Hamidou Diallo

Cavs Rumors: Small Forward, Reddish, Hart, G. Williams, LeVert, Love

Although the Cavaliers remain on the lookout for an upgrade on the wing, there’s a “growing sense” that they don’t love the options available to them on the trade market and would be comfortable standing pat if no deal comes to fruition, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (subscriber link).

Isaac Okoro has been impressive since becoming the full-time starter at small forward, averaging 9.2 points per game with a .500 3PT% in his last 18 games. Given how strong a defender Okoro is, he may be the Cavaliers’ best option at that spot even if his offensive game doesn’t continue to develop, according to Fedor.

Still, Fedor runs through several of the options available to Cleveland, identifying Malik Beasley, Tim Hardaway Jr., Doug McDermott, Luke Kennard, Royce O’Neale, and Hamidou Diallo as some potential players of interest, though most of them come with some caveats.

Sources tell Cleveland.com that there are mixed feelings within the Cavaliers’ front office about Knicks forward Cam Reddish, who is considered more of a fall-back option. Reddish has talent and untapped potential, but he’ll be a free agent in a matter of months and isn’t a clear upgrade on what the team already has at small forward, Fedor explains.

Fedor adds that Trail Blazers forward Josh Hart is one player who is high on the Cavaliers’ list of targets, writing that he has “plenty of fans” within the organization and that Cleveland explored a possible sign-and-trade for him two years ago before pivoting to Lauri Markkanen.

There’s a belief around the NBA that Hart will be on the move this week, according to Fedor, who notes that the Blazer has a similar skill set to Okoro but would bring a level of experience and consistency that the former No. 5 overall pick lacks.

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • Sources tell Cleveland.com that the Cavaliers checked in with the Celtics about forward Grant Williams, but got the sense that he’s unavailable — or would at least cost much more than the Cavs are in position to offer.
  • Veteran wing Caris LeVert tells Fedor that he expects to remain a Cavalier through Thursday’s trade deadline. If LeVert does stick around, Cleveland would be interested in signing him beyond this season, assuming the price isn’t exorbitant, Fedor writes.
  • Although there’s no indication that he’s on the trade block, it’s worth noting that veteran forward Kevin Love has fallen out of the Cavs’ rotation as of late to make room for Dean Wade. Love, who hasn’t played since January 24, had a conversation about his role with head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, tweets Fedor.

NBA Suspends Two Pistons Players, Nine Magic Players For Roles In Fracas

The NBA has suspended two Pistons players and nine Magic players for their roles in an altercation during the second quarter of Wednesday’s game, the league has announced (Twitter link).

Pistons guard Killian Hayes was given the harshest punishment, a three-game suspension without pay. Magic center Moritz Wagner has been suspended for two games, while Detroit guard Hamidou Diallo was also dinged for a one-game suspension. Both Hayes and Diallo will be held out of the team’s road game against the Bulls Friday.

Hayes, Wagner and Diallo were all ejected from the game Wednesday night, which Detroit won 121-101, for their roles in the on-court confrontation that began when Wagner hip-checked Hayes out of bounds into the Pistons’ bench while the two were scrambling for a loose ball. Diallo subsequently shoved Wagner in the back, but Hayes then escalated the conflict when he punched Wagner in the back of the head. Wagner appeared to lose consciousness after the hit. Several Magic players left the bench to support Wagner and all have been penalized for doing so.

The NBA is additionally suspending eight additional Orlando players after they left the bench to support Wagner during the scuffle: guards Cole Anthony, R.J. Hampton, Gary Harris and Kevon Harris, swingmen Franz Wagner and Admiral Schofield, and big men Wendell Carter Jr. and Mo Bamba. All eight players will receive one-game bans.

The NBA’s press release indicates that the absences of the Magic players will be staggered to ensure the team has enough available bodies for its ensuing two contests. Anthony, Gary Harris, Hampton, Bamba, and Carter will miss Orlando’s next game on Friday against the Wizards. Wagner will also begin his two-game suspension on Friday. The others will miss the club’s January 4 matchup with the Thunder.

Three Players Ejected In Magic-Pistons Game; Suspensions Likely

Magic big man Moritz Wagner, Pistons guard Killian Hayes, and Pistons wing Hamidou Diallo were all ejected for an incident in Wednesday’s game, tweets Mike Curtis of The Detroit News.

As shown in the video and multiple replays courtesy of Bally Sports Orlando (Twitter video link), Wagner initiated the altercation by hip-checking Hayes into the Pistons’ bench, which obviously riled everyone nearby. Diallo then caught up and shoved Wagner in the back with a forearm, followed by Hayes punching/forearming Wagner in the back of the head, which appeared to cause Wagner to lose consciousness.

Officially, Wagner and Hayes were both given flagrant 2 fouls, while Diallo received two technical fouls.

Hayes is almost certain to face a pretty significant suspension for his part in the altercation, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter). Several Magic players left their bench area to join the fray, and while nothing really transpired beyond a few mild shoves (it looked like most were just trying to get Wagner out), leaving the bench typically draws an automatic suspension by the NBA, per Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Since so many of Orlando’s players left the bench, it seems probable that the suspensions will be staggered so the Magic will still have eight available players, the minimum required to play a game, Goodwill adds (via Twitter). The suspensions are likely to be handed down sometime on Thursday.

Both teams’ next games are on Friday; the Pistons play in Chicago, while the Magic are home against the Wizards.

Central Notes: Pistons, Haliburton, Dosunmu, Lopez

Marvin Bagley III‘s knee injury is the latest mishap for a Pistons team that will start the season with a diminished frontcourt, writes Mike Curtis of The Detroit News.

Nerlens Noel, who was acquired from the Knicks in an offseason trade, is reconditioning after plantar fasciitis and hasn’t played during the preseason. Rookie center Jalen Duren hurt his shoulder last week, but was able to return Tuesday. Newly acquired Bojan Bogdanovic sat out Tuesday’s game with a strained calf, and Alec Burks, Kevin Knox and Hamidou Diallo are all dealing with injuries as well.

“It’s part of the NBA,” coach Dwane Casey said. “That’s one reason (general manager Troy Weaver) has done a good job of bringing multiple guys in. Unfortunately, the multiple guys are (sitting out, injured) behind the bench. I think it’s a freak thing. I do know that some of the guys that were behind the bench — Kevin, (Diallo) — if it was a regular season game, they’d be able to go. That’s refreshing to know that.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pacers seem headed for a rebuilding year, but that’s not how the players are approaching the new season, according to Michael Marot of The Associated Press. Trade deadline deals for Tyrese Haliburton and Jalen Smith have added some youthful enthusiasm to the team. “I think we’ve just got a lot of guys who love basketball, who love to compete and that’s a great place to start,” Haliburton said. “There are so many young guys and they have a lot to prove not only to the media or the naysayers but to themselves.”
  • Ayo Dosunmu will take over as the Bulls‘ starting point guard while Lonzo Ball is sidelined, per Annie Costabile of The Chicago Sun-Times. Coach Billy Donovan confirmed that Dosunmu won the role with his performance since camp opened. “Ayo right now is going to be the guy back there for us,” Donovan said. “He’s done a really good job this training camp and preseason.”
  • The Bucks are counting on better health from Brook Lopez to improve their defense, notes Jamal Collier of ESPN. The veteran center was limited to 13 games last season because of back issues, but he came to camp noticeably leaner and motivated to prove he deserves a contract extension. “He’s in the best physical condition I’ve seen,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “He seems hungry. … I feel like he’s moving well at both ends of the court. His aggressiveness is in a good place.”

Pistons Notes: Breakout Players, Walker, Casey

Before the Pistons can take a leap in the win column and contend for the postseason, the team will need its young role players to improve in their development. Mike Curtis of The Detroit News identifies power forward Marvin Bagley III — the former No. 2 lottery pick in 2018 — athletic wing Hamidou Diallo, and center Isaiah Stewart as three such role players capable of growing their games in 2022/23.

Curtis thinks that Bagley could become a reliable option in the post if he can stay healthy next year. Curtis also opines that Diallo could see his standing in the Detroit hierarchy improve if he grows as a long-range shooter. Stewart’s three-point output has been limited in the last two seasons. He has connected on 33% of his 0.8 attempts thus far in his NBA career. Curtis writes that the 6’8″ big man showed off an increased willingness to let fly from outside during two Summer League contests with Detroit in Las Vegas this year. Overall, Stewart shot 5-of-9 from outside.

There’s more out of the Motor City:

  • The Pistons may still be holding out hope that they can use the expiring $9.2MM remaining on veteran point guard Kemba Walker‘s current contract in a trade. Keith Langlois of Pistons.com notes in a new mailbag that, if such a deal does not materialize in time for the start of NBA training camps later this month, Detroit could move to buy him out of his deal. Elsewhere in the mailbag, Langlois says he considers Isaiah Livers the most likely new addition to the Pistons’ starting lineup this season, and thinks star point guard Cade Cunningham, the top draft pick in 2021, could be in line for All-Star consideration this season if he continues to develop.
  • In an interview with Johnny Kane of Bally Sports Detroit (Twitter video link), Pistons head coach Dwane Casey expressed enthusiasm about the team’s ability to grow next season. Casey hailed Cade Cunningham and 2022 No. 5 overall pick Jaden Ivey as “stars to be.” Casey anticipates that the team will at the very least improve from its 23-59 record in 2021/22. “You expect growth,” Casey said (hat tip to Mike Curtis of The Detroit News for the transcription). “The internal growth is very important. One thing [GM] Troy Weaver has done is brought a bunch of young, hard-working, character guys in that have been working all summer. I can see the improvement. The game has slowed down for a guy like Saddiq Bey. You mentioned Cade Cunningham. You mention Isaiah Stewart — all those guys, the game has slowed down for them.”
  • The Pistons recently agreed to sign free agent big man Micah Potter to a training camp deal. Get the full details here.

Pistons Exercise Diallo’s Option, Likely To Decline Jackson’s

JUNE 28, 9:03am: The Pistons have officially exercised Diallo’s option in advance of today’s deadline, tweets Smith.


JUNE 27, 8:48am: The Pistons will likely pick up their team option on wing Hamidou Diallo for the 2022/23 season, sources tell James L. Edwards III of The Athletic (Twitter link). Exercising that option would lock in Diallo’s $5.2MM salary for ’22/23.

After spending the first two-and-a-half seasons of his career in Oklahoma City, Diallo has emerged as a regular part of the Pistons’ rotation since being traded to Detroit at the 2021 deadline. In 2021/22, he averaged 11.0 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 1.2 SPG on .496/.247/.650 shooting in 58 games (21.9 MPG).

While turning down Diallo’s option would help the Pistons maximize their cap room, the team likes his athleticism and versatility, and his $5.2MM option salary isn’t exorbitant. Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link) estimates Detroit would still have over $40MM in cap space even with Diallo on the books.

While Diallo’s option looks like a good bet to be exercised, the Pistons are unlikely to pick up Frank Jackson‘s team option, according to Edwards and Will Guillory of The Athletic. That option would pay Jackson a $3.15MM salary for 2022/23.

[RELATED: NBA Team Option Decisions For 2022/23]

A 2017 second-round pick who is still just 24 years old, Jackson appeared in 53 games for Detroit this past season, averaging a career-high 10.6 points in 22.0 minutes per contest. However, his efficiency numbers (.402 FG%, .308 3PT%) left something to be desired.

Jackson would become an unrestricted free agent if the Pistons decline his option.

The Pistons must officially finalize decisions on Diallo’s and Jackson’s options, as well as Luka Garza‘s team option, by Tuesday. The deadline for Carsen Edwards‘ team option is Wednesday.

Pistons’ Hamidou Diallo Out For Season

Pistons swingman Hamidou Diallo will miss the remainder of the 2021/22 season with a left index finger avulsion fracture, the team announced. He suffered the injury against Chicago on March 9.

The high-flying Diallo was the 45th pick of the 2018 draft after a single collegiate season with Kentucky. He spent his first two-plus seasons with Oklahoma City prior to being traded to Detroit last March.

He had a breakout third season in 2020/21, averaging 11.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists on .477/.341/.644 shooting in 52 games (23.6 minutes) with the Thunder and Pistons. Diallo was a restricted free agent last summer and re-signed with the Pistons on a two-year, $10.4MM contract.

In 58 games this season, including 29 starts, Diallo continued to be a valuable contributor. He averaged 11 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.2 steals on .496/.247/.650 shooting. The 23-year-old struggles on threes and free throws, but he’s extremely athletic, a great finisher, and plays solid defense.

The Pistons hold a $5.2MM team option on Diallo for next season, so he could technically become an unrestricted free agent in 2022 if the Pistons decline the option, but I think that’s pretty unlikely since it’s an affordable salary for a solid young player.

Pistons Notes: Bagley, Livers, Cunningham, Blaha

Marvin Bagley III is headed to free agency but he seems intent on remaining with the Pistons, as he told James Edwards III of The Athletic.

Bagley has enjoyed his experience with Detroit since he was dealt by the Kings last month. He’s also been productive, averaging 14.1 PPG and 7.1 RPG in 27 MPG during his first 10 games with the Pistons.

“We’ve got some amazing talent here. Now, it’s about figuring out how to work together, gel together to do something bigger,” he said. “I’m definitely excited about it. I can’t wait to be around the guys even more, figure them out even more and make runs in the playoffs … even get some championships here. I’m excited about it.”

Bagley didn’t receive a rookie scale extension with Sacramento. His qualifying offer, which would make him a restricted free agent, will be $7.3MM since he won’t meet the starter criteria.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Due to injuries and illness, rookie wing Isaiah Livers received extensive playing time against Miami on Tuesday. He responded with 16 points in 31 minutes but his bigger focus was defense, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Livers, a second-round pick, spent the bulk of the season rehabbing from a foot injury. “Being out, definitely I was locked in, especially to my team,” Livers said. “I was seeing where we need that push and that shove. What I saw was defensive energy right away off the bench. That was my key right away to minutes off the bench.” Livers’ contract is guaranteed through next season with a team option in 2023/24.
  • Rookie of the Year candidate Cade Cunningham missed Tuesday’s game due to a non-COVID illness, according to Rod Beard of the Detroit News“He started feeling bad (Monday) night and came to shootaround looking like death, eating crackers. So, he’s in pretty bad shape,” coach Dwane Casey said prior to the game. Hamidou Diallo (finger) and Frank Jackson (back) also missed the game and Rodney McGruder aggravated a hamstring injury during it.
  • Longtime broadcaster George Blaha underwent a heart bypass procedure on Tuesday, the team’s PR department tweets. Blaha is expected to return as the play-by-play announcer next season.

Central Notes: Diallo, McGruder, Bagley, LeVert, Brown

The Pistons won in Boston just before the All-Star break but they’ll be shorthanded when they visit for the second time on Friday. The team has ruled out starting center Isaiah Stewart and key reserves Killian Hayes, Hamidou Diallo, Rodney McGruder and Frank Jackson due to an assortment of injuries, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press tweets. Diallo (finger sprain) and McGruder (hamstring strain) were injured during the loss to the Bulls on Wednesday.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Marvin Bagley III‘s athleticism has given the Pistons a new dimension, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes. Bagley, who will enter either restricted or unrestricted free agency this summer, provides a major lob threat that the team was sorely lacking. “We’re really happy with the way he’s playing, the way he’s fitting in, and he’s creating a lot of options offensively, and defensively, he’s giving us another rebounder,” coach Dwane Casey said.
  • Caris LeVert won’t play against Miami on Friday but he’s making some progress from the right foot sprain he suffered last month. He went through a portion of the Cavaliers’ practice in Miami on Thursday and took some shots on the court afterward, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets.
  • Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff believes Moses Brown can help the team with his interior presence, Kelsey Russo of The Athletic tweets. Brown was signed to a 10-day contract on Thursday. “He’s long. He’s rangy. He has good athleticism,” Bickerstaff said. “He knows how to patrol the paint at both ends of the floor. Really good rim roller and lob threat, so he’s a similar build to what we have and what we value.”

Hamidou Diallo Fined $20K By NBA

The NBA has fined Pistons guard Hamidou Diallo $20K, the league’s PR team announced in a press release (Twitter link).

Diallo is being penalized for shoving a referee with 6:29 left in the first half of yesterday’s 113-104 defeat to the Celtics, per the NBA’s statement. With the loss, the Pistons’ record fell to 14-46 on the season.

The 23-year-old swingman, drafted with the No. 45 pick out of Kentucky in 2018, was assessed a technical foul and ejected at the time of the incident, ultimately appearing in just 10:41 of the contest. He has been having a solid season for a rebuilding Pistons team during his first full year in Detroit.

Diallo is averaging 11.2 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 1.2 APG and 1.2 SPG across 22.3 MPG. The 6’5″ wing is connecting on 49.8% of his field goal looks in 53 games, including 29 starts.