Hamidou Diallo

Pistons Notes: Diallo, Cook, Weaver, Lee, Joseph

Hamidou Diallo gave the Pistons an example of why GM Troy Weaver coveted him so much during their victory over Toronto on Monday, James Edwards III of The Athletic writes. Diallo sparked the club with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Diallo, a restricted free agent after the season, was acquired earlier this month from Oklahoma City for swingman Svi Mykhailiuk and a 2027 second-round pick. From all accounts, the Pistons want to retain Diallo, Edwards adds.

“He’s an athletic young man who is just scratching the surface of what he can be in this league,” coach Dwane Casey said.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Casey said that energy and communication are two big things he looks for from a player on a 10-day contract and Tyler Cook has fulfilled those requirements, Edwards tweets. The Pistons signed the forward to a second 10-day deal on Sunday. Detroit will have to decide by April 6 whether to offer Cook a standard contract or look at another player.
  • Weaver acquired two second-round picks along with Cory Joseph in the trade that sent Delon Wright to Sacramento and that made the Kings’ offer attractive, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. “A lot of times people see those as throwaway picks. I don’t see them as throwaway picks,” Weaver said. “I see them as picks you can use in a variety of ways.” The Pistons don’t have their own second-round pick until 2027, but they have three from Toronto, Charlotte and the Los Angeles Lakers this season, plus Sacramento’s 2024 pick.
  • Saben Lee will likely have his two-way deal converted into a standard contract this offseason, Rod Beard of the Detroit News speculates. Lee, a rookie second-round pick, had a 19-point outing as a starter on Monday
  • Casey hasn’t hesitated to use Joseph, who is averaging 11.3 PPG and 3.7 APG in 24 MPG in his first three outings with the club. Joseph is set to earn $12.6MM in 2021/22, but the contract is only partially guaranteed ($2.4MM) until August 1, so the Pistons may opt to waive or trade him before next season.

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Jazz, Diallo, Wolves

After an up-and-down start to the season, the Nuggets have played some of their best basketball as of late, winning six of their last seven games and rising to the No. 5 seed in the West. With the trade deadline around the corner, the team will likely consider ways to upgrade its roster and cement its status as a contender, but JaMychal Green said on Monday night that he doesn’t believe a trade is necessary.

“We have everything we need,” the Nuggets forward said, per Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link).

Asked if he agreed with Green’s assessment, Nuggets guard Jamal Murray replied, I’d be crazy if I didn’t. I believe every year we have everything we need. That’s just how I think, that’s just how we play, that’s just how we believe in each other” (Twitter link via Singer).

  • The NBA announced on Monday that it has concluded its investigation into Elijah Millsap‘s allegations that Jazz executive Dennis Lindsey made a racially insensitive comment during a 2015 exit meeting and found no evidence to support the claim, writes ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The league interviewed Lindsey, GM Justin Zanik, and head coach Quin Snyder – all of whom were present at the meeting – as well as Millsap and agent Daniel Hazan. Lindsey, Zanik, and Snyder all denied the statement was made, while Hazan said Millsap hadn’t made him aware of it during his two season with the Jazz, per Wojnarowski.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who played college ball with Hamidou Diallo at Kentucky, admitted it was tough to see his Thunder teammate traded to Detroit, as Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman details. “It sucks. A guy that’s super close that I love playing around, love being around,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “But it is what it is. It’s the NBA. It’s a business. The front office, it’s not my job, it’s their job. They make decisions like that and they felt like it was best for the team and for Hami. My job’s to go play basketball.”
  • Chris Hine of The Star Tribune considers how much stock to put into the trade rumors linking the Timberwolves to John Collins.

Central Rumors: Turner, Pistons, Plumlee, Diallo, Bulls

The Knicks, Lakers, Clippers, Hornets, and Pelicans are among the teams to explore whether the Pacers are willing to trade big man Myles Turner, league sources tell J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star.

The Pacers were willing to discuss Turner in trade talks during the 2020 offseason and have lost 17 of their last 26 games after an 8-4 start this season, so it’s no surprise that teams are inquiring on the NBA’s leading shot-blocker.

However, Michael says that if Indiana does look to make a move at the trade deadline, it’s unlikely to involve Turner, who has developed into a crucial part of the team’s success. The Pacers have been better both offensively and defensively when he’s on the court.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Within his look at some hypothetical trades for the Pistons, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic reports that the team is seriously discussing trades involving Delon Wright, Wayne Ellington, and Mason Plumlee, adding that there have been some “whispers” about the Nets potentially being interested in Plumlee.
  • Hamidou Diallo‘s Pistons debut will be delayed a little longer due to his groin strain, head coach Dwane Casey said on Monday (Twitter link via Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press). Diallo missed his last several games with Oklahoma City as a result of the injury, which he suffered on February 24.
  • The Bulls‘ new-look rotation got off to a good start on Sunday, as the team comfortably defeated Toronto with Tomas Satoransky and Thaddeus Young replacing Coby White and Wendell Carter in the starting lineup. Head coach Billy Donovan cautioned after the game that the new starting five isn’t “set in stone” (Twitter link via Eric Woodyard of ESPN). However, the affected players sounded fully on board with the changes, with Carter stating that he would’ve benched himself too, as K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes.
  • Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic explores what the lineup changes might say about the Bulls‘ approach to the trade deadline, suggesting that the team seems unlikely to be a seller.

Central Notes: Bulls Starters, Healthy Cavs, Diallo, Weaver

Bulls head coach Billy Donovan is rumored to be making significant changes to the club’s starting lineup, a source informs Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Veteran Tomáš Satoranský could replace second-year point guard Coby White, and veteran forward Thaddeus Young could be moved in to start ahead of third-year center Wendell Carter Jr. as soon as tonight, in time for the team’s game against the Raptors.

Slow starts have impeded the Bulls lately, losers of four of their last five contests. Mayberry notes that Chicago’s traditional starters have been struggling. The team’s starting five of White, Carter, All-Star Zach LaVine, Patrick Williams, and Lauri Markkanen is averaging a lackluster minus-17.6 net rating. K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago details what the changes – should they transpire – mean for the Bulls.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The 14-23 Cavaliers have not had been able to field a fully healthy roster for most of the season, but with Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. back in the lineup, the team has some rotation decisions to make, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes. “I don’t know the last time we had a full, available roster,” Cleveland head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “Been frustrating for us as coaches because it’s been different positions as we’ve moved through it.” Before they returned Friday, Love had been unavailable for 33 games, while Nance had missed the preceding 12.
  • Athletic Pistons swingman Hamidou Diallo, arriving fresh from the Thunder after a deal yesterday, will serve as an exciting addition to Detroit, thanks in large part to his exceptional defensive upside, writes Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Pistons general manager Troy Weaver may not be done reshaping Detroit’s roster, according to Rod Beard of the Detroit News. After adding Diallo this weekend and waiving Blake Griffin earlier this month, it’s become clear that Weaver is prioritizing a younger, more athletic future.

Central Notes: Diallo, Markkanen, Carter, LeVert

Pistons coach Dwane Casey is thrilled with the trade that brought Hamidou Diallo from the Thunder, writes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Even though Detroit gave up a shooter by parting with Svi Mykhailiuk, the team believes the move will pay off with an upgrade on defense.

“He’s a wing defender – can guard one through three, the smaller fours,” Casey said of Diallo. “Excellent wing runner. He’s quick, athletic – probably one of the most athletic wings in the league. Needs to continue to work on his 3-point shooting, which is what our league is about. But he’ll definitely step right in as one of our top defenders. He has a wingspan that’s out of this world, anticipates well and competes.”

The Pistons aren’t sure when Diallo will be cleared to play, Langlois adds. He missed the last four games with OKC because of groin soreness and may require a quarantine period before being permitted to join his new teammates.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Although they’ve lost two straight games since the All-Star break, the Bulls have to be encouraged by the strong return of Lauri Markkanen, writes Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. After missing 13 games with a strained right shoulder, Markkanen scored a team-high 23 points Thursday against the Sixers and followed that with 20 points Friday against the Heat. “I felt all right,” Markkanen said after his first game back. “Physically, obviously there’s still just getting my wind back and my legs back into game shape. I had a couple practices, so it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I felt all right. Still got a ways to go, but not too bad.”
  • Bulls center Wendell Carter admitted Friday that he needs to play better, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Carter is averaging just 5.8 PPG in that span and shooting 32.3% from the floor. “I feel like I’ve regressed in that area of being more aggressive on the offensive end,” he said. “Just trying to play the right way, do everything that everybody is telling me to do. But at the same time, I understand that me being aggressive will be better for my team. So I just got to play a lot better on the offensive end.”
  • Pacers guard Caris LeVert isn’t on a minutes restriction tonight in his first game since having surgery for renal cell carcinoma in January, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files.

Thunder Trade Hamidou Diallo To Pistons

MARCH 13: The trade is official, according to press releases from both teams.


MARCH 12: The Thunder are trading guard Hamidou Diallo to the Pistons for swingman Svi Mykhailiuk and a 2027 second-round pick, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The future pick was originally acquired by Detroit from Houston in the Christian Wood sign-and-trade.

Diallo will be a restricted free agent with his qualifying offer projected to be worth approximately $2.1MM. However, the Pistons didn’t acquire Diallo to let him walk in free agency. They view him as a core piece, Wojnarowski reports in a separate tweet. Luguentz Dort‘s emergence made Diallo expendable, as Woj explains.

Mykhailiuk will also be a restricted free agent this summer. Currently, his QO is the same as Diallo’s.

The swap was executed by OKC general manager Sam Presti and his former assistant Troy Weaver, who was hired by Detroit last year as its GM and has nearly turned over the entire roster since then.

A second-round pick in 2018, Diallo has enjoyed a breakout season in his third NBA year with the Thunder. The 22-year-old is averaging 11.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 2.4 APG in 23.8 MPG. He’s a subpar 3-point shooter (career 26.2%) and free throw shooter (62.9%).

The 6’5” Diallo has a 7-foot wingspan and is extremely athletic, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press tweets. He’s currently sidelined by right groin soreness and hasn’t played since February 24.

Mykhailiuk, who began his career with the Lakers three seasons ago, has a different skill set. He’s a career 36.9% 3-point shooter and has knocked down 11 in Detroit’s last three games. He dished out a career-high eight assists in a loss to Charlotte on Thursday.

Overall, the 23-year-old Mykhailiuk is averaging 6.9 PPG, 2.1 RPG and 1.6 APG in 17.6 MPG over 36 games this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Northwest Notes: McCollum, Nurkic, Diallo, Horford, Wolves

Both CJ McCollum (foot) and Jusuf Nurkic (wrist) are due to be reassessed on March 2, and the results of those evaluations will be crucial for a Trail Blazers team looking to make a second-half push, writes Jason Quick of The Athletic. The hope is that McCollum and Nurkic will be able to return shortly after the All-Star break to complement Damian Lillard, who says he thinks about his missing teammates constantly.

“Maybe y’all haven’t been doing that, but I do that all the time,” Lillard said. “I don’t think you have two players at the level those guys are and not go into a game thinking of them.

“… You always see moments where they can help the team and impact the game,” he continued. “It hasn’t been just the last two games (both losses). Even when we were winning, those weren’t running-away wins. Those were down-to-the-wire wins, so even in those games, it was like, man, it would have been good to have those guys out there.”

The Trail Blazers are also missing fourth-year big man Zach Collins, but there’s no indication that he’s close to a return after being ruled out indefinitely following December ankle surgery.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • The Thunder may be without wing Hamidou Diallo for the rest of the first half, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman, who says Diallo has been ruled out for at least the next two games due to a right groin injury.
  • While he may prefer to be playing for a contender, big man Al Horford has embraced his role as a leader for the rebuilding Thunder since being acquired in an offseason trade, Mussatto writes in a separate story for The Oklahoman. “We have a great group of guys,” Horford said. “It’s something that has really impressed me since I’ve gotten here, just the willingness of our group to work, to focus, to try to be better. It makes it easier for me. It motivates me to be there for them and try to help them in any way that I can.”
  • Following the Timberwolves‘ swift hiring of Chris Finch as Ryan Saunders‘ full-time replacement, the National Basketball Coaches Association criticized the team for not conducting a “thorough and transparent search of candidates from a wide range of diverse backgrounds,” as Chris Hine of The Star Tribune outlines.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Northwest Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Northwest Division:

Hamidou Diallo, Thunder, 22, SG (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $3.9MM deal in 2018

Diallo has entered the conversation for the Most Improved Player award. The Dennis Schröder trade to the Lakers opened up a little more playing time for the third-year guard and he has seized the opportunity, nearly doubling his scoring average (12.5 PPG from 6.9 PPG) and also contributing on the boards (5.4 RPG) while making more plays for his teammates (2.5 APG).

Diallo’s perimeter shooting remains an issue (28.9% on 3-point attempts) but he’s reached double figures in 13 of his last 15 games. He will be a restricted free agent and it will be intriguing to see if another team will overlook his perimeter woes and extend an offer sheet to force the Thunder’s hand.

Naz Reid, Timberwolves, 21, C (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $4.2MM deal in 2019

Very little has gone right for Minnesota this season but Reid continues to be a bright spot. The undrafted second-year big man is averaging 12.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG and 1.2 BPG and his 3-point shot is improving (39.7%). Reid had a 29-point performance against OKC and a 23-point outing against the Clippers this month. He filled the stat sheet with 18 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three blocks in an overtime loss to Indiana on Wednesday.

Reid’s $1.78MM salary for next season is non-guaranteed; the Timberwolves’ front office will have some tough roster decisions to make over the next year but that won’t be one of them.

Gary Trent Jr., Trail Blazers, 22, SG (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $3.92MM deal in 2018

Trent, who will be a restricted free agent, emerged as a valuable rotation piece in his second season a year ago. He’s become even more important with CJ McCollum sidelined by a foot injury. Trent is averaging 15.3 PPG while knocking down an impressive 44.7% of his 3-point attempts despite taking 7.2 shots per game from deep. He’s averaging 19.8 PPG during the team’s current six-game winning streak. The Blazers already have $70MM committed to their starting guards next season; can they afford to hold onto Trent if someone lavishes the sharpshooter with a lucrative offer sheet?

Will Barton, Nuggets, 30, SG/SF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $53MM deal in 2018

Barton has a player option worth $14.67MM for next season and the way he’s played this season, he’ll have no reason to opt out. Barton missed the summer restart due to a knee injury and hasn’t been a consistent factor on a team with championship aspirations. He scored 10 or fewer points in six of his last 10 outings before taking off a few games for personal reasons. His PER for the season is 11.6, well below average. The Nuggets need more from their wings, including Barton, if they want to make another deep playoff run.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Northwest Notes: Diallo, KAT/D-Lo, MPJ, Lillard

Thunder wing Hamidou Diallo has displayed such improvement this season that he could be a leading candidate for Most Improved Player honors, argues Jenni Carlson of the Oklahoman.

Diallo’s output has dramatically increased across the board. The third-year swingman out of Kentucky is averaging career-highs in points (12.7), rebounds (5.5), assists (2.4), field goal percentage (48.9%) and minutes (24.2) for a chippy Thunder squad. “I would say the biggest thing is just opportunity,” he said of his progress this year. “Sometimes, when you have opportunity and you have people around you that believe in you, it just makes the game much easier.”

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • A variety of health and injury problems have conspired to limit marquee Timberwolves players Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell to just five games together since Minnesota acquired Russell last season. Towns recently vented his frustration, as Chris Hine of the Star Tribune details. “Obviously we want to play with each other,” Towns said. “I finally come back [from a COVID-19 absence] and now he’s out [with a knee injury], so he was emotional too because it’s been bothering him, wanting to play together.” Britt Robson of The Athletic wonders if the Towns-Russell tandem, light on defense, will live up to fan expectations once it finally does appear more consistently.
  • Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. has shown off his impressive scoring abilities this season, but his defensive flaws (especially at the rim) are clear too, writes Michael Pina of Sports Illustrated. Porter, 22, is averaging 13.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.2 BPG and 1.0 SPG this season. He is also shooting well, with a slash line of .475/.379/.786.
  • Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard is set to compete three-point shooting contest at this year’s Atlanta All-Star Game, sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Haynes notes that Lillard currently ranks third in the league when it comes to made three-pointers this season. Lillard’s 105 made triples rank behind only Buddy Hield (106) and Stephen Curry (140).