- Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy will likely go with a 10-man rotation once Reggie Jackson returns from his Grade 3 ankle sprain, according to Ansar Khan of MLive.com. Jackson would join a starting unit of Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin, Stanley Johnson and Reggie Bullock. Ish Smith would return to his usual role as leader of the second unit with center Eric Moreland and forwards Anthony Tolliver and James Ennis getting steady minutes, Khan speculates. Luke Kennard and Langston Galloway would split time as the backup shooting guard, Khan adds.
- Pistons owner Tom Gores invited Griffin and his business partners over to his California home immediately after the blockbuster deal with the Clippers, as Keith Langlois of Pistons.com details. Gores wanted to assure Griffin how badly the Pistons wanted him and address any concerns the five-time All-Star power forward might have, Langlois continues. The Pistons are 5-3 since Griffin joined their lineup. “We were very quickly on the same page with the same view of what we want to achieve and the approach to get there,” Gores told Langlois. “He’s definitely hit the ground running. It’s been great to see how his teammates, the whole organization and the fans have embraced him.”
Less than two weeks after he was shipped to the Cavaliers, Larry Nance Jr. was back in Los Angeles for the Dunk Contest. Nance spent his first two-and-a-half seasons with the Lakers and admitted to Bill Oram of the Orange County Register that the trade still has not set in.
“It’s something that’s still kind of shocking,” Nance said. “But at the same time I can’t wait for all this to be done with so I can just get back to learning how to gel and mesh with my new teammates.”
Nance, 25, was the runner-up in Saturday’s dunk contest as Jazz rookie phenom Donovan Mitchell took home the trophy. After the All-Star break is complete, Nance is looking forward to being in a postseason race for the first time in his career.
“I like to think of myself as a very winning player,” Nance said. “Whether we were building gradually in L.A. or not, I was trying to win every single game. It just feels right. Now that we can, we’re in it, we have a chance to win every single game.”
Check out other Central Division news and notes down below:
- Spencer Dinwiddie showed off his all-around basketball talents as he captured the Skills Challenge trophy on Saturday night, defeating Bulls’ rookie Lauri Markkanen. Peter J. Wallner of MLive.com recalls that Dinwiddie was once a member of the Pistons and now has the opportunity to shine as a member of the Nets.
- The Bulls do not have any representatives in the All-Star game but the team’s young talent was showcased throughout the weekend, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. Kris Dunn had an impressive performance in the Rising Stars Challenge, Markkanen was the runner-up in the Skills Challenge, and Zach LaVine impressed with his analysis during the Dunk Contest — he even teased performing in it for a third time.
When Pistons guard Reggie Jackson sprained his ankle on Boxing Day, he was given a six-to-eight week recovery timeline. Seven weeks in, head coach Stan Van Gundy is noncommittal about Jackson’s return, Rod Beard of The Detroit News writes.
“I don’t have any preconceived notion at all of when he’ll be back,” Van Gundy said. “When [Pistons doctors] tell me he’s back, he’s back.”
Though the Pistons guard hasn’t suffered a setback, the lack of enthusiasm doesn’t bode well. Per Beard, the 27-year-old may need a few more weeks to get to a point where he’s practicing heavily.
When Jackson does make his return, it will be to a Pistons lineup much different than the one he left in December. Jackson, of course, figures to be one of Detroit’s top offensive options in addition to Andre Drummond and recently acquired Blake Griffin.
- There’s more that goes into pulling off an NBA trade than simply cold calling a fellow executive ahead of the trade deadline. Pistons general manager Jeff Bower spoke about the process that unfolded ahead of the Blake Griffin trade with Rod Beard of The Detroit News.
- Small forward James Ennis and point guard Jameer Nelson have jumped right into the Pistons’ rotation after being acquired just before the trade deadline. Ennis, who was traded by the Grizzlies for forward Brice Johnson and a future second-round pick, has averaged 9.5 PPG and 17.5 MPG over the past two games. Nelson, who was traded by the Bulls for Willie Reed and future draft considerations, has averaged 9.0 PPG and 5.0 APG in 19.5 MPG during his first two games with Detroit.
- Nelson, 35, told Hoops Rumors and other reporters that he’d like to continue playing after this season. The Pistons point guard be an unrestricted free agent this summer. “I never want to put a limit or a time frame on my career,” he said. “My body feels good, my mind is right. So I’ll just continue to work. My body and mind will tell me when it’s time for me to go. I think there will be a lot of teams that will need a guy like me next season.”
