George David

Central Notes: J. Jackson, George, White, Markkanen

Josh Jackson may be the most expendable player in the Pistons‘ training camp battle for roster spots, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. When Hamidou Diallo re-signed last month, it gave Detroit 16 guaranteed contracts. Sources tell Edwards it took longer than expected to reach a new deal with Diallo, but he was always in the team’s plans.

Jackson is set to make $5MM in the final year of a deal he signed last offseason. The former No. 4 overall pick was productive in his first season with the Pistons, averaging 13.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 62 games, but Edwards notes that he’s just an average defender and an unreliable three-point shooter (30% last season). There may also not be enough minutes for Jackson, Diallo and Frank Jackson, who all play similar roles.

Edwards names Jahlil OkaforRodney McGruder and Sekou Doumbouya as other candidates to be traded or waived to reach the regular season roster limit of 15. Okafor will make $2.13MM in the final year of his contract, while McGruder has a $1.67MM expiring deal and isn’t expected to play much. Doumbouya is still on his rookie contract, but Edwards points out that he remains a raw prospect and is left over from the previous front office.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pistons have officially announced the return of George David as assistant general manager. He held the same position from 2012-14 before leaving for the Wasserman Media Group. “I’m excited to return to the Detroit Pistons and help Tom Gores, Arn Tellem and Troy Weaver in the restoring effort of the franchise,” David said. “Detroit has always been home for me and I know how passionate the city and region is about their sports teams.  Troy’s vision for building the roster aligns with the core values of Detroit Basketball and I look forward to playing a role in the continued rise of the organization.”
  • Even though the Bulls stocked up on guards this summer, there should be playing time available for Coby White once he returns from surgery on his left shoulder, states Jamal Collier of The Chicago Tribune. Collier sees White as a back-up to Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, and he may be on the court with Alex Caruso in three-guard lineups.
  • The Cavaliers will pay Lauri Markkanen $15,690,909 for the upcoming season with slight raises throughout his new four-year deal, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. Markkanen will make $16,475,454 in 2022/23, $17,259,999 in 2023/24 and $18,044,544 in 2024/25, giving the contract a total value of more than $67MM, although only $6MM of the final season is guaranteed.

Pistons Notes: David, Diallo, Pickett, Schedule

George David has reached an agreement with the Pistons to become an assistant general manager, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. It will be a second stint in the organization for David, who spent 19 seasons in Detroit’s front office before joining Wasserman Media Group in 2015. David, who spent the bulk of his previous time in the organization in scouting and player evaluation, has strong ties with GM Troy Weaver, Wojnarowski adds in another tweet.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • The two-year contract signed by Hamidou Diallo is worth a flat $5.2MM in each season, Keith Smith tweets. The second year, as previously noted, is a team option. Diallo entered the month as a restricted free agent.
  • Jamorko Pickett, who signed an Exhibit 10 contract, has an uphill climb to make the opening-day roster, but he has no doubt he’s good enough to play in the NBA, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. Pickett, who played four seasons at Georgetown, averaged 9.8 PPG and 3.8 RPG in the Las Vegas summer league. “I was given opportunities and I took the most of them,” he said. “I know I belong here. It’s always having that mindset – knowing I belong, knowing I should start. That’s what pushed me when I did have the opportunity to excel.”
  • Cade Cunningham will make his regular season debut at home against Chicago on Oct. 20, Langlois notes while breaking down the regular-season slate. The NBA released team schedules on Friday. The Pistons’ schedule can be accessed here.

Eastern Notes: David, Pistons, Rose, Nored, Barrett

The Pistons have hired George David as the franchise’s assistant general manager, according to James Edwards III of The Athletic (Twitter link).

David will report to general manager Troy Weaver, who was hired by the organization in June of 2020. David was previously with the Pistons for nearly two decades, serving in a variety of roles. This includes being the assistant GM from 2012-14.

Detroit owns the No. 1 pick in the draft and finished this season with a 20-52 record, the worst in the Eastern Conference and second-worst in the league.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • Ian Begley of SNY examines the main factors of Derrick Rose‘s impending free agency. Rose helped propel the Knicks to playoff status this season, averaging 14.9 points, 4.2 assists and 26.8 minutes in 35 regular season games. He’ll be entering his 13th NBA season.
  • The Pacers are finalizing a deal with Ronald Nored to join Rick Carlisle‘s staff, according to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Nored most recently served as an assistant coach with Charlotte from 2018-21, though he’s been involved in coaching and player development since 2013.
  • Knicks swingman RJ Barrett isn’t considered untouchable by the franchise this offseason, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. However, Barrett – who is coming off an impressive season, averaging 17.6 points per game at just 21 years old – only figures to be available if the opportunity arises for New York to acquire a superstar.

And-Ones: Playoff Format, Billups, Future Power Rankings

Don’t expect LeBron James to be among those lobbying on behalf of a potential play-in tournament for a postseason berth. The NBA has reportedly kicked the idea around in a couple different variations, but James said today that he’s not a fan of the concept, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com details.

“No, no, no,” James said. “That’s wack. That’s wack. Why? You got to earn your spot to be in the postseason. No consolation for finishing last. That’s corny. That’s corny. That’s wack. To play for what? What are they playing for?”

While there’s a belief in some league circles that a play-in tournament at the end of the regular season to determine the seventh and eighth seeds in each conference would generate some drama, James is a firm believer that the eight teams with the best records in each conference deserve to make the playoffs.

“[Make the playoffs by winning the tournament], even if my record is better than yours? Nah, that’s wack,” James said.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Appearing on ESPN’s The Jump on Tuesday, Chauncey Billups called a report about the Pistons expressing interest in him for a front office role “100% false,” per Rod Beard of The Detroit News. “I haven’t spoken to anybody with the organization about the possibility,” Billups said. Still, this isn’t the first time Billups has been linked to a front office job — if the former NBA guard does land somewhere as an executive, former Pistons assistant GM George David would be a candidate to potentially join him, tweets Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press.
  • Nine NBA teams have been officially eliminated from the postseason. While the 2017/18 season has been a fairly forgettable one for those clubs, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer highlights some silver linings worth mentioning.
  • Over at ESPN.com (Insider link), Kevin Pelton and Bobby Marks have updated their future NBA power rankings, which consider each team’s outlook through the 2020/21 season. Unsurprisingly, the Warriors, Celtics, and Rockets still top their list, with the Sixers and Raptors jumping into the top five.

Pluto’s Latest: George, Love, Ingram, Butler

The Pacers want to make a Paul George deal while they can still get value, but they aren’t interested in taking back Kevin Love from the Cavaliers, according to Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. Indiana is focused on getting young players and draft picks in return for its star forward, who has announced that he will opt out of his contract next offseason and has expressed a desire to return to his hometown of Los Angeles and play for the Lakers.

The Pacers proposed a deal to the Lakers involving Brandon Ingram, the No. 2 pick in last year’s draft. However, Magic Johnson, L.A.’s president of basketball operations, doesn’t want to part with Ingram, who averaged 9.4 points and 4.0 rebounds in 79 games as a rookie.

Pluto passes on several other tidbits in his latest column:

  • The Celtics could have as many as 10 first-rounders over the next three years and seem like a natural facilitator to take on Love and get George to Cleveland in a three-team trade. But an unidentified NBA executive tells Pluto the Celtics also want George and are more likely to deal with the Pacers directly.
  • The Bulls weren’t interested in Love either, which is why the Cavaliers had little chance of trading for Jimmy Butler. Chicago has gotten tired of being mediocre and is looking for young talent to start rebuilding around. However, Pluto says most of the league iwas “stunned” that the Bulls couldn’t get more than Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and a swap of first-rounders in return for Butler. The Celtics reportedly offered a better package that included several future draft picks.
  • The Cavaliers are still waiting to hear if Chauncey Billups will accept their GM offer. Sources tell Pluto that Billups has been pursuing a GM job for more than a year, so it’s not clear why there’s a delay. Billups has never worked in an NBA front office, Pluto notes, so he would need to hire an experienced executive as an assistant. A top candidate is George David, a former assistant GM with the Pistons who has a background in scouting.

Central Notes: George, Pistons, Cavs, Bucks

With reports that Paul George intends to explore free agency after next season, with his hometown Lakers as his preferred destination, concerns over possible tampering have surfaced. However, Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star writes that the Pacers are unlikely to pursue any tampering charges against the Lakers.

Team president Magic Johnson alluded to George’s situation during a recent interview with Jimmy Kimmel, and cryptically tweeted “God is so good!” this week shortly after the George’s plans to leave Indiana were reported. However, the Pacers are more concerned with getting value for their All-Star rather than stirring up issues in Los Angeles, according to Taylor.

Taylor adds that new Pacers president Kevin Pritchard hopes to have a trade for George in place ahead of Thursday’s draft.

Below are additional notes from the Central Division:

And-Ones: Cooley, Ford, Upshaw

ESPN.com draft guru Chad Ford (Insider subscription required) opines that two tiers of talent appear to be forming in the lottery portion of the upcoming NBA draft. The upper tier includes Jahlil Okafor, Emmanuel Mudiay, Karl-Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis, all of whom are currently projected as top five selections, Ford notes. The second tier consists of Kevon Looney, Justise Winslow, Willie Cauley-Stein, Myles Turner, Kelly Oubre, Mario Hezonja, Stanley Johnson and D’Angelo Russell, and they will make up the likely No. 5 to No. 12 overall selections, Ford adds.

Here’s more from around the league and the college ranks:

  • Ford has also released his most recent “Big Board,” which has Oubre cracking the top 10, and has Jerian Grant of Notre Dame making a big leap from No. 27 to No. 19.
  • A league source told Gino Pilato of D-League Digest (Twiitter link) that there is a lot of NBA interest in Jack Cooley, and there is a strong possibility that he could be inked to a 10-day contract shortly. Cooley currently plays for the Idaho Stampede, the Jazz‘s D-League affiliate.
  • Former Pistons assistant GM George David was hired as director of basketball operations for Wasserman Media Group, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today reports (Twitter link).
  • One college player starting to catch the eye of NBA scouts is Washington’s Robert Upshaw, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes. “I would agree that he was a sleeper to start this season, maybe,” one league scout told Deveney. “He is not a sleeper anymore.” The 7’0″ center is averaging 11.1 points and 7.8 rebounds so far this season, and he is drawing interest as a potential first-rounder, Deveney notes.
  • The Warriors have assigned Ognjen Kuzmic to their D-League affiliate in Santa Cruz, the team announced in a press release. This will be Kuzmic’s fourth trek of the season to the D-League.

Central Notes: ‘Melo, Rose, Pistons, Bucks

Some in the Bulls organization doubted their ability to sign Carmelo Anthony away from the Knicks going into their meeting with the star forward today, according to Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com, noting that the sentiment didn’t apply to all of the Bulls brass. Indeed, Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com hears that Bulls officials were confident as they readied to make their pitch (Twitter link), so evidently there was a split. Friedell heard more optimism in the immediate wake of the meeting (Twitter link), but Anthony still has the Mavs, Rockets and Lakers on this week’s agenda. Here’s more from the Central Division, home to the first two contract agreements of the 2014/15 season:

  • Derrick Rose is loath to recruit, but he showed up at Chicago’s pitch to ‘Melo, as K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune details. The presence of Taj Gibson, whom Anthony and coach Tom Thibodeau reportedly would insist on keeping if the Bulls were to clear salary to sign ‘Melo, was even more important, Johnson believes (Twitter link).
  • Among the free agents Detroit considered, the only other player in the market for a contract similar to the one the Pistons have agreed to give Jodie Meeks was Trevor Ariza, tweets Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Pistons assistant GM George David resigned today, the team announced in a press release, confirming a report from Ellis (Twitter link). David and director of basketball operations Ken Catanella were jointly in charge of the front office this spring before the team hired Stan Van Gundy to replace Joe Dumars. Catanella will remain with the team, as Ellis reported in May.
  • The Bucks made a splash with their new coach, but they plan a “somewhat conservative” approach in free agency this month, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
  • The Cavaliers had been expected to begin negotiations with draft-and-stash prospect Milan Macvan, as Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio reported, but the Croatian power forward instead remains focused on opportunities overseas, according to Shams Charania of RealGM. Sources told Amico that there’s more money on the international market for Macvan than there would be from the Cavs.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Central Rumors: Karl, Brown, Bulls, Pistons

George Karl would like to coach the Cavs and is high on Kyrie Irving, as Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio hears (Twitter link), but a source tells Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Plain Dealer that Kevin Ollie doesn’t envision taking the Cleveland coaching gig. It’s unclear whether the team has interest in either Karl or Ollie. Here’s more from the Central:

  • Former Cavs coach Mike Brown is open to listening to coaching opportunities, but plans to take a year off from coaching, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter links).
  • Bulls GM Gar Forman is optimistic Chicago can select two rotation players in the draft, but is open to other possibilities, including trading up or doing a draft-and-stash, he tells K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. “If we want to try to create more cap room, we may look at doing something with one or both of those picks,” Forman said (Twitter links).
  • The Bulls are prioritizing added shooting this offseason, tweets Johnson.
  • Stan Van Gundy will retain Ken Catanella as the Pistons cap specialist, reports Vincent Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. Van Gundy will meet Friday with Detroit’s assistant GM George David, who has a “solid chance” to stay in the front office, according to Ellis (Twitter links).
  • At today’s introductory press conference, Van Gundy said he is excited about the dual role he will have with the Pistons“I think the position gives us a chance to create the most unified organization in sports,” Keith Langlois of Pistons.com quotes Van Gundy as saying. “That’s what the dual role is all about. I came into the NBA in an organization like that in Miami with Pat Riley running it and I think there are tremendous advantages there.”

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Central Rumors: Bucks, Pistons, Calipari

The NBA is set to announce approval on Thursday of the $550MM sale of the Bucks from Herb Kohl to Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. Lasry, who’ll have to divest his minority share of the Nets, and Edens had prioritized taking control before Tuesday’s lottery, Windhorst writes. Still, opposition groups are lining up against public funding for a new arena in Milwaukee, and the NBA has the right to buy the team for $575MM if a deal for a new building isn’t in place by November 2017. Kohl put that clause in the purchase agreement to keep the new owners from moving the team, Windhorst notes. Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • A league executive told Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press that Stu Jackson is a possibility to serve as Pistons GM under Stan Van Gundy, noting that Van Gundy worked under Jackson as an assistant at the University of Wisconsin in the 1990s (Twitter link).
  • The fate of John Loyer isn’t immediately clear in the wake of Van Gundy’s hiring, writes Marc Stein of ESPN.com, who notes that Loyer has one season left on his contract. Loyer had been serving as Pistons interim head coach, and it’s possible he’ll return to the role of assistant coach that he occupied before the team fired Maurice Cheeks in February, according to MLive’s David Mayo.
  • It’ll be business as usual at this week’s draft combine for Pistons assistant GM George David and director of basketball operations Ken Catanella, who jointly ran the team’s front office following the end of Joe Dumars‘ tenure, Ellis tweets.
  • John Calipari would love to coach LeBron James someday, as he tells Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Plain Dealer, but he’s committed to Kentucky and won’t be in the mix to replace Mike Brown on the Cavs, who loom as a possible free agent destination for James.