Pistons Rumors

Ben Simmons Takes Physical, Meets With Sixers’ Brass

After returning to Philadelphia on Monday, Sixers star Ben Simmons took his required physical and met with the team’s brass on Tuesday, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. That meeting included president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, who says sources described it only as “brief.”

Both Pompey and Shelburne indicate that Simmons won’t be cleared to participate in any team-related activities until at least Friday, due to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols. As Brian Windhorst observed during an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up (video link) on Wednesday, that timeline suggests Simmons may not yet be fully vaccinated, since the league requires fully vaccinated players to register just one negative PCR test in order to interact with other players. Players who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated require at least four negative tests upon reporting to the team, according to ESPN.

We don’t know yet whether Simmons actually intends to return to the court and play for the 76ers following his holdout, but for what it’s worth, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report says the 25-year-old’s physical showed no signs that he isn’t healthy. Simmons will be able to begin conducting individual workouts with the assistance of Sixers coaches on Wednesday, Fischer notes.

As we wait to see what the next steps are for the Sixers and Simmons, there’s no indication that the team is anywhere close to making a trade. Both Fischer and Sam Amick of The Athletic have heard that Philadelphia continues to hold out hope that a star like Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal will become dissatisfied with his situation and ask for a trade, but that remains a long shot unless the Trail Blazers or Wizards get off to a really disastrous start this season.

According to Amick, Simmons’ camp hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a trade to the Nets, but sources with knowledge of the situation tell The Athletic that the Sixers have exhibited zero interest in pursuing a deal involving Kyrie Irving.

Fischer names the Cavaliers, Pistons, Rockets, Pacers, Timberwolves, Blazers, Kings, Spurs, and Raptors as the nine teams that have remained at least somewhat engaged with Philadelphia, and adds that a “mystery” 10th club has also had “substantive” discussions with the Sixers as of late. Not even Klutch Sports is certain of the identity of that 10th team, per Fischer, who cautions that the mystery suitor still hasn’t come close to meeting Morey’s asking price.

Here’s more on Simmons:

  • Sources tell Fischer that the Sixers have informed potential trade partners whose offers would be heavy on draft picks that their best bet would be a three-team structure in which Philadelphia lands at least one impact player, since Morey and his front office are interested in win-now pieces rather than future assets.
  • Although the Timberwolves still have interest in Simmons following their front office shake-up, new head of basketball operations Sachin Gupta isn’t believed to be pursuing the three-time All-Star as aggressively as Gersson Rosas did, according to Fischer.
  • The Kings remain unwilling to discuss either De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton in a potential Simmons deal, while the Sixers appear unmoved by the idea of acquiring Dejounte Murray and/or Lonnie Walker from the Spurs, sources tell Bleacher Report. Fischer adds that there’s a belief the Pistons would entertain trading Jerami Grant in a deal for Simmons.
  • Improving the relationship between Simmons and head coach Doc Rivers is believed to be a priority for the Sixers if Simmons is going to stick around for a little while, according to Fischer, who says the two men never seemed to build a strong rapport last season. Sources tell Bleacher Report that during an offseason meeting at agent Rich Paul‘s home, when the Sixers confirmed they intended to fine Simmons for not complying with the terms of his deal, Rivers shouted, “It’s in your f–king contract” to report to training camp and play for the team.

2021 NBA Offseason In Review: Detroit Pistons

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2021 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s offseason moves, examine what still needs to be done before opening night, and look ahead to what the 2021/22 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Detroit Pistons.

Free agent signings:

Note: Exhibit 9 and 10 deals aren’t included here.

  • Kelly Olynyk: Three years, $37.2MM. Third year partially guaranteed. Signed using cap room.
  • Hamidou Diallo: Two years, $10.4MM. Second-year team option. Re-signed as a restricted free agent using Bird rights.
  • Cory Joseph: Two years, $10.07MM. Second-year player option. Re-signed using room exception.
  • Frank Jackson: Two years, $6.15MM. Second-year team option. Re-signed using cap room.
  • Trey Lyles: Two years, $5.13MM. Second-year team option. Signed using cap room.
  • Saben Lee: Three year, minimum salary. Third-year team option. Re-signed using cap room.
  • Rodney McGruder: One year, minimum salary. Re-signed using minimum salary exception.
  • Chris Smith: Two-year, two-way contract.
  • Jamorko Pickett: Two-way contract. Converted from Exhibit 10 deal.


  • Acquired the draft rights to Balsa Koprivica (No. 57 pick) from the Hornets in exchange for Mason Plumlee and the draft rights to JT Thor (No. 37 pick).
  • Acquired DeAndre Jordan, the Nets’ 2022 second-round pick, either the Wizards’ or Grizzlies’ 2024 second-round pick (whichever is more favorable), either the Warriors’ or Wizards’ 2025 second-round pick (whichever is more favorable), the Nets’ 2027 second-round pick, and cash ($5.785MM) from the Nets in exchange for Jahlil Okafor and Sekou Doumbouya.
    • Note: Jordan has since been waived.

Draft picks:

  • 1-1: Cade Cunningham
    • Signed to rookie scale contract (four years, $45,599,089).
  • 2-42: Isaiah Livers
    • Signed to three-year, $4.46MM contract. Third-year team option. Signed using cap room.
  • 2-52: Luka Garza
    • Signed to two-year, minimum-salary contract. Second-year team option. Signed using minimum salary exception. Converted from two-way deal.
  • 2-57: Balsa Koprivica
    • Stashed overseas.

Contract extensions:

  • None

Departing players:

Other offseason news:

  • Hired Ben Wallace as basketball operations and team engagement advisor.
  • Hired Rex Kalamian, Jerome Allen, Jim Moran and Bill Bayno as assistant coaches; lost assistants Sidney Lowe, Micah Nori, and Sean Sweeney.
  • Hired John Beilein as senior advisor/player development.
  • Hired George David as assistant general manager; lost assistant GM David Mincberg.
  • Introduced new G League affiliate, the Motor City Cruise; DJ Bakker will be team’s head coach.

Salary cap situation:

  • Went under the cap, used their cap room, then used the room exception.
  • Carrying approximately $125.2MM in salary.

Lingering preseason issues:

  • None

The Pistons’ offseason:

A franchise starved for star power finally caught a break when it held the winning draft lottery combination. The Pistons hadn’t drafted No. 1 overall in more than a half-century and they took an unusually long time before settling on the consensus top pick, Cade Cunningham.

Cunningham’s combination of play-making, shot-making, length, versatility, poise and leadership was simply too much to pass up. The No. 1 pick suffered a minor ankle sprain in training camp but he’ll jump right into the starting lineup, though perhaps not at his projected position. He’ll share the backcourt with another young point guard, Killian Hayes, a 2020 lottery pick coming off an injury-marred rookie campaign.

GM Troy Weaver also added three second-round picks, including a draft-and-stash prospect. Luka Garza and Isaiah Livers figure to spend most of their rookie seasons with the Motor City Cruise, the team’s new G League franchise.

The most significant addition outside of Cunningham was Kelly Olynyk, who provides a much-needed floor stretching big. Mason Plumlee played well enough in his lone season with Detroit after signing a three-year free agent contract last summer, but his lack of a 3-point shot created spacing issues. Plumlee was traded to Charlotte on a salary dump.

Olynyk, a career 36.7% 3-point shooter who went on an offensive binge in a 27-game stint with the tanking Rockets last season, will share the center spot with second-year bruiser Isaiah Stewart.

Hamidou Diallo didn’t receive an offer sheet in restricted free agency, much to the Pistons’ relief. They re-signed him on a team-friendly contract. Frank Jackson, who was surprisingly effective as a spot-up shooter and offensive sparkplug last season, also chose to remain in Detroit. Diallo and Jackson will compete with Josh Jackson for backup minutes at shooting guard and small forward.

The front office waived Cory Joseph and his $12.6MM contract, which included a $2.4MM partial guarantee, then brought the veteran point guard at a lower number. Joseph endeared himself after being acquired from the Kings last season not only with his production but his willingness to mentor his younger teammates. He’ll be the floor leader of the second unit.

Trey Lyles fell out of favor with the Spurs last season but he’ll get a shot to earn rotation minutes as the backup power forward. He essentially replaces Sekou Doumbouya, a 2019 first-round bust.

The Pistons’ upcoming season:

There’s a positive vibe around the Pistons after more than decade of irrelevance. Cunningham puts them back on the national map and the roster has been built around the lunch-pail, hard-nosed motif that served the franchise so well during its glory years.

Jerami Grant blossomed as the No. 1 offensive option last season and he could be more efficient with young playmakers delivering him the ball and Olynyk stretching the defense.

Make no mistake — this is another building season for the franchise and playoff contention remains at least another season away. The Pistons are projected to win the second-fewest games in the Eastern Conference, ahead of only Orlando. Detroit could have the youngest lineup in the league and it remains to be seen how the duo of Cunningham and Hayes will mesh.

