Grayson Allen

Central Notes: Gores, Bucks, K. Martin, T. Brown

Speaking to Jabari Young of CNBC, Tom Gores admitted that he made a mistake early in his tenure as the owner of the Pistons by trying to take shortcuts to contention instead of being willing to be patient and endure some losing seasons while building the right way.

“I should’ve been better about the idea that you can’t always win, and you don’t win fast,” Gores said. “I think I’ve grown from that perspective. I’m not sure I understood the magnitude of the responsibility when you own a sports team in a town that is looking to you for inspiration.”

After spending several years in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference, Gores has embraced what general manager Troy Weaver calls a “restoration” of the franchise in the last couple years. The Pistons’ 20-52 record last season was their worst mark since 1993/94, but the team was able to add potential cornerstone Cade Cunningham to a promising young core this offseason, creating optimism for the future.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • The Bucks are on track to be a taxpayer for the second consecutive season in 2021/22 and could face some tough roster decisions a year from now, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who notes that Bobby Portis, Donte DiVincenzo, and Grayson Allen are all on expiring contracts and will be in line for raises on their next deals.
  • Following the trade of Edmond Sumner, there’s a clearer path to a regular season roster spot for Pacers wing Kelan Martin, but he’s not taking anything for granted, as David Woods of The Indianapolis Star writes. Martin has twice agreed to push his salary guarantee date back in the hopes of making Indiana’s 15-man squad.
  • Former 15th overall pick Troy Brown, who was traded from Washington to Chicago at last season’s deadline, is hoping to claim a bigger role with the Bulls in his first full season with the team, writes Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. “I feel like me and Coach (Billy Donovan) have a good dynamic in the sense of me being like a Swiss Army Knife,” Brown said. “Whatever he needs on the court, that’s what I go do — whether it’s playmaking, rebounding, playing defense, hitting 3s. I feel like that’s my job on the team, and I just try to accept that role and do it as best as I can.”

Central Notes: LaVine, Allen, DiVincenzo, Garland, Olynyk

Zach LaVine and Bulls have been unable to reach a contract extension agreement this offseason. He said it won’t affect his performance or mindset heading into the season, Brian Windhorst of ESPN writes.

“What I can control is what I do on the court. That’s what I do best, I take care of business,” he said. “I’ll come into camp ready to be a good teammate and be a better leader every day and help my team win. I think that shows my value and I’ll let my business part speak for itself when the time comes.”

LaVine, who will make $19.5MM this season, could be the top unrestricted free agent on the market next summer unless he works something out with his current club. Given that the Bulls can’t offer more than about $105MM over four years on an extension, an in-season deal appears very unlikely.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Grayson Allen and Donte DiVincenzo are eligible for rookie scale extensions prior to the start of the season. Bucks GM Jon Horst is hopeful of reaching agreements with both but it’s not necessarily a high priority to get them locked up, he told Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “I don’t think it’s essential that we figure out how to extend them,” he said. “I think it’s a priority to have the discussions, see if there’s any kind of meeting of the minds or any way that we can land a deal with one or both those guys. They’re guys that we value and we like, but if not, they’re both restricted.”
  • Oddsmakers have projected the Cavaliers to lose more games than any other Eastern Conference team except Orlando. That doesn’t stop Cleveland guard Darius Garland from setting his sights on the postseason, Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype writes. “Our expectations are to make the playoffs,” he said. “The league is very balanced this year, so it’s going to be tough, but I think we’ve got the guys and the mindset to do it.”
  • Figuring out what to do with their top free agent acquisition, Kelly Olynyk, will be one of the main storylines in Pistons training camp, Keith Langlois of the team’s website writes. They’ll have to decide whether to start Olynyk or use him as Isaiah Stewart‘s backup. They’ll also have to decide whether to use to him at power forward at times alongside Stewart. Detroit targeted Olynyk due his ability to stretch the floor. He signed a three-year, $37MM contract in August.
  • The Pistons are fully vaccinated, Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports tweets.

Central Notes: LaVine, Sumner, Pistons, Bucks

Bulls All-Star shooting guard Zach LaVine is not worried about how he will mesh alongside new starting small forward DeMar DeRozanper Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. Both players to this point have been primary scorers for their respective clubs.

“I don’t get that at all, because that’s just outside narratives,” LaVine said of the on-court collaboration with his pricey new Bulls teammate. “It’s our job to get out there and get to know each other, obviously personally and as a basketball player. It’s easy to make things work on the basketball court if you all have the same intent, and that’s winning.”

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • After recently tearing his left Achilles tendon during an offseason workout, 25-year-old Pacers guard Edmond Sumner underwent a successful surgery to repair the ligament, per a team press release. Drafted with the No. 52 pick out of Xavier by Indiana in 2017, Sumner has developed into a helpful reserve in his first four NBA seasons thus far. In 53 games played during the 2019/20 season, Sumner averaged 7.5 PPG, 1.8 RPG, and 0.9 APG across 16.2 MPG. He posted a shooting line of .525/.398/.819.
  • The Pistons could stand to benefit from adding a third center with their available guaranteed roster spot, writes Rod Beard of the Detroit Free Press. The club signed Kelly Olynyk in free agency this summer, and are hopeful that second-year big man Isaiah Stewart, an All-Rookie Second Teamer, can continue to develop. Beard notes that it makes sense for Detroit to keep its 15th roster spot open through training camp, in case another veteran center becomes available elsewhere in the NBA.
  • Bucks shooting guards Donte DiVincenzo and Grayson Allen, both set to be restricted free agents in 2022, could net contract extensions by October 18 this season. Eric Nehm of The Athletic posits that, judging by the contracts meted out to similar-caliber players during the 2021 offseason, DiVincenzo could earn a multiyear contract worth $50MM or more, though Nehm wonders if the Bucks will be cautious to extend him before seeing how he plays on the hardwood. DiVincenzo injured a tendon in his left foot suffered during the 2021 playoffs. Nehm views the newly-added Allen as something of a contingency plan for DiVincenzo.

Central Notes: Pistons, Bucks, Dosunmu, Mobley

The Pistons have a logjam and will need to make some moves to create roster space, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. They’re already at the 15-player limit for standard contracts and a decision on restricted free agent Hamidou Diallo is still looming. They also have only one two-way contract slot available and have yet to sign second-round draft picks Luka Garza and Balsa Koprivica.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Bucks gave up two second-round picks in the Grayson Allen deal with the Grizzlies. The picks they’re giving up are owed to Milwaukee from previous deals, Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian tweets. The first of those picks will either the Pacers’ pick or the less favorable of Cavaliers’ or Jazz’s pick in 2024. The second will be conveyed in 2026, the highest of either the Pacers’ or Heat’s pick.
  • Bulls second-rounder Ayo Dosunmu is off to a rough shooting start in the summer league, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times notes. He’s shooting 7-for-24 (29%) from the field through three games. “The advice I got was go out there and play hard,’’ said Dosunmu, the 38th overall selection. “Just try to learn something new each game. That’s the best way you’re going to get better.”
  • The No. 3 overall pick, Evan Mobley, is showing the Cavaliers in summer league play how he can impact their offense in a number of ways, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. His passing ability, in particular, can diversify their attack. “He’s going to be an extremely integral piece for us throughout the season and his willingness to share the ball and then also be able to get his own shot when he wants it is extremely important,” Cavaliers summer league coach J.J. Outlaw said. “But as you can see his teammates trusted that he would deliver the ball on time, on target when they would cut and they just kept cutting.”

Central Notes: Pistons Contracts, McConnell, Allen, Bulls

The Pistons‘ three-year deal with Kelly Olynyk has a partial guarantee in year three, with only $3MM of the big man’s $12.2MM salary assured in 2023/24, according to Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). Detroit also gave Trey Lyles a two-year, $5.125MM deal that includes a second-year team option, Smith adds (Twitter link).

While those contract details are similar to what was reported earlier in free agency, the specifics on the Pistons’ deals for Saben Lee and second-round pick Isaiah Livers didn’t surface until today.

According to Smith (Twitter link), the Pistons used cap space to give Lee a three-year, minimum-salary contract that includes two fully guaranteed years followed by a third-year team option. As for Livers, his new deal with Detroit is also for three years with a third-year team option, tweets Smith. The No. 42 pick got slightly more than the rookie minimum in his first year, followed by the veteran’s minimum in years two and three.

Here’s more from around the Central:

Southwest Notes: Doncic, Pelicans, Silas, Allen

Luka Doncic played Saturday’s bronze medal game with an injured left wrist, but he tells Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News that it’s nothing Mavericks fans need to worry about. Doncic hit his wrist on plexiglass at courtside during Thursday’s semifinal contest. He had it wrapped in ice afterward and used several strips of tape to stabilize the wrist and forearm area for the bronze medal showdown.

“My wrist is going to be fine,” Doncic said. “I need a couple of days off from basketball. I’ve had every day basketball since the beginning of NBA season. A lot of games, so I need a couple days off.”

Doncic will return to Slovenia and will host a Mavericks contingent next week that includes owner Mark Cuban, new head coach Jason Kidd, general manager Nico Harrison and special advisor Dirk Nowitzki. They will finalize a five-year max-salary extension for Doncic that projects to be worth up to $207MM.

After that meeting, Kidd and director of player health and performance Casey Smith will head to Latvia to meet with Kristaps Porzingis, tweets Marc Stein of Substack.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Pelicans were hoping to make a splash in free agency, but the results have been disappointing, writes Scott Kushner of NOLA.com. New Orleans was rumored to be in contention for an established point guard such as Chris Paul or Kyle Lowry, but instead the team got rid of three starters with no obvious upgrade in return. Kushner notes that it’s dangerous for a team in the NBA’s second-smallest market with no tradition of success to rely on signing free agents.
  • Rockets coach Stephen Silas is ready to focus on basketball again after spending 10 days in quarantine following a positive COVID-19 test, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Silas, who wasn’t able to be in the draft room or attend the post-draft press conference, expressed his enthusiasm about the team’s four first-round picks — Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, Usman Garuba and Josh Christopher. “I was excited to get all four guys because I had done research on all for of them and studied them. We had talked a lot about them,” Silas said. “It all worked out almost as a perfect world for us as far as who we got and where we got them and now looking forward with them.”
  • The Grizzlies received a B-minus from ESPN’s Kevin Pelton for Friday’s trade that sent Grayson Allen to the Bucks in exchange for Sam Merrill and two second round picks. Pelton states that Allen wasn’t in Memphis’ long-term plans and may not have gotten another contract after his rookie deal expires next summer.

Bucks Acquire Grayson Allen From Grizzlies

AUGUST 7: The trade is now official, the Grizzlies announced in a press release. While Merrill’s salary for 2021/22 is not yet fully guaranteed, Memphis intends to guarantee his deal and keep him on the roster, reports Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link).


AUGUST 6: The Grizzlies have agreed to deal guard Grayson Allen to the Bucks for guard Sam Merrill and two future second-round picks, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Allen, who is entering his fourth NBA season, had a breakout year for Memphis in which he started 38 of 50 games and averaged 10.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG and 2.2 APG. The former Duke star has knocked down 38.1% of his 3-point attempts during his three-year career and will give the Bucks another perimeter option.

Milwaukee will absorb Allen’s contract using a $4.89MM traded player exception generated by a deal this past winter that sent guard D.J. Augustin to the Rockets, according to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer (Twitter link).

Allen has an expiring $4.1MM contract and is eligible for a rookie scale extension. Merrill has a $500K guarantee on his contract and his $1.5MM deal will become fully guaranteed if he’s on Memphis’ roster through Sunday, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. It’s uncertain whether Memphis plans to keep Merrill, a 2020 second-pick who appeared in 30 regular season games with the Bucks.

Milwaukee’s projected luxury tax bill will jump via this acquisition. The team’s luxury tax penalty will increase from $36MM to $44MM, Marks notes in a separate tweet. Milwaukee is right at $200MM in salary and luxury tax, Marks adds.

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Allen, Mavericks, Nielsen

Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy believes his team is too dependent on its offense, Jim Eichenhofer writes for NBA.com. New Orleans dropped a 117-114 game to the Spurs on Saturday, allowing San Antonio to shoot 48% from the field and 37.5% from three-point range.

“That’s the problem, when you have to shoot the ball well to win,” Van Gundy said. “That’s going to be a problem. Guys are going to have bad nights shooting the ball. You’ve got to be able to win games where you don’t shoot well, and right now we can’t. We’re totally dependent on our offense to win games, and that’s not going to take you very far.”

The Pelicans own the second-worst defensive rating in the league at 116.1, trailing only the Kings. The team owns a 14-19 record largely because of its lackluster defense and has lost seven of its last 10 games.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Grizzlies guard Grayson Allen has entered the league’s concussion protocol, Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal writes. Allen suffered the injury during the team’s game against the Clippers on Friday. The 25-year-old has averaged 9.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game this season, starting in eight of the club’s last nine games.
  • The Mavericks‘ 2018 draft class has never looked better, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News writes. Luka Doncic (pick No. 3) and Jalen Brunson (No. 33) have gradually improved since entering the league almost three years ago. “He’s a great player,” Doncic said of Brunson. “It’s easy to have chemistry like that.”
  • Austin Spurs coach Matt Nielsen is bringing out the best of his team this season, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News writes. Nielsen has coached the club to a 8-4 record thus far in the G League bubble. “I love him as a coach,” Spurs guard Tre Jones said of Nielsen. “As a person, he is a really good guy, easy to get along with and talk to on a day-to-day basis. As a coach, he is super encouraging…He is always on our side.” 

Winslow To Make Grizzlies Debut Saturday

6:42pm: Winslow will be active for tonight’s game, the Grizzlies announced (via Twitter).


2:38pm: More than a year ago after being traded to the Grizzlies, Justise Winslow could make his Memphis debut on Saturday.

Winslow is listed as questionable against Phoenix on Saturday by the team’s PR department (Twitter link).

Winslow was part of the package the Grizzlies received from the Heat for Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder last February.

Winslow hasn’t played since last January 8, initially due to a hip injury. He was expected to return in March but the pandemic delayed his debut.

During the summer restart in Orlando, Winslow suffered a left hip displacement. He has been rehabbing from that injury during the first 25 games this season.

Winslow, the 10th pick of the 2015 draft, needs to reestablish himself, since he could be an unrestricted free agent this summer. The team holds a $13MM option on his contract for next season.

Coach Taylor Jenkins may not have much choice but to use him, since Kyle Anderson, Grayson Allen and Brandon Clarke are being rested in the second part of a back-to-back while starting shooting guard Dillon Brooks is sidelined by a right thigh injury. Anderson has emerged as the team’s starting power forward with Winslow sidelined.

Winslow, 24, has averaged 9.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 2.7 APG in 241 career games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Western Notes: Schroder, Allen, Grizzlies, Kennard

Dennis Schroder‘s contract situation is one of the reasons why Alex Caruso isn’t logging more minutes, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register speculates. After acquiring Schroder from the Thunder during the offseason, the Lakers are hoping to convince him to sign an extension instead of allowing him to enter unrestricted free agency this offseason. That’s why it is in the team’s best interests to keep Schroder in a starting role and give him steady minutes even though his offensive production has dipped significantly compared to last season.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Grizzlies guard Grayson Allen will not be active on Saturday against San Antonio due to the league’s health and safety protocols, according to Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Allen joined center Jonas Valanciunas on the list, as Memphis prepares to play for the first time since January 18. Valanciunas indicated on social media he’s recovered from COVID-19 and rejoined the team, though he’s not expected to play until next week.
  • The Grizzlies will allow MVP season ticket holders to attend games starting on February 4 against Houston, Barnes indicates in a separate story. That will raise capacity inside FedExForum to just under 2,000 fans, or 11% capacity. The Grizzlies have allowed up to 74 season ticket holders to sit courtside, as well as 220 additional fans in suites and club boxes.
  • Luke Kennard missed a good chunk of last season with Detroit due to tendinitis in both knees. Now a key reserve for the Clippers, Kennard is grateful for all the rehab he last season, as he told Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times. “It helped so much more than I could have thought and now I’m feeling great, my body feels great and I’m moving well,” Kennard said. “I hated it at the time — didn’t hate it, but it just took a while. It was pretty hard. Looking back now, I’m grateful and thankful I went through it.” Kennard signed a four-year extension in December.
  • Even if the Warriors show improvement over the course of the season, they’re no better than the best of a mediocre group of Western Conference teams contending for a playoff berth, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes.