Pistons Rumors

Injury Notes: Beal, Suns, Porzingis, Harris, Adebayo, Jazz

Star guard Bradley Beal fully participated in the Suns‘ practice on Thursday, but he’s not quite ready to return from his back injury, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. The team wants to get Beal some more practice reps before reinserting him into its lineup, according to head coach Frank Vogel.

“We want to see him stack together a few practices where he responds well,” Vogel said. “No timeline on how many that is or what that looks like, but we want to continue to make sure he’s responding well before we put him back in there. Stay away from being in and out.”

The shorthanded Suns will also be without Kevin Durant (left ankle sprain) and Grayson Allen (right groin strain) when they host Sacramento on Friday. However, as Rankin relays, Vogel referred to those injuries as “short-term” issues, suggesting Durant and Allen may not miss much – if any – additional time beyond Friday.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • As expected, Kristaps Porzingis appears poised to return for the Celtics after missing four games due to a strained left calf. He’s considered probable to play in Friday’s game vs. New York, according to the team (Twitter link).
    [Note: Porzingis has since been upgraded to available.]
  • Pistons forward Joe Harris, who has been sidelined since November 5 due to a shoulder injury, has been upgraded to questionable for Friday’s game in Orlando, tweets Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. Spacing has been an issue this season for the Pistons, who rank 28th in the NBA in three-pointers per game, so the return of Harris, a career 43.6% three-point shooter, could be a boon.
  • Heat big man Bam Adebayo will miss a second consecutive game on Friday vs. Cleveland due to his left hip contusion, tweets Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Adebayo said earlier this week that he’s unsure about his return timeline.
  • The Jazz are close to getting some lineup reinforcements. Jordan Clarkson (right thigh contusion), who has missed the past three games, and Kelly Olynyk (right shoulder strain), who has been out for two in a row, are listed as questionable for Friday vs. the Clippers. Lauri Markkanen (left hamstring strain) will be unavailable for a seventh straight contest, but was a full practice participant on Thursday and just has to tick a couple more boxes before being cleared to return, Sarah Todd of The Deseret News explains.

Pistons’ Duren Out At Least Two Weeks With Ankle Sprain

7:30pm: The Pistons announced in a press release that Duren underwent an MRI on Thursday which confirmed the sprained ankle. He’s out at least two weeks, which is when he’ll be reevaluated, per the team.

6:40pm: Pistons starting center Jalen Duren is expected to be sidelined for the next two weeks after spraining his left ankle in Wednesday’s loss to Memphis, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

It’s a tough setback for Duren, who missed seven games last month due to a right ankle injury. With the 2022 lottery pick out, fellow big men like Isaiah Stewart, Marvin Bagley III and James Wiseman could receive more playing time.

Duren has been effective when healthy in his second season, averaging 12.6 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.4 blocks in 28.9 minutes per night. He has posted 10 double-doubles in his 14 appearances.

Injuries have been a major issue for the Pistons in 2023/24, with Duren, Bojan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Livers, Monte Morris and Joe Harris among the players missing significant time. Bogdanovic recently made his season debut after dealing with a calf strain, while Morris (quad) is unlikely to suit up until 2024.

It’s been a disappointing season for Detroit, which hoped to take a step forward in its rebuild. Instead, the team has lost 18 straight games and is currently 2-19 — that’s the worst record in the NBA.

New York Notes: LaVine, DeRozan, Bogdanovic, Dinwiddie, DSJ

The Knicks are searching for ways to upgrade their roster, but they haven’t engaged in serious trade talks with the Bulls about Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan or any other players, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv. New York has been floated as a potential suitor for LaVine and reportedly explored a possible deal with Chicago prior to last season’s deadline. The Bulls are hoping to find a taker for LaVine, but his latest injury setback should cool any interest around the league, at least for a while.

Bojan Bogdanovic has also been a target for the Knicks in the past, but Begley’s sources say Detroit isn’t looking to move him right now. Bogdanovic recently returned from a calf strain, and the Pistons hope he can help snap an 18-game losing streak and get them heading in the right direction before considering any deals.

There’s more from New York City:

  • Recent frustration expressed by Knicks guards Josh Hart and Quentin Grimes is the result of a poorly constructed roster with too many redundant players, contends Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. Bondy points out that team president Leon Rose created a roster imbalance this summer when he traded power forward Obi Toppin to Indiana for virtually nothing and signed shooting guard Donte DiVincenzo. The move gave New York too many guards and wings, without enough playing time to keep them all satisfied. Grimes is unhappy about losing minutes to DiVincenzo, but Bondy notes that the same situation occurred last year when Evan Fournier was replaced by Grimes. Bondy’s solution is to either move Grimes to the second unit, which would give him more play-making duties, or to balance the roster with a long-rumored trade for another star.
  • Spencer Dinwiddie has been willing to adapt his role amid heavy injuries to the Nets‘ backcourt, notes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Ben Simmons, Dennis Smith Jr., Cam Thomas and Lonnie Walker have all missed time already, forcing Dinwiddie to spend more time running the offense, and he has posted one of the best assist-to-turnover ratios in the league. Dinwiddie will be a free agent next summer, and Lewis says there’s a belief in league circles that his next contract could top the $81MM over four years that Hart received from the Knicks.
  • Smith, who refers to himself as “a savage,” has been showing why the Nets were so determined to add him in free agency, observes CJ Holmes of The New York Daily News. Smith returned Saturday after missing six games with a lower back sprain, adding another level of toughness to Brooklyn’s scrappy lineup.

Bogdanovic Should Soon Return To Starting Five

Bojan Bogdanovic is likely to soon regain his starting role with the Pistons, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets. Bogdanovic, who could be a prime target at the trade deadline, made his season debut on Saturday after recovering from a calf strain and scored a team-high 22 points off the bench.

Pistons head coach Monty Williams said that when the team isn’t playing against two “bruisers” in the opposing lineup, it’s likely Bogdanovic will start at power forward when he gets in a rhythm. Against those bigger teams, Bogdanovic would start at small forward with Isaiah Stewart at power forward.

  • Even in the midst of the Pistons’ franchise-record 17-game losing streak, Cade Cunningham is showing an improved 3-point stroke, according to Edwards. Cunningham has made 35% of his attempts, compared to 31.4% during his rookie season. He has also converted at least half of his 3-point tries in five of the last seven games. “It was more of a legs thing for me,” Cunningham said of his rookie struggles. “I was playing a lot of minutes, a lot of minutes that I had never played in an NBA season before and had to adjust to stepping back to the NBA 3-point line.”

Central Notes: Weaver, Crowder, White, DeMar

The Pistons are currently mired in a league-worst 17-game losing streak. If Detroit isn’t able to somewhat right this ship, even while clearly headed for the lottery this year, general manager Troy Weaver should be fired so a new front office can thrive, opines Shawn Windsor of The Detroit Free Press.

Windsor writes that the Pistons are currently on a 7.5-game win pace for the rest of the season, which would shatter the current record for a full 82-game NBA slate.

Given that the club will have lots of space under the league’s projected salary cap next summer, through which it could add veterans and make significant transactions to improve, Windsor submits that Weaver should not be in a decision-making role with the Pistons at that juncture — barring some kind of growth this year.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Following a November 14 surgery to correct a partial tear in his left adductor, Bucks reserve forward Jae Crowder is on the mend, having resumed individual on-court work within the last week, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “When I touched the ball, I was like, ‘All right, I’m getting close,’” Crowder said. The 33-year-old combo forward was a solid two-way contributor for Milwaukee when healthy this year. In his nine healthy games, he’s logging 8.1 PPG on .532/.416/.583 shooting splits, along with 3.9 RPG, 1.7 APG and 0.8 SPG.
  • Bulls starting point guard Coby White is enjoying an excellent start to the season for a struggling 7-14 Chicago club. His willingness to shoot from distance early and often has played a part in the team’s current two-game mini-win streak, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. The 6’5″ guard is averaging 15.0 PPG on .427/.403/.846 shooting splits, 4.2 APG, 3.1 RPG and 0.9 SPG. He’s connecting on a career-best 40.3% of his career-most 7.1 three-pointers per night.
  • Bulls All-Star small forward DeMar DeRozan seems to be rediscovering the passing game that he developed during his three-year stint with the Spurs, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. To wit, he notched a season-most 10 dimes during Chicago’s surprise 124-118 win over the Pelicans on Saturday. “Just being unselfish, pushing the pace,” DeRozan said of his — and the team’s — approach to the victory.

And-Ones: In-Season Tournament, Point Differential, Cole

While most of the league has gotten back to business as usual, the eight teams that advanced in the NBA’s first-ever in-season tournament are focused on the knockout round and a trip to Las Vegas for the semifinals and title game, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Single-elimination games will start Monday with the Pacers hosting the Celtics and the Pelicans meeting the Kings, and will continue Tuesday with Knicks-Bucks and Lakers-Suns matchups.

“I just want to make every appeal I can to our fans that we need the loudest building possible,” Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. “To show you that no good deed goes unpunished, we draw the team with the best record in basketball. But we do get to play them at home. So that’s something important. We need our building to be as loud and raucous as it possibly can and we need to throw a game out there that’s exceptional.”

The new tournament falls at a perfect time on the NBA calendar, notes Sam Amick of The Athletic. It brings added stakes to numerous early-season games and ends six days before December 15, which marks the unofficial start of trading season as most free agents who signed during the summer become eligible to be dealt. Ten days later marks the Christmas Day showcase, which Amick points out is when much of the general public typically starts paying attention to the league.

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • The NBA may have to address the point-differential issue before next year’s tourney, Amick adds in the same piece. Having it as the primary tie-breaker led to unusual strategy in several late-game situations on Tuesday, and Knicks guard Josh Hart said it “messes with the integrity of the game a little bit.” Warriors coach Steve Kerr, whose team needed a 13-point win at Sacramento to reach the final eight, talked with reporters before the game about a scenario where it might be advantageous to let the Kings force overtime and try to dominate the extra session. He also made it clear that he wouldn’t pursue that strategy. “I’ll let (commissioner) Adam Silver answer,” Kerr said. “He gets to decide what we should do. I don’t know. It’s a very interesting question.”
  • The Athletic’s NBA staff examines the most pressing concerns for all 30 teams, from the top of the league, where the Celtics have to be worried about frontcourt depth in light of Kristaps Porzingis‘ injury history, to the bottom, where the Pistons might be forced into upending their roster sooner than expected.
  • Veteran guard Norris Cole has joined the G League Ignite, tweets Marc J. Spears of Andscape. Cole, 35, won two titles with the Heat but has been out of the NBA since 2017.

Pistons Notes: Weaver, Gores, Lineup Change, Bogdanovic

The Pistons dropped their 17th straight game Saturday to fall to 2-18, but the organization is still emphasizing patience instead of panic, writes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. Sources tell Sankofa that ownership is unlikely to make major front office changes with so much of the season remaining, which means general manager Troy Weaver will have more time to fix the current mess.

Still, Sankofa cites concern throughout the franchise as no one expected this season to start so badly. Coming off the worst three-year stretch in team history, the Pistons thought they were ready to take a step toward contention. Instead, they have the worst record in the league and are just 4-41 since February 12.

Sankofa traces everything that has gone wrong in Detroit, including management’s decision to be conservative with its offseason cap space while counting on the development of young players to make the team better. The Pistons traded for Monte Morris, who was supposed to bring veteran leadership to the backcourt, but he hasn’t played yet and may be sidelined through January with a quad strain. Joe Harris was acquired to add shooting, but injuries have limited him to seven games and he’s connecting at just 36% from the field.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • There’s nothing to be gained by firing Weaver now, but owner Tom Gores will have no choice if things don’t improve over the rest of the season, contends Shawn Windsor of The Detroit Free Press. Windsor argues that Weaver hasn’t done anything in his three-plus years with the organization to justify letting him run another draft or oversee the considerable money the Pistons will have to chase free agents next summer.
  • Coach Monty Williams made a lineup change Saturday night, using guards Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey and Killian Hayes as starters, per Mike Curtis of The Detroit News. Williams explained that the move was made partially to match up with Cleveland’s small backcourt, but he likes the way his three guards have been performing together. Curtis notes that Cunningham played off the ball more frequently for the second straight game and showed better decision making with his shooting.
  • The Pistons got a much-needed addition Saturday night with the season debut of Bojan Bogdanovic, who had been sidelined with a strained right calf. Bogdanovic said he suffered the injury shortly before training camp and had another setback that kept him out longer than expected, tweets James L. Edwards of The Athletic.

Central Notes: Rales, Cavs, LeVert, Wade, Bogdanovic

Businessman Steven Rales is expected to become the minority owner of the Pacers, according to a statement from Pacers Sports and Entertainment chairman and owner Herb Simon (Twitter link).

After considerable discussion, Steven is going to become a minority owner of 20 percent of the franchise pending league approval,” Simon said. “The Simon family is as committed to Indiana today as we have been since we moved here from New York in the 1960s.

A story from The Athletic’s James Boyd provides background on Rales, a 72-year-old founder of Danaher Corporation, a life sciences organization. Rales is a DePauw University graduate and has “strong Indiana connections.”

Simon originally purchased the Pacers for $10.5MM in 1983 alongside his brother, Mel. According to Forbes estimates, the Pacers are now worth $2.9 billion, ranking 27th of 30 NBA teams. Simon will remain the controlling owner and, according to The Athletic, many believe his son Stephen will succeed him in that role in the future.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers lost to the rebuilding Trail Blazers on Thursday, continuing a disappointing start to the season for Cleveland — the team is hovering just above .500 through 19 games at 10-9. According to Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor, the Cavs held a lengthy team meeting after the loss. “We’ve said this since the beginning, we want to be a championship-caliber team. We’re not playing like it,” star guard Donovan Mitchell said. “This is the worst loss of the season. That’s it. Let’s go. We’ll be fine. We’ll fix it.
  • The Cavaliers will be shorthanded against the Pistons when the two division rivals square off on Saturday, as guard Caris LeVert has been ruled out with a left knee injury, Fedor reports. There’s no definitive timeline for how long LeVert will be out, but he missed back-to-back games with the same injury in November, Fedor observes. Cleveland also remains without Dean Wade, who is missing his sixth straight game with an ankle injury.
  • The Pistons listed Bojan Bogdanovic as probable on Friday, meaning he remains on track to make his season debut against the Cavaliers on Saturday, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski. It was previously assumed that Bogdanovic would indeed play on Saturday, but the official status designation all but confirms it. Detroit didn’t win a game in November and is currently amid a 16-game losing streak.

Fischer’s Latest: Pistons, Ivey, M. Williams, Bridges

After starting 73 games and averaging 31.1 minutes per night as a rookie last season, Pistons guard Jaden Ivey has started just five of 15 games in 2023/24, with his playing time dipping to 22.7 MPG. As we outlined last night, he was moved back to the bench on Thursday vs. New York and logged just 13 minutes, his second-lowest mark of the season.

Ivey’s inconsistent role under new head coach Monty Williams has “sparked some tension” among the team’s top decision-makers, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who cites league sources.

As Fischer details, there were rumblings back in training camp that Williams’ fondness for rookies Ausar Thompson and Marcus Sasser – who were drafted after he was hired – could lead to reduced minutes for Ivey. For his part, last year’s No. 5 overall pick has taken his fluctuating role in stride.

“There wasn’t anything said,” Ivey told Fischer. “Once I saw what was going on, coming off the bench was no problem for me. I love every single one of these dudes in here. I’d ride for them any day. Coming off the bench isn’t a confidence thing or a downer for me. I’m still confident in my game and play the same way.”

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • If Ivey’s role remains in flux, there will certainly be rival teams calling the Pistons to see what it would take to acquire him, according to Fischer, who notes that several clubs attempted to trade up and acquired the guard during the 2022 draft, even after Detroit made the pick official. For now though, the expectation is that the Pistons will be focused on trading veterans, Fischer says, with Bojan Bogdanovic, Alec Burks, and Monte Morris among the candidates to be dealt.
  • Monty Williams‘ record-setting six-year, $78MM+ contract has led to speculation from rival teams about the type of influence he’ll have in personnel decisions. However, the Pistons‘ head coach said this week that he doesn’t expect to get overly involved in the team’s in-season trade negotiations, even though he and general manager Troy Weaver talk about the roster. “Troy tells me stuff, but that’s not my job,” Williams said, per Fischer. “I trust his ability to evaluate talent. He’s one of the best in the league. He’s gonna ask me about a guy. Does he fit our style? Is he the kind of player we want? That kind of thing. But I’m not one of those coaches that’s gonna be like, ‘No’ or ‘Yes,’ that kind of thing. I gotta trust his judgment.”
  • In the latest episode of his No Cap Room podcast with Dan Devine (YouTube link), Fischer suggested that it’s possible 2023/24 will be Miles Bridges‘ last season with the Hornets. “There’s not a lot of confidence or expectation around the league that’s going to be back in Charlotte next year,” Fischer said. Bridges signed his qualifying offer as a restricted free agent during the 2023 offseason, which means he’ll be unrestricted in 2024.

NBA Waiver Order Now Based On 2023/24 Records

As of December 1, the NBA’s waiver priority order is determined by teams’ current-year records, rather than the previous season’s results.

That means, starting today, the waiver order for this season is based on teams’ 2023/24 records, with the worst teams getting the highest priority. In other words, if two teams place a claim on the same player, the team lower in this season’s NBA standings will be awarded that player.

Up until today, the waiver claim order was based on which teams had the worst records in 2022/23.

Waiver claims are relatively rare in the NBA, but it’s still worth noting which teams will have the first crack at intriguing players who may be cut over the next few weeks or months.

[RELATED: 2023/24 NBA Waiver Claims]

Here’s what the teams at the top of the NBA’s waiver order look like as of today:

  1. Detroit Pistons (2-17)
  2. San Antonio Spurs (3-15) (tie)
    Washington Wizards (3-15) (tie)
  3. Memphis Grizzlies (4-13)
  4. Chicago Bulls (6-14)
  5. Utah Jazz (6-13)
  6. Portland Trail Blazers (6-12)
  7. Charlotte Hornets (6-11)
  8. Los Angeles Clippers (8-10)
  9. Golden State Warriors (9-10) (tie)
    Toronto Raptors (9-10) (tie)

In instances where multiple teams have identical records, head-to-head record for the current season is used to break ties — the team with the worst winning percentage in head-to-head games gets the higher priority.

If the tied teams have yet to face one another or if they’ve split their head-to-head matchups, a coin flip determines priority for those teams. That would be the case for both the Spurs and Wizards and Warriors and Raptors right now, since those two pairs have yet to go up against each other this season.

If a waived player can’t be claimed using the minimum salary exception, a team must use a trade exception, a disabled player exception, or cap room to absorb his salary. So a club with a top priority won’t be in position to nab just anyone who reaches waivers.

The Pistons, for example, have no cap space or exceptions available to place a waiver claim on any player earning more than the minimum, so despite their spot at the top of the waiver order, their ability to claim players is somewhat limited.