Pistons Rumors

Christian Wood Favorite To Earn Roster Spot

Pistons Claim Christian Wood

The Pistons have claimed Christian Wood off waivers, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Wood, who has a partial guarantee on his salary that takes effect opening night, was waived Monday by the Pelicans. The power forward/center would be guaranteed $822,679 on his $1,645,357 salary for next season if he remained on the roster for the first game. The full salary won’t be guaranteed until January 10, when all league contracts become guaranteed.

Detroit inherits that contract with the successful waiver claim. The Pistons now have 17 players on their roster with 14 guaranteed contracts – according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link) – and are $223K below the luxury tax.

Wood, 23, is no stranger to the waiver wire. New Orleans claimed him in March after the Bucks let him go. He played just eight games for the Pelicans, but averaged 16.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per night. He has also had brief stays with the Sixers and Hornets since entering the league.

Several Teams Interested In Kosta Koufos

The Kings would like to re-sign free agent center Kosta Koufos, but he has attracted preliminary interest from the Pistons, Raptors and Bucks as well, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Haynes suggests Koufos might remain on the market until the latter stages of free agency.

Koufos, 30, has spent the past four seasons in Sacramento, but has seen his role diminish as the team has added younger talent. He played just 42 games this year, averaging 3.7 points and 4.2 rebounds in 12 minutes per night.

Koufos is a traditional low-post center known for his defense and rebounding, but his inability to stretch the floor or hit free throws has limited his effectiveness.

A first-round pick by the Jazz in 2008, Koufos bounced around the NBA before landing a four-year deal with the Kings in 2015. He also spent time with the Timberwolves, Nuggets and Grizzlies.

Trading For Westbrook Would Have Been A Mistake

  • Adding Russell Westbrook would have made the Pistons better in the short term but it wasn’t worth the long-term risk, Keith Langlois of the team’s website opines. The Pistons couldn’t afford to give up future first-rounders and agree to pick swaps as Houston did to acquire Westbrook from Oklahoma City. With Blake Griffin‘s big contract and Andre Drummond holding an option to become a free agent next summer, the Pistons would not have been able to make any more notable future upgrades if they took on Westbrook’s huge contract, Langlois adds.

Tim Frazier Eager For New Role With Pistons

Pistons Not Interested In Russell Westbrook Trade?

It was recently reported that the Heat and Pistons are expected to be the top contenders to land Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook if/when Oklahoma City ends up trading him, with Miami and Westbrook already expressing mutual interest in a potential deal.

However, unlike the Heat, it doesn’t appear as if the Pistons are particularly interested in a trade for the eight-time All-Star and former NBA MVP, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.

Per Ellis, he reached out to a source with firsthand knowledge of the situation involving Westbrook, with the source responding, “Ridiculous… (n)othing there.” Then, in a follow-up piece, Ellis adds that the Pistons’ appetite to obtain Westbrook is lukewarm, even though the franchise readily acknowledges the talent that makes the Thunder guard one of the best point guards in the league.

Ultimately, it appears to Ellis that the primary issue with trading for Westbrook is the value of his contract, which will pay the 11-year veteran $171MM over the next four seasons. And if nothing else, Ellis’ stories probably strengthen the notion that the Heat are the prohibitive favorite to land Westbrook should he be traded from the Thunder.

Free Agent Notes: Ellis, Green, Speights

Representatives from nearly half of the league’s teams were in attendance for a workout that included former NBA stars Amar’e Stoudemire and Monta Ellis, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets.

The Lakers, Clippers, Warriors, Knicks, Thunder, Bucks, Pistons, Kings, Nuggets, Blazers, Magic, Hawks, Wolves and Wizards were all in attendance. Haynes adds that 15 international teams from Europe and Asia also had representatives in Las Vegas for the workout.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Spurs, Nuggets, and Knicks were all interested in JaMychal Green before the forward re-signed with the Clippers, Jovan Buha of The Athletic writes. Those teams were offering him a more lucrative offer than the one he signed with Los Angeles. The Clippers put on a “full-court press” to retain Green, Buha adds, and the 29-year-old ended up inking a two-year deal worth slightly under $10MM.
  • Green has the ability to be a free agent next summer, having secured a player option as part of his deal with the Clippers. Buha (in the same piece) speculates that Green could have commanded a deal in the $10MM+ range this offseason and that the forward should have the opportunity for a similar contract next summer.
  • Mo Speights, who played in China last season, is working out for teams in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated tweets. Speights last played in the NBA for the Magic during the 2017/18 season.

Contract Details: Magic, Lakers, Pistons, Bulls, More

The free agency deals began a week ago, but the details of those arrangements are slowly trickling in as they become official. Let’s take a look at some contract notes from players around the league:

