Pistons Rumors

Eastern Notes: Pistons, D. Green, Celtics, Sixers

An Eastern Conference executive who spoke to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com believes the Pistons are a team to watch if Draymond Green doesn’t sign an extension with the Warriors before he becomes eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2023. Green was born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan, attended Michigan State, and grew up rooting for the Pistons, who have long had interest in acquiring him, according to the executive.

“(Pistons owner Tom) Gores is a Michigan State guy, and they wanted to give Draymond an offer sheet when he was a free agent (in 2015), but by then, the Warriors were going to match any offer,” the executive told Heavy.com. “So they just have not had the chance. If they can show some improvement this year with their young guys, they could get themselves in the mix.”

The idea of Green playing a mentor role on a young Pistons team is an intriguing one, and the combination of his local connection, Detroit’s projected 2023 cap room, and the rising cost of the Warriors’ roster make it a possibility worth considering. But for now, this feels more like idle speculation by a rival executive than anything concrete.

If Green and the Warriors are far apart in contract talks and he seriously considers leaving in 2023, Detroit could certainly emerge as an option, but there’s no reason at this point to think that Golden State won’t make every effort to lock up one of the cornerstones of its recent dynasty.

Here are a few more notes from around the East:

  • In a separate story for Heavy.com, Sean Deveney spoke to a pair of assistant coaches about veterans the Celtics could theoretically target with one of their trade exceptions if they want to fortify their frontcourt. Alex Len, Tony Bradley, and Marquese Chriss are among the names mentioned, though I suspect the team may simply fill that spot on the depth chart with a minimum-salary signing.
  • Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com considers the best- and worst-case scenarios for newly-signed Sixers forward P.J. Tucker, noting that the veteran’s age (37) increases the risk of a decline in his performance.
  • Addressing recent rumors linking Kevin Durant to the Sixers, David Murphy of The Philadelphia Inquirer says the team needs to answer two important questions: Do the 76ers have the assets necessary to acquire Durant? And if so, would it make sense to cash all of them in for the two-time Finals MVP?

And-Ones: Offseason, Tampering Rules, FA Signings

In a roundtable discussion, Howard Beck, Chris Mannix, Robin Lundberg, and Rohan Nadkarni discussed the best, worst, most surprising, and most intriguing moves of the 2022 NBA offseason, agreeing on some issues and sharing opposing views on others.

For instance, while Beck and Mannix both view the Rudy Gobert blockbuster as the best roster move of the summer, Beck makes the case that the Jazz‘s side of the deal was the offseason’s top move, while Mannix argues for the Timberwolves‘ side.

Beck, Lundberg, and Nadkarni, meanwhile, all named the Hawks‘ acquisition of Dejounte Murray as the summer’s most intriguing roster move, while Beck and Lundberg agree that Kevin Durant‘s trade request with four years left on his contract was the offseason’s worst move. From a basketball perspective, Durant would be best off staying in Brooklyn and playing for a Nets team that looks capable of contending for a title, Beck writes.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The NBA’s tampering rules aren’t exactly working as intended, but it’s unclear if there’s any obvious way to fix them, writes Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. “The threat of harsher penalties and random audits doesn’t even make teams flinch,” one source told Todd. “And at this point, if we investigated every possible instance of tampering, the whole league would come to a screeching halt and nothing would ever get done.” According to Todd, multiple front office executives that she spoke to expressed support for moving free agency ahead of the draft, among other changes to the current system.
  • David Aldridge of The Athletic wrapped up his series on which teams improved the most and least this offseason by listing his picks from 20 to 11 and from 10 to one. The Sixers were Aldridge’s choice for the team that made the best roster upgrades, followed by the Hawks, Nuggets, Celtics, and Timberwolves.
  • Dan Devine of The Ringer shines a light on seven under-the-radar free agent agreements that he’s intrigued by, including the Heat‘s three-year deal with Caleb Martin, the Timberwolves‘ acquisition of Kyle Anderson, and the Pistons‘ investment in Marvin Bagley III.

Keith Bogans Could Join Coaching Staff

Barring a trade or injury, the Pistons will likely have to choose between Saben Lee or Rodney McGruder for their final roster spot, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes in his latest mailbag column. Making a trade, perhaps involving one of their big men, would create roster openings for both of those players.

  • The Pistons are close to finalizing a contract with Keith Bogans to join Dwane Casey‘s staff, ESPN contributor Frank Isola tweets. Rashard Lewis is also in talks with the Pistons regarding a coaching position, Isola adds.

Grant Signing Worked Out Well

  • When the Pistons signed Jerami Grant to a three-year contract two years ago as a free agent, many observers were baffled as to why the rebuilding team took that route. In hindsight, it worked out quite well for Detroit, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. Grant’s professionalism and work ethic rubbed off on the Pistons’ young players and the subsequent trade with Portland this summer helped GM Troy Weaver make a draft-night deal for lottery pick Jalen Duren.

