Pistons Rumors

Several G League Players To Join Pistons' Workouts

The Pistons began their in-market training camp on Wednesday with several players from their G League affiliate participating, according to Rod Beard of the Detroit News (Twitter link). Tre’Shawn Thurman, Tra-Deon Hollins, Adam Woodbury, Khalil Iverson, and Craig Sword all played with the Grand Rapids Drive this season.

Beard also reports (via Twitter) that Pistons center Justin Patton had surgery Tuesday to repair a fractured right pinky finger. Additionally, Tony Snell returned home for personal reasons, and Jordan McRae will not be participating in the team portion of the in-market camp.

Central Notes: Bulls, Pistons, Cavaliers, Atkinson

With a new VP of basketball operations in control and now a new head coach set to stalk the sidelines, the Bulls with finally get fresh eyes for this year’s draft. Sam Vecenie of The Athletic takes an extensive look at Chicago’s various draft options with the fourth pick this season, as well as the team’s other pressing offseason issues.

Vecenie examines several options in play for the Bulls with the pick, assessing the potential fits of Illawarra Hawks guard LaMelo Ball, Georgia forward Anthony Edwards, Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton, Ulm guard Killian Hayes, Auburn wing Isaac Okoro, and Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Deni Avdija. Vecenie also appraises some realistic options for the Bulls’ No. 44 pick this season.

There’s more out of the NBA’s Central Division:

  • As the Pistons began their three-week team camp, Pistons head coach Dwane Casey and new general manager Troy Weaver found themselves aligned in terms of their thoughts on the team’s roster, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. “We’ll talk about certain players and see the same things,” Casey said. “I think that’s very, very important that you look at the type of people you want to compete with, the type of people you want to go to battle with.”
  • This offseason, the Cavaliers front office, led by general manager Koby Altman, will prioritize adding “defensive-minded players” and “length and athleticism,” per Spencer Davies of Basketball News. The team has the No. 5 pick in the 2020 NBA draft, and will have access to the full mid-level exception as it weighs potential additions.
  • As the Pacers continue their search for a new head coach, the team has conducted background research on former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, according to a new episode of the HoopsHype Podcast featuring Michael Scotto and guest Sam Amick of The Athletic.

Doumbouya Will Blossom, Brown Predicts

  • Some of the Pistons’ roster decisions could be sorted out during their mini-camp, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com notes. Big men Thon Maker and Justin Patton may be competing for a roster spot, as Maker can either be a restricted or unrestricted free agent while Patton has a non-guaranteed deal. Swingman Khyri Thomas and two-way players Jordan Bone and Louis King might also need a strong showing for the club to retain them.
  • Pistons guard Bruce Brown believes forward Sekou Doumbouya will blossom in his second season, according to Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Doumbouya saw significant playing time as a rookie due to Blake Griffin‘s knee injury, but his production was highly inconsistent. “He’s got something to prove this summer, coming in with a chip on his shoulder,” Brown said. “He’s working on his game hard; he’s working on big-man stuff and guard stuff. He’s definitely put in the work and it’s going to be a good year for him.”

Pistons Eyeing Short Route To Winning

  • The Pistons are eyeing a short route back to winning, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press details. Detroit finished with a 20-46 record this season, suffering from multiple key injuries and setbacks along the way. “We’re not really rebuilding here in Detroit,” head coach Dwane Casey said. “I think our basketball fans deserve a lot. We like to use the word ‘retooling,’ ‘restoring’ as much as ‘rebuilding.’ It doesn’t have to take a long time because if our young guys are making the progress we expect them to make, it shouldn’t be a long-term restoring.”

Central Notes: Pistons, Pacers, Vanterpool, Cavs

The Pistons finished the 2019/20 season with a 20-46 record, and after buying out Reggie Jackson and trading Andre Drummond, all indications are that they’re not counting on being a playoff team next season. However, head coach Dwane Casey isn’t viewing the team’s process as a full-fledged rebuild, as Eric Woodyard of ESPN writes.