  • Nikola Vucevic’s four-year, $100MM deal with the Magic will decline by 8% annually, Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights tweets. Vucevic will make roughly $28.4MM in the first year of his front-loaded contract.
  • Terrence Ross‘ four-year, $52MM contract with the Magic will start at $12.5MM, per Siegel. Ross will make $13.5MM during the 2020/21 season, followed by $12.5MM and $11.5MM in the two ensuing years.
  • Al-Farouq Aminu will take home the full non-taxpayer’s mid-level on his deal with the Magic. He’ll make approximately $9.3MM during his first season and approximately $9.7MM and $10.2MM, respectively, over the ensuing two campaigns.
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s two year deal with the Lakers is worth approximately $16.6MM in total value. KCP can make roughly $1.2MM in annual incentives on top of that amount, a source tells Siegel (Twitter link). The shooting guard has a player option on the second year of the pact, which also has a 15% trade bonus. Since his deal could be a one-year contract (if he chooses to turn down the player option), Caldwell-Pope has a default no-trade clause.
  • JaVale McGee also has a player option on the final year of his two-year deal with the Lakers, Keith Smith of RealGM tweets. McGee, who will make $8.2MM over the length of his contract, also has the ability to veto a trade.
  • Markieff Morris‘ two-year deal with the Pistons contains a second-year player option, Smith tweets. Morris was signed via the bi-annual exception.
  • Bruno Fernando‘s three-year deal with the Hawks is worth $4.7MM, Michael Scotto of The Athletic tweets. It appears Atlanta will be using cap space to sign the rookie.
  • Tomas Satoransky final season of the three-year, $30MM deal with the Bulls is only guaranteed for $5MM, Fred Katz of The Athletic relays (Twitter link). Chicago brought the point guard to town via sign-and-trade.

Latest On Russell Westbrook

The Heat and Pistons are expected to be the top contenders to land Russell Westbrook if the Thunder decide to trade him, according to Sam Amick and Brett Dawson of The Athletic.

Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti will meet this week with Westbrook and his agent, Thad Foucher, to plot out the future for the former MVP. All three were blindsided by Paul George‘s trade request, which was the result of Kawhi Leonard‘s successful lobbying effort to join him on the Clippers.

The Thunder are motivated to move Westbrook, not only because he’s the lone star left in OKC and will make $171MM over the next four years, but also because he plays the same position as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the centerpiece of their return in the George deal.

Miami would like to pair Westbrook with Jimmy Butler and could offer a package built around Goran Dragic, who has one year left on his contract at $19.2MM, and Dion Waiters, who is owed a combined $24.7MM over the next two seasons. Detroit’s offer might include Andre Drummond ($27MM in 2019/20 with a $28.75MM player option the following season), Reggie Jackson (one year left at $18MM) and Tony Snell ($11.39MM next season followed by a $12.18MM player option).

Some executives believe the Rockets could get involved as well, given GM Daryl Morey’s penchant for star chasing. However, pairing Westbrook with James Harden and Chris Paul, two other guards who like to control the ball, may prove awkward, and matching salary wouldn’t be easy. Houston would almost certainly have to part with Clint Capela ($14.9MM next season), Eric Gordon ($14MM), and P.J. Tucker ($8.35MM) in any deal if Paul isn’t included.

Sources with knowledge of Houston’s thinking confirmed to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com that the Rockets have interest in Westbrook. However, one team source described a potential deal as a “long shot,” says MacMahon.

There’s more today on the Westbrook front:

  • The Knicks have been mentioned as a possible suitor for Westbrook, but will have to wait until December to make a move, notes Marc Berman of The New York Post. New York no longer has the cap room to absorb Westbrook’s $37.5MM salary for next season after reaching deals with six free agents, and those new players can’t be traded before December 15. If the opportunity is still there, Elfrid Payton, Reggie Bullock, Bobby Portis, Wayne Ellington and Taj Gibson will all have expiring contracts that could interest the Thunder as they try to reduce a league-high tax bill. The Knicks can also offer the 2021 and 2023 first-rounders they acquired from Dallas in the Kristaps Porzingis deal, Berman adds.
  • Michael Shapiro of Sports Illustrated mentions the Timberwolves, Celtics and Magic as other possibilities. A swap with Minnesota would be easy if OKC would accept Andrew Wiggins in return, he states, while the Celtics could offer Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown or wait a year and trade newly acquired Kemba Walker. Orlando has been seeking a point guard for years and has a lot of wings and big men to offer.
  • The Bulls, Mavericks, Nuggets, Bucks, Spurs and Raptors all have the assets to get involved as well, according to Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com.

Lakers Officially Acquire Anthony Davis In Three-Team Trade

The Lakers, Pelicans, and Wizards have officially completed the three-team trade that makes Anthony Davis a Laker. All three teams issued press releases tonight to announce the deal. The structure of the trade is as follows:

  • Lakers acquire Anthony Davis.
  • Pelicans acquire Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, the draft rights to De’Andre Hunter (No. 4 pick), the Lakers’ 2021 first-round pick (9-30 protected; unprotected in 2022), the Lakers’ 2024 first-round pick (unprotected), the right to swap 2023 first-round picks with the Lakers, and cash ($1.1MM; from Wizards).
    • Note: The Pelicans will also have the option to defer the 2024 first-round pick to 2025.
  • Wizards acquire Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, Jemerrio Jones, and the Lakers’ 2022 second-round pick.

The long-awaited deal was held up slightly today as the Lakers officially finalized a series of signings using their cap room. In order to maximize its cap space, the club had to sign free agents first before acquiring Davis. Danny Green, DeMarcus Cousins, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Quinn Cook, and JaVale McGee all signed their contracts with the Lakers since the July moratorium ended this afternoon.

The Pelicans, meanwhile, will now flip the rights to Hunter to the Hawks in a separate deal, putting the No. 4 pick on track to join his new team for Summer League action. Once the deal is done, Atlanta will also be able to complete its trade with the Sixers involving Bruno Fernando and Jordan Bone, then Philadelphia will be able to flip Bone to the Pistons.

For more details on one of the summer’s biggest trades, be sure to check out our previous stories on the Lakers/Pelicans aspect of the deal, as well as the Lakers/Wizards part of the swap.