Pistons Rumors

Eastern Notes: Griffin, Turner, Kurucs

Blake Griffin, who is in year two of a five-year, $171MM deal, is enjoying a resurgence a year after he was traded to the Pistons, Noah Trister of The Associated Press writes. Griffin expanded his offense, adding the 3-pointer to his game, which is something he credits for his success this year.

“It helps a lot, especially in today’s NBA, with everybody spacing the floor a little bit more, and playing with a guy like Dre (Andre Drummond), who’s so effective inside,” Griffin said. “To be able to give him a little bit more space is a good thing. I always see guys working to expand their range, and when you do, you see them add years to their career.”

Griffin has already made a career-high 134 shots from behind the arc this season. Here’s more on the Pistons and a few other teams in the Eastern Conference:

  • Pistons coach Dwane Casey believes Griffin’s basketball I.Q. has helped the team stay in the playoff race, Trister relays in the same piece. “He’s thinking the game. He’s a couple steps ahead,” Casey said. “I’ve had a lot of great forwards, power forwards, and he’s right up there with the best, whether it’s [Dirk Nowitzki], [Kevin] Garnett, Detlef Schrempf — just a lot of great players that I’ve been around. He’s right in that category.”
  • Myles Turner, who signed a four-year, $72MM extension with the Pacers earlier this season, should be considered a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, Jim Ayello of the Indianapolis Star contends. Turner is leading the league in blocks per game (2.7) and he has the league’s third-best defensive rating (99.6), giving him the credentials to be in the conversation for the award.
  • Michael Scotto of The Athletic examines how the Nets got a steal in the secon -round with Rodions Kurucs. Kurucs, who was the No. 40 overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft, has worked his way into Brooklyn’s starting lineup after beginning the season buried on the depth chart.

And-Ones: Iguodala, Gupta, Vesely, Williamson

Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala was elected First Vice President of the National Basketball Players Association, according to an NBPA press release. Iguodala has been on the Executive Committee since February 2013. He replaces LeBron James, whose four-year term has expired.

The BucksMalcolm Brogdon, the CelticsJaylen Brown and the HornetsBismack Biyombo were elected to serve as VPs on the Executive Committee. They replace Carmelo Anthony, Stephen Curry and Iguodala.

Chris Paul remains President of the committee with Anthony Tolliver, Pau Gasol, C.J. McCollum and Garrett Temple also serving on it.

We have more news from around the basketball world:

  • Pistons assistant GM Sachin Gupta never knew ESPN’s Trade Machine would become so popular when he created it in 2006, Rod Beard of the Detroit News reports. Gupta called it a “fun project” and took about a month to write the code for the Trade Machine when he worked for the network, Beard adds. “It’s not meant to replace common sense. It’s not meant to replace any GM’s job,” Gupta said. “It’s simply based on the rules and whether it works or not.”
  • Former NBA player Jan Vesely has signed an extension with Fenerbahce that keep him under contract until 2022, the Turkish team tweets. The 7-foot power forward was drafted by the Wizards with the sixth overall pick of the 2011 draft but only lasted three NBA seasons.
  • Stephen Curry is a fan of Duke’s Zion Williamson, considered the top prospect in this year’s draft, he said in an interview with The Undefeated and relayed by E. Jay Zarett of the Sporting News. “He’s unreal. We were talking about him the other day in our team room,” Curry said, via Justin Tinsley of the Undefeated. “He has a lot of hype around him and he’s unbelievably talented, but you can’t teach his passion and the way that … he plays. He plays hard every possession, and that’s an underrated skill that kids can kind of emulate.”

Danny Ferry Named Pelicans’ Interim GM

Veteran NBA executive Danny Ferry is taking over as the Pelicans‘ general manager on an interim basis, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The team has confirmed the move in an official announcement. The press release also confirms that New Orleans has parted ways with longtime GM Dell Demps, which was reported earlier today.

“We will immediately begin the process of restructuring our basketball operations department,” team owner Gayle Benson said in a statement. “This will include a comprehensive, but confidential, search aided by outside consultants to identify a new leader of our basketball operations, directly reporting to me.”

A former general manager in Cleveland and Atlanta, Ferry did excellent work reshaping the Hawks’ roster, but saw his time with the team come to an end after he read an offensive comment from a scouting report on Luol Deng out loud during a conference call. Ferry subsequently took a leave of absence from the Hawks and eventually reached a buyout agreement with the club.

In recent years, Ferry has served as a special advisor to the general manager in New Orleans.

The Pelicans are expected to aggressively pursue a high-level executive to be the club’s next head of basketball operations, with former Cavaliers GM David Griffin and current Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren among the candidates already mentioned. New Orleans’ search figures to take some time though, opening the door for an in-house exec like Ferry to take the reins for the time being.

Fletcher Mackel of WDSU in New Orleans (Twitter links) hears that Joe Dumars, who has long been linked to the Pelicans, isn’t expected to be a target for the permanent GM job. However, Mackel suggests that Ed Stefanski, who is currently the head of basketball operations for the Pistons, may be a candidate.

Mackel adds (via Twitter) that president Mickey Loomis, who is primarily a football executive for the Saints, will continue to have oversight within the NBA franchise, but is expected to take a step back and focus nearly exclusively on football. That lines up with Benson’s statement, which suggests that the basketball operations department will be reworked and that the new GM will report directly to her.

Ellington Receives Rest Of Team's Mid-Level Exception

The Pistons used up the remainder of their mid-level exception to sign guard Wayne Ellington, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Detroit made a $2.4MM commitment to acquire Ellington, who was waived by the Suns after getting traded by the Heat last week. The team remains $252K under the luxury tax threshold and it has no player bonuses that would push it over the tax, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.

The Pistons divvied up portions of the mid-level to sign free agent Glenn Robinson III and second-round picks Khyri Thomas and Bruce Brown Jr. over the summer. Ellington got off to a slow start in his Pistons debut, shooting 1-for-8 from the field against Washington on Monday night.

Central Notes: Pistons, Pacers, Bulls, Knight

When they explored the market for Reggie Bullock prior to last week’s trade deadline, the Pistons had options beyond the Lakers’ offer of a second-round pick and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. According to president of basketball operations Ed Stefanski, the Pistons could have instead had two second-round picks in exchange for Bullock, but liked Mykhailiuk enough to take him in place one of those picks.

“Instead of getting two seconds, we got Svi and a second,” Stefanski said. “We know he’s a prospect. We know he can flat-out shoot the basketball and we’re excited about seeing if we can develop him. The idea of putting a name to a player and getting a second-round pick was intriguing to us as opposed to bringing in two second-round picks.”

As Langlois relays, one of the Pistons’ goals has been to acquire controllable – and cheap – players on rookie contracts, since the team’s cap is otherwise loaded with pricey veteran deals. The club achieved that goal at the deadline by landing Mykhailiuk and Thon Maker, who is one more year left on his rookie contract after this season.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders shares some details on the cash changing hands in a pair of Central trades. According to Pincus (Twitter links), the Pacers sent $110K to the Rockets in the Nik Stauskas/Wade Baldwin trade, and the Bulls received $2,610,464 from the Thunder in their trade involving Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot. Chicago, which has now maxed out the cash it can receive in 2018/19 trades, will receive that money from OKC in three installments worth about $870K apiece on the first of March, April, and May, Pincus notes (via Twitter).
  • In a podcast discussion with ESPN’s Zach Lowe, Bobby Marks mentioned in passing that Khris Middleton‘s name is one the Pacers have “circled” as a potential offseason target (Twitter link via Eric Nehm of The Athletic). Re-signing Middleton will be a top priority for the Bucks, who will also see Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon, Brook Lopez, and Nikola Mirotic reach free agency.
  • The Pacers‘ style of play and the promise of a starting job were key factors in luring Wesley Matthews to Indiana, as the veteran swingman confirms to J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star.
  • Brandon Knight has barely played over the last two seasons, and has seemingly become known more for his contract than his play on the court, after the Rockets dangled him in trade talks for much of the season. Now a member of the Cavaliers, Knight tells Ben Stinar of AmicoHoops that he remains confident he can recapture his previous form. “I had a full year off, but I’m still the same player,” said Knight, who averaged 19.6 PPG as recently as 2015/16.

