Pistons Rumors

And-Ones: Clippers, Pistons, Cavs, Young

The Clippers hold the top spot in ESPN’s Future Power Rankings, which predicts the best and worst franchises over the next three seasons. While the team has one of the best one-two punches in the NBA with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, Los Angeles’ inability to trade a first-rounder may come back to haunt the team, Bobby Marks suggests.

L.A. sent out several first-rounders in the George deal and had just one pick (2020 selection) that was eligible to be included in a trade this season — the franchise used it to acquire Marcus Morris at the deadline.

The Lakers, Warriors, Bucks, and Celtics round out the top-5 in the ESPN’s latest rankings. Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Pistons and Cavaliers rank 29th and 30th, respectively, on that aforementioned ESPN’s list. Both franchises lack blue-chip prospects and each has expensive veterans clogging its cap space.
  • Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times believes Thaddeus Young will find himself on the trade block this offseason. Young, who inked a deal the Bulls last summer, was the subject of trade rumors earlier in the season.
  • NBA agent Mark Bartelstein said he expected the season to get postponed after watching what was going on abroad in February and March, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic relays. Bartelstein has clients in the Chinese Basketball Association and other international leagues.

Eastern Notes: Bulls, Simon, Brown, Draft

The Bulls are entering an offseason of change, as the franchise is looking to revamp its basketball operations department. The Athletic’s John Hollinger hears that Miami’s VP of basketball operations Adam Simon is a leading candidate for the team’s top front office job (confirming an earlier report) and adds that the chatter about Indiana’s Chad Buchanan was rather loud before the Pacers‘ GM took himself out of the running. Denver’s Arturas Karnisovas and Toronto’s Bobby Webster have also been linked to the Bulls’ opening.

Hollinger wonders if Chicago will also search for a new head coach during the NBA’s hiatus. Jim Boylen‘s future with the club is uncertain and the Bulls won’t be the only team looking for a new head coach this offseason.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Many insiders believe that Sixers coach Brett Brown is on the hot seat, though it’s unlikely that the team makes a move while the league is on hiatus, Hollinger adds in the same piece. Firing Brown and having the Sixers proceed to the playoffs with a new coach wouldn’t be an ideal scenario.
  • The Cavaliers don’t have enough intel on their top young talent to rule out selecting a player at any position in the 2020 draft, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes. Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. both appear to be long-term building blocks, yet neither is certain to be an All-Star, so the Cavs should select the best available player regardless of position with their top pick.
  • Keith Langlois of NBA.com examines Khyri Thomas‘ progress since the Pistons‘ drafted him with the No. 38 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Injuries have stunted Thomas’ growth and while the franchise doesn’t have major talent on the wing, he’ll need to show more if he’s going to stay with Detroit beyond his current contract, which is non-guaranteed for next season.

Examining Pistons' Future; McRae Talks Quarantine, Trade

Svi Proves To Be Solid Rotation Piece

  • Swingman Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk at minimum established himself as a solid rotation player with the potential to be a key piece for the Pistons, according to Keith Langlois of the team’s website. Mykhailiuk doused the perception that he’s just a 3-point shooter by displaying his offensive versatility this season, including times when he functioned as a primary ballhandler. The team holds a $1.66MM option on Mykhailiuk’s contract for next season and there is little question that they’ll exercise it, Langlois adds.
  • The Pistons will have a top-10 draft pick and they’ve been buried in film study during the hiatus, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes. Detroit had the fifth-worst record when play was halted. “The whole league is watching video,” senior advisor Ed Stefanski said. “We’ve seen some (of the top prospects). Everyone has a bank of information on players, so we’re all in the same boat.”

Doumbouya's Future With Detroit, Melo's Past

  • Sekou Doumbouya, the No. 15 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, became a more essential piece of the Pistons rotation than they had initially anticipated due to a rash of injuries, as Pistons.com writer Keith Langlois details. The 6’8″ forward out of France appeared in 38 games during the abbreviated 2019/20 season for Detroit.
  • While speaking with his former Olympic teammate Dwyane Wade on Instagram Live, Trail Blazers power forward Carmelo Anthony claims he would have won multiple NBA championships had the Pistons drafted him instead of Darko Milicic with the No. 2 pick in 2003, as Nicola Lupo of Sportando notes. Anthony, a 10-time All-Star, was drafted by Denver with the No. 3 pick out of Syracuse. The Pistons went to two straight NBA Finals in 2004 and 2005, winning the title in ’04.