- Veteran point guard Jameer Nelson is not expected to play much for the Pistons but he is ready to help the team any way he can, Ansar Khan of MLive.com writes. Nelson had an eventful deadline as he dealt twice; first, the Pelicans shipped him to the Bulls in the Nikola Mirotic trade and then Chicago traded Nelson to Pistons. The trade also reunites Nelson with his former Magic head coach, Stan Van Gundy, NBA.com’s Keith Langlois writes. “Still the same Stan,” Nelson said.
Before NBA teams started reaching trade agreements on Thursday, we published the latest entry in our Hoops Rumors Glossary, focusing on the traded player exception. As we explain in our breakdown, the traded player exception can allow over-the-cap teams to receive more salary than they send out in “simultaneous” trades.
The more common form of traded player exception is the one generated in a “non-simultaneous” trade, when a team send out a single player and takes back less salary – or none at all – in return. The team then has one calendar year to use that newly-created exception to acquire one or more players whose salaries fit into that exception.
For instance, the Raptors created a $11,800,000 trade exception in last July’s DeMarre Carroll trade with the Nets, meaning that on Thursday they could have acquired a player earning, say, $11MM without sending out any salary in return.
Not many teams took advantage of their outstanding trade exceptions on Thursday, but at least a couple teams appear to have completed trades with previously existing trade exceptions, or with disabled player exceptions. Nearly every trade completed on Thursday also generated at least one new trade exception, so we’ll round up those newly-created TPEs below.
With the help of tweets from cap experts Albert Nahmad and Bobby Marks, along with information from RealGM’s official transactions log, here’s a breakdown of the new TPEs, sorted by value. Not all of these exceptions have been confirmed with 100% certainty, but this is what we believe they’ll look like. These TPEs will expire if they’re not used by February 8, 2019:
- Utah Jazz: $3,708,883 (Joe Johnson to Kings)
- Portland Trail Blazers: $3,505,233 (Noah Vonleh to Bulls)
- Memphis Grizzlies: $3,028,410 (James Ennis to Pistons)
- Note: If the Grizzlies didn’t use their existing $3.4MM TPE to absorb Brice Johnson‘s salary, this TPE would instead be worth $1,697,250.
- Toronto Raptors: $2,451,225 (Bruno Caboclo to Kings)
- Utah Jazz: $2,386,864 (Rodney Hood to Cavs)
- New Orleans Pelicans: $2,300,000 (Dante Cunningham to Nets)
- Brooklyn Nets: $1,889,040 (Rashad Vaughn to Pelicans)
- Cleveland Cavaliers: $1,471,382 (Dwyane Wade to Heat)
- Detroit Pistons: $1,471,382 (Willie Reed to Bulls)
- Los Angeles Lakers: $1,471,382 (Larry Nance to Cavs)
- Chicago Bulls: $1,429,818 (Jameer Nelson to Pistons)
- Detroit Pistons: $1,331,160 (Brice Johnson to Grizzlies)
- Miami Heat: $1,312,611 (Okaro White to Hawks)
- Washington Wizards: $1,312,611 (Sheldon Mac to Hawks)
- Dallas Mavericks: $1,107,552 (Devin Harris to Nuggets)
- Note: This TPE is not listed by RealGM.
Our list of outstanding traded player exceptions has been updated, and will be adjusted if necessary once we’re able to confirm all the TPEs listed above.
If you have any corrections or questions, please let us know in the comment section.
8:05pm: The Pistons have officially acquired Ennis, the team announced tonight in a press release.
11:44am: The pick included in the deal is for 2022, according to Chris Herrington of The Memphis Commercial Appeal (Twitter link), who adds that the Pistons will use their Disabled Player Exception to accommodate Ennis.
11:29am: The Pistons have acquired James Ennis from the Grizzlies in exchange for Brice Johnson and a second-round pick, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. It’s the same package that Detroit had been rumored to send to New Orleans in exchange for Dante Cunningham.
After a couple of years as a journeyman, Ennis found a home in Memphis over the past two seasons, developing into a regular part of the rotation. The 27-year-old is averaging 6.9 points and 3.5 rebounds through 45 games this season. He has an expiring contract worth a little more than $3MM.
Johnson, 23, was acquired from the Clippers last week in the deal that brought Blake Griffin to Detroit. A first-round pick in 2016, Johnson had yet to suit up for the Pistons and played just nine games in L.A. this season. He is still on his rookie contract and is making a little more than $1.33MM.
Because of the salary discrepancy, the Pistons will have to use either the Disabled Player Exception of $5.2MM they were awarded earlier this week or a $7MM trade exception to take on Ennis’s contract.
1:53pm: The Pistons have confirmed the trade via a press release.
