Joe Johnson

Pistons Exploring Trades, May Keep Wood, Johnson

The Pistons are seeking a trade that would allow them to keep both big man Christian Wood and veteran forward Joe Johnson, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press writes.

That duo came into training camp vying for the final roster spot but circumstances may change.

Langston Galloway or Khyri Thomas are the most likely players to be moved in order to free up a roster spot, according to Ellis. The Pistons have 14 players, including Galloway and Thomas, with fully guaranteed contracts.

Wood’s contract guarantees at $822,679 if he makes the opening night roster, while Johnson would receive a $1.37MM guarantee if he’s still with the team coming out of training camp. Wood’s $1.65MM contract and Johnson’s $2.56MM deal become fully guaranteed if they’re still on the roster beyond January 10.

Wood was claimed off waivers from the Bucks and has put up impressive numbers in a couple of preseason appearances. Coach Dwane Casey has been impressed by the way Wood has conducted himself beyond the court. Wood would battle Thon Maker for backup duties at center if he sticks.

“Christian’s thing is just maturity,” Casey told Ellis and other reporters. “He’s done a great job of being on time, being where he’s supposed to be, doing what he’s supposed to do, being disciplined, because if he (had done it before), he wouldn’t be here. He’d still be with Milwaukee or somebody.”

Johnson, the MVP of the BIG3 league this summer, could provide depth at both forward spots. Detroit’s final two preseason games this week will help determine whether the Pistons keep both Wood and Johnson, according to the Detroit News’ Rod Beard, who also confirms the front office has been exploring the trade market.

Galloway has an expiring $7.33MM contract, which would hold some appeal. Thomas, a second-year player, is making $1.42MM. Galloway is considered a rotation player by Casey but the Pistons have numerous options at the wing positions and will also pair up point guards Reggie Jackson and Derrick Rose at times.

Pistons Notes: Drummond, Galloway, Johnson, Practice Facility

Pistons owner Tom Gores said on Monday that retaining center Andre Drummond is his “top priority,” Jeff Riger of 97.1 The Ticket tweets. Drummond could become an unrestricted free agent if he opts out of the final year of his contract after the season.

“You guys know, many years in a row, how committed I am to Andre,” Gores said. “So it is [the] top priority.”

Drummond and his reps have reportedly requested extension talks. Prior to opening night, Drummond can opt in for the 2020/21 season at $28.75MM and add up to three additional years to the contract. The first year of the extension can be any amount up to 120% of his 2020/21 salary (a max of $34.5MM). After that, he can opt out and sign an extension until June 30, but the starting salary can’t be below $28.75MM or exceed $34.5MM.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Langston Galloway is one of many options at the wing and coach Dwane Casey says Galloway will have a role, Keith Langlois of the team’s website relays. “He’s like that old blanket,” Casey said. “It’s not fair, but he’s just a steady, steady pro. He’s a lot of our glue. So, no, I haven’t forgotten Langston. He’s going to be a huge part of what we do.” Galloway is in the final year of a three-year, $21MM contract that he signed with the previous front office regime. His $7.33MM salary is the second highest expiring deal on the team behind Reggie Jackson‘s $18.1MM salary.
  • Joe Johnson‘s year off from basketball allowed him to spent time with his dying mother, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports. Johnson’s mother Diane died of cancer in February. “I don’t know if you guys understand what multiple myeloma is and what it does to the body,” Johnson said “It basically breaks muscles and bones down to a point where you just become limp and you can’t do nothing on your own. Then it comes to a point where you can’t even talk.” Johnson has a partial guarantee in his contract and is looking to secure the final spot on the opening-night roster.
  • The franchise officially opened its new $90MM training facility and corporate headquarters on Monday, according to a team press release. The facility is touted as being the largest in the league. It’s located in downtown Detroit, a short distance from Little Caesars Arena. Their previous practice facility was located in Auburn Hills behind their previous arena, The Palace.

And-Ones: India, Johnson, Robinson, Ball

Commissioner Adam Silver would like to start a professional basketball league in India, perhaps in the next five years, Marc Spears of ESPN reports. India would have to build state-of-the-art arenas to make that happen. The NBA had to make numerous additions — including seats, big video screens and lights — to stage a preseason game there between the Kings and Pacers on Friday.

“I think it’s inevitable that there will be state-of-the-art arenas in major cities in India, in part because these are multi-use facilities and live entertainment is increasingly important here as well. … We do need to see those arenas over time in order to play more games,” Silver said.

