Dwight Buycks

International Notes: Buycks, Sessions, Eddie, Sloan

Dwight Buycks, who has NBA experience with the Raptors, Lakers and Pistons, has joined the Shenzhen Leopards in the Chinese Basketball Association, according to Sportando. Spanish reporter Chema de Lucas was the first to break the news of the deal.

Buycks has 49 games of NBA experience, including 29 last season with Detroit, where he averaged 7.4 points in about 15 minutes per night. He signed a two-way contract with the Pistons in September of 2017, then had the deal converted into a standard NBA agreement in January. However, the team opted to waive him in July rather than guarantee his contract for another season.

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • Veteran guard Ramon Sessions has finalized a deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel, the team announced on Twitter. He split last season between the Knicks and Wizards, playing a combined 28 games.
  • Jarell Eddie, who had brief stays with the Celtics and Bulls last year, has signed to play in France, relays Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Eddie bounced around the NBA after going undrafted out of Virginia Tech in 2014. He signed a 10-day contract with Boston in January and another with Chicago in March, but couldn’t stick with either team.
  • Donald Sloan, who has played for five NBA teams, has signed with the Jiangsu Dragons in the Chinese Basketball Association, Sportando reports. He was last in the NBA with the Nets in 2015/16.
  • Former Pistons forward Tony Mitchell has signed a short-term deal to play in Argentina, Carchia tweets.

Pistons Waive Dwight Buycks

JULY 7, 5:23pm: Buycks has officially been waived, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News.

JULY 5, 7:39pm: The Pistons will waive backup point guard Dwight Buycks, Michael Scotto of The Athletic reports. The 29-year-old averaged 7.4 points and 2.0 assists per game off the bench for Detroit in 2017/18.

Had he remained on the roster through September 1, his minimum deal for 2018/19 would have become guaranteed.

While Buycks battled for key reserve minutes behind de facto starter Ish Smith last season, the return of a healthy Reggie Jackson bumped him further down the team’s depth chart.

With Buycks out of the picture, the Pistons will rely on Jackson and Smith, with recently signed veteran Jose Calderon available for spot minutes.

As for Buycks, who had been out of the NBA since 2014/15 prior to catching on in Detroit, it’s back to the open market.

Pistons Sign Jose Calderon

JULY 7: The signing is official, the Pistons announced on Twitter.

JULY 2: The Pistons have reached an agreement with veteran point guard Jose Calderon, according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes (Twitter link). League sources tell Haynes that’s worth $2.4MM, which means it’s a minimum-salary deal.

The agreement will reunite Calderon with new Pistons head coach Dwane Casey, who coached the 36-year-old several seasons ago in Toronto.

A 13-year NBA veteran, Calderon spent the 2017/18 with the Cavaliers. Although he played a modest role with the club, he was solid when called upon, averaging 4.5 PPG and 2.1 APG with a .503/.464/.800 shooting line.

While it’s a low-cost investment for the Pistons, it’s a somewhat curious one. The team was already well-stocked at the point guard spot, with Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith atop the depth chart and Langston Galloway occasionally getting ball-handling duties too. However, it’s possible Detroit has another move in mind. The club is exploring possible trades, according to Rod Beard of The Detroit News (Twitter link), who identifies Smith, Galloway, and Jon Leuer as potential chips.

Calderon figures to take Dwight Buycks‘ place on Detroit’s roster. Buycks has a $1.6MM non-guaranteed salary for next season, but waiving him would help give the Pistons a little extra distance below the tax line, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks details (via Twitter).

Pistons Notes: Beilein, Stefanski, Casey, Bullock

Interviewing for the Pistons’ head coaching vacancy was enough NBA experience for Michigan’s John Beilein, relays James Hawkins of The Detroit News. Beilein eventually pulled his name from consideration and agreed to a tentative extension with the Wolverines. He came away convinced that the college atmosphere is best for him.

“It was location, location, location,” Beilein explained in an interview on WBBL. “[Wife] Kathleen and I, we love it. … We wouldn’t really have to move. It was appealing to me and the interest was mutual to an extent, but they had some other great options and I had a great option. It didn’t work out, but I wanted to think it through. I don’t anticipate or plan on ever doing that again and I think people understand that. It’s not like I’ve been doing this every year.”

There’s more news out of Detroit:

  • Hiring Dwane Casey as head coach was the first step in what is shaping up to be an active summer, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Ed Stefanski, the new senior advisor to owner Tom Gores, is hoping to find a general manager in the next week or two. Stefanski could assume the lead role in the front office, either as president or GM, and hire someone younger he can mentor to eventually take over, Beard adds.
  • The team is expected to pick up its $2.5MM option on Reggie Bullock by the July 15 deadline, Beard notes in the same story. That will leave decisions on whether to fully guarantee a $1.8MM contract for Eric Moreland and a $1.6MM deal for Dwight Buycks.
  • The press conference to introduce Casey as head coach won’t take place until next week, Beard adds. The delay is believed to be a matter of coordinating schedules with Gores and some of the players. In the meantime, Casey is in Los Angeles to meet with several Pistons who conduct their offseason workouts there, such as Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, Stanley Johnson and Luke Kennard.
  • Forward James Ennis, who is headed for free agency, has decided to change agents, according to HoopsHype (Twitter link). He will be represented by Scott Nichols of Rize Management.

Pistons Notes: Jackson, Van Gundy, Buycks

While the injury that has sidelined Reggie Jackson since December was referred to as an ankle sprain, the veteran point guard actually had complete tears of the ligaments in his right ankle, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. When Jackson first went down with the injury, the Pistons announced he’d be re-evaluated in six to eight weeks, and he admits he thought he’d be back on the court around that time.

“I never expected to miss whatever amount of games as I did,” Jackson said. “I really thought it was a four-week thing, even though people said six to eight. I took the news like everybody else. Once we got to that point, realized it said ‘re-evaluation.'”

Even though the Pistons’ chances of making the playoffs are all but dead, Jackson is hoping to return from the stretch run, if only to build up a little momentum for the offseason and for the 2018/19 campaign. As Langlois details, Jackson said this weekend that he hopes he’ll be back “soon,” while head coach Stan Van Gundy suggested his point guard’s return will depend on how his ankle responds to yesterday’s full-court scrimmage.

“We’re hoping maybe this week he’ll play at some point,” Van Gundy said.

Here’s more on the Pistons:

  • Van Gundy received a $15K fine from the NBA for publicly criticizing the officiating in Saturday’s loss to Portland, the league announced in a press release. Van Gundy said after Saturday’s game that the Trail Blazers “got away with fouls all over the place,” adding that the Pistons “got absolutely screwed” and calling it “embarrassing for the league.”
  • Pistons guard Dwight Buycks, who scored a career-high 22 points against Denver last Thursday, is making a case for a roster spot on next year’s team, writes Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. Buycks’ contract includes a non-guaranteed $1.6MM salary for 2018/19, which will become guaranteed if he remains under contract through September 1.
  • The Pistons, whose roster underwent major midseason changes, continue to search for the right balance between their starters and reserves, as Rod Beard of The Detroit News details.

Pistons Convert Dwight Buycks To NBA Contract

The Pistons are converting the contract of guard Dwight Buycks from a two-way pact to a standard NBA deal, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News. The team had an open spot on its 15-man roster, so no corresponding move will be required to create room for Buycks.

Buycks, 28, had been on a two-way deal with the Pistons all season but only saw his first NBA action recently, with Reggie Jackson sidelined. Buycks has served as Ish Smith‘s primary backup at the point over the last couple weeks. In his last six games, the veteran guard has posted 11.7 PPG, 3.2 APG, and a .509/.462/.833 shooting line in 19.5 MPG for Detroit.

Assuming the Pistons simply convert Buycks’ two-way deal, rather than signing him to an all-new contract, he’ll remain on track to reach unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2018. Ian Begley of ESPN.com wrote yesterday that Buycks’ play has impressed rival executives, adding that several execs view him as a player who will draw major interest this offseason from teams lacking significant cap flexibility.

With Buycks no longer on a two-way deal, the Pistons will open up one of their two-way slots. They’ll have until Monday to sign a new player to fill that opening.

Pistons Discuss Stanley Johnson in Trade Talks

As the Pistons explore the trade market in search of potential upgrades, Stanley Johnson‘s name has come up in their discussions, reports Ian Begley of ESPN.com. According to Begley, teams that have spoken to the Pistons have come away with the impression that Johnson is available for the right return.

Johnson, the eighth overall pick in the 2015 draft, had a promising rookie season in Detroit, averaging 8.1 PPG and 4.2 RPG in 73 games. He has been inconsistent over the last season and a half though — the third-year small forward hasn’t matched or exceeded those first-year averages, and his FG% has slipped to a career-worst .348 in 2017/18.

Still, Johnson is just 21 years old, and his defensive potential on the wing could make him an intriguing target for rebuilding franchises. The former Arizona Wildcat is also on a very team-friendly contract for the time being. Johnson, who has a current-year cap hit of $3.1MM, will earn $3.94MM in 2018/19 before becoming eligible for restricted free agency in the summer of ’19.

We heard earlier this week that rookie guard Luke Kennard is receiving interest from potential Pistons trade partners as well, so Johnson isn’t the only youngster the team could consider moving. However, Begley writes that Detroit doesn’t appear to have much interest in dealing its 2017 lottery pick. Unless the Pistons push for a marquee player, I’d view Johnson as a much more likely trade candidate than Kennard.

According to Begley, guard Dwight Buycks has also impressed opposing executives. Buycks is on a two-way contract though, so while he’s trade-eligible, his present value is very limited. Begley notes that several execs view Buycks as a player who will draw major interest as a free agent this summer from teams lacking significant cap flexibility.

Pistons Notes: Bradley, Leuer, Bullock, Galloway

Avery Bradley‘s role will change now that he’ll be playing alongside Ish Smith instead of Reggie Jackson until after the All-Star break, as he and coach Stan Van Gundy noted to me in a Detroit Free Press story.

The Pistons shooting guard returned to action on Wednesday after a seven-game absence due to a groin injury. While Bradley was on the mend, Jackson suffered a severe ankle sprain. Bradley will have to get used to quicker tempo and he’ll have the ball in his hands a little more. Van Gundy is running the offense more through the wings with Jackson on the sidelines.

“It’s going to change and I just have to make the adjustment,” Bradley said of his role. Bradley usually defended point guards with Jackson on the floor but those switched assignments will occur less often with the smaller Smith.

“The best part of Reggie Jackson’s defense is his post defense, so you could play him on a lot of bigger people,” Van Gundy said. “With Ish, that’s a lot different. So matchups will be a little bit different.”

In other Pistons developments:

  • Forward Jon Leuer, who hasn’t played since October 31st due to an ankle injury, could be headed to surgery if his condition doesn’t improve soon. Leuer received a joint lubrication injection for his sprained left ankle a month ago after suffering a setback. He was put on anti-inflammatory medication recently to aid the healing process. Van Gundy hopes that Leuer will show significant progress by next weekend. “I can’t tell him to play and I can’t tell him to go get surgery,” Van Gundy said. “At that point, if we’ve gone another 12 days and we haven’t had anything change, he’s going to have to make some decisions on what he wants to do.”
  • With Bradley returning to the lineup, Reggie Bullock and Anthony Tolliver will share a starting spot, depending on matchups. Against smaller lineups, Bullock will start. Against taller, more rugged power forwards, Tolliver will get the nod with Tobias Harris moving to small forward.
  • The backup point guard job spot behind Smith is up for grabs. Langston Galloway played most of those minutes the first game Jackson was out. Dwight Buycks, who is on a two-way contract, played 18 minutes at the point the following game.

Central Rumors: Buycks, Teletovic, LaVine

Dwight Buycks hopes he can prove that he’s worthy of a standard contract now that Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson is out at least 6-8 weeks with a severe ankle sprain, as he told Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Detroit signed Buycks to a two-way contract but he spurned a two-year deal because he hoped to eventually earn a spot on a 15-man roster, Langlois continues. Buycks, along with combo guard Langston Galloway, are the two in-house options to back up Ish Smith until Jackson returns. “This is my dream, to be here and be here permanently,” Buycks said. “It’s up to me to put the work in and be successful out here.” Buycks had previous stints with the Raptors and Lakers but hadn’t appeared in a league game since the 2014/15 season until he played two minutes against the Pacers on Tuesday.

In other news around the Central Division:

  • Forward Mirza Teletovic could be sidelined until late in the season, which would put the Bucks in the market for a shooter, Gery Woelfel of Woelfel’s Press Box reports. Teletovic was diagnosed with pulmonary emboli in his lungs earlier this month. Teletovic will be sidelined for at least three more months, sources told Woelfel. Without him, Milwaukee is vulnerable on the perimeter offensively.  “They just don’t have outside shooters,” a veteran advance scout told Woelfel. “I see that as their biggest weakness.’’
  • Shooting guard Zach LaVine has run out of patience waiting for the Bulls to let him return to action, he told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times and other media members. LaVine, who tore his ACL in February playing for the Timberwolves, has been practicing with the team and its G League affiliate for over a month but has yet to make his season debut. ‘‘I know I feel like I can play right now,’’ he said.

Pistons Guard Reggie Jackson Out For Extended Period

Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson suffered a Grade 3 right ankle sprain against the Pacers on Tuesday and will be sidelined until after the All-Star break, the team announced on Wednesday. Jackson underwent an MRI on Wednesday, which revealed the extent of the injury. He will be re-evaluated in six to eight weeks, according to the press release.

Coach Stan Van Gundy said during his postgame press conference that X-rays were negative. However, Jackson was in severe pain when the injury occurred and couldn’t put any pressure on the leg.

Jackson had eight points and a season-high 13 assists prior to the injury. He missed the first 21 games last season with a knee injury but the club got off to an 11-10 start with Ish Smith running the offense. Smith will move into the lineup as long as Jackson is out. “Ish did a great job of taking over when Reggie went down last year, so we won’t miss a beat,” center Andre Drummond said after the game.

Langston Galloway or Dwight Buycks, who is on a two-way contract, will back up Smith while Jackson mends. Galloway, who inked a three-year, $21MM free agent contract during the summer, has played almost exclusively at shooting guard this season. Buycks appeared in his first NBA game on Tuesday since playing six games with the Lakers during the 2014/15 season.

Another option, as Keith Langlois of Pistons.com tweets, is to sign a player to a 10-day contract. Teams can add a player via a 10-day deal beginning on January 5th and Detroit has an open roster spot.

In the short run, the Pistons are without both starting guards. Shooting guard Avery Bradley has missed the last five games with a groin injury but he is progressing. The team is hopeful he can return next week, as Langlois tweets.