10:11am: The Bulls are sending veteran point guard Jameer Nelson to the Pistons in a deadline-day trade, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links). According to Charania, center Willie Reed will be headed to Chicago. The Bulls will also get the right to swap 2022 second-round picks with the Pistons, per Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post (via Twitter).
Both Nelson and Reed have already been traded within the last week and a half — Nelson moved from New Orleans to Chicago in the Nikola Mirotic trade, while Reed was one of the pieces the Pistons acquired from the Clippers alongside Blake Griffin. Nelson and Reed were both eligible to be traded again this week, but couldn’t have had their salaries aggregated with another player’s salary in a deal.
For the Pistons, Nelson will help fortify the point guard position, which has been somewhat shorthanded this season due to Reggie Jackson‘s lengthy injury absence. Ish Smith and Dwight Buycks have done a respectable job handling point guard duties with Jackson on the shelf, but Nelson will provide a steady veteran hand.
Nelson, who will turn 36 on Friday, appeared in 43 games for the Pelicans this season, averaging 5.1 PPG and 3.6 APG with a .410/.364/.765 shooting line in 20.9 minutes per contest. In Detroit, he’ll reunite with Stan Van Gundy, who coached him for several seasons in Orlando.
As for Reed, the 27-year-old center was solid as a part-timer in Miami last season, averaging 5.3 PPG and 4.7 RPG in 71 games with the Heat. His per-minute numbers have remained solid for the Clippers and Pistons this season, but he’s playing a career-low 10.2 MPG. He was also recently hit with a six-game suspension as a result of a domestic incident that took place last summer, though the NBPA has filed a grievance on his behalf.
Like Nelson, Reed will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, so he seems unlikely to fit into the Bulls’ long-term plans. In fact, Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago reports (via Twitter) that Chicago plans to immediately waive the big man.
The Bulls and Pistons will each create modest trade exceptions in the swap, with Chicago getting one worth Nelson’s salary ($1,429,818) and Detroit creating one worth Reed’s salary ($1,471,382).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Pelicans and Pistons are engaged in discussions on a deal that would send Dante Cunningham to Detroit in exchange for Brice Johnson and a second-round pick, reports Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link). ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link) classifies those talks as “serious.”
As I noted earlier today when Scott Kushner of The Advocate described Cunningham as a trade candidate for the Pelicans, the veteran forward has the ability to veto a deal that involves him. However, league sources tell Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link) that Cunningham has requested a trade, so he seems unlikely to take advantage of his ability to block a move.
The Pistons have already reportedly struck a deal with the Bulls to acquire point guard Jameer Nelson in exchange for Willie Reed. Johnson, like Reed, arrived in Detroit as a result of last week’s Blake Griffin trade. If the Pistons can complete a deal with the Pelicans, they’ll end up flipping both of those non-Griffin pieces from the Clippers to new teams in order to fortify their rotation with some additional veteran help.
Cunningham, 30, has spent the last three and a half seasons in New Orleans, appearing in 263 total games for the club during that time and starting almost exactly half (132) of them. Although he has been a reliable rotation piece for most of that time, Cunningham’s 2017/18 marks of 5.0 PPG and .440 FG% are his lowest since he joined the Pelicans, and he was benched for the entirety of the club’s most recent game.
For the Pelicans, Johnson – who has appeared in just 12 NBA games – would offer little upside, but a trade would allow the team to pick up an extra second-rounder and move a little further away from the luxury tax threshold. If the two teams can complete a deal, New Orleans could also absorb Johnson using one of their existing trade exceptions, creating a new trade exception worth Cunningham’s $2,300,000 salary.
If the Pistons and Pelicans don’t get anything done, the Timberwolves would be another team to watch for a Cunningham trade, tweets TNT’s David Aldridge.
FEBRUARY 8, 8:23am: According to Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link), the Pistons discussed the possibility of trading Bradley or Stanley Johnson to San Antonio for Danny Green before including him in the Blake Griffin trade, so it makes sense that the Spurs would still have interest.
One potential deal the Spurs and Clippers have discussed is Green and a first-round pick in exchange for Bradley, league sources tell Stein (Twitter link). However, San Antonio would prefer not to part with a first-rounder, Stein adds (via Twitter).
Bradley was acquired from the Pistons last week in the deal that sent Blake Griffin to Detroit. He has an $8.8MM expiring contract and reportedly isn’t in the Clippers’ long-term plans. He has been productive in two games for L.A., playing 30 minutes per night and averaging 10.0 points.
The Spurs have been shorthanded on the wing with both Kawhi Leonard and Rudy Gay sidelined by injuries. It would take Gay, Danny Green or a combination of smaller salaries to match up with Bradley’s, and the Clippers will probably want some draft assets in return.