Pistons Rumors

Pistons Notes: Williams, Rotation, Wiseman, Grimes

The Pistons went 11 deep into their rotation through the first 13 minutes of their Thursday loss to the Pacers. According to James L. Edwards III of The Athletic, it felt like Detroit was auditioning for players who might be on next season’s roster, even though coach Monty Williams denied that was the case a day earlier.

I’m not going to be throwing combinations on the floor to just be looking at certain combinations,” Williams said Wednesday. “We’re done with that, in my opinion. We’re trying to develop guys, for sure, but we’re going to try and win every game we can so that we can create what we feel [will give us momentum] going into the summer.

In Edwards’ view, it doesn’t feel like there’s much synergy with the rotations Williams is putting on the floor. If the team is prioritizing winning, Edwards writes, it doesn’t make sense that James Wiseman is earning minutes over Mike Muscala and there’s been no staggering the minutes of franchise guards Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey. But it doesn’t feel like development is the priority in the rotation either, according to Edwards, because rookie Marcus Sasser played fewer minutes than Evan Fournier and Malachi Flynn.

The deep rotations and new faces are making it difficult for any consistency to develop in Detroit and too many minutes are being given to players who might not be on the roster next season, Edwards writes.

In response to questions surrounding his 11-man rotation on Thursday, Williams explained that he told the coaches he’d prefer to run with about nine rotation players but Sasser bumped his knee and that’s why he ended up using Flynn more (Twitter link via Omari Sankofa II of Detroit Free Press).

We have more Pistons notes:

  • Williams also explained his decision to play Wiseman over Muscala (Twitter link via Sankofa). “I like what he’s giving us, especially on the defensive side,” Williams said of the former No. 2 overall pick. According to Sankofa, Williams said that the rim protection Wiseman provides is more important when smaller guards like Sasser and Flynn are on the floor.
  • Wiseman is hoping to shed the bust label he picked up after being traded away for a modest return at the 2023 deadline after he was drafted second overall in 2020, according to FOX Sports’ Melissa Rohlin. “I believe I can be a great player,” Wiseman said. His career has been derailed by a combination of injuries, illness and a lack of NBA preparedness, Rohlin writes.
  • Quentin Grimes, acquired by the Pistons at the deadline, is listed as probable ahead of their Saturday matchup against Orlando, according to Sankofa (Twitter link). Grimes hasn’t played since being traded due to a right knee sprain, but averaged 8.6 points per game while connecting on 37.9% of his three-pointers in his first three seasons in the league.

Pistons Officially Confirm Reported Roster Moves

The Pistons have officially issued a press release (Twitter link) to formally confirm that three previously reported roster moves have been finalized. Those roster moves are as follows:

All three transactions were reported on Thursday, but Evbuomwan’s 10-day contract with Detroit was still active through last night’s game in Indiana, so the team waited an extra day for it to expire before essentially swapping his and Umude’s spots on the 18-man roster. Boeheim’s two-way deal was completed at the same time.

The Pistons now have a full squad, with Umude taking the 15th spot on the standard roster while Evbuomwan and Boeheim join Jared Rhoden as Detroit’s two-way players.

A player who signs a two-way contract during the season is subject to a prorated portion of the usual 50-game limit, so Evbuomwan and Boeheim will each be eligible to be active for up to 15 of the team’s remaining NBA games this season.

For more information on the three players involved in the Pistons’ latest transactions, be sure to check out our previous full stories on each move.

Fontecchio, Cunningham Among Players To Watch

Tosan Evbuomwan To Sign Two-Way Deal With Pistons

With his 10-day deal set to expire, Tosan Evbuomwan is re-signing with the Pistons on a two-way contract, agent George Langberg tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Evbuomwan will take the two-way slot previously held by Stanley Umude, who is being promoted to a standard deal, so the two players are essentially swapping spots on the Pistons’ roster.

After going undrafted out of Princeton, Evbuomwan signed an Exhibit 10 deal with Detroit, later being waived to earn a bonus for playing for the team’s NBAGL affiliate, the Motor City Cruise.

He has spent most of the 2023/24 season with the Cruise, but has also played in five NBA games with the Grizzlies and the Pistons while on 10-day contracts.

In 29 games with the Cruise, Evbuomwan has averaged 15.1 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 34.5 minutes per game.

Pistons’ Isaiah Stewart Suspended Three Games Without Pay

3:40pm: The misdemeanor assault charge against Stewart has been dismissed after prosecutors declined to pursue the case, tweets Baxter Holmes of ESPN. That explains why the NBA handed out a suspension today, since the league typically doesn’t act until the legal process has played out.

Stewart will lose $108,966 as part of his three-game suspension, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).

3:17pm: Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart has been suspended three games without pay for initiating an altercation with Suns big man Drew Eubanks prior to last week’s game in Phoenix, the NBA announced (via Twitter).

Stewart punched and pushed Eubanks during the incident, per the league’s statement. His suspension is expected to begin on Thursday vs. Indiana, as Detroit’s forward/center was set to be active tonight for the first time in several weeks after dealing with an ankle sprain.

Eubanks said he was sucker-punched in the face by Stewart in the hallway of the Footprint Center shortly after arriving at the arena, though he wasn’t injured and was able to suit up for the Suns’ victory last Wednesday. Stewart was arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge and issued a citation before being released.

Stewart, 22, is averaging 11.0 PPG and 6.8 RPG on .470/.374/.746 shooting in 35 games (30.6 MPG) this season for the Pistons, who hold the worst record in the league at 8-46.

Pistons Converting Stanley Umude To Standard Contract

The Pistons plan to give Stanley Umude a promotion, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the second-year guard/forward will have his two-way contract converted into a standard two-year deal.

Umude, 24, has appeared in 17 games this season for Detroit, averaging 5.2 points and 1.8 rebounds on .481/.548/.917 shooting in 11.2 minutes per contest. He has also played 22 games (32.6 minutes) for the Pistons’ G League affiliate, the Motor City Cruise, averaging 17.1 points and 5.8 rebounds on .397/.345/.774 shooting.

Umude went undrafted in 2022 out of Arkansas and spent training camp with Detroit, spending most of his rookie campaign with the Cruise. He made one appearance with the Pistons last season while on a 10-day deal.

The Pistons have been busy on Thursday, having reached agreements to sign Cruise member Buddy Boeheim to a two-way deal, convert Umude to a standard contract, and give Tosan Evbuomwan the two-way slot previously held by Umude.

Pistons Signing Buddy Boeheim To Two-Way Deal

The Pistons are signing free agent guard/forward Buddy Boeheim to a two-way contract, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). The deal will cover two years.

A long-range shooting specialist, Boeheim has averaged 14.3 points and 3.1 rebounds while shooting 41.8% from three on high volume in 36 games this season (24.3 MPG) for Detroit’s NBA G League affiliate, the Motor City Cruise.

The son of longtime Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was on Detroit’s roster last season as a rookie on a two-way deal. The Pistons declined to give him a qualifying offer last June and renounced his rights in July, but the younger Boeheim played on their Summer League team and signed an Exhibit 10 deal in August that gave him a bonus for playing for the Cruise in 2023/24 after he was waived in October.

Boeheim appeared in 10 games with the Pistons in ’22/23, averaging just 9.0 minutes in those outings. He spent most of his time with the Cruise, where he averaged 12.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 18 games (17 starts). He shot 37.4% on 3-point attempts in the NBAGL but only converted 4-of-25 in his NBA appearances.

The 24-year-old wing will occupy Detroit’s open two-way slot, so no corresponding move will be necessary to sign him. Jared Rhoden and Stanley Umude are the Pistons’ other two-way players, as shown by our tracker.

Monty Williams Says Winning Is The Priority For The Rest Of The Season

  • Pistons coach Monty Williams said winning as many games as possible will be the priority for the rest of the season, tweets Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. “I’m not going to be throwing certain combinations on the floor just to see how they look,” Williams said. “We’re done with that … we’ll be competing.”

Pistons Waive Malcolm Cazalon

The Pistons have created a two-way roster opening by waiving Malcolm Cazalon, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

The 6’6″ shooting guard signed with Detroit last summer after going undrafted. He appeared in just one NBA game back in November and averaged only 9.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 14 regular season contests with the G League’s Motor City Drive.

Cazalon, 22, started his professional career in his native France in 2018, playing for JL Bourg, before moving on to teams in Belgium and Serbia. He originally declared for the NBA draft in 2022 before withdrawing his name and deciding to wait a year.

March 4 is the deadline to sign players to two-way contracts, so the Pistons will likely make a move before then.

Eastern Notes: Stewart, Drummond, House, Maxey

Despite his pregame altercation with Suns big man Drew Eubanks prior to the All-Star break, Pistons forward/center Isaiah Stewart could play against Indiana on Thursday, James Edwards III of The Athletic reports.

Stewart punched Eubanks on Wednesday after they exchanged words. Stewart, who didn’t play in that game due to an ankle sprain, was later arrested on an assault charge and issued a citation.

A resolution to his legal case is not expected prior to Thursday’s game. The NBA is investigating the situation but is not expected to hand down any punishment prior to that game. Meanwhile, Stewart could be healthy enough to play.

If Stewart is found guilty of misdemeanor assault, he’ll likely only have to pay a small fine and would not serve any jail time, Edwards adds.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • While Andre Drummond has gone from an All-Star to a valuable reserve, the Bulls center believes he’ll be in the league for many more years, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “I can play another eight to 10 years if I want to. I haven’t lost a step. It’s just opportunities I need to get,” Drummond said. He’s also headed to free agency and looking forward to seeing his worth on the open market. “I’m excited to see what happens in the offseason. Whatever team sees me as an asset, I’m ready. Obviously, I’m here now and I love it here. I would love to be here still,” the veteran center said.
  • Free agent Danuel House Jr. is weighing a number of options, including interest from the Hawks, according to the Pat Bev Pod (Twitter link). Considering the source is another current player like Patrick Beverley, who was teammates with House in Philadelphia up until the trade deadline, this info would appear to be very credible. House was traded, along with a second-round pick, by the 76ers to the Pistons, who quickly waived him.
  • Speaking of the Sixers, Tyrese Maxey made his first appearance as an All-Star over the weekend. He was humbled by the honor, he told Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Honestly, as a kid, I grew up saying I’d be an All-Star and those different things,” Maxey said. “But when it actually comes to light and it comes to something that you are and you see your name on the list, it’s kind of surreal. I know a lot of hard work went into it. I got what I deserved, but to still actually see it come true is like crazy.”