Central Notes: Pacers, White, Cavs, Bone

Thanks in part to the Pacers collecting a $10MM insurance policy on Victor Oladipo, who missed all but 13 games of the postponed NBA season, Indiana’s payroll is scheduled to come in at $104.6MM, the league’s lowest mark. If COVID-19 affects league revenue significantly, the Pacers will be in one of the most comfortable financial situations in the NBA, as J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star reports.

Michael notes that a significant drop in league revenue, such as a 5% drop from the projected $115MM cap ($109.25MM) or a 10% decline ($103.5MM), could impede several teams, but the Pacers are stacked with several players on movable contracts.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Bulls rookie point guard Coby White‘s late-season scoring streak (he averaged 23.7 PPG while connecting on 39.8%t of his 8.5 three-point looks) was one of the few positives in a generally dismal 22-43 season for Chicago. Morten Jensen of Forbes wonders what White’s performance means for his club going forward.
  • Despite the COVID-19 pandemic putting the NBA on pause this month, Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff and his assistants have been maintaining their (remote) connection to the young Cleveland squad, according to Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor.
  • Pistons rookie point guard Jordan Bone logged time with Detroit’s Grand Rapids G League club and the NBA squad this season, and remains an intriguing player for the team’s future, according to Pistons.com writer Keith Langlois.

Christian Wood Reportedly “Fully Recovered” From Coronavirus

MARCH 26: Wood has been cleared, having registered negative test results on Wednesday evening, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

MARCH 25: Christian Wood, who was the only Pistons player known to have contracted the coronavirus, has “fully recovered,” according to his agent, as our own Dana Gauruder writes for The Detroit Free Press.

Wood is one of at least 10 NBA players known to have test positive for COVID-19. Gauruder hears from a source that Wood still has to pass a few medical tests and is expected to be cleared by Thursday.

The Pistons played the Jazz on March 7, just days before the news of Rudy Gobert‘s diagnosis and the NBA’s suspension of the season. Detroit, like other squads in the league, was asked to self-isolate. That period of isolation ended today.

Gauruder adds that 17 members of the Pistons were tested for the virus, including five players.

According to the World Health Organization, the median recovery time for mild cases of coronavirus is about two weeks. For critical or severe cases, it’s about three-to-six weeks.

Coronavirus Notes: NBA Schedule, Workouts, Positive Tests

As NBA observers continue to speculate that the current suspension could inspire the league to experiment with its schedule in 2020/21, Chris Mannix of SI.com explores the pros and cons of an NBA regular season that would run from December to June instead of October to April.

As Mannix notes, much of the resistance to such a format change over the years has stemmed from the belief that there simply aren’t as many television viewers in the summer months, which could negatively impact the NBA’s playoff ratings. However, Mannix points out that summer programming has never been particularly strong, which contributes to those low viewership numbers. In recent years, high-profile television programs ranging from HBO series to boxing matches have done well in July and August.

Several players told SI.com that they’d be open to a schedule that includes summer games if it results in a revenue increase for the league. With the current Collective Bargaining Agreement set to run through 2024, as Mannix writes, a revamped calendar could be something for the two sides to discuss for the next CBA.

Here are a few more items related to the coronavirus pandemic and the NBA’s hiatus:

  • Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald takes his own look at possible NBA schedule changes, suggesting that waiting for the next set of full-fledged CBA negotiations may not even be necessary if both sides are on board with the idea of adjusting the calendar.
  • In an interesting story for ESPN.com, Tim Bontemps and Tim MacMahon explore how the training staffs for NBA teams are trying to make sure their players stay active and in shape while facilities around the league are off-limits.
  • East Tennessee State head coach Steve Forbes tweeted on Wednesday night that Maury Hanks is battling the coronavirus. As noted by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), among other reporters, Hanks is a longtime basketball coach and scout who currently works as a college scout for the Pistons.
  • A camera operator who worked the Jazz/Pistons game in Detroit on March 7 is in a medically induced coma after being diagnosed with COVID-19, according to Vincent Goodwill and Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports. The man’s friends told Yahoo Sports that he first began feeling ill about a week after that game.