However, the Pistons have enough depth and tenacity to give more seasoned opponents plenty of tough, down-to-the-wire battles. Their cap situation beyond this season is favorable, providing them with the ability to acquire another impact player. Add in another lottery pick in next year’s draft and the Pistons could return to prominence in the not-too-distant future.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and Spotrac was used in the creation of this post. Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Bobby Gonzalez Hired As Scout

  • It’s hard to envision Frank Jackson, who is battling Josh Jackson and Hamidou Diallo for minutes as the Pistons’ backup wings, being out of Dwane Casey’s rotation, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. He provides instant offense off the bench as a penetrator and spot-up 3-point shooter. “His activity on the offensive end is hard to keep up with,” Casey said of the veteran guard. Jackson re-signed with the Pistons as a restricted free agent on a two-year deal with a team option for 2022/23.
  • Former Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez is joining the Pistons as a scout, Jeff Goodman of Stadium tweets. His role will focus on college scouting, with the Big East and Atlantic 10 among the conferences he’ll monitor, Adam Zagoria of Forbes tweets.

Central Notes: Gores, Bucks, K. Martin, T. Brown

Speaking to Jabari Young of CNBC, Tom Gores admitted that he made a mistake early in his tenure as the owner of the Pistons by trying to take shortcuts to contention instead of being willing to be patient and endure some losing seasons while building the right way.

“I should’ve been better about the idea that you can’t always win, and you don’t win fast,” Gores said. “I think I’ve grown from that perspective. I’m not sure I understood the magnitude of the responsibility when you own a sports team in a town that is looking to you for inspiration.”

After spending several years in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference, Gores has embraced what general manager Troy Weaver calls a “restoration” of the franchise in the last couple years. The Pistons’ 20-52 record last season was their worst mark since 1993/94, but the team was able to add potential cornerstone Cade Cunningham to a promising young core this offseason, creating optimism for the future.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • The Bucks are on track to be a taxpayer for the second consecutive season in 2021/22 and could face some tough roster decisions a year from now, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who notes that Bobby Portis, Donte DiVincenzo, and Grayson Allen are all on expiring contracts and will be in line for raises on their next deals.
  • Following the trade of Edmond Sumner, there’s a clearer path to a regular season roster spot for Pacers wing Kelan Martin, but he’s not taking anything for granted, as David Woods of The Indianapolis Star writes. Martin has twice agreed to push his salary guarantee date back in the hopes of making Indiana’s 15-man squad.
  • Former 15th overall pick Troy Brown, who was traded from Washington to Chicago at last season’s deadline, is hoping to claim a bigger role with the Bulls in his first full season with the team, writes Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. “I feel like me and Coach (Billy Donovan) have a good dynamic in the sense of me being like a Swiss Army Knife,” Brown said. “Whatever he needs on the court, that’s what I go do — whether it’s playmaking, rebounding, playing defense, hitting 3s. I feel like that’s my job on the team, and I just try to accept that role and do it as best as I can.”

Pistons Hire Ben Wallace In Advisory Role

The Pistons have given Ben Wallace a formal role within the organization, hiring him as a basketball operations and team engagement advisor, according to a press release.

Wallace’s new position will see him assist general manager Troy Weaver and the front office, as well as head coach Dwane Casey and the coaching staff. He’ll be a mentor and a “development asset” for players at both the NBA and G League level, according to the team.

“Ben is a Hall of Famer and a Pistons legend who has continued to come back home and support our team and our organization,” team owner Tom Gores said of Wallace, who won a title with the franchise in 2004. “He embodies everything we are building here and will be a real asset to Dwane, Troy and the rest of our staff. Ben helped set the standard for what it means to be a Piston and will be a tremendous influence for our young players.”

Although Wallace didn’t have an official position in Detroit’s front office until now, he has remained connected to the team in recent years. In 2018, he became a part-owner of the Grand Rapids Drive, a G League franchise that was the Pistons’ affiliate up until last season.

Grand Rapids has since rebranded as the Gold and is now affiliated with the Nuggets, so Wallace has divested himself of his stake in the NBAGL franchise in order to officially join the Pistons, tweets Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. Detroit has a new G League affiliate, the Motor City Cruise.

Cunningham Sits Out Preseason Opener

  • Top pick Cade Cunningham sat out the Pistons‘ preseason opener against San Antonio on Wednesday, Rod Beard of The Detroit News tweets. Cunningham is recovering from a mild ankle sprain.

Pistons Exercise 2022/23 Options On Hayes, Stewart, Bey

The Pistons have picked up their third-year team options on guard Killian Hayes, center Isaiah Stewart, and forward Saddiq Bey for the 2022/23 season, the team announced today (via Twitter).

Rookie scale option decisions for 2022/23 are due by the end of October, but the Pistons didn’t wait until the deadline to officially exercise the options for three players they selected in the first round of the 2020 draft. All three players’ salaries for ’22/23 are now guaranteed: Hayes at $5.84MM, Stewart at $3.43MM, and Bey at just $2.96MM.

Hayes was limited to just 26 games in his rookie season due to a hip injury and provided inconsistent production when he played, but he remains a major part of the Pistons’ future, having been the first player drafted by general manager Troy Weaver during his tenure in Detroit.

Stewart and Bey, meanwhile, made strong first impressions as rookies in 2020/21. Stewart averaged 7.9 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 1.3 BPG in 68 games (21.4 MPG), earning a spot on the All-Rookie Second Team. Bey made the All-Rookie First Team with averages of 12.2 PPG and 4.5 RPG, plus a .380 3PT%, in 70 games (27.3 MPG).

You can track all of the rookie scale team option decisions for 2022/23 right here.

NBA GMs Like Heat’s Offseason Moves, Nets’ Title Chances

Nearly half of the NBA’s general managers voted for the Heat as the team that had the best 2021 offseason, John Schuhmann of NBA.com writes in his annual survey of the league’s GMs. Miami got 14 of 30 possible votes, while the Lakers picked up five votes. The Nets, Rockets, and Wizards were the other teams picked by multiple GMs as having the best offseason.

The Heat’s acquisition of Kyle Lowry via sign-and-trade helped tip the scales in their favor. Asked which offseason player acquisition will make the biggest impact for his new team this season, GMs overwhelmingly chose Lowry — he received 23 of 30 votes. New Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook was the only other player to get multiple votes (five).

Although the Heat and Lakers received high marks from rival GMs for their work over the summer, neither club is considered the title favorite entering the 2021/22 season. That honor belongs to the Nets, who earned 22 votes from GMs for the team that will win the 2022 Finals. The Lakers (five) and Bucks (three) were the only other teams to receive any votes.

Here are a few more of the most interesting responses from Schuhmann’s GM survey, which is worth checking out in full:

  • The Trail Blazers‘ trade for Larry Nance Jr. received the most votes (28%) for the most underrated acquisition of the offseason, with the Nets‘ signing of Patty Mills (17%) and the Wizards‘ addition of Spencer Dinwiddie (14%) also receiving support in that category.
  • The NBA’s GMs view Rockets guard Jalen Green (47%) and Pistons guard Cade Cunningham (40%) as the best bets to win Rookie of the Year, but voted Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley as the rookie who will be the best player in five years. Mobley (33%) narrowly edged out Cunningham (30%) and Green (23%) in that category.
  • The GMs voted the Magic‘s selection of Jalen Suggs at No. 5 (23%) and the Rockets‘ pick of Alperen Sengun at No. 16 (20%) as the biggest steals of the 2021 draft.
  • The Bulls (27%) are considered the best bet to be the most improved team in 2021/22, while Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. (17%) received the most support as the top breakout candidate.
  • Following their run to the Eastern Conference Finals, the Hawks (50%) were overwhelmingly voted as the team with the best young core. The Rockets received three votes, while no other team got more than two.
  • Only two players received multiple votes when GMs were asked which player they’d want to start a franchise with: Mavericks star Luka Doncic (43%) barely beat out Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo (40%).

Casey Wants Fast Pace But Not Turnovers

  • Pistons coach Dwane Casey wants to push the pace but not at the expense of high turnover numbers, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. It will be a challenge, considering that young guards in Cade Cunningham and Killian Hayes will frequently be running the offense. One of the solutions is to cut down on the number of times his wings attempt one-man fast breaks.

Pistons Notes: Cunningham, Rotation, Jackson, Pickett

Top pick Cade Cunningham is dealing with an ankle sprain and has missed some practice time, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press tweets. The medical staff is being very cautious with the Pistons’ prized rookie so that the injury doesn’t linger.

Cunningham has been doing some light shooting drills, Rod Beard of The Detroit News tweets. It appears unlikely that the rookie guard will play in the team’s preseason opener on Wednesday.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Head coach Dwane Casey will serve youth, mainly in the starting lineup, and rely on veterans on the second unit, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. “I think we’re going to have probably two different units – one a younger unit that’s going to bring energy and the second unit will probably have more experience,” Casey said. Cunningham will likely be joined by second-year players Saddiq Bey and Killian Hayes in the starting unit, as well as possibly Isaiah Stewart. Casey is still mulling whether to go with Stewart or free agent signee Kelly Olynyk as the starting center. Cory Joseph will likely be the second-unit floor leader with Hamidou Diallo, Josh Jackson, Frank Jackson and Trey Lyles fighting for playing time.
  • Frank Jackson, like Cunningham, is dealing with an ankle injury, Sankofa adds in a separate tweet. He was re-signed as a restricted free agent on a two-year, $6.2MM deal that includes a team option next summer.
  • Jamorko Pickett continues to earn the admiration of the coaching staff, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets. “I’m really impressed with Jamorko Pickett, as far as his game, approach, maturity and communication,” Casey said. An undrafted forward out of Georgetown, Pickett recently had his non-guaranteed camp deal upgraded to a two-way contract.