Pistons Sign Wayne Ellington, Waive Henry Ellenson

6:09pm: The move is official, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News.

4:03pm: Wayne Ellington has cleared waivers and the Pistons will sign him to a contract, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link).

Ellington was sent to the Suns in the Tyler Johnson trade and the veteran was subsequently waived. It was reported on Friday that Detroit was nearing a deal with the 31-year-old after beating out “heavy competition” for his services.

While the Pistons don’t provide Ellington with a chance to compete for a title, they do provide him a path to court time on a potential playoff team. Detroit traded away Reggie Bullock, arguably the team’s best shooter, earlier in the week and Ellington, who’s a career 38.0% shooter from downtown, will have a chance to fill that void.

As we mentioned in our log of every team’s roster situation, the Pistons had a full roster and needed to make a corresponding move to add the shooting guard. The team will waive Henry Ellenson in order to make room for Ellington.

Every NBA Team’s Post-Deadline Roster Situation

The NBA confirmed today that 2019’s trade deadline set and matched some records. The 14 trades completed on Thursday were the most made on a deadline day in the last 30 years, and the 19 teams involved in those swaps was tied for the most over that same period.

In total, 34 players were involved in those 14 trades — and that doesn’t even count the eight deals completed during the week leading up to the deadline, as we detailed last night.

Needless to say, there has been plenty of roster upheaval around the NBA, so we’re going to use this space to take a look at all 30 teams’ roster situations to see exactly where they stand. Does your favorite team have a full roster? Or is their roster somehow only two-thirds full? Looking at you, Raptors.

Here’s a breakdown of all 30 clubs’ roster situations at the time of this post’s publication (more moves will be made in the coming days or even hours that won’t be noted here, so keep that in mind):

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks entered the week with 15 players, but had to waive Daniel Hamilton to clear a spot to acquire Jabari Bird. They subsequently traded Tyler Dorsey for Shelvin Mack, then waived both Bird and Mack.

They currently have 13 players on their roster, leaving two open spots. They’ll have two weeks to get back to the league-mandated minimum of 14 players.

Boston Celtics

After carrying 15 players all season, the Celtics traded Jabari Bird to create an open roster spot. They’ll explore the buyout market for candidates to fill that opening.

Brooklyn Nets

The Nets entered the week with 14 players on standard contracts and one (Mitch Creek) on a 10-day deal. Creek’s contract was terminated a few days early to make room for Greg Monroe, who was waived after being acquired from Toronto.

Brooklyn now has 14 players under contract and could opt to re-add Creek (albeit on a full-season contract), sign another player, or leave that spot empty for now.

Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets had a quiet week and continue to carry 14 players, leaving one open roster spot.

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls created an open spot on their roster by trading Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker for Otto Porter, and are now carrying 14 players.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers acquired two players – Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin – for Rodney Hood, which required them to terminate Kobi Simmons‘ 10-day contract early to stay at 15 players.

Subsequently, Cleveland flipped Stauskas and Baldwin to Houston in exchange for Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight, with Alec Burks heading to Sacramento in that three-team deal. The 3-for-2 move left the Cavs with 14 players and an open roster spot.

Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks, already at 15 players, acquired two veterans – Zach Randolph and Justin Jackson – in exchange for Harrison Barnes, and had to waive Salah Mejri to make the deal work.

They’re currently at 15 players, but will be releasing Randolph very soon to create an open roster spot.

Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets didn’t make any moves this week and continue to carry a full 15-man roster.

Detroit Pistons

Both of the Pistons‘ trades this week were 1-for-1 swaps in terms of players, with Thon Maker and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk replacing Reggie Bullock and Stanley Johnson.

However, with the team closing in on a deal for Wayne Ellington, someone will need to be waived to stay at the 15-man limit. That player will reportedly be Henry Ellenson.

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors didn’t make any moves this week and still have 14 players under contract, leaving an opening for potential buyout targets.

Read more

Pistons Plan To Waive Henry Ellenson

Henry Ellenson‘s run with the Pistons appears to be coming an end, as Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports (via Twitter) that Detroit plans to waive the third-year big man in order to make room for Wayne Ellington. We heard earlier today that Ellington, who is currently on waivers, is nearing a deal with the Pistons.

Ellenson, 22, was the 18th overall pick in the 2016 draft, but hasn’t developed into a reliable and consistent rotation player in Detroit. In two and a half NBA seasons, the former Marquette standout has averaged 3.8 PPG and 2.2 RPG in just 59 games (8.5 MPG). He appeared in only two contests this season, falling out of the rotation entirely after the Pistons signed Zaza Pachulia and got Jon Leuer back over the offseason.

The timing of Ellenson’s release remains unclear — Ellington won’t clear waivers today, so the Pistons may wait until the veteran is ready to officially sign with the team before they make their corresponding move with Ellenson.

Once he’s waived, Ellenson will remain on waivers for two days. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent if he goes unclaimed.

Pistons, Wayne Ellington Nearing Agreement

Wayne Ellington, who is currently on waivers and will become a free agent this weekend, is closing in on a contract agreement with the Pistons, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Ellington, who spent most of the season with the Heat, was sent from Miami to Phoenix in a trade this week. The veteran sharpshooter has a contract that gave him the right to veto a potential deal, but he signed off on the trade based on the knowledge that the Suns would release him, giving him the chance to join a contender.

While the 24-29 Pistons certainly aren’t the NBA’s most obvious “contender,” they’re currently just 1.5 games out of the playoff picture in the East. The Hornets and Heat hold the seventh and eighth seeds with 26-28 and 25-27 records, respectively, so Ellington could get the opportunity to help knock his old team out of the postseason.

Ellington, 31, has a career .380 3PT% and has made at least 2.3 threes per game in each of the last three seasons with the Heat, but saw his role cut back significantly in 2018/19. He struggled to crack a crowded rotation in Miami, appearing in just 25 games this season and suggesting that he wouldn’t mind a change of scenery if it gave him the opportunity to play more.

He’ll get that chance in Detroit, which may have been one of the reasons why he chose the Pistons over other suitors. According to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press (via Twitter), the Pistons beat out “heavy competition” for Ellington. After trading away Reggie Bullock and Stanley Johnson in a pair of deals this week, the club should have a clear role available on the wing for the former UNC standout.

The Pistons currently have a full 15-man roster, so they’ll have to waive someone to open up a spot for Ellington.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Suns Waive Guard Wayne Ellington

4:11pm: The move is official, according to a team press release.

4:06pm: The Suns will place newly-acquired Wayne Ellington on waivers today, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 Phoenix tweets.

Ellington and guard Tyler Johnson were dealt to Phoenix for forward Ryan Anderson but the Suns had no intention of retaining the veteran shooting guard. Ellington was caught in a logjam of wings with the Heat, bouncing in-and-out of the rotation. He’ll now be free to seek a team that can offer him more playing time.

Ellington had the ability to veto a trade, so he wouldn’t have agreed to it unless he would end up in a more favorable situation. The Pistons, who just traded starting shooting guard Reggie Bullock to the Lakers, are expected to pursue Ellington. The Thunder have also been mentioned as a potential suitor.

Ellington has an expiring $6.27MM contract. The 31-year-old guard, who appeared in 25 games with Miami this season, is a career 38% 3-point shooter.