Hoops Rumors Originals

Checking In On Active 10-Day Contracts

For a brief period in late December and early January, there were more than 60 active 10-day contracts around the NBA, as COVID-19 outbreaks resulted in teams completing more 10-day signings in the span of a couple weeks than are usually completed in an entire season.

In the last couple weeks, however, the transaction wire has slowed down. At the moment, there are just nine active 10-day contracts, and no team is carrying multiple 10-day signees.

With the help of our 10-day contract tracker, we’re taking a closer look at those active deals, examining how much longer they’ll run and what might be next for the players on 10-day pacts.

Let’s dive in…

Hardship 10-day contracts:

Harrison, Silva, and Stanley all signed 10-day hardship contracts via the NBA’s COVID-related allowance. Their earnings don’t count against team salary for cap or tax purposes and they can sign more than just two hardship contracts with the same team — Silva and Stanley are both on their third deals with their respective clubs.

However, if a team no longer has any players in the health and safety protocols, that team isn’t permitted to activate any players who are on COVID-related 10-day hardship contracts. That’s the situation Silva finds himself in now that Heat guard Tyler Herro has exited the protocols. Silva will be ineligible for Miami’s next three games unless the club places another player in the protocols.

The Grizzlies and Pistons are the only NBA teams that still have two players currently in the protocols, so Harrison and Stanley can remain active.

Still, assuming those players in the protocols (Jerami Grant, Kelly Olynyk, Kyle Anderson, and Tyus Jones) are cleared relatively soon, Memphis and Detroit won’t be able to re-sign Harrison and Stanley to new hardship contracts. And because they both have full 15-man rosters, the Grizzlies and Pistons can’t re-sign Harrison and Stanley to standard 10-day contracts unless they waive or trade someone else.

Standard 10-day contracts:

Some of these players signed hardship 10-day contracts earlier in the season, but they’re on standard 10-day deals now. Their contracts count against team salary and they’re occupying spots on their teams’ 15-man rosters.

Johnson, Arcidiacono, and Stephenson are the key players to watch here, since they’re all on their second standard 10-day contracts with their respective clubs and won’t be able to sign a third. Assuming the Lakers, Knicks, and Pacers don’t become eligible for hardship signings soon, they’ll have decide whether they want to sign Johnson, Arcidiacono, and Stephenson for the rest of the season or let them go.

It may seem obvious that Johnson and Stephenson, in particular, would get rest-of-season offers, but the Lakers and Pacers are two teams expected to be active at the February 10 trade deadline. They may prefer to keep their 15th roster spots open to maximize their flexibility for potential trades. Still, I’d be surprised if Johnson doesn’t sign a rest-of-season deal sooner or later with the Lakers and Stephenson doesn’t do the same with Indiana.

House, Cousins, and Diakite are all on their first standard 10-day contracts with their respective teams, so they could each sign another one before any longer-term decisions must be made.

2021/22 NBA Reverse Standings Update

Throughout the 2021/22 NBA season, Hoops Rumors is maintaining a feature that allows you to keep an eye on the tentative 2022 draft order. Our 2021/22 Reverse Standings tool, which lists the NBA’s 30 teams from worst to first, is updated daily to reflect the outcomes of the previous night’s games.

Our Reverse Standings are essentially a reflection of what 2022’s draft order would look like with no changes to lottery position. We’ve noted each club’s odds of landing the No. 1 overall pick, based on the league’s current lottery format.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Draft Lottery]

In instances where two non-playoff teams or two playoff teams have identical records, the order in our standings isn’t necessarily definitive — for draft purposes, the NBA breaks ties via random drawings, so those drawings would happen at the end of the year.

Of course, the 14 non-playoff teams all draft before the 16 playoff teams, even if some non-playoff teams have better records than those that made the postseason. Our reverse standings account for playoff seeding, though for now they assume that the Nos. 7 and 8 teams in each conference will earn those final two postseason spots. Since the NBA’s play-in format opens the door for the Nos. 9 and 10 seeds to sneak into the postseason, we may have to account for a little movement in the draft order at season’s end.

Traded first-round picks are included via footnotes. For example, the note next to Charlotte’s pick says the Hornets will send their pick to the Hawks if it’s not in the top 18. As of today, the Hornets’ pick projects to be 19th, meaning that pick would change hands.

Currently, the Magic have a small cushion at the “top” of the reverse standings — their 9-39 record makes them the NBA’s worst team by a three-game margin over the 11-35 Pistons. Both teams, along with the 14-33 Rockets, would have a 14% chance to receive the No. 1 overall pick if the lottery were based on today’s standings.

The Clippers‘ spot in the reverse standings is worth monitoring closely during the second half, since they’ll send their unprotected first-round pick to the Thunder. The 23-25 Clippers currently rank No. 11 in the reverse standings, but without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George available for the foreseeable future, they could easily move into the top 10.

Our Reverse Standings tracker can be found at anytime on the right sidebar under “Hoops Rumors Features” on our desktop site, or on the “Features” page in our mobile menu. It’s a great resource not just for monitoring a team’s draft position, but also for keeping an eye on whether or not traded picks with protection will be changing hands in 2022. So be sure to check back often as the season progresses!

Note: Mobile users are advised to turn their phones sideways when viewing the Reverse Standings in order to see team records and lottery odds.

Community Shootaround: Play-In Tournament

Last season marked the debut of the NBA’s Play-In Tournament, where the seventh and eighth seeds in each conference compete for the No. 7 playoff spot, and the ninth and tenth seeds compete to play the loser of the seven/eight match up, with the winner earning the No. 8 spot.

In other words: seven vs. eight — winner advances to playoffs as seventh seed, loser plays the winner of the nine vs. ten matchup. Nine/ten winner vs. seven/eight loser — winner advances to playoffs as eighth seed. So the ninth and tenth seeds need to win two consecutive games in order to advance.

In the West last season, the Lakers defeated the Warriors in the No. 7/8 matchup, advancing as the seventh seed, while the Grizzlies defeated the Spurs in the No. 9/10 matchup and then beat the Warriors to advance as the eighth seed.

In the East last season, the Celtics defeated the Wizards to advance as the seventh seed, while the Pacers defeated the Hornets in the No. 9/10 matchup but then lost to the Wizards, so Washington was the eighth seed. Ultimately, all of the seventh and eighth seeds fell in the first round of the playoffs last season.

This season, the current Nos. 7-10 seeds in the West are the Lakers (23-23), Timberwolves (22-23), Clippers (23-25) and Trail Blazers (19-26). Only two games (four losses) separate the No. 9 Clippers from the No. 6 Nuggets (23-21). The No. 5 Mavericks (26-20) are also within reach, but the top four seeds have separated from the pack.

At the bottom-end of Western play-in contention, less than three games separate the No. 10 Blazers from the No. 11-13 seeds, the Pelicans (17-28), Kings (18-30) and Spurs (17-29).

The East is extremely competitive this season, as the No. 7 seed Hornets (26-20) are only three-and-a-half games out of first place, so the top end of the standings are very much in flux. The Nos. 1-6 seeds all have between 26 and 30 wins and 16 and 19 losses, a separation of just three games.

There’s another distinct cluster in the standings, with the current Nos. 8-12 seeds all within three games of each other. Those teams are the Raptors (22-21), Wizards (23-23), Celtics (23-24), Knicks (23-24) and Hawks (20-25). (The Celtics lead the Wizards 91-69 on Sunday at the time of this release.)

We want to know what you think. Who will make the Play-In Tournament this season in both conferences? Are there any clear-cut favorites? Who will advance as the seventh and eighth seeds? Will any teams currently in the top six in either conference drop down?

Head to the comment section below to share your thoughts!

Community Shootaround: MVP Race

Now that the season is more than halfway through, it’s time to do another check-in on the MVP race. After a terrific start to the season, it seemed like Warriors star Stephen Curry might be a lock for his third trophy if he maintained his production — unfortunately, he’s been in one of the worst slumps of his career the past couple of months.

Through his first 20 games of the season, running through the end of November, Curry was averaging 27.8 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 6.6 APG, and 1.9 SPG on .452/.412/.943 shooting. From the start of December until now, a span of 21 games, those numbers have fallen to 25.0 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 5.6 APG, and 1.1 SPG on .395/.359/.900 shooting. Curry recently had a stretch of nine straight games of shooting below 50% from the field, unheard of for the greatest shooter ever.

After starting the season 24-5, the Warriors have gone 8-8 over their last 16 games, so the team has cooled off recently as well. However, at 32-13, Golden State still holds the second-best record in the league, only trailing the 35-9 Suns. There’s still time for Curry to turn things around, but other players have certainly performed better lately.

The NBA’s leading scorer, Kevin Durant, looked like a top contender for the award prior to suffering a sprained MCL in his left knee on January 16, which is expected to sideline him for four-to-six weeks. Through 36 games, he’s averaged 29.3 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 5.8 APG on .520/.372/.894 shooting. The injury and missed games could ruin his MVP chances, but he’s been excellent for the Nets, who hold a 29-16 record in the East.

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, the reigning MVP, has been carrying his team in the absence of several injured players, including the teams second- and third-leading scorers from last season, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. Although Denver is just 23-21 (1-4 without Jokic), he has been completely dominant, averaging 25.9 PPG, 13.9 RPG, 7.4 APG, and 1.4 SPG on .569/.367/.789 shooting. Jokic leads the league in several advanced stats, including win shares, box plus/minus, and value over replacement player, per Basketball-Reference.

Over the past five-plus weeks, Sixers center Joel Embiid has arguably been the best player in the league, putting up 33.1 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.0 SPG, and 1.5 BPG on .550/.380/.837 shooting in just 32.3 MPG (15 games) — more than a point per minute, and nearly 12 free throw attempts per game. His season averages are quite impressive too, but he’s played just 33 games to this point, which is always a concern with the injury-plagued big man. There’s no denying his impact when active, as Philadelphia holds a 23-11 record when he plays, and is just 3-8 in games he’s missed.

Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is another top contender, stuffing the staff sheet with 28.6 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 6.1 APG, 1.0 SPG, and 1.5 BPG while playing strong defense for the defending champion Bucks, who hold a 29-19 record.

Lakers superstar LeBron James continues to impress in season 19 at 37 years of age, putting up stellar numbers yet again, but Los Angeles has struggled and sit at 23-23 through 46 games. Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan is having an outstanding season and should at least be in the conversation — Chicago is 28-16, second-best in the East.

Suns guards Chris Paul and Devin Booker deserve recognition as the two best players on the league’s best team, although they figure to take votes away from each other and don’t have the same type of numbers as other candidates. Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant is having fantastic third season and could garner some votes. Memphis is 32-16 after defeating Denver Friday night.

We want to know what you think. Who’s been the MVP so far? Who do you think will end up winning the award? Are there any dark-horse candidates you like? What would your five-man ballot look like at this point?

Head to the comment section below to share your thoughts!

Checking In On Traded 2022 First-Round Picks

We’re over halfway through the 2021/22 NBA regular season, which means it’s a good time to take a look at where things stand with 2022’s traded first-round picks. Many of the traded first-rounders for the ’22 draft come with protections, so there’s a chance they might not change hands this year after all.

Using our list of traded first-round picks for 2022 and our reverse standings tool, here’s our breakdown of which of those traded picks are most and least likely to change hands, and which ones remain up in the air:

Picks that will definitely change hands:

  • Thunder acquiring Clippers‘ pick (unprotected).

When the Clippers traded a series of first-round picks and swaps to the Thunder in the Paul George blockbuster in the 2019 offseason, they weren’t counting on losing both George and Kawhi Leonard to long-term injuries in the same season. That’s the case this year though, and it could result in Oklahoma City receiving an extra lottery pick.

The Clippers are currently in a play-in spot, so their pick could move to No. 15 or lower if they make the playoffs, but for now it’s projected to be No. 11 or No. 12 (they’re tied with the Knicks in the NBA standings).

  • Thunder acquiring Suns‘ pick (top-12 protected).

The Thunder will also receive a first-round pick from another Pacific team, though that selection appears likely to end up at the very end of the round — the Suns have the league’s best record so far, so their pick would be at No. 30.

  • Grizzlies acquiring Jazz‘s pick (top-six protected).

The pick the Grizzlies are getting from the Jazz will fall near the end of the first round too. For now, it projects to be No. 25 or No. 26, as Utah is tied in the standings with the Heat.

  • Grizzlies or Pelicans acquiring Lakers‘ pick (unprotected).

The Lakers will send their first-rounder to the Pelicans if it lands in the top 10 or to the Grizzlies if it’s between 11-30. It’s certainly possible things continue to go south in Los Angeles and the pick moves up into the top 10 — if the Lakers don’t make the playoffs, their pick could even jump into the top four via the lottery.

For now though, the more likely scenario is that Memphis will get the Lakers’ pick — it would be No. 15 or No. 16 (they’re tied with Minesota) if the season ended today and L.A. clinched a playoff spot in the play-in tournament.

Picks that definitely won’t change hands:

  • Thunder acquiring Pistons’ pick (top-16 protected).
  • Hawks acquiring Thunder‘s pick (top-14 protected).

There’s still a lot of basketball to be played this season, but it seems pretty safe to pencil in the Pistons and Thunder as non-playoff teams, which means they’ll keep their first-round picks in 2022. Right now, Detroit’s at No. 2 in the lottery standings, while Oklahoma City’s at No. 4.

Given how weak the bottom half of the Western Conference has been, the Thunder could theoretically sneak into a play-in spot and make the playoffs, but it’s an extreme long shot — the teams ahead of them in the standings will be more motivated to push for the postseason.

Assuming they keep their pick this year, the Pistons will owe the Thunder their top-18 protected first-round pick in 2023. If the Thunder’s own pick is protected, they’ll instead send the Hawks their 2024 and 2025 second-round selections.

Still up in the air:

  • Hornets acquiring Pelicans‘ pick (top-14 protected)
  • Bulls acquiring Trail Blazers‘ pick (top-14 protected)

At this point, it looks more likely than not that the Pelicans and Trail Blazers will keep their own lottery-protected first-round picks.

Portland, despite holding the West’s No. 10 seed for now, has a tenuous hold on a play-in spot with Damian Lillard sidelined for a while. New Orleans may have some potential for a second-half surge, especially if Zion Williamson returns, but the team is on the outside looking in for the time being. Either team would have a difficult path to a playoff spot as a lower seed in the play-in tournament.

Currently, the Pelicans’ first-rounder projects to be No. 6 or No. 7 (they’re tied with San Antonio), pending lottery results. Assuming that pick ends up in the top 14, New Orleans would instead send their 2022 and 2024 second-round selections to the Hornets.

If the Trail Blazers keep their first-round pick, currently projected to be No. 9, they’d owe the Bulls their top-14 protected first-rounder in 2023.

  • Hawks acquiring Hornets‘ pick (top-18 protected)

The Hornets‘ first-round selection, which was just traded from New York to Atlanta in the Cam Reddish deal, is right on the edge and could go either way. It’s top-18 protected and is currently projected to be at No. 19, meaning the Hawks would receive it if the season ended today (as long as the seventh-seeded Hornets clinched a playoff spot in the play-in tournament). That could change quickly though.

  • Rockets acquiring most favorable of Heat‘s or Nets‘ pick (Heat get least favorable).

Finally, the Rockets will control the two most favorable picks of the following three: their own first-rounder, the Nets first-rounder, and the Heat‘s first-rounder; Miami will get the least favorable of the three, unless the Heat’s own pick lands in the top 14 (in which case Miami would keep it and Houston would get the other two picks).

It seems safe to assume at this point that the Rockets will keep their own selection and the Heat will make the playoffs, so it’ll come down to whether Brooklyn or Miami finishes higher in the standings. Currently, the Heat are a half-game ahead of the Nets, so Houston would get Brooklyn’s pick (No. 24) and Miami would hang onto its own (No. 25 or No. 26).

Checking In On 2021/22 Disabled Player Exceptions

Saturday, January 15 was the last day that a team could apply for a disabled player exception during the 2021/22 NBA league year.

A disabled player exception can be granted when a team has a player go down with an injury deemed to be season-ending (with the player more likely than not to be sidelined through June 15). The cap exception doesn’t open up an extra roster spot, but it gives the club some additional spending flexibility, functioning almost as a cross between a traded player exception and a mid-level exception.

We go into more detail on who qualifies for disabled player exceptions and how exactly they work in our glossary entry on the subject. But essentially, a DPE gives a team the opportunity to add an injury replacement by either signing a player to a one-year contract, trading for a player in the final year of his contract, or placing a waiver claim on a player in the final year of his contract.

Because the rules relating to disable player exceptions are somewhat restrictive and the exceptions themselves usually aren’t worth a lot, they often simply expire without being used. Still, it’s worth keeping an eye on which disabled player exceptions have been granted, just in case.

Confirmed disabled player exceptions

Based on reports to date, we only know of one application for a disabled player exception that has been approved this season. The Pelicans, as a result of Kira Lewis‘ season-ending ACL injury, were granted a disabled player exception worth $1,911,120.

There are usually a handful of DPEs handed out in a given season, and it’s still possible that more applications made by January 15 will be approved in the coming days. For now though, New Orleans’ DPE is the only one that has been confirmed.

Disabled player exception requests that have been denied

There are multiple reasons why an application for a disabled player exception might be turned down. One is that a league-appointed physician determines the injured player is unlikely to be sidelined through June 15.

That’s what happened to the Bulls, who requested a DPE in response to Patrick Williams‘ wrist injury, but were denied. Chicago hasn’t ruled out the possibility that Williams could return in the spring, so it makes sense that the team didn’t receive the DPE it sought.

The Pacers, meanwhile, applied for a disabled player exception after Edmond Sumner tore his Achilles in September. However, Indiana traded away Sumner just a few weeks later, with no indication that their DPE request had been approved in the interim.

When a team requests a DPE, the injured player must remain on its roster from the time the application is submitted until the time it’s approved. If Indiana traded Sumner before a decision was finalized, the DPE request essentially would’ve been voided. We’re assuming that’s what happened.

Other DPE candidates to watch

Although the deadline to apply for a disabled player exception has passed, it’s possible a team submitted an application by Saturday and it just hasn’t been reported. For instance, I’d be surprised if the Cavaliers didn’t request a DPE at some point following Ricky Rubio‘s season-ending ACL tear. If approved, it would be worth $8.9MM.

There aren’t a ton of other obvious candidates. It’s possible that players like Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard, Michael Porter Jr., and Brook Lopez won’t return this season, but at this point, we can’t consider them “likely” to be sidelined through June 15.

The same may be true of Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton and Suns forward Dario Saric. Sexton is recovering from November meniscus surgery, while Saric tore his ACL last July.

Solomon Hill is expected to miss the rest of the season with a torn hamstring, but he was just traded from Atlanta to New York, and the Knicks weren’t eligible to apply for a disabled player exception for a player who wasn’t on their roster when he sustained the injury.

Nuggets wing PJ Dozier, who tore his ACL in November, would be a clear-cut DPE candidate, but we haven’t heard anything about an application being submitted by Denver. It’s possible the team decided it wouldn’t be worth it for an exception that would only amount to $955,430.

We’ll be keeping an eye out for further news on DPE approvals in the coming weeks, since those exceptions could come in handy at the trade deadline or on the buyout market.

Davon Reed Discusses New Two-Way Deal, Nuggets, Jokic, More

Nuggets two-way forward Davon Reed took an unorthodox path to where he is today.

Reed, who will turn 27 this year, has bounced around since being selected with the No. 32 pick in the 2017 draft, playing for multiple NBA and G League franchises and even making a stop overseas in Taiwan.

Fast-forward to Saturday night against the Lakers and he was being tasked with guarding LeBron James as a primary defender, registering a +33 net rating and helping Denver earn a blowout win.

“I can’t predict the future, but we’re just getting started here in Denver,” Reed told Hoops Rumors. “The community and the fans have embraced me. Obviously, my coach and my team have embraced me. I think it’s definitely the start of something special, and I would like everybody to know that I’m just getting started.

“Right now, I’m just trying to be impactful in any way that I can with the minutes that I’m getting. But once I can be on that court for more and more time, with more and more responsibility, I think people will be thoroughly impressed.”

Reed played for the Nuggets’ Summer League team in Las Vegas, signed a training camp contract with the team, joined the Grand Rapids Gold (the Nuggets’ G League affiliate), then inked three 10-day hardship deals with Denver before earning a two-way contract.

His infectious energy impressed the Nuggets, who felt compelled to keep him around when his hardship deals expired, rewarding him for his play.

Reed sat down with Hoops Rumors to discuss the promotion to the 17-man roster, his journey, his future goals, Denver’s season and more:

How does it feel to know that your work, particularly with this franchise, has paid off to this point?

“Man, it’s a good feeling. This is kind of the plan my agents and I set, seeing Denver’s track record, how they treat their players and remain loyal if you remain loyal to them. You know, as a player, you’re just excited. All you want to hear about is making that opening day roster and stuff like that. It was just a good transition from Summer League, to training camp, to being called up.”

How important do you find it to provide stable defense and bring it on that end of the floor every night?

“That’s something I’ve always prided myself on. I could see it was a need for our team and something I could provide immediately, each and every time I’m in the game. Like we talked about, it’s a natural instinct for me, but it’s also energy and effort. Just being able to provide more possessions for my team, being able to impact my team without necessarily having to put the ball in the hole is key. I look forward to doing that and all of the dirty work for my team.”

Speaking of your team, what do you think your role is on this Nuggets club?

“I think as everybody becomes more comfortable with me, they’ll realize I can bring a lot to the game on both ends of the floor. I do a little bit of everything. Versatile. I can score the ball, I can shoot the ball, but I’m also great at setting my teammates up. Just an overall, all-around player. At the end of the day, I just want to see us win.”

How supportive has head coach Michael Malone been to you throughout this process? What has he preached?

“Man, he’s been awesome. We didn’t really have too many conversations during Summer League, but he was the one who really encouraged me to come to training camp and stay patient. Since day one, he told me, ‘You’re an NBA player. I saw it all summer. Keep doing what you’re doing and bring that approach every day that you come in.’ Him being so vocal, getting me called up and getting me signed, giving me that opportunity — it’s been transformative for my career, since I really haven’t had those opportunities consistently in the past.”

What’s it like to play with Nikola Jokic?

“I tell everybody, he’s one of the best players I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes. Just his feel and control for the game. He’s not the most athletic guy, but he just sees the game and plays the game at his own pace. I definitely can learn a lot from him since I consider myself to be a play-maker, as well, and have a lot of control on the game. Just seeing how he’s able to pick the defense apart and things of that nature. I’m constantly observing. It’s obviously fun to play with.”

You worked your way up and earned this deal. Are you satisfied now?

“Absolutely not. At the beginning of the season, I spoke to my agents truthfully. I don’t want to go to the G League, not really trying to sign a two-way, you know. I feel that’s something that I’ve done for a while now and it wasn’t really something that I was trying to do at this point in my career. But, the opportunity that we needed to present itself presented itself. And we’re still working. The goal is to become a rotational player and get consistent minutes. I want to make an impact on this championship run. That’s my real goal.”

How challenging has this season been from a COVID perspective?

“We’ve had new players in and out, each and every day, with COVID or injuries. One thing I will say is that I’m happy to see how the NBA was able to keep the season going and give these G League players an opportunity to come up. There’s a lot of talent in the G League. Usually, there aren’t a lot of opportunities for certain guys. I’m glad to see that, but COVID has obviously caused a lot of complications this season. We’re just taking it one day at a time and trying to get through this as a league. Everybody’s going through the same stuff.”

What are your short-term and long-term goals?

“For this season, being a big impact and rotational player for this championship team on our run. Going forward, leaving no doubt that I’m an NBA player. Working on establishing myself as one of the top two-way wings in the league, making a whole lot of money and winning some championships.”

Community Shootaround: Jerami Grant

Jerami Grant hasn’t played in over a month, but he’s one of the hottest names on the trade market.

The Pistons forward is recovering from thumb surgery and he’s not expected to return until next month at the earliest.

Grant’s ability to impact the game at both ends of the floor intrigues many teams bound for the playoffs or trying to reach the postseason. Grant signed a three-year free agent contract with the Pistons prior to last season, spurning a chance to remain with the contending Nuggets, mainly due to his desire to have an expanded offensive role.

Grant averaged 22.8 PPG as the No. 1 option for one of the league’s worst teams in 2021/22. He was averaging 20.1 PPG this season prior to the injury.

He’ll have to accept a lesser offensive role again if he’s dealt but his ability to guard multiple positions will ensure that he’ll get plenty of playing time wherever he may wind up.

The Pistons don’t need to deal him – he’ll have plenty of value in the offseason as well, particularly since his contract expires after next season – but they should get a solid return for a combo forward in his prime if they move him by the Feb. 10 deadline. They’ll likely want at least one first-round pick along with a rotation piece for Grant.

Some of the teams who have been mentioned as potential suitors include the Wizards, Knicks, Trail Blazers, Lakers, Hawks, Bulls, Pacers and Grizzlies. The Knicks just added a young forward in Cam Reddish and the Blazers might go into rebuild mode with Damian Lillard sidelined by an injury during an already disappointing season. Supposedly, the Bulls are unwilling to part with Patrick Williams, which would dramatically reduce the chances of them acquiring Grant.

The surprising Grizzlies could enhance their chances of a deep postseason run by adding Grant to an already potent lineup. The Lakers could naturally use Grant’s versatility, though it might be harder for them to put together a suitable package. The floundering Hawks are in desperate need of a defensive boost, and the Wizards want to do everything they can to keep Bradley Beal happy. The Pacers are reportedly willing to deal some of their top players, including Myles Turner, Caris LeVert and perhaps Domantas Sabonis.

That leads us to our question of the day: Which playoff contender would benefit the most by trading for Jerami Grant and where do you think the versatile Pistons forward will wind up?

Please take to the comments section to weigh in on this topic. We look forward to your input.

Community Shootaround: Western Conference All-Star Voting

In the sequel to this weekend’s consideration of potential Eastern Conference All-Star starters following the first results of fan voting for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game, we’ll take a look today at the players who are in the mix (and deserving to be in the mix) for Western Conference All-Star starting gigs.

During the voting process, players are separated by conference. Three frontcourt players will be selected and two guards will be chosen. Fan votes are weighted as 50% of the total vote. The remaining 50% will be split evenly between players and media members. The league’s head coaches will then pick the All-Star benches after starters are announced.

The All-Star Game is set for February 20 at the Cavaliers’ home arena, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Online fan voting began on Christmas Day 2021, and will conclude at 11:59 p.m. ET on January 22. The fan voting results so far were announced by the NBA on January 6.

Lakers small forward LeBron James received 2,018,725 fan votes to lead all frontcourt players in the West, followed by the reigning MVP, Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, with 1,649,809 votes. Clippers small forward Paul George, out with a long-term shoulder injury, is currently in third place with 1,072,591 votes. Surprisingly, Warriors small forward Andrew Wiggins is outpacing his more decorated — and, let’s face it, just plain better — All-Star teammate, power forward Draymond Green.

The 933,355 fan votes for Wiggins are significantly more than the 691,423 fan votes Green received. Wiggins has made far more of a scoring impact than Green has, to be fair, though Green’s passing and versatile, league-best defense make him the more crucial contributor to the Warriors’ 30-10 record.

Lakers big man Anthony Davis (592,281 votes), Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (474,794 votes), Lakers reserve forward Carmelo Anthony (319,128 votes), Jazz center Rudy Gobert (218,819 votes) and Suns center Deandre Ayton (177,115 votes) round out the top 10.

Among this top 10, only Anthony is truly unworthy of consideration, though the notion of the barely-available Davis meriting a look for his contributions as the second-best player on a .500-level club seems shaky. At present, George has played just one fewer game than Davis has, though that is subject to change. Gobert, who along with Green looks to be a favorite to win another Defensive Player of the Year award this season in one of the West’s elite teams, deserves the third starting frontcourt nod over George.

Warriors point guard Stephen Curry leads the West’s guards (and also every other player in the NBA) in fan voting with 2,584,623 votes. Far behind Curry are fourth-year Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic, already a two-time All-Star, with 787,690 votes and third-year Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant with 669,033 votes. Tonight, Morant led the fourth-seeded Grizzlies to a 116-108 statement win over Curry’s Warriors. The victory marked 10 straight for Memphis. The 29-14 Grizzlies occupy the West’s fourth seed, far ahead of Doncic’s fifth-seeded Mavericks at 22-18.

Curry’s Golden State teammate Klay Thompson, who has played a grand total of two games this season, received a nonsensical 367,743 fan votes last week, the fourth-most for any West guard. Thompson far outpaced the more worthy Suns backcourt tandem of Devin Booker (338,526 votes) and Chris Paul (315,912 votes), who in turn are just ahead of Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (217,546). Among this group, Mitchell, Paul and Booker all could make a case to start. The same cannot be said for Thompson.

As of this writing, this fan voter would start Jokic, James, and Gobert for the Western Conference’s frontcourt trio, with Curry and Morant occupying the two starting guard spots.

We want to know what you think! Who deserves to be a Western Conference All-Star starter? Are there any borderline starters you think could be determined based on their play during this last month of voting? Head to the comment section below to weigh in!

Community Shootaround: Eastern Conference All-Star Voting

The 2022 NBA All-Star Game will take place on February 20 at the Cavaliers’ home arena, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Will a Cavalier or two make the cut for the first time since LeBron James headed West in 2018? Time will tell, but the odds look good. The chances of a Cav earning an Eastern Conference starting spot, however, look slim.

Online fan voting started on Christmas Day, and is set to wrap up on January 22 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The first results of fan voting were announced by the NBA on January 6.

Players are separated by conference in the voting process (though not in the games), and divvied up across the frontcourt and backcourt. Fan votes will be weighed at 50% of the total vote, with 25% allocated to player voting results and an additional 25% given to journalists. Head coaches will vote for the All-Star benches after starters are announced.

Today, we’ll take a look at the leaders in the clubhouse to earn an All-Star start in the Eastern Conference, in addition to making the case for a few other notable players deserving of a shot.

Nets forward Kevin Durant led all Eastern Conference players with 2,360,435 results in his favor after the initial tally. Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was nipping at his heels with a robust 2,145,835 fan votes of his own. Sixers center Joel Embiid received 1,236,060 fan votes. The top three frontcourt vote-getters (again, as determined by a split of fan, player, and media votes) will earn starter honors.

The selections of Durant, Antetkounmpo, and Embiid (all in the early running for MVP consideration) were largely expected. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum and Heat forward Jimmy Butler were the only other frontcourt players to earn 500K or more fan votes.

While Butler is clearly enjoying an All-Star-level season, which would be his sixth overall, he has only appeared in 23 of a possible 40 games for the 25-15 Heat. Currently sidelined with an ankle injury, Butler is expected to return to the court soon, and, provided that he does, should be a lock to make the coaches’ picks for East reserves.

Tatum and Boston wing Jaylen Brown have each had productive individual seasons, but it has not translated to team success for the 19-21 Celtics, currently the tenth seed in the Eastern Conference. A team in danger of missing the play-in tournament seems unlikely to earn two All-Stars. Brown is listed in the backcourt for fan voting, while Tatum is in the frontcourt.

Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen, who was a big part of the trade that netted Brooklyn superstar guard James Harden, has blossomed into an All-Star caliber talent with Cleveland this season. Allen and guard Darius Garland are the Cavaliers’ two All-Star candidates this season, though neither looks to have the votes to claw their way into the starter conversation. Allen was sixth in the first fan voting results for Eastern Conference frontcourt players with 168,019 votes. Garland ranked ninth among East guards (behind two much less-worthy candidates, whom we will discuss in a bit) with 119,399 votes. Rookie Cleveland power forward Evan Mobley, an early leader for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award, will most likely not make the cut, though he has been a crucial part of the team’s incredible turnaround this season.

Other frontcourt players who have put up solid numbers on good teams in the conference include young Hornets forward Miles Bridges, enjoying a Most Improved Player-level season with an upstart Charlotte club. Hawks power forward John Collins also has a case, though the team’s middling record could limit Atlanta from getting more than one All-Star this year. Other candidates for All-Star consideration (though probably not worthy of starting) include a cadre of recent All-Stars, among them Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis, Raptors power forward Pascal Siakam (though he has missed 14 games so far), Knicks power forward Julius Randle, and Bulls center Nikola Vucevic. Vucevic has stabilized after a rough shooting start, and has improved on defense this season.

In the backcourt, the two current frontrunners to start are Bulls wing DeMar DeRozan (1,487,598 fan votes), enjoying a comeback season in Chicago at age 32, and Nets guard Harden (892,065 votes), who – despite having one of his worst seasons in years – remains one of the better guards in the NBA.

The selection of DeRozan here has stirred up a bit of controversy — not because of his merit, but because of his positional listing. The 6’6″ DeRozan is the Bulls’ starting small forward, and moonlights plenty as a small-ball power forward. When he last made an All-Star team, with the Raptors in 2018, DeRozan was a shooting guard, but he was unlocked in subsequent seasons at the three and four while with the Spurs. Regardless, DeRozan looks to be a lock, provided he stays relatively healthy for the rest of the voting window.

Hawks point guard Trae Young is right behind Harden with 862,878 fan votes, while Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine (776,043) and second-year Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball (422,247) round out the top five vote-getters among backcourt players. LaVine may not boast the late-game heroics or ball-handling ingenuity of his fellow Chicago swingman DeRozan, but he has put up terrific numbers as one of the undisputed two best players for the East’s best club as of this writing. Chicago boasts a 26-10 record.

Young, fresh off leading his Atlanta team to a surprising Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 2021, is enjoying a great statistical season individually, but it has not translated to team success, in part because Young’s defense has been… apathetic at best. The Hawks are currently the No. 12 seed in the East with a 17-22 record. Ball has led Charlotte to a 21-19 record and the East’s eighth seed. Young, LaVine and Ball are all more deserving starters than Harden this season, though Harden remains worthy of a (bench) All-Star slot.

Insanely, Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, who has played in all of one game this season, is right behind Ball with 267,929 fan votes, while Knicks reserve point guard Derrick Rose, out for months following an ankle surgery and having put up fairly pedestrian numbers on a non-playoff team, has gotten 232,501 votes of his own. Neither player will get a shred of votes from players or journalists, and neither player has a chance of making the All-Star team, as a starter or reserve, this season.

Veteran Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet, who finished tenth during this initial window of fan voting, has emerged as perhaps the representative best player for a frisky Toronto club. Bucks point guard Jrue Holiday and Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal also seem worthy of All-Star berths, though they both finished outside the top 10 this year in fan voting and appear doomed to join the ranks of the reserves.

New Heat point guard Kyle Lowry has had a down scoring year but has been the steady hand guiding the ship for a terrific Miami club missing its best players, Butler and big man Bam Adebayo, for a significant portion of its season. Yes, sixth man Tyler Herro is averaging significantly more points than Lowry (20.6 PPG to 13.7 PPG), but their overall shooting percentages are fairly similar. Herro is connecting on 42.7% of his field goal looks to Lowry’s 42.2% shooting from the floor. Lowry, a six-time All-Star with the Raptors, has proven to be the better set-up man and defender by a long shot.

As of right now, this fan voter would slot Durant, Antetokounmpo and Embiid among his three starting frontcourt players, and put the two Bulls, DeRozan and LaVine, into the two starting backcourt spots.

We want to know what you think! Which players comprise your Eastern Conference All-Star starters? Are there any borderline starters you think could be determined based on their level of play over the ensuing month?

Head to the comment section below to weigh in!