Pistons Rumors

Pistons, Kevin Knox Agree To Two-Year Contract

Unrestricted free agent forward Kevin Knox will sign a two-year, $6MM deal with the Pistons, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

After being selected by the Knicks with the ninth pick in the 2018 draft out of Kentucky, Knox enjoyed a productive rookie season for a rebuilding 17-65 New York club. The 6’7″ forward averaged a career-best 12.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.1 APG and 0.6 SPG in a career-most 28.8 MPG, starting in 57 of his 75 healthy games.

Knox has never scaled those heights again in his successive three NBA seasons of action. The 22-year-old has yet to average better than half of that scoring mark across three unproductive seasons with New York and the Hawks, to whom he was traded in January.

After head coach Tom Thibodeau took over in 2020, Knox found himself a fringe rotation player, averaging 11.0 MPG in just 42 games during the team’s playoff-bound 2020/21 season.

Last year, Knox cameoed in just 13 games with the Knicks before being dealt to Atlanta. In 17 games with the Hawks, Knox averaged just 6.5 MPG. The Hawks did not tender a qualifying offer to Knox this summer, making him an unrestricted free agent.

Considering the Pistons’ youth movement, it makes sense for the team to take flyers on young lottery selections like Knox and Marvin Bagley III, as Detroit builds around star point guard Cade Cunningham and 2022 lottery picks Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren.

Pistons To Re-Sign Marvin Bagley III To Three-Year Agreement

The Pistons have agreed to bring back restricted free agent power forward Marvin Bagley III on a three-year, $37MM contract, writes Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

After being selected by the Kings with the second pick in the 2018 draft over multiple future All-Stars, Bagley struggled through erratic playing time and a variety of injuries with Sacramento, but produced on offense when given some leeway by the team. He holds career averages of 13.6 PPG, on 50.1% shooting, and 7.4 RPG.

Bagley was traded to the Pistons in a four-team deal this February. In 18 games with Detroit, Bagley averaged 14.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.1 APG and 0.7 SPG across 27.2 MPG. The 6’11” big man, still just 23, has yet to become a plus defender, but has value as a scorer on a rebuilding young Pistons team.

Detroit has already enjoyed a busy 2022 offseason. In this year’s NBA draft lottery, the club selected guard Jaden Ivey and center Jalen Duren. The team also traded for veteran shooting guard Alec Burks and reserve center Nerlens Noel from the Knicks. These new additions will join Bagley, 2021 No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham, an All-Rookie First Team selection, promising young center Isaiah Stewart, and former lottery pick Killian Hayes as the Pistons continue to look toward the future.

Pistons, Kemba Walker Finalizing Buyout Agreement

For a second straight summer, Kemba Walker is on track to be bought out. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter) that the Pistons and Walker are finalizing a buyout agreement that will pave the way for him to become a free agent.

Technically, Walker isn’t even a Piston yet. The Knicks have agreed to a deal that will send him to Detroit, but it’s not official and likely won’t be until after the July moratorium ends next week, so the veteran point guard will have to wait a little longer to officially become a free agent.

Still, if he and the Pistons have a buyout agreement in place, the team presumably won’t stand in the way of him talking to potential suitors in the hopes of lining up a new deal.

Walker is under contract for $9.2MM next season. The veteran’s minimum salary for a player with more than 10 years of experience projects to be just shy of $3MM, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link), so Walker is likely to give up roughly that amount in his buyout with Detroit.

The Pistons intend to leave Walker’s dead money on their 2022/23 cap rather than stretching it across three seasons, tweets James L. Edwards III of The Athletic.

A four-time All-Star, the 32-year-old guard has been hampered by knee injuries the past two years. He appeared in 37 games for the Knicks this season, but was benched for a while in November and December and was eventually shut down in mid-February. He was limited to 25.6 minutes per night and averaged 11.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists.

Walker also reached a buyout with the Thunder last August after the Celtics traded him to Oklahoma City. He signed with the Knicks four days later.