“We’re not really rebuilding here in Detroit,” Casey said. “I think our basketball fans deserve a lot, so we like to use the word retooling (or) restoring as much as rebuilding. So, again, it doesn’t have to take a long time because if our young guys are making the progress we expect them to make, it shouldn’t be a long-term restoring. And again, if we get the opportunity to get the right free agent that’s out there.”

While Casey is hopeful that the retooling process doesn’t necessarily have to be a long-term one, he cautioned that the Pistons will be careful about how they use their cap room this offseason.

“We want to be smart,” Casey said (Twitter link via James L. Edwards III of The Athletic). “We want to build something that’s going to last, be consistent and sustainable. We just don’t want to — as I tell my kids — ‘Don’t let the money burn your pockets.'”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • The Pistons have made it known they’d be open to trading the No. 7 overall pick in the draft, sources tell Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. While it makes sense for new head of basketball operations Troy Weaver to explore all his options with that selection, I’d be surprised to see the club move up or trade out of the first round.
  • Timberwolves associate head coach David Vanterpool is scheduled to interview with the Pacers for their head coaching job on Thursday, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Vanterpool was one of more than a dozen candidates said to be on Indiana’s initial list.
  • Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com takes a deep dive into the pros and cons of the Cavaliers potentially drafting USC big man Onyeka Okongwu with the No. 5 overall pick.

In-Market Bubble Updates: Pistons, Wolves, Cavs

As the NBA’s bottom eight teams gear up to conduct group workouts starting next week, the Pistons have 15 players in attendance for the first phase of their in-market bubble. However, that 15-man group includes five G Leaguers, with a number of notable names from the NBA roster absent.

As Eric Woodyard of ESPN details, head coach Dwane Casey said on Wednesday that Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, Christian Wood, and Langston Galloway aren’t participating.

“All of our young guys are here. Derrick Rose and Blake are not here, which is totally understandable,” Casey said. “Both are working out, and it’s nothing physical. They’re both 100 percent. Blake’s working out in LA, and Derrick is in and out of town.”

As for Wood and Galloway, both players are set to reach unrestricted free agency this fall, so Casey said he understood why they’d be reluctant to participate in workouts with the club over the next few weeks.

“We’re not reading anything into that either way,” Casey said, per Woodyard. “So it’s just something I totally get because if I’m a free agent, I wouldn’t attend anyway to the team you’re not under contract with.”

Here’s more on those mini-camps taking part in “bubbles” across the country:

  • The majority of the Timberwolves‘ key players, including Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and restricted free agent Malik Beasley, are participating in their in-market bubble, as are G Leaguers Canyon Barry and Lindell Wigginton (Twitter link via Woodyard). Free-agent-to-be Evan Turner, Omari Spellman, and Juan Hernangomez won’t be in attendance. Hernangomez is an RFA and is currently overseas, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic notes (via Twitter), while Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News tweets that Spellman’s camp is hoping to find the big man a new home.
  • Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com provides details on the Cavaliers‘ in-market bubble plans for the next two-and-a-half weeks, with group practices set to begin next Wednesday. Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova, both eligible for free agency, won’t attend, but G Leaguers Levi Randolph, Marques Bolden and Vince Edwards have been invited to participate.
  • A personal matter will also prevent center Andre Drummond from attending the Cavaliers‘ mini-camp, though he wanted to be there, sources tell Fedor. “He’s been pretty engaged in everything,” one source said of Drummond. “It’s not like he’s gone dark. He wanted to be there. It’s nothing malicious. It’s not a sign or anything like that. It’s not going to cause a rift.”
  • The NBA sent a memo to the league’s bottom eight teams warning them that if they “require or coerce” players to participate in the optional workouts, they’ll be subject to league punishment, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.

NBA’s Bottom Eight Teams Gearing Up For Group Workouts

Monday, September 14 marks the first day of the three-week offseason workout window for the NBA’s bottom eight teams. The first phase of these de facto training camps will last for one week, through next Monday. During that time, activities will continue to be limited to individual workouts, as participants begin being tested daily for the coronavirus.

After one week, once participating players have returned multiple negative COVID-19 tests – or have been quarantined if they test positive – the second phase of the camps will take place in bubble-type environments. Group workouts, including practices and intra-squad scrimmages, will be permitted during the next two weeks as coronavirus testing continues.

The eight teams not invited to Orlando – the Warriors, Timberwolves, Cavaliers, Hawks, Knicks, Pistons, Bulls, and Hornets – won’t congregate at a single site like the top 22 teams did at Walt Disney World. Their “bubbles” will be created in their respective markets.

[RELATED: Eight Teams Left Out Of Restart To Conduct Workouts At Home Sites]

For instance, as K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes, the Bulls will stay at a downtown hotel and will be transported back and forth between there and the Advocate Center. The Hawks, meanwhile, are working to secure their players a hotel that has not yet opened to help avoid any outside contact, per Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The other clubs will make similar arrangements.

These workouts – both the individual sessions this week and the group activities beginning next week – are entirely voluntary. However, since these players have been unable to take part in organized basketball activities with teammates since March and are likely itching to get back on the court, there’s an expectation that attendance will be robust for most clubs.

Chris Kirschner of The Athletic reports, for example, that the Hawks anticipate all their core players – including Clint Capela – will take part in the camp. Jeff Teague is one of the only players not expected to participate, per Spencer, who notes that the veteran point guard is ticketed for free agency.

The Pistons are in a similar situation — James L. Edwards III of The Athletic reports that free-agent-to-be Langston Galloway isn’t expected to be in attendance, but most of the rest of the team’s players will participate.

There are some cases where players who could reach free agency in the coming months will take part in workouts. For instance, Marc Berman of The New York Post says that Bobby Portis and Taj Gibson will likely be in attendance for the Knicks. Portis has a pricey team option for 2020/21, while only $1MM of Gibson’s $9.45MM salary is guaranteed, so both vets could be let go by the team this fall.

Berman does caution that some veteran Knicks players intend to participate in individual workouts but won’t join the rest of the club in the “bubble.”

Teams that want to fill gaps on their roster and make sure they have enough players to hold intra-squad scrimmages will be able to invite players who suited up for their G League affiliates this past season. For example, Lindell Wigginton and Canyon Barry of the Iowa Wolves will join Minnesota for the team’s mini-camp at Mayo Clinic Square, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News.

With these offseason camps set to end on October 6 and the NBA Finals likely to wrap up shortly thereafter, the next time clubs meet for organized activities will presumably be for training camps at the start of the 2020/21 season.

Pistons Interview R.J. Hampton Ahead of 2020 NBA Draft

2020 NBA draft prospect R.J. Hampton interviewed with Pistons general manager Troy Weaver a month ago, according to Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press.

Hampton, who spent this past season with the New Zealand Breakers of the NBL, told Sankofa he was encouraged by his conversation with the Pistons general manager. “You can tell he knows the game, you can tell he’s very detailed about the way he sees the game of basketball,” Hampton said. “That’s why he was very in-depth with his conversation. He seems like a really smart guy. Knows a lot about the game.”

As of now, the Pistons hold the seventh overall pick in the draft and will likely take the best player available. However, Sankofa notes that the Pistons could potentially move down and acquire another first-round selection.

If that’s the case, then the 6’5″ Hampton, who is projected to go in the early-to-late teens, might be on the Pistons’ radar. This season with the Breakers, Hampton averaged 8.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG, and 2.4 APG in 15 games.

Pistons, Hawks, Knicks Could Control Free Agency

Trying To Make The Most Of Prolonged Layoff

  • The Pistons will be one of the eight teams not invited to Orlando to hold team camps, beginning in the middle of this month. Pistons.com’s Keith Langlois explores how each of their core players can make the most of their prolonged off-season.