Detroit Pistons

Pistons Sign Luis Montero To Two-Way Deal

July 24: The signing is official, according to a team press release.

July 21: Free agent guard Luis Montero is poised to sign a two-way contract with the Pistons, a league source tells Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype. It will be the first two-way deal in franchise history for Detroit.

Montero, 24, went undrafted in 2015, but caught on with the Trail Blazers and made his NBA debut for Portland during the 2015/16 season. After playing limited minutes in 12 games for the Blazers, Montero has spent most of his time with various G League clubs.

In 2016/17, Montero averaged 8.8 PPG and 6.2 RPG in 49 total contests for the Reno Bighorns and the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Our two-way contract FAQ provides more details on two-way deals, while our tracker shows which players have signed or agreed to them so far.

Pistons Add Leadership, Three-Point Shooting

  • The decision to bring Anthony Tolliver back aboard will pay off for the Pistons in veteran leadership, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes. “He’s one of the highest-character guys in the NBA. What he will do in terms of leadership is important to our team, but it’s important that he’s a guy who can go out and play,” head coach Stan Van Gundy said.
  • The Pistons‘ chief goal this offseason was to improve their three-point shooting and Keith Langlois of the team’s official website writes that they’ve added a number of players that can help in that regard.

Suns Expressed ‘Strong’ Interest In Andre Drummond In June

The Suns were among the teams that expressed “strong” interest in Andre Drummond in June, reports Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated. According to Fischer, Sacramento also showed significant interest in trading for Drummond — the Kings’ interest has been previously reported.

While Drummond remains in Detroit for now, Fischer is skeptical that he’ll finish his contract with the Pistons, noting that the club dangled its starting center in trade talks at the deadline and again leading up to the draft.

A report earlier this week suggested that Pistons owner Tom Gores is a big fan of Drummond, whereas head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy isn’t quite as bullish on the young center. According to that report, the Pistons didn’t receive any trade offers this offseason that merited a serious conversation between management and ownership about the 23-year-old’s future in Detroit.

The Suns, meanwhile, entered the summer in the market for a major frontcourt upgrade, so their interest in Drummond doesn’t come as a real surprise. Phoenix reportedly went into free agency targeting Blake Griffin and Paul Millsap. However, after missing out on Griffin, the Suns pulled back on their pursuit of top free agents, opting instead to exercise a little more patience with their rebuilding process.

Of course, given Drummond’s age, he may still fit the timeline for a rebuilding team like the Suns or Kings, despite his massive contract. So those clubs shouldn’t necessarily be ruled out as suitors if the Pistons revisit trade possibilities for the former ninth overall pick later this offseason or at next year’s deadline.

Pistons, Derek Willis Agree To One-Year Deal

The Pistons have agreed to sign undrafted free agent Derek Willis, according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes (via Twitter). Willis will sign a one-year contract with Detroit, Haynes reports.

Willis, who spent four years at Kentucky, wasn’t viewed as a top prospect heading into this year’s draft, ranking 58th on DraftExpress’ list of seniors. The 6’9″ forward posted modest numbers during his final season with the Wildcats, posting 7.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 1.0 BPG in 38 games (21.9 MPG).

However, the Pistons worked out Willis in June and apparently liked what they saw from the 22-year-old, who also showed an ability to make outside shots over the course of his college career (.399 3PT%).

Detroit has used its mid-level exception and bi-annual exception, so Willis figures to get a minimum salary contract from the club, and I doubt it will be guaranteed. The Pistons likely have their eye on Willis as a possible affiliate player for the Grand Rapids Drive, rather than as a member of Detroit’s 15-man regular season roster.

SVG, Gores Have Differing Opinions On Drummond?

  • According to Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post, many teams around the NBA sensed this offseason that Pistons coach and president Stan Van Gundy was dissatisfied with center Andre Drummond. Detroit took calls on Drummond, but team owner Tom Gores is a big fan of the 23-year-old, and the Pistons didn’t receive any offers strong enough to merit a serious conversation about the big man’s future, per Bontemps.

NBA Teams With Hard Caps For 2017/18

The NBA salary cap is somewhat malleable, with various exceptions allowing every team to surpass the $99.093MM threshold when that room is used up. In some cases, teams blow past not only the cap limit, but the luxury-tax limit as well, with clubs like the Cavaliers, Warriors, and Trail Blazers going well beyond that tax line this year.

The NBA doesn’t have a “hard cap” by default, which allows those clubs to build significant payrolls without violating CBA rules. However, there are certain scenarios in which teams can be hard-capped. When a club uses the bi-annual exception, acquires a player via sign-and-trade, or uses more than the taxpayer portion of the mid-level exception, that club will face a hard cap for the remainder of the league year.

When a team becomes hard-capped, it cannot exceed the tax apron at any point during the rest of the league year. Under the new CBA, the tax apron is set at the point $6MM above the luxury tax line. For the 2017/18 league year, the tax line is at $119.266MM, so the apron – and the hard cap – is at $125.266MM.

So far this year, six teams have imposed a hard cap on themselves by using the bi-annual exception, using the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, or acquiring a player via sign-and-trade. Listed below are those six teams, along with their current salary situation. Team salaries are estimations, since not all contracts have been finalized, and we don’t know the exact figures on all those salaries.

Los Angeles Clippers

  • How they created a hard cap: Acquiring Danilo Gallinari via sign-and-trade. Using non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Milos Teodosic and Jawun Evans.
  • Approximate team salary: $120MM
  • Breakdown: The Clippers still have some non-guaranteed salary on their books, but even if they were to cut those contracts, they’d need to fill out their 15-man roster somehow, so they appear likely to stay over the tax line, despite losing Chris Paul. They’ll fill out their roster with minimum salary players and will have somewhat limited flexibility in trades unless they dump some salary at some point.

Houston Rockets

  • How they created a hard cap: Using non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign P.J. Tucker and Zhou Qi. Using bi-annual exception to sign Tarik Black.
  • Approximate team salary: $119MM
  • Breakdown: The Rockets acquired Chris Paul before the new league year began in order to hang onto their mid-level and bi-annual exceptions, and made full use of them. Like the Clippers, the Rockets have some non-guaranteed salary that could be removed from their cap to sneak under the tax line, but they don’t appear concerned about that for now. It will be interesting to see if their hard cap limits their flexibility at all when it comes to adding a highly-paid player like Carmelo Anthony.

Toronto Raptors

  • How they created a hard cap: Using non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign C.J. Miles.
  • Approximate team salary: $118MM
  • Breakdown: Dumping the salaries of DeMarre Carroll and Cory Joseph allowed the Raptors to use their full mid-level exception, which gave them the opportunity to land a talented swingman like Miles. Toronto was originally planning to acquire Miles via a sign-and-trade, but either approach would have hard-capped the club.

Detroit Pistons

  • How they created a hard cap: Using non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Langston Galloway and Eric Moreland. Using bi-annual exception to sign Anthony Tolliver.
  • Approximate team salary: $116MM
  • Breakdown: Once the Pistons added Galloway and Avery Bradley, it became clear that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope wouldn’t return. Even without KCP on their books, the Pistons are inching close to tax territory, though they should be able to avoid crossing that threshold.

Memphis Grizzlies

  • How they created a hard cap: Using non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Ben McLemore and Rade Zagorac. Using bi-annual exception to sign Tyreke Evans.
  • Approximate team salary: $104MM
  • Breakdown: The Grizzlies are well below the tax line – and the hard cap – for now, but JaMychal Green‘s new contract looms large. At this point, it seems unlikely that Green will sign a massive offer sheet that forces Memphis into tax territory to match it. But even if Green gets $10-12MM per year, the Grizzlies will get a whole lot closer to the tax threshold, which will limit their ability to add more salary. If they let Green walk, that won’t be a problem, but I’d be surprised if that happens.

San Antonio Spurs

  • How they created a hard cap: Using non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Rudy Gay.
  • Approximate team salary: $97MM
  • Breakdown: The hard cap shouldn’t have a major impact on the Spurs, who are still nearly $30MM away from reaching it. However, new contracts for Manu Ginobili and Pau Gasol could take San Antonio a whole lot closer to that tax threshold, depending on how much the club ends up paying its returning veterans.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders, HeatHoops, and ESPN used in this post.

Pistons Waive Swingman Michael Gbinije

7:23 PM: Detroit has officially waived Gbinije, according to a team press release.

12:35 PM: The Pistons will waive swingman Michael Gbinije on Saturday before his $1.3MM salary for next season becomes guaranteed, a source with firsthand knowledge told Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.

A second-round pick in 2016, Gbinije spent most of his time with the G League’s Grand Rapids Drive last season. The 6’7” Gbinije, who played college ball at Syracuse before he was selected with the 49th overall pick, appeared in just nine games with Detroit during his rookie season. He battled some injuries that affected his chances of seeing more time with the Pistons.

Gbinije started 16 games for the Drive, averaging 12.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.8 APG and 1.9 SPG.

The move was expected, given the recent roster decisions made by Pistons coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy. He acquired Avery Bradley from the Celtics, signed Langston Galloway as a free agent and drafted Luke Kennard, giving the Pistons three shooting guards. Detroit also re-signed Reggie Bullock this week as the No. 3 option at small forward behind holdovers Tobias Harris and Stanley Johnson. The Bullock signing made Gbinije expendable.

Central Notes: Monroe, Terry, LaVine, Bradley, Mirotic

Greg Monroe‘s name has been prevalent in trade rumors the last 12 months and not much has changed. The former seventh overall pick from the 2010 NBA Draft is still a productive asset but his lack of rim protection partnered with his sizeable salary ($17.8MM next season) make him an expendable player for the Bucks.

Before the Bucks faced the Jazz for Summer League action in Las Vegas Friday, Monroe told reporters, including Gery Woelfel of Woelfel’s Press Box, that he’s thrilled to be in Milwaukee and doesn’t want to go elsewhere.

“I’m happy,” Monroe, 27, said.“I had no reason to leave. I want to build on what we started last year. I’d like to stay but that’s up to them.”

Coming off the bench last season, Monroe averaged 11.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and shot 53% from the floor in 22.5 minutes per game. However, Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s new extension kicks in and Tony Snell (four years, $46MM) will take up a big chunk of the Bucks’ payroll so shedding Monroe’s salary remains an enticing proposition.

Here are additional notes around the Central Division:

  • Free agent Jason Terry is drawing interest around the league, Woelfel notes in the same article. The 39-year-old was a solid veteran presence for the Bucks last season but his return to Milwaukee is not certain. Woelfel adds that a Western Conference squad is weighing an offer to the former NBA champion.
  • After trading Marcus Morris to acquire Avery Bradley from the Celtics, the Pistons have high expectations from their new acquisition, Rod Beard of The Detroit News writes. Coach Stan Van Gundy expressed his excitement with Bradley joining the team while the Celtics’ second leading scorer last season is ready to maximize his skills under Van Gundy’s tutelage and alongside players like Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond.
  • Nikola Mirotic wants to remain with the Bulls and the feeling is mutual, Joe Cowley of he Chicago Sun-Times writes. While Chicago has undergone several changes — most notably trading away Jimmy Butler — the restricted free agent and the team are just waiting it out before likely agreeing to a deal. Mirotic also discusses Butler’s exit and his plans for the future.
  • One of the Bulls’ newest acquisitions, Zach LaVine, is expected to be ready for training camp as he rehabs from knee surgery, ESPN’s Marc J. Spears tweets.

Pistons Sign Anthony Tolliver To One-Year Deal

JULY 14: The Pistons have issued a press release formally announcing their new deal with Tolliver.

JULY 11: The Pistons have agreed to a one-year, $3.3MM deal with free agent forward Anthony Tolliver, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link). Detroit will use its bi-annual exception to complete the signing.Anthony Tolliver vertical

Tolliver, 32, spent the better part of two seasons with the Pistons from 2014 to 2016, but left the team last summer to sign a free agent contract with the Kings. The veteran averaged 7.1 PPG and 3.6 RPG with a .442 FG% in 65 games during his one-year stay in Sacramento, with the Kings opting to waive him rather than fully guaranteeing his 2017/18 salary, which was partially guaranteed for $2MM (of $8MM).

The addition of Tolliver could be the last major move of the offseason for the Pistons, who have now used both their mid-level exception and their bi-annual exception. The club used most of its MLE on Langston Galloway and sent Marcus Morris to Boston in a deal for Avery Bradley, creating a lack of depth in the frontcourt, particularly in the wake of Aron Baynes‘ departure.

Detroit addressed its need for bigs by using the rest of its MLE on Eric Moreland and now by using its BAE to add Tolliver. The duo will join Andre Drummond, Jon Leuer, Boban Marjanovic, and Henry Ellenson in the Pistons’ frontcourt.

Meanwhile, the bi-annual exception, which is worth $3.29MM this year, can only be used once every two years, so it won’t be available to the Pistons in 2018/19.

Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press first reported the Pistons’ interest in Tolliver.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pistons Re-Sign Reggie Bullock

JULY 14: The Pistons have officially re-signed Bullock, the team announced today in a press release.

JULY 10: Swingman Reggie Bullock has agreed to re-sign with the Pistons on a two-year, $5MM contract, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets.

The decision to bring back Bullock is somewhat of a surprise, given that Pistons traded for Avery Bradley, signed Langston Galloway in free agency and drafted Luke Kennard. That gives them plenty of depth at shooting guard, so the Pistons brass must be looking at Bullock as an insurance policy at small forward behind Tobias Harris and Stanley Johnson.

The 6’7” Bullock appeared in 31 games with the Pistons last season, averaging 4.5 PPG and 2.1 RPG in 15.1 MPG. He played in 37 games with Detroit the previous year after spending his first three seasons with the Clippers and Suns. He’s a career 35.5% shooter from 3-point range.

The Timberwolves were among the teams who expressed interest in Bullock during the free agent process. Bullock will have to sit out the first five games of the season while serving a suspension for violating the league’s anti-drug policy.

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