Pistons Have Path To Major Cap Room

Eastern Free Agent Rumors: Sexton, Bagley, Claxton, Hartenstein, Bridges

The Cavaliers are trying to re-sign Collin Sexton, but their first offer was short of what he’s hoping for, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

The free agent guard wants a new deal that averages about $20MM per year, sources tell Fischer, but Cleveland’s early offer in extension talks was below that number. Fischer says it was similar to Jordan Clarkson‘s “three-year, $51MM” deal, but Clarkson’s contract is actually worth $52MM over four years, so it’s unclear which of those figures was closer to Cleveland’s initial offer.

Sexton missed most of last season with a torn meniscus in his left knee. He was recently cleared for full basketball activities and should be ready for training camp.

There’s more on Eastern Conference free agents, all from Fischer:

  • Marvin Bagley III, who was acquired at the trade deadline, is expected to re-sign with the Pistons for more than $10MM per year. Fischer compares the expected deal to what the Hornets gave Kelly Oubre, which was two seasons at $24.6MM with a partial guarantee on the second year.
  • Fischer confirms a report that Nic Claxton will likely remain with the Nets, probably for an amount in the neighborhood of the full MLE.
  • The Bulls and Magic could be among the suitors for center Isaiah Hartenstein now that the Clippers are expected to give their full taxpayer MLE to John Wall. Chicago has been linked to several centers, but Fischer hears that the team would prefer not to use its entire non-taxpayer MLE of $10.1MM, so Hartenstein may be a lower-cost option. Rumors have emerged that Orlando may have interest in Hartenstein, but Fischer adds that he could also decide to remain in L.A. on a cheaper deal and hope to cash in later.
  • The Pacers are considering an offer for Hornets forward Miles Bridges, but Fischer says it’s not clear if Indiana is ready to hand out such a large contract. Fischer adds that the Grizzlies have been considered a “sleeper candidate” due to the presence of Jaren Jackson Jr., his former college teammate, but sources tell Fischer that Memphis isn’t expected to pursue Bridges.

Victor Oladipo Reportedly Unlikely To Remain With Heat

Heat guard Victor Oladipo is not expected to remain with the Heat this summer, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report writes in his latest round-up of rumors from around the NBA.

According to Fischer, the Wizards, Nuggets, and Pistons are among the rival teams believed to have interest in Oladipo, who will be an unrestricted free agent.

The Heat control Oladipo’s Bird rights, so there would be no cap-related roadblocks standing in the way of bringing him back. If he leaves, it could be a signal that the two sides don’t agree on his price point — or either the team or player simply may not have interest in continuing the relationship.

A two-time All-Star, Oladipo has appeared in just 60 regular season games since the start of the 2019/20 season due to a series of injuries related to his quad. He missed most of the ’21/22 campaign while recovering from a surgery, but showed flashes of his old self down the stretch, averaging 12.4 PPG and 3.5 APG on .479/.417/.737 shooting in eight games (21.6 MPG). The former All-Defensive First Teamer also exhibited his old versatility on defense.

Given the injury questions surrounding Oladipo, he’s unlikely to get significant multiyear offers this offseason, but a raise on last season’s minimum-salary contract looks like a safe bet. Fischer suggests a deal in the neighborhood of the taxpayer mid-level exception ($6.4MM) may be realistic.

The Heat, meanwhile, will also face competition as they try to retain other key free agents like P.J. Tucker and Caleb Martin.

Knicks To Trade Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks To Pistons

The Knicks are trading center Nerlens Noel and guard Alec Burks to the Pistons, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

The Knicks will unload more than $19MM in 2022/23 salary in the deal, providing ample cap space to sign free agent guard Jalen Brunson. Noel has a $9.24MM salary next season, while Burks is due approximately $10MM.

Both players are signed through the 2023/24 season, but there are team options in the final year of their respective contracts — Noel at $9.68MM and Burks at approximately $10.5MM. Thus, those salaries could come off the Pistons’ cap next summer.

New York will send Detroit back its 2023 second-round pick, plus the Heat’s 2024 second-round pick (top-55 protected) and $6MM in cash as sweeteners to take those contracts off its books, Wojnarowski reports in a separate tweet. The Pistons can absorb those salaries without sending out any contracts, since they project to have more cap space than any other team.

The Knicks and Pistons were involved in a three-way draft-night deal that included the Hornets. In that trade, Detroit also took Kemba Walker‘s contract off New York’s books. While the Hornets and Knicks have completed their half of that trade, the Pistons’ and Knicks’ half isn’t yet official, so it could be folded into Tuesday’s agreement.

