Dwane Casey

Central Notes: Teague, Cook, Love, Dellavedova, Williams

Even with the addition of Jeff Teague to fortify their backcourt, the Bucks still have a little breathing room under the luxury tax line, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. Marks calculates that Milwaukee is $737,439 below the tax after taking a $510,589 cap hit on Teague, who was signed this week. Teague was traded by Boston to Orlando and then waived. The Bucks still have another roster spot open, should they choose to add another player.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • It’s uncertain whether forward Tyler Cook will remain with the Pistons after his second 10-day contract expires next week but coach Dwane Casey likes what he’s seen, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes. “He’s an interesting guy. I don’t know what we can do with him contractually, but I’d love to keep him around as much as we can. He’s one of those guys you want to keep in your program because he gives you everything,” Casey said. Cook, who signed his second 10-day on March 28, has averaged 3.4 and 3.3 RPG in 13.3 MPG in eight games with the Pistons.
  • The return of Kevin Love and Matthew Dellavedova from long-term injuries puts the Cavaliers in position for a final playoff run, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. “We don’t have much time left, but I do think that we can put together a great last however many games that we have and really make a push,” Love said. “Having Delly back, having myself back, actually being able to make an impact playing the game, there’s just nothing like that.”
  • With the addition of Nikola Vucevic, rookie Patrick Williams is now starting at small forward for the Bulls. Williams hasn’t seen his role change dramatically, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times“The people I guard are pretty much the same,’’ Williams said. “Even when I was [at power forward], I was guarding some threes and some twos, so nothing really changes. In our offense, coach [Billy Donovan] does a really good job of making sure the wing positions are pretty much interchangeable.’’

Pistons Notes: Diallo, Mykhailiuk, Smith, Plumlee

The Pistons agreed to a trade with the Thunder on Friday in which they’ll acquire guard Hamidou Diallo in exchange for swingman Svi Mykhailiuk and a 2027 second-round pick. According to James Edwards III of The Athletic, the Pistons have pursued Diallo since Troy Weaver, a longtime Oklahoma City executive, was named GM. They currently can’t extend Diallo’s contract at a reasonable price for six months after acquiring him in a trade, but they intend to re-sign him in restricted free agency.

We have more from the Pistons:

  • Weaver essentially chose to make Diallo a long-term priority over Mykhailiuk — also a restricted free agent after the season — because of Diallo’s superior athleticism and length, according to Rod Beard of the Detroit News. Diallo better fits the mold of players that Weaver has added to the roster, Beard notes.
  • Guard Dennis Smith Jr. won’t play against Brooklyn on Saturday due to the league’s health and safety protocols, Edwards tweets. Smith, an unrestricted free agent after the season unless he receives a $7MM+ qualifying offer, filled in as the starting point guard with Delon Wright sidelined for a few games prior to the All-Star break. He returned to the bench as Wright’s backup in the first game after the break against Charlotte.
  • Many eyebrows were raised when the Pistons signed Mason Plumlee to a three-year, $25MM contract in free agency, despite the fact that he was a backup in Denver. Plumlee has validated Detroit’s decision while averaging 10.4 PPG, 9.1 RPG and 3.8 APG as a starter. Coach Dwane Casey lobbied Weaver to sign Plumlee, as Keith Langlois of the team’s website writes. “Coach Casey, this was his No. 1 guy he really wanted for our ballclub because of the different skills he brings, the experience, the locker-room presence,” Weaver said.

Pistons GM Weaver Talks Deadline, Casey, Hayes, More

Speaking today to reporters, including James Edwards III of The Athletic and Keith Langlois of Pistons.com, Pistons general manager Troy Weaver said that he plans to remain aggressive at the trade deadline, but doesn’t anticipate it being nearly as eventful as the 2020 offseason, when the front office overhauled nearly Detroit’s entire roster.

“I wouldn’t expect a bunch of fireworks, but we’re going to be aggressive and comb the league and look at things to see if we can get better,” Weaver said. “But I don’t anticipate as much activity as we had in November. It would be kind of hard to top that.”

Weaver addressed a series of other topics during his media session, praising head coach Dwane Casey for the player-development work he has done this season and stating that there will be an update on injured point guard Killian Hayes (hip) next week. The Pistons’ GM added that the team intends to take a “long, long look” at Dennis Smith Jr. and that he likes what he has seen so far.

Here are a few more of the most notable quotes from Weaver’s presser, via Edwards and Langlois:

On whether anyone on the roster is off-limits via trade:

“No. Nobody is untouchable. … I learned, ‘Never say never,’ but there are some guys who are here to stay, so we’ll see. … I’ll say this guy is untouchable and then someone calls and offers four first-round picks. Strange things have happened.”

On whether Mason Plumlee might be traded at the deadline:

“Mason has been tremendous. Coach Casey … this was his No. 1 guy that he really wanted for our ball club because of the different skills he brings, experience and locker room presence, and Casey was dead on. This guy has been tremendous for us. He’s really helped the young guys, really stepped his game up.

“… As far as the trade deadline, I’m not sure what’s going to come our way with Mason. We’re extremely happy with him right now.”

On why Weaver uses the team “restore” rather than the more-common “rebuild”:

“My dad, he used to collect older cars, and he had a 1966 Monte Carlo that he was restoring. Before he passed, I would go out there and talk with him. He said, ‘You can only restore something that is great.’ That stuck with me.

“There’s been greatness in Detroit. Three championships. That’s why I wanted to use it. No slight to what I’m about to say, but the Timberwolves can’t restore. They don’t have three championships. They don’t have the greatness. The Atlanta Hawks can’t restore. The Detroit Pistons can restore. We want to restore greatness back in the franchise.”

Pistons Notes: Smith, Casey, McGruder, Weaver

Dennis Smith Jr. could follow the path of Josh Jackson on the rebuilding Pistons, Keith Langlois of the team’s website opines. Jackson is reviving his career after signing with the club as a free agent, as evidenced by his 28-point outing against the Lakers on Saturday. Smith, who was officially acquired from the Knicks on Monday, is another lottery pick who could get his career back on track in Detroit.

With lottery pick Killian Hayes out indefinitely, Smith will get playing time and he’s now in an organization invested in the futures of all its young players, Langlois adds. Smith could be a restricted free agent after the season if Detroit extends a $7MM+ qualifying offer.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Since Smith spent time at Orlando’s G League bubble, coach Dwane Casey anticipates the guard will have to quarantine a few days in Detroit, James Edwards of The Athletic tweets. If so, Smith won’t be in uniform on Tuesday against Brooklyn, Detroit’s first game since its 0-4 West Coast trip. He’s officially listed as questionable.
  • Casey didn’t sign up for a rebuilding project when he was hired by owner Tom Gores but he’s on board with the team’s rebuilding effort, Edwards adds in another tweet. The Pistons also acquired a second-round pick from the Knicks in the Derrick Rose deal. “It’s a direction, and it’s one needed for a long time with this organization,” Casey said.
  • Rodney McGruder has known GM Troy Weaver since childhood, as McGruder’s father grew up with Weaver in Washington, D.C., according to Langlois“Troy’s like an uncle to me. Grew up in the same neighborhood,” McGruder said. “I’ve known him all my life. That relationship, he’s family. We both want to see each other succeed.” McGruder’s $5MM for next season in non-guaranteed.

Central Notes: Grant, DiVincenzo, Garland, Cavs, Bulls

While the opportunity to play a more significant role on offense played a major part in his decision to leave Denver for Detroit in November, Jerami Grant was drawn to the Pistons for another reason, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. The opportunity to play for a Black head coach (Dwane Casey) and for a franchise with a Black general manager (Troy Weaver) appealed to the veteran forward.

“Whether it’s on the court or off, there’s a sense of understanding that you get from — and I’m not going to say all, but a majority — Black people who have gone through and are going through some of the struggles that we do,” Grant said. “I think that gives you a better connection, makes it a little easier and makes you feel better about yourself when you have people that look like you around.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

Central Notes: Doumbouya, Hayes, Bickerstaff, LaVine

Pistons second-year forward Sekou Doumbouya has received limited playing time in the early going, Rod Beard of the Detroit News notes.

The Pistons’ first-round pick in 2019 has not played more than 13 minutes in the team’s first four games. Dwane Casey said that Doumbouya has to deal with the fact he’s backing up Blake Griffin, who missed Friday’s game against Boston with a concussion.

“Blake’s going to get the majority of those minutes and (Doumbouya’s) got to make his minutes count. If Blake’s not going, (Doumbouya’s) minutes will get ratcheted up,” the Pistons head coach said. “It’s that situation, where he’s behind an All-Pro guy, and that’s his challenge right now.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Pistons lottery pick Killian Hayes has struggled thus far as the starting point guard and Casey isn’t surprised, Beard writes in a separate story. The lack of practice time due to the shortened offseason put Hayes in a difficult situation, since the Pistons are intent on giving him experience. “We threw him in the fire — which was really unfair to him, because there’s no Summer League, there’s no August or September (workout time),” Casey said. “You’re going right from working out in Florida to going against NBA players.”
  • The Cavaliers have lost two straight after starting out 3-0 and coach J.B. Bickerstaff believes his young unit is still learning to handle adversity, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer“There was doubt as a unit. There was doubt as a team. And you can’t survive playing against good teams without that belief,” Bickerstaff said. “We have good players. … When they play together, with confidence and a belief, they can be a good basketball team. And that’s what we have to get to. But it takes time.”
  • The Bulls defeated Washington on Thursday despite being shorthanded and Zach LaVine feels the team is showing more resolve, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic writes. “This team is tired of being labeled losers and underachieving,” LaVine said. “Everything is not going to be perfect. We’re not going to go out and win every game. But our demeanor has been a lot better than it has been the last couple of years.”

Central Notes: Windler, Donovan, LaVine, Casey

Dylan Windler‘s return to the court has generated a buzz of excitement within the Cavaliers organization, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes.

Windler, who underwent season-ending surgery in January for a stress fracture in his left leg, has impressed coaches and teammates alike during the team’s mini-camp. The Cavaliers selected him with the No. 26 in the 2019 draft, with the 24-year-old not playing in a single game this year.

“It was amazing for us to see him out there. I know it felt good for him,” Collin Sexton said. “Everyone went crazy because they know how bad he wanted to be out there.”

In addition to Windler, the Cavaliers sport a young nucleus consisting of Sexton, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. The team also has a number of veterans – including a star frontcourt duo in Kevin Love and Andre Drummond – and the No. 5 pick in this year’s NBA draft.

“It was like, ‘Yeah, that’s the guy. I remember that guy,’” Cavs general manager Koby Altman said of Windler. “He knows how to play. Super efficient. Can really shoot. He’s always around the ball. He hasn’t been hurt in his entire life, so it’s hard to be off that long. He’s excited to be back, doing his thing and when that silky smooth 3-ball goes in we are doing little fist-bumps too. He still needs to get through this week healthy and his body needs to respond the right way and has to get to NBA games and compete there, but we’re excited about him.”

There’s more from the Central Division tonight:

  • Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic explores what kind of coach Billy Donovan might be for the Bulls. Chicago hired Donovan last week, with the veteran coach coming off a stint with the Thunder. “I look at it as a positive of coaching some different teams,” Donovan said, “because it forces you as a coach to constantly every year have to figure out ways to make the group better. In today’s day and age in the game of basketball, there’s going to be turnover. You want to be able to find a way, however long or short your time is, to make a player better.”
  • Bulls star Zach LaVine hopes Donovan can be a long-term fix at head coach, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes. Donovan will be LaVine’s sixth head coach in seven seasons, and the team’s leading scorer hopes that rate of turnover won’t continue. “I was extremely happy,” LaVine said of the Donovan hire. “Somebody with his track record not just in the NBA but in college as well, a whole ton of players who are proven saying how great of a guy he is and how good of a coach he is. People like me, when you want to be great, you want to be coached extremely well. I gave him a text right when I heard the news. And I told him hurry to get after it. I’m extremely excited. I think the whole organization is.”
  • The Pistons have looked to create an atmosphere of intense competition in the team’s mini-camp, head coach Dwane Casey said, as relayed by James Edwards of The Athletic (Twitter link). “The one thing I’ve seen this week … we wanted the competition, and guys are competing hard, taking charges,” Casey said. “We wanted to create the atmosphere of competition. They’ve responded.”

Pistons Notes: Wood, VanVleet, Rose, Casey

The Pistons‘ offseason decisions will be heavily influenced by what happens with the NBA’s salary cap, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Originally projected at $116MM, there have been rumors that the cap for next season could remain at $109MM. That would limit the flexibility for Detroit, which has just four players under contract beyond this year.

That number will likely grow when Tony Snell exercises his $12.178MM player option, Edwards notes, and second-year guards Bruce Brown and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk are expected to be brought back for $1.6MM each, along with Khyri Thomas. That would leave the Pistons with a seven-man roster at roughly $76MM, giving the team nearly $30MM in cap room.

The top priority will be re-signing Christian Wood, who blossomed as a star after the trade of Andre Drummond. If a depressed market allows Detroit to keep Wood at a reasonable price — Edwards estimates around $12MM per year — the team could have enough left to make a serious run at Toronto guard Fred VanVleet. The downside, Edwards points out, is that the Pistons would have to fill out the roster with just a $4.8MM mid-level exception and minimum contracts.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • Derrick Rose is likely to be moved sometime before next year’s trade deadline, Edwards adds in a mailbag column. It depends on Rose maintaining his health and high level of play after he turns 32 in October, but Edwards notes that the veteran guard is only under contract for one more year and Detroit doesn’t look like a playoff contender next season.
  • There’s little chance the Pistons would consider an early termination of coach Dwane Casey, even though the organization is in a far different position than when he was hired two years ago, observes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. Casey seems to have accepted the challenge of a rebuild, just as he did in Toronto. He was also involved in the interview process that led to the hiring of new general manager Troy Weaver. “Dwane Casey is the rock of the organization,” senior advisor Arn Tellem said in a recent radio interview. “We were lucky to get him a couple of years ago when we went through this search. He’s a true leader of this organization.” 
  • Weaver penned a message to Pistons fans on the team’s website, discussing his decision to leave Oklahoma City and his long relationship with Tellem while acknowledging, “We have work to do to make the roster better.”

Pistons Notes: Brown, Thomas, Draft, Weaver, Casey

The Pistons won’t have to make decisions on three young players with non-guaranteed deals until October, James Edwards III of The Athletic notes.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the Pistons had to decide whether to pick up the contracts of Bruce Brown, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Khyri Thomas during the first two weeks of July with each player scheduled to make approximately $1.66MM next season. That date has been pushed back until after the playoffs are completed in Orlando.

It’s a given that Detroit will exercise its team option on Mykhailiuk and guarantee Brown’s contract, but Thomas’ situation is uncertain. He missed most of the season with a foot injury and returned to action shortly before the stoppage of play. The coaching staff believes Thomas can be a contributor, which helps his chances of getting his deal guaranteed, Edwards adds.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • New GM Troy Weaver has said he’ll be looking for a high-character player in the lottery. That increases the chances that the team will draft Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, USC’s Onyeka Okongwu or Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Though none are currently ranked at the very top of the draft, that trio consistently draws high marks among scouts, college coaches and NBA executives for their personality traits, Langlois adds.
  • The mutual respect between Weaver and coach Dwane Casey bodes well for the franchise’s future, Langlois writes in a separate piece. Casey has proven he can develop talent and he has full confidence that Weaver will acquire the type of talent that can lift the franchise back to prominence, Langlois adds.
  • Assitant GM Pat Garrity is leaving the organization. Get all the details here.

Weaver Will “Run Basketball Side Of Things” For Pistons

Pistons owner Tom Gores defined new general manager Troy Weaver’s role, saying that the former Oklahoma City executive “will run the basketball side of things” for the rebuilding franchise, Keith Langlois of the team’s website reports.

Senior adviser Ed Stefanski had been running the front office but will take a step back with Weaver in place. Gores also encouraged Weaver to receive input from vice chairman Arn Tellem, and coach Dwane Casey. The club is expected to hire at least one assistant GM.

“We want Troy to lead. He’s going to run the basketball side of things,” Gores said. “We have over 100 years of experience between Arn and Ed and Dwane to leverage. The smartest people in the world leverage whatever resources they have. I wanted to make sure he would leverage it.”

Weaver said he was “blown away” by Gores’ energy and enthusiasm in a video conference and was sold on taking the job “in two minutes.”

Weaver, who had been with the Thunder for more than a decade following a stint with the Jazz, most recently held the title of vice president of basketball operations after previously serving as the team’s VP/assistant GM. He was Sam Presti‘s top lieutenant in Oklahoma City and had been a candidate for other top basketball operations jobs around the NBA in recent years.

The Pistons pursued him for a front office role two years ago after Stefanski was hired. He wasn’t ready to leave OKC at that point. When the Pistons came calling this time, Weaver was more willing to make a career move.

“It’s all about timing. When this opportunity presented itself, I thought the timing was right,” he said. “I thought the fit was right and the loyalty that Mr. Gores and Arn and coach Casey and Ed have building made it attractive. My talents fit with those guys there to be collaborative.”

Though the team is focused on a youth movement, Weaver sees Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose as a big part of Detroit’s plans for next season, according to ESPN’s Eric Woodyard.

“We’re excited to get them healthy and help them move forward,” Weaver said. “We feel like we have a good mixture of young guys with those two staples to be able to start there, but obviously we’ve got a lot of work to do with the draft and free agency.”