Pistons Rumors

NBA Trade Candidate Watch: Central Division

Over the course of the 2019/20 NBA season, up until February’s trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA, monitoring their value and exploring the likelihood that they’ll be moved. Each of these looks at possible trade candidates focuses on a specific division, as we zero in on three players from that division.

We’re just three days away from December 15, the date when more than 120 players who signed new contracts this past offseason will become trade-eligible. Generally, NBA teams don’t suddenly complete a flurry of trades when the calendar turns to December 15, but it at least provides some hope that one of the leagues’ longest ever trade droughts could come to an end soon.

After initially identifying three trade candidates from the Central last month, we’re circling back to the division today to examine three more. Let’s dive in…

Kevin Love, PF
Cleveland Cavaliers
$28.9MM cap hit; $91.5MM in additional guaranteed salaries through 2022/23

As Jason Lloyd of The Athletic wrote this morning, Love has been the subject of trade rumors for years, but it feels a little different this time.

It seems likely that Love is one of the players who hasn’t been particularly fond of John Beilein‘s coaching style. After all, it was just two months ago that the Cavaliers’ power forward was talking about how much he wanted to remain in Cleveland. With the Cavs off to a 5-19 start, the latest reports are suggesting that Love would rather be traded to a contender.

There will be plenty of roadblocks in the way of a potential deal. Matching Love’s cap hit of nearly $29MM will be a challenge for many teams. Even clubs that have the salaries necessary to acquire Love may not agree with the Cavs about his value — Lloyd suggested today that Cleveland wants a first-round pick in return, but that may only be realistic if the club is willing to take back some bad money.

Ersan Ilyasova, PF
Milwaukee Bucks
$7MM cap hit; $7MM non-guaranteed salary for 2020/21

The Bucks have opened the season by winning 22 of their first 25 games, including 16 in a row through Wednesday. If the team continues playing at this level, you could make a strong case that the best approach at the trade deadline would be standing pat.

If Milwaukee does look to upgrade its supporting cast though, Ilyasova looks like the most logical candidate to be moved in such a deal. His $7MM cap hit makes him a good salary-matching chip for mid-level contracts, and his non-guaranteed salary for next season would appeal to teams looking to create flexibility.

The 32-year-old also isn’t such a crucial piece of the rotation that the Bucks would balk at giving him up. He’s not a particularly strong defender or play-maker, so his value comes from his ability to stretch the floor, but he has only made 33.3% of his three-point attempts, his lowest mark since 2013/14, and his 16.3 minutes per game are the fewest he has averaged since 2006/07.

It’s hard to come up with an ideal trade scenario for the Bucks, so Ilyasova is probably more likely to stay put than to change teams within the next couple months. But it won’t be a surprise if he’s dangled in a few trade discussions before February 6.

Reggie Jackson, PG
Detroit Pistons
$18.1MM cap hit; UFA in 2020

If the Pistons fall out of playoff contention in the Eastern Conference, some bigger names could become trade candidates. In that scenario, potential deals involving Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin shouldn’t be entirely ruled out.

But considering the 11-13 Magic currently hold the No. 8 spot in the East, falling out of the playoff race is unlikely unless the Pistons totally bottom out. As such, Jackson is the more logical trade candidate than the team’s two stars, since his expiring $18MM+ salary could be used to build a package for another impact player.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as if there will be many impact players available that will fit the Pistons’ roster. But exploring a trade for a player like D’Angelo Russell using Jackson’s contract as the primary salary-matching piece might make sense if Detroit – which has all its future first-round picks available – remains in win-now mode.

Revisit the rest of our 2019/20 Trade Candidate series right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

And-Ones: Melo, Morris, Pistons, Holmes

Carmelo Anthony suited up against the Knicks for the first time as a member of the Trail Blazers tonight and Marcus Morris was excited for the event.