Pistons Notes: Draft, Brown, Casey, TV Workers

If the Pistons win the lottery, Georgia guard Anthony Edwards would be their best hope of landing a potential superstar in this draft, according to Sam Vecenie of The Athletic. Edwards’ “power athleticism” gives him a slight edge over LaMelo Ball, another point guard who played in Australia this season. Edwards, who is already 225 pounds at 18 years old, can be elite offensively if he’s willing to put in the work, Vecenie adds. The Pistons currently have a 10.5% chance of landing the top pick, so Vecenie and The Athletic’s James Edwards III run through a variety of draft scenarios and prospects from 1-7.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Second-year guard Bruce Brown will be focused on continuing to develop his jumper and improving his other ball skills during this offseason, Keith Langlois of the team’s website writes. Brown has already established himself as a solid and versatile perimeter defender and coach Dwane Casey views him in a secondary ballhandler role going forward. The franchise values Brown as a vital part of the future while reshaping many other parts of its roster, Langlois adds.
  • Casey has been spending extra time viewing film of not only NBA games but also draft prospects, according to Rod Beard of the Detroit News. The Pistons were one of the teams that went into self-isolation after the suspension of play. “Watching game film, trying to see what we can do differently defensively,” Casey said. “New ideas to experiment with for next year. Also watching a lot of draft film. Very unusual for this time of year.”
  • While the Pistons and other teams are giving assistance to arena workers and staff members during the hiatus, the team’s broadcasting crew is seeking financial help, Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press reports. Freelancers for Fox Sports Detroit — which also broadcast Red Wings and Tigers games — are not getting paid during the hiatus. FSD was one of the regional sports networks purchased by Sinclair Broadcast Group last year and haven’t been offered any assistance from Sinclair. Most FSD workers at Pistons home games, including stage managers, camera operators, audio technicians and editors, are freelancers.

Coronavirus Update: NBPA, Pistons, Bulls, Lakers

Players association executive director Michele Roberts is the latest NBA figure to defend the level of coronavirus tests being given to basketball players, writes Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. Eight full teams have been tested in the past week, while many members of the general public are having difficulty getting access to the tests. Roberts said the players shouldn’t be blamed for the perceived inequity.

“There’s nothing irresponsible — if you’ve got that information (that you’ve been exposed) — about trying to get the tests,” Roberts said.“The problem that more of us can’t get the tests.”

Testing on NBA players has come under fire from a number of quarters, most notably New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, who tweeted yesterday that teams shouldn’t be receiving the tests ahead of critically ill patients. His comments came in response to the news of testing on the Nets that revealed four players are positive.

“We were doing games where tens of thousands of people were coming into our arenas. We were exposing potentially a lot of people to being infected,” Roberts said. “I get it. If you’re 65 years old — I’m 64 — and you’re symptomatic and want to get tested, it must be difficult to hear about some young’uns getting tested. I get that. And the players get that. But to the extent that there was some effort to find out just how pervasive our infection was so that people would know.”

There’s more NBA news related to COVID-19:

  • The Pistons tested 17 members of the traveling party that accompanied the team to New York and Philadelphia last week, reports Rod Beard of The Detroit News. It was revealed over the weekend that Christian Wood has tested positive for the virus, but the remaining tests haven’t been completed. Everyone who made the trip is being asked to remain in self-isolation through March 25, which is 14 days from the last game.
  • After news broke about the Nets’ positive tests, the Bulls were placed under quarantine through March 22, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. That’s two weeks after the Bulls traveled to Brooklyn for a March 8 game. No one from the team’s traveling party has shown any symptoms of the virus, Johnson adds.
  • Bill Oram of The Athletic is calling the Lakers “socially irresponsible” after a majority of the team was tested for the virus today at the team’s practice facility. Oram proposes teams that can afford to pay for testing should cover the costs for some at-risk patients.
  • Teams are able to arrange testing so quickly because the league office asked all of them to contact infectious disease specialists and implement a process to have their players tested if necessary, explains Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. Many teams already had established connections with medical facilities that can provide testing.