Derrick Rose

Weaver Will “Run Basketball Side Of Things” For Pistons

Pistons owner Tom Gores defined new general manager Troy Weaver’s role, saying that the former Oklahoma City executive “will run the basketball side of things” for the rebuilding franchise, Keith Langlois of the team’s website reports.

Senior adviser Ed Stefanski had been running the front office but will take a step back with Weaver in place. Gores also encouraged Weaver to receive input from vice chairman Arn Tellem, and coach Dwane Casey. The club is expected to hire at least one assistant GM.

“We want Troy to lead. He’s going to run the basketball side of things,” Gores said. “We have over 100 years of experience between Arn and Ed and Dwane to leverage. The smartest people in the world leverage whatever resources they have. I wanted to make sure he would leverage it.”

Weaver said he was “blown away” by Gores’ energy and enthusiasm in a video conference and was sold on taking the job “in two minutes.”

Weaver, who had been with the Thunder for more than a decade following a stint with the Jazz, most recently held the title of vice president of basketball operations after previously serving as the team’s VP/assistant GM. He was Sam Presti‘s top lieutenant in Oklahoma City and had been a candidate for other top basketball operations jobs around the NBA in recent years.

The Pistons pursued him for a front office role two years ago after Stefanski was hired. He wasn’t ready to leave OKC at that point. When the Pistons came calling this time, Weaver was more willing to make a career move.

“It’s all about timing. When this opportunity presented itself, I thought the timing was right,” he said. “I thought the fit was right and the loyalty that Mr. Gores and Arn and coach Casey and Ed have building made it attractive. My talents fit with those guys there to be collaborative.”

Though the team is focused on a youth movement, Weaver sees Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose as a big part of Detroit’s plans for next season, according to ESPN’s Eric Woodyard.

“We’re excited to get them healthy and help them move forward,” Weaver said. “We feel like we have a good mixture of young guys with those two staples to be able to start there, but obviously we’ve got a lot of work to do with the draft and free agency.”

Pistons Notes: GM Search, Draft, Point Guard, More

As the Pistons continue their search for a new general manager, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic cites a high-ranking team source who says that prioritizing diversity during that process is considered “vital.”

As Edwards cautions, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Detroit’s next GM will be a person of color. However, it sounds as if the Pistons are casting a wide net as they consider candidates, and Edwards suggests he’d be “very, very surprised” if the team doesn’t hire a person of color to its front office this summer in some capacity, whether it’s as a GM, an assistant GM, or another position.

Here’s more on the Pistons:

  • Within the mailbag linked above, Edwards says he thinks the Pistons may play it a little safer in the 2020 NBA draft after rolling the dice on 18-year-old Sekou Doumbouya a year ago. As Edwards points out, this year’s draft class isn’t considered particularly strong to begin with, and scouting has been a challenge due to the coronavirus pandemic. As such, it might be a good time for the club to take a player it’s confident will develop into a solid pro, even if that prospect doesn’t necessarily have superstar upside. Of course, Detroit’s draft strategy will hinge in large part on where the team ends up in the lottery.
  • On an end-of-season conference call on Wednesday, Pistons head coach Dwane Casey said he thinks the team will look to acquire a starting point guard in the draft or free agency this offseason, per Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). Derrick Rose remains under contract for one more year, but thrived primarily in a sixth-man role in 2019/20.
  • As Sankofa relays in a full Free Press story, Casey also said on Wednesday’s call that he was encouraged by the growth of the Pistons’ young players this season. “We found Christian Wood, who had an excellent season with us when a lot of people had given up on him,” Casey said.Svi Mykhailiuk, I thought he made great strides as far as his shooting ability and his development. And also Bruce Brown, I thought Bruce took strides. I don’t think that he’s a starting point guard in our league. I think he’s going to be an excellent backup for us for whoever we get in that situation. But this year’s development of him is really valuable.”
  • We passed along a few more of Casey’s end-of-season comments on Wednesday evening.

Pistons Notes: Summer League, Billups, GM Search, Roster, Grades

As one of the eight teams that won’t head to Orlando to resume the season, the Pistons have made proposals to the league for a revised summer league and earlier training camp, Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press reports.

The Pistons would like to hold a “mini-summer league” in July featuring structured workouts and games against other lottery-bound teams for their younger players. They also requested to hold a team training camp in mid-September for all players under contract for next season, Sankofa adds. That wouldn’t include free agent signings and draft picks, since that would occur in October. The start of the 2020/21 season has been pushed to December.

We have more Pistons-related news:

  • In the same story, Sankofa indicated that Chauncey Billups is a front office candidate but not for the position he covets. The Pistons are seeking a GM and assistant GM. Billups is only interested in the GM job but the front office would rather bring him in as assistant GM and groom their 2004 NBA Finals MVP for a higher-level executive position.
  • The GM search signals that senior adviser Ed Stefanski will eventually move into a background role, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic notes. The franchise prefers an experienced candidate for the GM job who can make an immediate impact and oversee player evaluations and the draft, Edwards continues. It’s also possible that the Pistons will hire multiple assistant GMs and leave the GM spot vacant for next season, he adds.
  • Blake Griffin, Sekou Doumbouya and Bruce Brown are the players under contract most likely to remain on the roster entering next season, Keith Langlois of the team’s website opines. Derrick Rose will also likely be back, though he’d be a prime trade candidate in his walk year if the team fortifies the point guard spot, Langlois adds.
  • A couple of players earned A-minuses from Detroit News beat writer Rod Beard. See all his evaluations and final grades here.

Pistons’ Stefanski Talks Offseason, Draft, Rose, Kennard

The Pistons project to enter the 2020 offseason as one of just a handful of teams with cap room, and head of basketball operations Ed Stefanski tells Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press that there are several different ways the club could make use of that flexibility.

While the Pistons likely won’t be pursuing any top-tier free agents, Stefanski suggested that the team will assess its options once those highest-paid players come off the board. According to the Pistons’ senior advisor, the club is open to the idea of using its cap room to sign a player or two, or to accommodate a trade.

Stefanski also didn’t rule out the possibility of holding onto that cap space through the offseason and into the ’20/21 season. At that point, all of the noteworthy free agents would be off the board, but teams could still be looking to shed salary in midseason deals, potentially creating opportunities for the Pistons to acquire assets for taking on an unwanted contract — especially if they’re the only team capable of accommodating such a salary dump.

In his conversation with Sankofa, Stefanski addressed several more topics, including the health of multiple injured Pistons, the team’s draft plans, and more. The Q&A is worth checking out in full, but here are a few of the highlights from Stefanski:

On whether the Pistons will target a point guard or big man with their lottery pick after parting with Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond this winter:

“I think where we are, most of the time you’re always going to be going for the best possible player. … If we feel the best player fits one of those positions, that’s even better if you get fortunate that that happens. Right now, that won’t come into play. If the best player is the position where we have more players or have added depth, we’re going to do it. If it happens and we feel the best player on the board fits the position that we need, that’s even better.”

On whether the Pistons will consider moving Derrick Rose in the offseason or at the 2021 trade deadline after keeping him at the 2020 deadline:

“We didn’t move Derrick because we didn’t feel we got enough in return for what he does for us on the court and off the court. He’s very instrumental on these younger guys. Who he is, obviously a former MVP, he’s a great human being. Players like him, so that helps our younger guys since he can nurture the younger guys. Plus he does a terrific job on the court. He was fantastic on the court this year, and we’re going to need that at times to help our younger players perform and gain confidence. We’ll look at everything and if the opportunity arises and makes sense, we’ll pull the trigger.”

On the health of Luke Kennard (out since December 21 with a knee injury):

“Luke has done well. Right before the shutdown because of the virus, he was ready to come back and play. I think he was going to play in Toronto, that next game after Philly. I believe it was then that we were going to give him some minutes. He’s very healthy right now. He’s continued to perform his lifting and is keeping his cardio up. But he feels real good and he worked extremely hard with our performance people on the strength in his knee. So far, all the reports are real positive. He’s healthy right now. If something started up, he’d be ready to go.”

Central Notes: Bucks, Lamb, Pistons, Pacers

The Bucks, who had been hoping to lock up Giannis Antetokounmpo to a super-max contract extension this summer, are one of many NBA teams whose future will be complicated by the current hiatus and the potential loss of revenue associated with it, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

As Pincus details, a significant loss of revenue for the NBA would compromise the league’s ability to continue increasing its cap substantially over the next couple years. That would, in turn, create uncertainty about Antetokounmpo’s long-term earning power on a super-max deal that begins in 2021/22, and could have a major impact on Milwaukee’s ability to navigate the cap and the luxury-tax line.

Here’s more from around the NBA’s Central division:

  • It fell through the cracks to some extent last week due to the NBA’s suspension, but Pacers swingman Jeremy Lamb underwent surgery to repair his torn left ACL and torn meniscus. He’ll be out indefinitely, according to the team. Given the serious nature of his injury, it seems safe to assume Lamb won’t return until sometime in 2020/21 no matter when the ’19/20 season resumes.
  • James Edwards III of The Athletic examines how the COVID-19 situation may specifically impact the Pistons, exploring whether Derrick Rose could now return this season (yes), whether Christian Wood‘s free agency value will be impacted at all by his positive test for coronavirus (no), and more.
  • Pacers owner Herb Simon is giving financial add to the part-time workers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse affected by the NBA’s stoppage, tweets Bob Kravitz of The Athletic. Meanwhile, the Bucks announced (via Twitter) that they’ll match the donations their players make to part-time arena workers at the Fiserv Forum.

Suns Pursued Gordon, Mavs Went After Gallinari At Deadline

Within his latest Inside Pass column for The Athletic, Shams Charania passes along details on several deals that were pursued but didn’t get done at the 2020 trade deadline, a month ago today.

According to Charania, the Suns made a “late push” for Magic forward Aaron Gordon, while the Mavericks did the same for Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari. Gallinari is on an expiring contract, but Gordon is under team control for two more years beyond this season and is expected to receive interest from multiple teams this offseason if Orlando is willing to move him, Charania says.

Elsewhere in the Western Conference, the Nuggets attempted to make a “major trade” just before the deadline, sources tell The Athletic. Charania notes that Jrue Holiday was a player of significant interest for Denver, though it’s not clear if he was the player the Nuggets were pushing for at the deadline. The Pelicans never showed any interest in moving Holiday, per Charania.

Finally, while we’ve previously heard that the Lakers made an offer for point guard Derrick Rose, Charania provides some additional details on that offer, writing that it included fan favorite Alex Caruso and draft compensation. The Lakers would have needed to include at least one more player in that package for salary-matching purposes. In any case, the Pistons weren’t interested in moving Rose.

Although nothing materialized on any of these fronts, there’s value in knowing which teams pursued which players, since many of them remain under contract beyond this season and could become trade targets again down the road. Someone like Gallinari, meanwhile, could be on Dallas’ wish list in free agency, assuming the Mavs didn’t simply view him as a rental.

Injury Updates: Dunn, LaVine, Curry, Oubre, Dedmon

The Bulls‘ frontcourt has been getting a little healthier lately, with Otto Porter and Wendell Carter returning to action within the last few days and Lauri Markkanen making good progress as well. However, the team isn’t in the clear yet when it comes to injuries, especially in the backcourt.

Speaking today to reporters, including K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link), Bulls head coach Jim Boylen confirmed that Kris Dunn will miss the rest of the 2019/20 season. That update doesn’t come as a surprise — we heard nearly two weeks ago that Dunn’s season was in jeopardy as a result of his right MCL sprain. He’ll be eligible for restricted free agency this summer and won’t meet the starter criteria, which will reduce the value of his qualifying offer, as we detailed in that February story.

Meanwhile, the Bulls’ leading scorer, Zach LaVine, confirmed that he’ll remain on the shelf for Wednesday’s game in Minnesota after missing Monday’s contest vs. Dallas (video link via Tony Gill of NBC Sports Chicago). LaVine added that his quad strain will probably sideline him for about a week.

Here are more injury updates from across the NBA:

  • A Thursday return vs. Toronto is a possibility for Warriors star Stephen Curry, head coach Steve Kerr said today (video link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic). Curry’s return date was pushed back after he originally targeted March 1, but it sounds like he’s pretty close.
  • Suns forward Kelly Oubre will undergo surgery on his torn right meniscus, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7. Oubre’s recovery timetable remains unclear — an update is expected to be provided on Wednesday, per Arizona Sports 98.7.
  • The Hawks announced in a press release today that injured center Dewayne Dedmon (elbow) has been cleared to practice on Wednesday. GM Travis Schlenk said in an appearance on 92.9 FM in Atlanta that the Hawks “fully expect” Dedmon to be available on Friday (Twitter link via Kevin Chouinard).
  • Asked today if Derrick Rose will return this season, Pistons head coach Dwane Casey was noncommittal, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News. “We’ll just see how he feels. I wouldn’t put that in concrete,” Casey said. “… I don’t know what he would gain from it by coming back (for the final weeks). We haven’t made that decision yet.” Rose, who is recovering from a sprained ankle, will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

Derrick Rose Out At Least Two Weeks; Pistons Eyeing Jordan McRae

11:59am: The Pistons have issued a press release confirming that Rose has been diagnosed with a grade two right ankle sprain. He’ll be re-evaluated in two weeks, according to the team.

11:07am: An MRI on Derrick Rose‘s sprained right ankle came back negative, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. However, sources tell Haynes that the Pistons will be cautious with Rose’s injury and that he’ll be reassessed in “a few weeks.”

Rose, who received interest from contenders at the trade deadline, has a second year on his contract with Detroit, so the Pistons will want to make sure he’s as healthy as possible heading into the offseason — the former MVP will either play a key role on next year’s team or be a valuable trade chip this summer. Rose is expected to make a full recovery from his ankle injury, Haynes notes.

As the Pistons consider handing the reins to their young players for the rest of the season, they’re also keeping an eye on Jordan McRae, according to Haynes. Released by the Nuggets on Sunday night, McRae is expected to be claimed off waivers by the Suns on Wednesday.

However, based on Haynes’ report, it sounds like Detroit is mulling a waiver claim of its own. Because they trail Phoenix in the NBA standings, the Pistons would have the higher priority and would be awarded McRae if both teams submit a claim.

If the Pistons were to place a claim on McRae, no corresponding roster move would be necessary, since they have room on their 15-man roster.

Pistons Notes: Youth Movement, Hall, Henson, Rose

With the playoffs out of reach, the Pistons will give plenty of opportunities to young players for the rest of the season, according to Keith Langlois of NBA.com. That includes Derrick Walton Jr. and Donta Hall, who are both on 10-day contracts, as well as Khyri Thomas, who returned to Detroit’s lineup last night for the first time since breaking his foot in November. Langlois notes that coach Dwane Casey used all 12 available players in the first 18 minutes of a loss in Denver.

“I know we’ve got a lot of youth,” Casey said. “I thought we were in (G League) Grand Rapids a couple of times, but that’s part of the deal.”

The Pistons’ direction for the second half of the season was set when Blake Griffin underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee in early January. The organization committed to building for the future, sending Andre Drummond to Cleveland at the trade deadline and reaching a buyout with Reggie Jackson last week. Derrick Rose is the only player left on the roster who is older than 30, Langlois notes.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • Hall played 15 minutes Tuesday and showed why the Pistons gave him an opportunity as an undrafted free agent last summer, Langlois adds in the same piece. Hall could have a steady role next season as a rim protector who brings energy off the bench. “Really was impressed with Donta,” Casey said after the game. “Came over a couple of times in the first half, great verticality.”
  • John Henson, who was acquired from the Cavaliers in the Drummond trade, may have a future in Detroit beyond this season if he’s willing to accept a veteran’s minimum deal, suggests Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Henson is shooting 68% from the field since coming to Detroit and provides an experienced presence in the locker room. Christian Wood will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and Beard notes that Thon Maker may be unrestricted as well if the Pistons elect not to make a qualifying offer.
  • Detroit turned away a trade inquiry from the Lakers about Rose and intends to bring him back next season, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on a recent Hoop Collective Podcast (hat tip to Real GM). He added that there’s “no chance” the Pistons will seek a buyout on the second season of Rose’s two-year, $15MM contract.

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.