“Man, I enjoy going against ‘Melo,” Morris said prior to the game (via Steve Popper of Newsday). “Growing up he always was my favorite player. Even when I came into the draft, I was like, yeah, I’m going to be like ‘Melo. You know what I’m saying? Over the years it’s been really good to go against him. I watched a lot of film on him.

“’Melo’s been one of the best scorers in this league for a long time. He’s still doing it. I’m very happy for him, very impressed that he could come from not playing for a while and make a great impact like he has.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • In the same piece, Morris spoke about how he couldn’t understand how Anthony went so long without a team. “That’s not disrespecting nobody, but there’s guys in this league that can’t really tie ‘Melo’s shoes — now. So for sure, he should have been in the league. But it always comes full circle and he’s a real one. I always say the real never lose, so he’s back and he’s doing what he did.”
  • Pistons draft-and-stash prospect Deividas Sirvydis is impressing overseas, as international journalist Donatas Urbonas tweets. Sirvydis, the No. 37 overall pick in the 2019 draft, has yet to sign his first NBA contract as he continues to play in Lithuania for now.
  • Everything is coming together for Richaun Holmes in Sacramento, Jordan Ramirez of NBA.com writes. Holmes, who signed with the Kings this offseason, began the season on the bench but his strong play has made him one of the team’s most reliable players in the starting rotation.

Casey: Drummond's Energy Level No Issue

  • Pistons first-rounder Sekou Doumbouya has taken a positive approach to his G League assignments, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports. In 13 games with the Grand Rapids Drive, Doumbouya is averaging 17.1 PPG and 5.4 RPG while shooting 40.9% on 3-point attempts. The forward doesn’t turn 19 until December 23. “He’s coachable,” Grand Rapids coach Donnie Tyndall said. “He will look you in the eye when he’s talking to you. He doesn’t cop an attitude or have bad body language. He gets disappointed in himself a little bit, he’s pretty hard on himself.”
  • Pistons coach Dwane Casey is baffled when center Andre Drummond‘s energy level is criticized, as he told The Free Press this weekend. Drummond, who can become an unrestricted free agent if he opts out this summer, leads the league in rebounding by a wide margin and recorded his 37th career 20-20 game against Indiana on Friday. “If he makes a mistake, they say he doesn’t have energy,” Casey said. “To get to 20 rebounds, somebody show me how to get 20 rebounds with two guys trying to box you out. That’s energy. I struggle when people say that Andre’s not playing with energy. To do what he does takes a lot of energy.”

Pistons Notes: Mykhailiuk, Jackson, Doumbouya, Wood

Svi Mykhailiuk is taking advantage of the opportunity that the Pistons‘ early-season injuries have provided, writes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Mykhailiuk was touted as an elite shooter coming out of Kansas last year, but he didn’t see much playing time as a rookie. He averaged 10.8 minutes in 39 games with the Lakers, then only appeared in three games after a midseason trade to Detroit.

That has changed in the early part of this season, as Mykhailiuk is seeing 17.4 minutes per night and even made his first career start. He is showing signs of his offensive potential, averaging 5.7 PPG and shooting a sizzling .448 from 3-point range.

“He’s in the gym every single day working on his game,” teammate Langston Galloway said. “In there early before everybody gets there. It’s been great to see. He’s working on coming off pick and rolls and knocking down shots. That’s what we need from him. Hope to see that the rest of the year.”

There’s more this morning from Detroit:

  • The eventual return of Reggie Jackson from a stress reaction in his lower back will cause a domino effect for the rotation, Langlois adds in the same story. The Pistons announced Wednesday that Jackson will be sidelined for a few more weeks, but when he does come back the team could be fully healthy for the first time all season. Jackson figures to reclaim the starting point guard role, pushing Bruce Brown into the wing rotation along with Galloway, Tony Snell, Luke Kennard and Mykhailiuk. With coach Dwane Casey using a 10-man rotation, at least one of them should expect a decline in minutes.
  • Casey is taking a typically cautious approach with first-round pick Sekou Doumbouya, observes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Doumbouya has been relegated to the G League for most of the season and is averaging just 2.8 minutes per night in four NBA games. The 18-year-old has played professionally in France and is excelling in Grand Rapids, but Casey wants to give him a gradual adjustment to the NBA. Beard suggests it’s the same approach he took in Toronto with Pascal Siakam and others, though Siakam did start 38 games as a rookie.
  • Christian Wood has been a nice addition to the frontcourt since being claimed off waivers in July, but he was almost in Detroit even sooner, tweets Vincent Ellis of The Detroit Free Press, who states that the Pistons considered signing Wood to a two-way contract in 2018.

Pistons Assign Doumbouya To G League

  • The Pistons have assigned rookie wing Sekou Doumbouya to the Grand Rapids Drive, Rod Beard of The Detroit News reports. The 18 year-old Doumbouya, the N0. 15 pick in the 2019 draft, is averaging 16.6 PPG and 5.4 RPG for the Drive, while shooting 39% on his long-range attempts. He has made four NBA appearances for the Pistons to date.

Suns Notes: Ayton, Trade Market, Baynes, Rozier

The Suns will get suspended center Deandre Ayton back in less than two weeks, but coach Monty Williams believes it will take 10 games or so for the team to get used to playing with him again, writes Gina Mizell of The Athletic. The top pick in last year’s draft played just one game this season before being suspended by the league after testing positive for a diuretic.

“We’re really gonna see who we are in the next month,” Williams said. “Most teams know all your plays. Most guys are setting their rotations. I think we’ll find out what our team looks like with the addition of DA.”

Ayton raised a lot of expectations with 18 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks on opening night. The Suns want to see if he can become the anchor of their defense and an effective pick-and-roll partner for Ricky Rubio or if he’ll slip back into some of the bad habits of his rookie season.

There’s more out of Phoenix:

  • Power forward could be a position of need if the Suns decide to become active on the trade market, Mizell adds in the same piece. Dario Saric has played well, but he’s the only Phoenix starter without a long-term contract and he stands to get a sizable offer as a restricted free agent. Mizell states that the Suns have to be intrigued by Arizona alum Aaron Gordon‘s 32-point performance against them last night, but the Magic may want to hold onto him as long as they’re in the playoff race. She lists Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge as veterans who might become available by the February trade deadline.
  • Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer examines whether the Suns and Kings are better off without Ayton and Marvin Bagley III, who are both slated to return soon. In Phoenix’s case, veteran center Aron Baynes stepped in for Ayton and helped the Suns to a surprising 7-4 start. They didn’t slip down the standings until he suffered injuries to his hip and calf. Baynes has always been a strong defender, but he has developed his offense since coming to Phoenix, averaging a career best 14.7 points and 2.9 assists per game.
  • Hornets guard Terry Rozier explained to reporters why he gave serious consideration to the Suns in free agency this summer (video link from The Arizona Republic). “Their identity is guys just play hard,” Rozier said. “Young, physical team, wanna win … obviously I’m not with them so I don’t really care about that no more.”

Injury Updates: Jackson, Oladipo, Irving, Bogdanovic, Russell

Pistons guard Reggie Jackson is showing progress on his stress reaction in his lower back but he’ll be out at least a few more weeks, according to a team press release. Jackson’s rehabilitation process will continue for another two weeks and he’ll be re-evaluated at the end of that period, the release adds. Jackson, the team’s starting point guard, hasn’t played since the first two games of the season. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in the summer.

We have more injury updates:

  • Pacers star guard Victor Oladipo has practiced three times in five days with their G League affiliate in Fort Wayne, but there’s no still word on when he might return to action, Akeem Glaspie of the Indianapolis Star reports. “Just trying to get the feel back,” he said. “Coming out here just playing, taking it easy. Not trying to do anything spectacular. When injuries come around you try to rush things. When you rush your body, that’s when things kinda go south. Just gotta be smart about it.”
  • Nets guard Kyrie Irving missed his 10th straight game Wednesday with a shoulder impingement and he’s likely to be out a few more weeks, sources told Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Irving has already been ruled out for Brooklyn’s game on Friday. The max player hasn’t spoken to the press since November 14th, further adding to the mystery of Irving’s ailment.
  • Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanovic has a right knee contusion to go along with left hamstring tightness and will miss at least one game on the team’s upcoming road trip, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee relays.
  • Warriors guard D’Angelo Russell returned to the lineup Wednesday after missing nine games with a sprained right thumb, according to an ESPN report. Russell scored 18 points in 25 minutes in the 106-91 loss to the Hornets.

Eastern Notes: Irving, Waiters, Jackson, Winslow

Kyrie Irving will miss at least two more games for the Nets as he recovers from a shoulder injury, Malika Andrews of ESPN.com reports. Head coach Kenny Atkinson isn’t concerned about Irving’s slow recovery and his lack of travel with the team.

“I think I used to get frustrated more,” Atkinson said of Irving’s slow recovery. “I’ve had my moments of frustration because I want him back so bad. But you hear our performance staff and then you talk to Kyrie and then you get your mind to a place where that’s the smartest thing to do.”

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Head coach Erik Spoelstra said Dion Waiters will “probably” be active tonight for the Heat, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel tweets. Waiters hasn’t played for Miami since he was suspended for eating an edible — or at all this season.
  • The Pistons‘ medical team evaluated Reggie Jackson‘s back today and the results showed positive signs of progress, as the team announces on Twitter. The point guard’s rehab from a stress reaction will continue and he’ll be re-evaluated in two weeks.
  • Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel wonders if Justise Winslow is more valuable to the Heat as a trade chip than a contributor. Winderman makes a case for the team to trade the former top-10 pick and gain additional help.

Pistons Notes: Griffin, Wood, Doumbouya

Following the Pistons‘ 110-107 loss to the Hornets on Friday, star forward Blake Griffin called out the team for its lack of “fight,” as Chris McCoskey of The Detroit News relays.

“I think it’s really light in here after a win,” Griffin said. “To me, it seems like we love the victory but we don’t like the fight. You’re not going to win games like that.”

Head coach Dwane Casey had no problem with that harsh criticism from his star player, and in fact agreed with much of it, according to McCoskey, who notes that Casey said the Pistons weren’t putting enough effort into the “little things” necessary to win games.

“Paying attention to detail in offensive situations, paying attention to detail in defensive situations — Blake is exactly right,” Casey said. “These are the things we aren’t doing that can cost you a game. … Everybody remembers the last couple of plays. But you go through a game, you realize the things, the attention to detail, all the ‘I forgots,’ and ‘My bads,’ those add up.”

With those comments from their head coach and star player fresh in their minds, the Pistons had an impressive bounce-back showing at home on Sunday, blowing out the Spurs by 34 points.

Here’s more out of Detroit:

  • Christian Wood scored a career-high 28 points on 11-of-14 shooting in just 22 minutes vs. San Antonio, and hopes to parlay performances like that one into more consistent production, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Wood, who is on a partially guaranteed contract, is aware that he’s essentially in an ongoing job audition. “All 30 teams are watching me, so every time I play I try to be relentless,” the young forward said on Sunday. “I try to come with energy and I try to give you everything I’ve got.”
  • Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press takes an interesting and in-depth look into Sekou Doumbouya‘s background, the Pistons’ plan for developing the NBA’s youngest player, and when the rookie forward might be ready to consistently contribute at the NBA level.
  • To keep tabs on all of our Pistons updates, be sure to check out their team page right here.

Pistons Recall Sekou Doumbouya From G League

  • The Pistons recalled rookie forward Sekou Doumbouya from Grand Rapids on Sunday, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Doumbouya saw a little garbage-time action in Detroit’s blowout win over San Antonio, scoring four points in less than three minutes.