NBA Schedule Not Expected For At Least Another Week

Everyone eagerly anticipating the release of the schedule for the 2022/23 season will have to wait a little longer, according to NBA insider Marc Stein (Twitter link). Sources tell Stein that the schedule isn’t expected to be revealed until after next week, which puts the date sometime in mid-August.

The league typically releases its schedule during the second week of August, although that has been affected over the past two years by shortened offseasons caused by the pandemic. Last year’s schedule was announced on August 20.

Possible trades involving Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Donovan Mitchell may be slowing the process this summer as the schedule makers wait to see if any of those situations get resolved before locking in prime TV dates.

A few things are known about the upcoming season, including league-wide media days on September 26, followed by the start of training camps a day later. The Pistons and Bulls will travel to France for the January 19 NBA Paris Game, according to the league’s website, and All-Star Weekend is set for February 17-19 in Salt Lake City.

The preseason schedule is virtually set and will begin with the defending champion Warriors facing the Wizards in Tokyo for a pair of games September 30 and October 2. The Raptors and Jazz will meet October 2 in Edmonton, the Bucks and Hawks will square off October 6 and 8 in Abu Dhabi, and the Raptors and Celtics will play Oct. 15 in Montreal.

Based on past schedules, the 2022/23 regular season will likely tip off on October 18.

Examining What Killian Hayes Needs To Show Pistons, Other Topics

Reggie Jackson Considered Retirement In Detroit

  • Echoing comments he made in March, Clippers guard Reggie Jackson told youths at Paul George‘s basketball camp that he considering retirement during his time with the Pistons, per Tomer Azarly of Clutch Points (video link). “It really started making me question myself (late in his Detroit tenure),” Jackson said. “… Don’t let anybody ever do this to you in life, take the fun out of the things that you love to do. I really was gonna retire. My lifeline, my brother here saved me.”

Contract Details: Dellavedova, McGruder, Knox

Matthew Dellavedova‘s new one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Kings, originally reported as partially guaranteed, is actually non-guaranteed for the time being, Hoops Rumors has learned.

Dellavedova will receive a partial guarantee of $250K if he’s not waived before Sacramento’s first game of the regular season, then would lock in his full $2.63MM guarantee if he remains under contract through the NBA’s league-wide guarantee deadline of January 7.

Here are a few more details on recently signed NBA contracts:

  • Rodney McGruder‘s one-year, minimum-salary deal with the Pistons is fully guaranteed, Hoops Rumors has learned. That gives Detroit 17 players on guaranteed contracts, though one of those players (Kemba Walker) is very likely to be bought out. The Pistons would still have to trade or release one more player with a guaranteed salary in order to get to the 15-man regular season limit.
  • Kevin Knox‘s two-year, $6MM contract with the Pistons is worth a flat $3MM in each of the two seasons. While the first year is guaranteed, the deal includes a team option for the 2023/24 season.
  • As expected, Goran Dragic‘s one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Bulls and JaMychal Green‘s with the Warriors are both fully guaranteed.

Pistons Sign Rodney McGruder, Kevin Knox

The Pistons have re-signed swingman Rodney McGruder, per the NBA transactions log. The team has also officially signed free agent forward Kevin Knox.

McGruder received a one-year deal, James Edwards of The Athletic tweets, though the contractual terms are unclear. Detroit already had 15 players with guaranteed contracts on its roster before both signings, along with filling both of its two-way spots.

Knox reportedly received a two-year, $6MM deal. Detroit will have to clear roster space via a trade or eat some guaranteed money to get down to 15 by training camp — the most logical odd man out is Kemba Walker, who is still expected to be bought out by the Pistons, but if McGruder got a guaranteed contract, another move will be required.

McGruder, 31, has been on the Pistons’ roster for the last two seasons. He appeared in 51 games in 2021/22, including two starts, and averaged 5.4 PPG in 14.8 MPG. He’s a career 35.2% 3-point shooter but made 39.7% of his attempts last season.

Knox, the ninth pick of the 2018 draft, is a reclamation project. He had a productive first season with the Knicks but fell out of favor under coach Tom Thibodeau. He appeared in just 13 games with the Knicks last season before being dealt to Atlanta. In 17 games with the Hawks, Knox averaged just 6.5 MPG.

The Hawks did not tender a qualifying offer to Knox this summer, making him an unrestricted free agent.

Murphy Believes Team Set Up For Long-Term Success

  • Pistons general manager Troy Weaver was initially interested in hiring Rob Murphy as the head coach of the G League’s Motor City Cruise, according to The Athletic’s James Edwards III. Murphy instead became that team’s GM as well as assistant GM with the Pistons. Murphy believes the NBA team is now set up for long-term success. “Our books are in order. We have young talent,” he said. “I think we’re set up for success over the next 15 years if this all continues to grow and pans out how we think it will.”