Delon Wright

Delon Wright To Miss At Least Two Weeks With Groin Strain

Pistons point guard Delon Wright will be out of action with a Grade 2 strain to his right groin, tweets James Edwards III of The Athletic. His condition will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

Wright, who suffered the injury in Friday’s game, is averaging 10.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.9 assists after being acquired from the Mavericks in a three-team deal in November. He took over as the starting point guard after an early-season injury to Killian Hayes.

“He said he didn’t remember exactly how he did it, that was the scary part,” head coach Dwane Casey told Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. “He was just getting back in transition and felt it.”

The injury, which will stretch past the All-Star break, should give a starting opportunity to Dennis Smith Jr., who was recently acquired from the Knicks, Edwards adds (Twitter link). Two-way players Saben Lee and Frank Jackson are also candidates for increased roles.

Injury/Illness Updates: Hayward, Martin, Schröder, Tucker, Wright

Hornets star forward Gordon Hayward practiced in full on Friday and is listed as probable to play against Golden State on Saturday, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tweets. Hayward missed last Saturday’s loss to San Antonio with lower back discomfort. The Hornets haven’t played since due to a couple of COVID-19 related postponements.

We have more updates regarding injuries and illness around the league:

  • Hornets coach James Borrego indicated Caleb Martin will likely take longer than his brother, Cody Martin, to be cleared from the league’s health and safety protocols, Bonnell adds in another tweet. The Martin twins have missed Charlotte’s last two games.
  • Lakers starting point guard Dennis Schröder will miss his second consecutive game on Saturday after being placed under the league’s health and safety protocols, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin tweets.
  • Rockets forward P.J. Tucker returned to practice on Friday, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports. Tucker has missed the last two games with a bruised thigh.
  • Pistons point guard Delon Wright departed during the fourth quarter of his team’s game against Memphis on Friday with a right groin strain, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com tweets.

Pistons Notes: Griffin, Youth Movement, Ellington, Wright

It’s hard to imagine a trade scenario for Blake Griffin, according to a number of staff members on The Athletic. Griffin’s max salary and declining play make it nearly impossible to deal him. Griffin, who will reportedly sit until the Pistons can find a trade partner or buy him out, is a shell of his former All-Star self after multiple knee surgeries, as the story points out his inability to dunk and block shots any longer. The Celtics, Trail Blazers, Nets, Warriors, Lakers, Bucks, Kings and Spurs are all mentioned as possible destinations if Griffin is bought out.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • If Griffin is able to pick his next destination, the situation will be a win-win for both him and the Pistons, Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press writes. GM Troy Weaver can continue to chart his own course with his multi-year rebuilding plan and the team’s younger players, like Eastern Conference Player of the Week Saddiq Bey, can get extended playing time.
  • Griffin deserves to be remembered fondly by Detroit fans, James Edwards of The Athletic opines. Griffin led the team to the playoffs two seasons ago and continually played through injuries and pain. He showed the city’s trademark grit, diving for loose balls, barking at opponents and taking charges. Griffin gave everything he could to the team until his body betrayed him, Edwards adds.
  • Given his age and early-season production, Wayne Ellington is the most logical player to be traded, Edwards writes in a separate piece. The Pistons might be able to flip the veteran shooting guard for a second-round pick. Delon Wright‘s versatility to play both guard positions could also make him an attractive trade target. The Sixers are one of the teams reportedly interested in Wright.

Sixers Seeking Point Guard Depth

The Sixers are in the market for a point guard, with the Pistons’ Delon Wright and Thunder‘s George Hill among the players the team has inquired about, Jason Dumas of Bleacher Report tweets.

The current options behind Ben Simmons include combo guards Shake Milton (currently dealing with an ankle sprain) and rookie Tyrese Maxey. Another point guard option would allow the team to have multiple ball-handlers on the floor for extended stretches.

Wright has played well for the rebuilding Pistons, who acquired him in a trade with Dallas during the offseason. He began the season as their starting shooting guard, then slid over to the point when rookie Killian Hayes injured his hip. Wright is averaging 10.4 PPG, 4.9 APG, 4.7 RPG and 1.4 SPG in 29.1 MPG. He’s making $9MM this season and $8.5MM next season in the final year of his contract.

Philadelphia’s interest in Hill is a little more surprising, considering that he’s expected to miss at least the remainder of this month after undergoing a surgical procedure on his right thumb. He’s started 14 games this season for the Thunder, averaging 11.8 PPG and 3.1 APG. What would make Hill more attractive from a trading standpoint is that his $10MM salary for next season is only guaranteed for approximately $1.28MM.

Hawks Notes: Hunter, Reddish, Point Guard, Bogdanovic

Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter, who underwent a lateral meniscus arthroscopic debridement procedure earlier this week, won’t be back on the court for the team anytime soon. Addressing Hunter’s situation today on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, general manager Travis Schlenk suggested that the 23-year-old will be sidelined until at least late March, and likely sometime in April.

“The doctors say, typically, on average, these things are seven to 10 weeks,” Schlenk said, per Mike Conti of 92.9 The Game. “And most of the guys are ready to go by eight weeks. So, we’re hopeful.”

The Hawks’ initial announcement on Hunter indicated that his status would be updated when he’s re-evaluated in two weeks. According to Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link), the club hopes to have a clearer idea at that point about which end of the seven-to-10 week timeline is more likely to apply to Hunter.

Here’s more out of Atlanta:

  • Chris Kirschner of The Athletic explores what Hunter’s absence will mean for the Hawks in the short term and the long term, noting that the pressure on new starting small forward Cam Reddish will increase. Kirschner also expects Atlanta to play it safe with Hunter’s return timeline to help avoid any recurring knee issues.
  • In a separate story for The Athletic, Kirschner and John Hollinger discussed a few Hawks-related topics, including the hole at backup point guard that Rajon Rondo hasn’t adequately filled. Hollinger, who questioned Atlanta’s decision not to claim Elfrid Payton when New York waived him in November, suggested that Payton, George Hill, Delon Wright, and T.J. McConnell could be potential targets if Atlanta tries to shore up the position via trade.
  • Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, who was only able to play nine games for his new team before being sidelined by a right knee fracture, spoke to Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the injury and his goal to return before the end of the first half. “Anything before All-Star would be really good for me, but I don’t want to put the pressure on it,” Bogdanovic said. “But I would like to play before the All-Star (break), if it was me, and if my body heals up.”

Central Notes: Rose, Hayes, Osman, Pacers, Wright, Gafford

Derrick Rose is eager to mentor Pistons lottery pick Killian Hayes, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Rose, who is entering his walk year, plans to make Hayes “uncomfortable” in camp to get the French point guard prepared for the rigors of the NBA. “My job is to push him and to groom him,” Rose said. “Coming from overseas, guys are going to try to play aggressive with him, so it’s my job to play aggressive on him throughout this whole camp so when he gets in a game he won’t feel that much pressure.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers’ small forward starting job is up for grabs, as Chris Fedor of The Cleveland Plain Dealer details. Rookie Isaac Okoro, Cedi Osman and Dylan Windler are the candidates, with Osman trying to holding onto the spot he’s occupied over the past two seasons. “Minutes have to be earned,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “You’ve got to earn everything here.”
  • The Pacers won’t have fans for their December home games but they’re hoping that changes as early as January, according to a team press release. Pacers Sports & Entertainment’s statement read in part, “We look forward to having fans back to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in January, and we will provide updates in the near future.”
  • Guard Delon Wright wanted to rejoin Dwane Casey for the last two or three years, Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press tweets. Wright was traded last month to the Pistons, where he’ll be coached once again by Casey. Wright played three-and-a-half seasons with Toronto – mostly under Casey – before he was dealt to Memphis in February 2019. Wright thought he might get traded to Detroit before he wound up with the Grizzlies. He played for Dallas last season.
  • Bulls big man Daniel Gafford said he contacted former coach Jim Boylen to “clear the air” after Gafford made some remarks this summer criticizing Boylen’s personality and coaching methods, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. “I had contact with Jim, just made sure I cleared the air that it wasn’t anything intentional, that I was just trying to bash him or anything like that,’’ Gafford said. “It was nothing like that at all. … That was just basically constructive criticism, in my opinion.”

Wright To Pistons, Ariza To Thunder, Johnson To Mavs In Three-Team Trade

NOVEMBER 27: The Thunder, Mavericks, and Pistons have officially finalized their three-team trade, according to press releases from the teams. As detailed below, Ariza and Jackson are headed to Oklahoma City, Johnson is going to Dallas, and Wright moves to Detroit.

The Thunder also acquired a 2023 second-round pick (the more favorable of Dallas’ and Miami’s picks) and the Mavs’ 2026 second-rounder in the deal.


NOVEMBER 21: The Thunder, Mavericks, and Pistons have agreed to a three-team trade, according to reports from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links) and Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter links).

The move will send James Johnson from Oklahoma City to Dallas and Delon Wright from Dallas to Detroit. The Thunder will receive Trevor Ariza (from the Pistons), Justin Jackson (from the Mavericks), and – unsurprisingly – some form of draft compensation.

From the Mavericks’ perspective, the deal will allow them to open up a roster spot and add some veteran toughness, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, who tweets that Dallas intends to keep Johnson on its roster. Moving Wright, who had two years left on his contract, and taking back Johnson’s expiring $16MM deal also allows the Mavs to create some added cap flexibility for the summer of 2021.

The Pistons will reduce team salary for 2020/21 and will reunite Wright with his former coach in Toronto, Dwane Casey. Having signed a three-year deal in Dallas in 2019, Wright had a decent year off the bench, averaging 6.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 3.3 APG in 73 games (21.5 MPG). But he became expendable when the club acquired Josh Richardson earlier this week.

As for the Thunder, I’d be surprised if they have big plans for Ariza or Jackson — they simply saw another opportunity to pick up an extra draft pick to add to Sam Presti‘s constantly-growing collection.

Ariza, who is still technically a member of the Blazers, has now been part of trade agreements that will send him to Houston, Detroit, and Oklahoma City within the last few days. Those deals will all be completed after the transaction moratorium lifts on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southwest Notes: Grizzlies, Harden, Howard, MKG, Brunson

The Grizzlies will enter the NBA’s restart with a healthier roster than they’ve had all season, creating what Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com refers to as a “welcome dilemma” for Taylor Jenkins. Memphis has already exceeded expectations this year despite dealing with some injuries — now the team will have added depth to allow Jenkins to try to find even more effective lineup combinations.

“We’re sorting through different combinations, but not trying to lose the lineups that were successful for us to this point,” the Grizzlies’ head coach said. “We’re going to have some really tough decisions to make, but that only means you have some great depth. We’re built on competing. We’re always prepared to have 17 guys ready to go at any given moment.”

Besides having Justise Winslow – acquired at the trade deadline – available for the first time this summer, the Grizzlies will also have Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke back in their lineup. Jackson had missed the team’s nine games leading up to the hiatus in March, while Clarke had been out for eight games.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • James Harden, whose arrival at the Walt Disney World campus was delayed, is expected to practice with the Rockets for the first time on Thursday, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. The club is still waiting on Russell Westbrook and Luc Mbah a Moute.
  • French club ASVEL Basket announced today in a press release that it has finalized a two-year deal with swingman William Howard. It’s an unusual update, since Howard technically remains on a two-way contract with the Rockets — at least for now. Presumably, Howard is on track to join ASVEL Basket when his current deal expires.
  • Mavericks forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had yet to join the team at the Disney campus as of Wednesday evening, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Head coach Rick Carlisle didn’t offer any specifics on Kidd-Gilchrist’s absence: We’re working to get him here logistically and we hope that it happens soon.”
  • With injuries to Jalen Brunson and Courtney Lee affecting the Mavericks‘ backcourt rotation, the team may lean more heavily on Delon Wright when play resumes, writes Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. Speaking of Brunson, he isn’t with the club in Orlando and won’t play this summer, having remained in Dallas for rehab purposes, Carlisle confirmed today (Twitter links via Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News).