New York won’t necessarily have to waive Taj Gibson‘s non-guaranteed contract now in its pursuit of Brunson, John Hollinger of The Athletic observes (via Twitter). The trade will give the Knicks approximately $30MM in total projected cap space, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.

As Marks notes (Twitter link), there’s no way Dallas can offer Brunson that kind of money without serious tax implications. Signing Brunson to a $30M starting salary would cost the Mavericks a total of $130MM in salary and tax penalties in one season alone, Marks says.

The Pistons plan on keeping Burks and Noel, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Burks, a 38% career 3-point shooter, will give the Pistons a perimeter threat on the wing who can help mentor the young backcourt of Cade Cunningham and rookie Jaden Ivey. Noel provides depth in the middle behind Isaiah Stewart and rookie Jalen Duren.

Despite the addition of Noel, the Pistons are still committed to bringing back restricted free agent Marvin Bagley III, Omari Sankofa of the Detroit Free Press tweets.

Pistons Bringing Anthony Tarke To Summer League

  • The Pistons are bringing swingman Anthony Tarke to summer league, his agent Billy Davis of Family of Athletes said. Tarke joined the Pistons for training camp last fall. He appeared in 10 games with the team’s G League affiliate this year.

Pistons To Decline Options On Garza, Edwards

The Pistons will not pick up the team options of center Luka Garza and guard Carsen Edwards, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets.

The option on Garza, a second-r0und pick last season, is worth $1,563,518. The option figure for Edwards, who joined the Pistons late last season, is $1,815,677.

Edwards also confirms that Detroit will decline the $3,150,000 option on Frank Jackson‘s contract, which he previously reported was likely.

Technically, Detroit could make Garza and Edwards restricted free agents by extending qualifying offers, but that’s unlikely given the team could have retained either player at a low-cost figure. The Pistons are projected to have more cap space than any other team in free agency and these moves open up a little more room to make a splash.

Garza, who starred at Iowa, appeared in 32 games (five starts) last season, averaging 5.8 PPG and 3.1 RPG in 12.2 MPG. The addition of lottery pick Jalen Duren increased the possibility that Garza would be let go.

Edwards spent the bulk of last season in the G League before appearing in four games with Detroit in April.

Clippers, Knicks Have Discussed Possible Nerlens Noel Trade

The Clippers and Knicks have engaged in “exploratory” discussions about a possible trade involving center Nerlens Noel, league sources Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

The Knicks are attempting to clear the cap room necessary to make a serious run at free agent point guard Jalen Brunson and have a surplus of future draft picks to offer a team willing to take on Noel’s contract, which will pay him $9.24MM in 2022/23. Moving Noel would increase their projected cap room to approximately $25MM.

The Clippers, meanwhile, have a trade exception big enough to take on Noel’s contract without sending out any salary and may view him as a solid rotation option at center, especially if free agent big man Isaiah Hartenstein doesn’t remain in Los Angeles.

The Clippers already project to be a taxpayer and would increase their luxury tax bill exponentially by adding another $9MM+ contract to their books, but Steve Ballmer is one of the richest owners in sports, so that may not be a pressing concern. The opportunity to help an Eastern Conference club pry away a key free agent from a Western rival may also provide some extra incentive as the Clippers mull a potential deal.

Here’s more from Scotto on free agency and the trade market:

  • Four NBA executives who spoke to Scotto believe that Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons could sign a contract in the four-year, $80MM range, perhaps with incentives that could further increase its value.
  • Based on conversations with six league executives, Scotto writes that Warriors center Kevon Looney could command upwards of $9MM per year as a free agent this summer, while guard Gary Payton II could earn $6-7MM annually. Looney is reportedly considered likely to re-sign with Golden State.
  • On draft night, the Pistons landed center Jalen Duren with the No. 13 pick after agreeing to a deal involving New York and Charlotte. If they hadn’t been able to reach an agreement for the No. 13 pick and Duren slipped to No. 14, the Pistons had discussed offering multiple picks, including a future first-rounder, to the Cavaliers, says Scotto. It’s unclear if Cleveland would’ve had any interest in such an offer.