There’s growing interest in the league in India and its youngsters are harboring NBA dreams, Reid Forgrave of the New York Times reports.

We have more from the basketball world:

  • Joe Johnson is fighting for a roster spot with the Pistons and the veteran forward hopes other players can use the BIG3 as a springboard to relaunch their careers, Eric Woodyard of ESPN writes. “That was another reason why I thought it was very important for me to take this opportunity, because those guys in the BIG3, a lot of them anyway, have hopes to at some point to be able to get back in the league,” said Johnson, who signed a partially guaranteed contract with Detroit. “So I just wanted to let everyone know that it’s possible just to get to this point.” Johnson was the BIG3 MVP this year.
  • Former NBA forward Thomas Robinson has drawn major interest from two Chinese teams, Zhejiang Guangsha and Liaoning, according to a report from Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia. The 2012 lottery pick last played in the NBA during the 2016/17 season, when he saw action in 48 games with the Lakers.
  • Big Baller Brand co-founder Alan Foster has countersued Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball and his father, LaVar Ball, for alleged fraudulent concealment and breach of contract, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. Foster alleges that LaVar Ball embezzled more than $2.6MM from Big Baller Brand and other companies associated with the family to fund an extravagant lifestyle. The Balls sued Foster in April for more than $2MM for alleged embezzlement.

Pistons Notes: Drummond, Griffin, Johnson, Olympics

Pistons center Andre Drummond and senior advisor Ed Stefanski brushed aside specific questions about a potential extension during the team’s Media Day on Monday. Drummond said he’s happy in Detroit and wishes to remain there.

“I love being here. I love playing in Detroit,” he said. “I’m looking forward to continuing my time here.”

Stefanski refused to talk about any potential negotiations. Drummond, who could be the top free agent on the market next summer if he opts out of the final year of his contract, has requested extension talks, according to Vince Ellis of the Free Press. Prior to opening night, Drummond can opt in for the 2020/21 season and add up to three additional years.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Coach Dwane Casey hopes to give Blake Griffin more nights off this season to keep him fresh for the playoffs. Griffin was hobbled by a knee injury late last season and underwent arthroscopic surgery after the season. “We rode him like a cheap horse last year,” Casey said. “If we didn’t, I don’t think we would have made the playoffs because he was that special to us.” Griffin won’t resist any load management strategies. “For me personally, I’m going to let our staff and front office lead the way on that,” he said. “It’s not going to be me going to them asking for games (off), it’s not going to be them fighting with me. I’m going to listen to them.”
  • Veteran swingman Joe Johnson, who signed a partially guaranteed contract, is essentially competing with big man Christian Wood, who was claimed off waivers, for the last roster spot unless a player with a fully guaranteed contract is traded or waived. “There’s no added pressure on me,” Johnson said. “This opportunity came about and I’m thankful for it but it wasn’t my purpose. I still do love the game, I keep myself in great shape, so to be able to get a chance to compete with these guys, it will be fun.” Johnson, who also worked out for the Sixers, cancelled four scheduled workouts to sign with Detroit.
  • Drummond expressed his desire to play in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He withdrew from playing with Team USA in the FIBA World Cup this summer in order to focus on the upcoming season. “I would love to play in the Olympics,” he said. “Who wouldn’t want to play in the Olympics? It would be a big-time thing to be a part of. To play for that gold medal is huge, so I would be very honored to play for them.” Griffin was non-committal about his interest in playing for Team USA in the Olympics next season. “It’s just so far away,” he said. “I’ll definitely address that at the proper time.”

Eastern Notes: Leonard, Fultz, LaVine, Johnson

New Heat center Meyers Leonard is ready for the new opportunity that awaits him in Miami, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel.

 “I know that I can impact the game every night… And I’m vastly improved compared to when I was younger and earlier in my career. The easiest way to put it is I feel really good about where I’m at. And I’m just excited for this new opportunity. The Heat saw something in me and I really appreciate it.”

Leonard, who becomes an intriguing stretch option in the frontcourt for head coach Erik Spoelstra, is confident in his ability to hit open threes and expand his game even further.

“I’m going to do what’s asked of me… If I’m open, I’m going to shoot it. That’s one thing I feel that, particularly last year, I started to do a better job of is take more contested shots…. I (also) feel that I’ve really expanded my game. I can get my shot off quicker. I feel good, even extended beyond the 3-point line. I really, really feel that I’ll be able to provide a very unique skill-set and the ability to roll all the way to the rim, to half roll and play-make or to pick and pop to three. So it’s something I’ve worked very, very hard on.”

 There’s more news from the Eastern Conference:
  • Magic guard and former No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz has joined Roc Nation Sports, the 21-year-old announced on his own Twitter account.
  • The best-case scenario for Bulls guard Zach LaVine? He’s got All-Star potential, and should be an All-Star this season, writes Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. But, on the flip side, if he isn’t able to mesh better with Lauri Markkanen and improve on the defensive side of the ball, it may be another long season in Chicago.
  • Rod Beard of The Detroit News reports that Pistons guard Joe Johnson, who signed a partially guaranteed deal earlier this month, has impressed head coach Dwane Casey with his conditioning. “My main concern was Joe getting up and down and he showed that he can still run the floor and still be athletic,” Casey said. “He has it, even at (38).”

Pistons Notes: Drummond, Kennard, J. Johnson, Final Roster Spot

With possible free agency looming next summer, Pistons center Andre Drummond has put a priority on conditioning, relays Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Coach Dwane Casey said Drummond has spent the offseason working out with assistants Tim Grgurich and Sean Sweeney two or three times a day in Las Vegas and is “in the best shape since I’ve been around him.”

After this season ends, Drummond will have a decision to make on a $28,751,774 player option for 2020/21. He recently came under fire from fans for talking about how excited he is for a shot at free agency and had to clarify his remarks on Instagram. Casey decided in the second half of last season to shelve the experiment of having Drummond shoot more 3-pointers, but he still believes his center can be effective as a decision-maker in the offense.

There’s more today from Detroit:

  • One of Casey’s training camp decisions will be whether to use Bruce Brown or Luke Kennard in the starting lineup, the coach tells Langlois in a separate story. “The issue with Luke in the first unit – it’s not an issue, it’s a good thing – but it’s just you kind of take away one of his strengths as far as his pick-and-roll game, his ball-handling game,” Casey said. “There’s only so many pick-and-roll games with that first unit. You’ve got Blake (Griffin) in the pick and roll, Reggie (Jackson) in the pick and roll, you’ve got Bruce running pick and roll some and now you’ve got Andre bringing the ball down the floor.”
  • Joe Johnson‘s new contract comes with a $220K guarantee and more incentives the longer he stays on the roster, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Johnson’s guaranteed money will increase to $1.37MM if he earns a roster spot for opening night and $2.56MM if he remains on the team through January 7.
  • The Pistons have several options for the final spot on their roster heading into camp, observes Duncan Smith of Forbes. Detroit has 14 guaranteed contracts, leaving Johnson and Christian Wood as the most likely candidates outside of that group to make the team, according to Smith. He adds that the front office could consider opening another spot by moving on from Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk or Khyri Thomas, who have minimum contracts, or Langston Galloway. who has an expiring deal worth $7.3MM.

Pistons Sign Joe Johnson

SEPTEMBER 19: The Pistons have officially signed Johnson, the team announced today in a press release.

SEPTEMBER 12Joe Johnson and the Pistons have reached an agreement a contract, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. League sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link) that it’s a partially guaranteed one-year deal.

Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link) first reported that the two sides were on the verge of an agreement. A report earlier this week indicated that Detroit was the frontrunner for the free agent forward.

Johnson, 38, has appeared in nearly 1,400 career NBA games, counting the postseason, but didn’t play in the league in 2018/19 after finishing the ’17/18 campaign in Houston. The 17-year NBA veteran showed he still had something left in the tank during his run in Ice Cube‘s BIG3 league this summer, earning MVP honors and leading his 3-on-3 team to a championship.

Following his stint in the BIG3, Johnson drew interest from a handful of NBA teams, reportedly lining up workouts with the Sixers, Bucks, and Nets in addition to the Pistons. However, Detroit emerged as the apparent favorite in part due to Johnson’s connection to Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem, a former agent who used to represent Iso Joe.

Assuming Johnson finalizes a deal with the Pistons, he may have to compete with Christian Wood for the team’s final regular season roster spot. Michael Beasley was also expected to vie for that spot, but Goodman suggests the former No. 2 overall pick will be released to open up room on the 20-man offseason roster for Johnson.

Technically, it doesn’t appear that Beasley actually signed with the Pistons after agreeing to terms on a non-guaranteed contract with the team last month. Now that he’s the odd man out, his deal will likely just never be completed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pistons Notes: Beasley, Casey, Wood, Rose

As we noted when Joe Johnson agreed to sign with the Pistons earlier today, no roster move will be required to create room on the 20-man roster for the veteran forward.

Although multiple reports suggested that Michael Beasley would be waived, ESPN’s Bobby Marks confirms (via Twitter) that Beasley and the Pistons never officially finalized their reported agreement, so Johnson will simply take the spot on the roster that Beasley would have.

Of course, preseason rosters are generally fluid, so if the Pistons still want to bring the former second overall pick in for training camp, they could eventually do so — they’d just have to cut another camp invitee. However, a source tells Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link) that Beasley is unlikely to be in camp with Detroit.

Beasley still faces a five-game suspension for violating the league’s anti-drug policy, so if and when he signs with a new NBA team, he’ll have to miss his first five regular season contests for that club.

Here’s more on the Pistons:

  • A source tells Ellis (Twitter link) that Pistons head coach Dwane Casey was “very instrumental” in selling Johnson on signing with Detroit.
  • Marks provides an update on the guarantee details on Christian Wood‘s contract, tweeting that Wood’s $1.65MM salary will only become partially guaranteed for $822K if he’s not waived by October 23. Wood figures to be Johnson’s primary competition for a regular season roster spot in Detroit.
  • While Derrick Rose‘s goal of winning a championship with the Pistons is admirable, the former MVP’s top priority should be staying healthy, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News.
  • Keith Langlois of Pistons.com lauds the work that head of basketball operations Ed Stefanski has done in the last two offseasons to add young talent to the Pistons’ roster. Five players currently under contract with the team were drafted in the last two years, and that list doesn’t include 2017 lottery pick Luke Kennard, 22-year-old big man Thon Maker, or draft-and-stash prospect Deividas Sirvydis.

Nets’ Interest In Carmelo Anthony May Be Growing

With Joe Johnson possibly headed to Detroit, several Nets veterans are pushing the front office to sign Carmelo Anthony, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Johnson said he was planning to work out for Brooklyn this week, but sources tell Lewis it hasn’t happened yet. He had a session with the Pistons yesterday, and The Athletic’s Frank Isola said on SiriusXMNBA, “From what I’m hearing, Detroit is the favorite to land Joe Johnson.” (Twitter link)

That may leave Anthony for the Nets, who suddenly have a depth issue at forward. In addition to playing without Kevin Durant, who may be sidelined for the entire season, Brooklyn lost Wilson Chandler to a 25-game PED suspension and Rodions Kurucs may be suspended as well over domestic violence allegations.

The Athletic reported that Durant and Kyrie Irving were appealing to management to add Anthony, and GM Sean Marks recently watched him play. Anthony spent much of the summer working out in Los Angeles with a few Nets players.

Taurean Prince tweeted a video of Anthony from those pickup games, along with the following endorsement: “Guarded him for a month straight. Same Melo only thing diff is the narrative ppl throw on his name.”

The Nets are eligible to move a suspended player off their active roster after the fifth game, so talks with Anthony could heat up by early November, if not sooner.

Pistons In Lead For Joe Johnson?

Free agent forward Joe Johnson is in Detroit today to work out for the Pistons, sources tell Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link).

Johnson’s workout with the Pistons had been expected, as a report last week indicated that the NBA veteran, who has already worked out for the Sixers, would also audition for the Pistons, Bucks and Nets. However, Frank Isola of The Athletic provides some new info, suggesting during an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio today that he has heard Detroit is the frontrunner to sign Johnson (Twitter link via Noah Coslov).

As Bobby Marks of ESPN observes (via Twitter), there’s a connection between Johnson and Detroit — the 38-year-old used to be represented by former agent Arn Tellem, who is now the Pistons’ vice chairman. Additionally, there could still be a regular season roster up for grabs in Detroit, since the team is carrying just 14 players on guaranteed contracts. Christian Wood and Michael Beasley are currently expected to compete for the 15th and final roster spot.

After not playing in the NBA during the 2018/19 season, Johnson joined Ice Cube‘s BIG3 league this summer and excelled in the 3-on-3 format. He was named the BIG3’s MVP after leading the league in points and assists, capping off a dominant summer-long run by scoring 28 of his team’s 50 points in the championship game.

While the competition in the BIG3 obviously isn’t on the same level as in the NBA, Johnson’s impressive performance in the league has generated interest among a handful of teams who view him as a potential scorer off the bench.