Mavs Guard Jalen Brunson May Have Labrum Tear

The Mavericks are concerned that point guard Jalen Brunson may have a torn labrum in his right shoulder, Tim MacMahon from ESPN tweets. Brunson suffered the injury on the first possession of Saturday’s loss to the Hawks.

A natural left-hander, Brunson plans to play through the pain and delay a possible surgical procedure until the offseason, MacMahon continues. He has already been ruled out for the remaining two games of the team’s current road trip.

The Mavs’ postseason spot seems safe — they’re 10 games ahead of ninth-place Portland in the conference standings — but if Brunson can’t make it through the season, it would be a blow to the team’s postseason rotation.

Brunson has played 57 games, including 16 starts, and averaged 8.2 PPG and 3.3 APG in 17.9 MPG. The 2018 second-round pick out of Villanova started 38 games last season.

Delon Wright and J.J. Barea will likely see an uptick in playing time in games that Brunson misses.

Southwest Notes: Winslow, Grizzlies, Mavs, Gordon

The Grizzlies faced some criticism for last week’s trade with Miami and Minnesota, which saw them trade away veteran forwards Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder, and Solomon Hill for Justise Winslow, Gorgui Dieng, and Dion Waiters.

The price for acquiring Winslow was taking on a pair of pricey multiyear contracts that – along with a Dillon Brooks extension – eliminated Memphis’ projected cap room for the summer of 2020. However, executive VP of basketball operations Zach Kleiman said today that the team feels Winslow is worth that price, as Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian relays.

Kleiman referred to Winslow as a player who will be a “very strong fit” both on and off the court for the Grizzlies, praising the forward’s work ethic, basketball IQ, and defensive tenacity.

“There were several options that were on the table at the end of the day,” Kleiman said. “… We’re well aware that we leveraged our cap space (for 2020), pulling ourselves out of the free agent market. There’s an opportunity cost to doing so. None of that is lost on us. But to be able to add one player that we believe in as a key piece to fit what we’re building, that was Plan A. That was the deal that we were hoping to get.”

Of course, Winslow’s health is the question mark that looms over the deal, but Kleiman said today that Memphis fully expects the former lottery pick to return to the court this season and is confident his back injury won’t be a long-term issue, per Herrington.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • By insisting on finding a trade for Andre Iguodala instead of simply buying him out, the Grizzlies aimed to send a message to the rest of the NBA that they shouldn’t just be viewed as a “feeder system for the league’s glamour destinations,” writes Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.
  • Despite a little drama leading up to the trade deadline, both Iguodala and the Grizzlies said they were on the same page when it came to having the swingman stay away from the team. Iguodala told Sam Amick of The Athletic that the Grizzlies actually approached him about the idea. “We were in communication with Andre’s camp,” Kleiman said today, per Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian. “The communications were fine and we were on the same page throughout.”
  • David Aldridge of The Athletic shares some Mavericks-related trade deadline leftovers, reporting that the team inquired on Alex Len before the Hawks sent him to Sacramento. Aldridge also says there was “scuttlebutt in the air” that Delon Wright and/or Justin Jackson were available.
  • Rockets guard Eric Gordon is expected to be sidelined with a left shin contusion until after the All-Star break, head coach Mike D’Antoni said today (Twitter link via Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston).