with the Cavaliers on center Andre Drummond. Cleveland is hoping to move Drummond ahead of the deadline, though a buyout is likely if a trade doesn’t materialize in time.
  • The Warriors recently inquired on Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman, O’Connor reports, though talks stalled. Osman is shooting just 36% from the field and 32% from deep in his 40 games this season.
  • Grizzlies center Gorgui Dieng could receive a buyout if the team is unable to trade him, O’Connor writes. Dieng hasn’t played in the club’s last nine games.
  • According to O’Connor, the Warriors are shopping Kelly Oubre Jr., who is set to become a free agent at season’s end. Oubre’s averaging 14.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 30.4 minutes per game this season, making $14.37MM.

Cavaliers Notes: Drummond, Allen, Love, Cook

The Cavaliers are still optimistic about an Andre Drummond trade before Thursday’s deadline, although they don’t expect much in return, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Drummond hasn’t played since February 12 while the Cavs searched for a trading partner, and he will be a strong buyout candidate if Cleveland can’t work out a deal.

The interest level in Drummond has always been high, Fedor adds, but his $28.7MM contract makes any deal complicated. Many teams would like to add the veteran center for a playoff run, but the players they would have to give up to match salaries are too good to part with.

Fedor states that general manager Koby Altman will need to be creative and suggests a multi-team deal is the only realistic way for Drummond to be traded. Cedi Osman or Taurean Prince could be offered to motivate other teams to get involved, according to Fedor.

Rival teams are becoming skeptical that Drummond will be traded, Fedor adds, but he says the idea that only a few teams will have a chance to sign him after a buyout works in Cleveland’s favor. The Knicks, Raptors, Bulls, Heat and Celtics probably couldn’t compete with the Lakers or Nets if Drummond becomes a free agent, so they may be willing to make modest trade offers. Fedor points to New York as the most likely team to trade for Drummond.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • The Cavaliers should expect an offseason extension for Jarrett Allen to cost about $100MM, Fedor notes in the same story. Even though he will be a restricted free agent, Allen is expected to be one of the top players on the market this summer. Cleveland is committed to keeping him, Fedor adds, but will have to start his new contract at around $20MM per year.
  • Kevin Love has been offered up in trades for several months, but the Cavs haven’t found any takers, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN. A calf injury that has sidelined Love for most of the season and a pricey contract that pays him more than $60MM over the next two years have limited the market for the veteran forward.
  • The Cavaliers are facing a decision on Quinn Cook, whose 10-day contract expires today. Cook has appeared in four games since signing with Cleveland, averaging 5.0 PPG in 12.8 minutes per night. He is eligible to sign another 10-day deal with the team.

Larry Nance Jr. Drawing Interest From Multiple Suitors

Larry Nance Jr. has drawn the most interest in the trade market among Cavaliers players, including an offer that featured multiple late first-round picks, Chris Fedor of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Nance is in the second year of a four-year, $44.8MM contract that was front-loaded, adding to his appeal. The Timberwolves have been pursuing Nance since the offseason, with the Celtics, Sixers, Pelicans, Heat and Mavericks also showing interest in the power forward, sources tell Fedor.

Nance was sidelined prior to the All-Star break with a fractured left hand but is expected to return as early as next weekend. However, the Cavs’ front office is reluctant to trade the 28-year-old, viewing him as a core player.

Fedor also offered up a number of other insights with the trade deadline approaching later this month:

  • The front office still holds out hope it can deal Andre Drummond, believing that an interested party other than the Nets, Lakers or Clippers will step forward, rather than competing with those top contenders for Drummond on the buyout market.
  • The Cavs are open to dealing small forwards Taurean Prince and Cedi Osman, who aren’t considered core pieces. They could come into play in a potential deal involving Drummond, especially if a third team is needed to make the salaries fit.
  • Teams looking for a big have checked in on JaVale McGee, who has an expiring $4.2MM contract.
  • It’s unlikely the Cavs will be able to shed Kevin Love‘s contract, though the Mavericks view him as a better fit than Drummond. The Cavs tend to overvalue Love and aren’t seeking a salary dump where an asset would need to be attached.

Cavaliers, Pistons Among Definite Deadline Sellers

Because there’s now a potential path to the postseason for the top 10 teams in each NBA conference (via the new play-in tournament), it’s taking longer this season for clear sellers to emerge on the trade market, writes Shams Charania of The Athletic.

“Most teams are still in the playoff chase, which makes everyone bunched together and the trade market less active,” a high-ranking team official told The Athletic.

However, as Charania reports, at least two teams at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings look like definite sellers, according to rival teams. The 13th-seeded Cavaliers and the 15th-seeded Pistons appear to be open for business.

Cleveland’s most obvious trade candidate is Andre Drummond, who has been pulled from the rotation as the team looks to find a taker for him. According to Charania, there have been some exploratory calls on Drummond, with the Bulls among the teams to express some interest, but there’s still skepticism that the Cavs will find an appealing deal for the big man, who has an unwieldy $28.75MM cap hit.

Drummond isn’t the only Cavalier on the trade block. The club has also been open to discussing JaVale McGee, Cedi Osman, and Taurean Prince, according to Charania, who hears that multiple teams have inquired on the Cavs’ wing players. Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen, and Isaac Okoro are viewed as the club’s core pieces and are presumably off-limits.

Like the Cavs, the Pistons have an expensive big man who is sitting out as the team attempts to move him. However, Blake Griffin, who is making more than Drummond ($36.8MM) and has another guaranteed year left on his contract, will be even harder to trade. Sources tell Charania and James Edwards III of The Athletic that Detroit will likely work toward a buyout with Griffin.

Veteran shooting guard Wayne Ellington is expected to draw interest from contenders on the trade market and should be a far more valuable trade chip than Griffin, given his affordable minimum salary and his strong production in 2020/21 (10.6 PPG, .435 3PT%).

According to Edwards, combo guard Delon Wright and big man Mason Plumlee have also registered interest from rival teams, but both players are under contract beyond this season, so the Pistons won’t necessarily feel compelled to move them. As Edwards explains, while Detroit will be a deadline seller, the sense around the league is that GM Troy Weaver won’t be as aggressive this month as he was during his first offseason on the job, when he remade nearly the entire roster.

Cavs Notes: Drummond, Trade Partners, Defense, Love

The Cavaliers would prefer not to take bad contracts with multiple years remaining in a potential Andre Drummond deal. However, they’re open-minded to that possibility if an asset is included that would justify a restricted future cap, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The front office would otherwise like to protect cap space with extensions for Collin Sexton and Jarrett Allen on the horizon.

Cleveland has received calls on Drummond, as well as Allen and JaVale McGee, but it is not interested in dealing Allen. Fedor explores potential trade partners for Drummond and what those deals could include.

We have more on the Cavaliers:

  • Spencer Davies of Basketball News also speculates where Drummond, an impending unrestricted free agent after the season, could be dealt. The Raptors, Mavericks, Knicks and Kings could be among the teams in the mix if a trade is completed, while the Nets would be the front-runner if Drummond winds up on the buyout market.
  • Drummond didn’t play on Sunday, but that didn’t solve any problems as the Cavaliers lost for the ninth time in 10 games. They were overwhelmed by a Clippers team playing without stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, demonstrating that the team’s issues go far deeper than Drummond, Fedor writes. The Cavs’ overall effort has been lacking, especially at the defensive end. “I think defensively we need to be better,” Cedi Osman said. “I mean, it’s just not enough, especially against these types of teams. We have to play harder.”
  • Kevin Love has been making progress from the right calf strain that has kept him out since December 27 and coach J.B. Bickerstaff said the team could desperately use his veteran presence and scoring prowess, Fedor notes in a separate story. “There’s times in games when you can see ‘This is where Kevin would help us’ or ‘This is where he would help settle us in. I know right now he’d get a foul because we’re in the bonus.’ There’s those moments where you see,” Bickerstaff said.

Central Notes: Cavs, Giannis Effect, Mad Ants, Pistons

Thanks to the intriguing addition of rookie swingman Isaac Okoro, drafted with the No. 6 pick out of Auburn, the Cavaliers will suddenly face some fun wing rotation questions, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

Fedor speculates that Collin Sexton will most likely remain the starter at the shooting guard slot, pointing to head coach J.B. Bickerstaff‘s recent praise of Sexton. Bickerstaff declined to officially confirm whether or not Sexton would start.

“I think his performance last year, and at the end of last season, was above and beyond,” Bickerstaff said. “I think he’s one of those guys who earns the opportunity to play extended minutes.”

Fedor opines that the tough, defensive-minded Okoro’s strong showing in training camp and the preseason suggests that he deserves the opportunity to start over incumbent starting small forward Cedi Osman.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Bucks are benefiting from a “Giannis effect” merchandise boon, according to Jabari Young of CNBC“The phone calls started both ways,” Matt Pazaras, chief business development and strategy officer for Milwaukee, said. The team’s sponsored jersey patch is now open for new bidders after its deal with Harley-Davidson expired this offseason. Interest in a sponsorship is strong now that MVP forward Giannis Antetokounmpo inked a record five-year, $228MM contract extension.
  • The G League affiliate of the Pacers, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, intend to take part in the proposed G League “bubble,” according to team president Tim Bawmann in a conversation on 1380 The FAN’s Sports Rush with Brett Rump, (hat tip to Caitlin Cooper of Indy Cornrows). Bawmann notes that the bubble’s locale could be Atlanta or Orlando.
  • With the 2020/21 NBA regular season fast approaching, James L. Edwards III of the Athletic assesses the depth chart for the Pistons and, in a surprise, speculates that oft-injured power forward Blake Griffin and new small forward Jerami Grant could play the most minutes per game (28) for a rebuilding Detroit team.