John Henson

Pistons Notes: Youth Movement, Hall, Henson, Rose

With the playoffs out of reach, the Pistons will give plenty of opportunities to young players for the rest of the season, according to Keith Langlois of NBA.com. That includes Derrick Walton Jr. and Donta Hall, who are both on 10-day contracts, as well as Khyri Thomas, who returned to Detroit’s lineup last night for the first time since breaking his foot in November. Langlois notes that coach Dwane Casey used all 12 available players in the first 18 minutes of a loss in Denver.

“I know we’ve got a lot of youth,” Casey said. “I thought we were in (G League) Grand Rapids a couple of times, but that’s part of the deal.”

The Pistons’ direction for the second half of the season was set when Blake Griffin underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee in early January. The organization committed to building for the future, sending Andre Drummond to Cleveland at the trade deadline and reaching a buyout with Reggie Jackson last week. Derrick Rose is the only player left on the roster who is older than 30, Langlois notes.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • Hall played 15 minutes Tuesday and showed why the Pistons gave him an opportunity as an undrafted free agent last summer, Langlois adds in the same piece. Hall could have a steady role next season as a rim protector who brings energy off the bench. “Really was impressed with Donta,” Casey said after the game. “Came over a couple of times in the first half, great verticality.”
  • John Henson, who was acquired from the Cavaliers in the Drummond trade, may have a future in Detroit beyond this season if he’s willing to accept a veteran’s minimum deal, suggests Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Henson is shooting 68% from the field since coming to Detroit and provides an experienced presence in the locker room. Christian Wood will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and Beard notes that Thon Maker may be unrestricted as well if the Pistons elect not to make a qualifying offer.
  • Detroit turned away a trade inquiry from the Lakers about Rose and intends to bring him back next season, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on a recent Hoop Collective Podcast (hat tip to Real GM). He added that there’s “no chance” the Pistons will seek a buyout on the second season of Rose’s two-year, $15MM contract.

Pistons Trade Andre Drummond To Cavaliers

9:21pm: It’s a done deal, with the Cavaliers and Pistons both issuing press releases to confirm the trade. Detroit announced in a separate release that, as expected, Frazier has been waived to make room on the roster for the incoming players.

1:19pm: The Cavaliers are finalizing a trade with the Pistons that will see them acquire center Andre Drummond, a league source tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer (via Twitter), Detroit will receive Brandon Knight and John Henson, both of whom are on expiring contracts. Cleveland will also send the Pistons a second-round pick, per O’Connor.

The pick will be the lesser of Cleveland’s 2023 own pick or the 2023 second-rounder Golden State owes the Cavaliers, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com tweets.

Drummond, the league’s premier rebounder, holds a $28.75MM option on his contract for next season and he’s expected to opt out and test a weak free agent market. The Pistons reportedly were prepared to retain Drummond after talks with the Hawks and Knicks fell through but ultimately decided to move on and go into rebuild mode. Detroit was looking for a first-round pick for Drummond but settled on the second-rounder, along with those expiring contracts.

The modest haul for Drummond was surprising but Detroit’s front office wanted to avoid the possibility of Drummond opting in, O’Connor adds in another tweet. It also gives Cleveland the opportunity to see how Drummond meshes with the young backcourt of  Collin Sexton and Darius Garland.

The Pistons will now have approximately $35MM in cap space this summer, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Cleveland will be close to the cap if Drummond opts in or re-signs with the starting salary in the $29-$30MM range, Marks adds.

Knight is making approximately $15.64MM and Henson has a $9.73MM contract, so the Pistons will shave some money off this year’s cap. They were perilously close to the luxury tax line prior to the proposed deal. Detroit was less than $4,000 under the tax line but moves to $1.7MM under the threshold via this trade, according to Marks (Twitter link).

Drummond has a $857K trade bonus that will be applied to his $27.1MM cap hit for this season, Marks relays in another tweet. Drummond, who has spent his whole career with Pistons since being chosen in the 2012 lottery, is averaging 17.8 PPG and an NBA-best 15.8 RPG this season.

The Pistons will have to open up a roster spot before making the trade official since it is at the 15-man limit. It’s likely that Tim Frazier, who has served as the No. 3 point guard behind Derrick Rose and Reggie Jackson, will be waived unless Detroit makes another trade, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press tweets.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Trade Rumors: Covington, Randle, Henson, Celtics

The Clippers are among the teams pursuing Timberwolves forward Robert Covington, Sean Deveney of Heavy.com reports. A package of their first-round pick this year, forward Maurice Harkless, and a young player such as Jerome Robinson or Terance Mann could be enough to secure Covington, Deveney continues. Grizzlies forward Andre Iguodala, Suns center Aron Baynes and Magic guard D.J. Augustin are among the other potential targets for the Clippers, Deveney adds.

We have more trade chatter:

  • The Knicks have engaged in trade talks with the Hornets involving forward Julius Randle, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer tweets. Charlotte would be a surprising landing spot for Randle, who has a guaranteed $18.9MM salary for next season. However, the Hornets have three frontcourt players with large expiring contracts and will need reinforcements.
  • The Knicks had talks with the Cavaliers which included center John Henson but those discussions have died down, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Henson has an expiring $9.7MM contract.
  • Celtics GM Danny Ainge would like to strengthen the team’s bench but doesn’t see the center position as a major weakness, Jacob Camenker of NBC Sports Boston relays. The Celtics are reportedly one of the teams interested in acquiring Rockets center Clint Capela. Ainge indicated the roster “probably too many really young guys” but claimed he’s content with Daniel Theis, Enes Kanter, and Robert Williams manning the middle. “We’re not getting beat at the center position,” Ainge said. “We’re getting 17, 18 points per night. We’re getting double-figure rebounds. We’re just doing it as a team.”

NBA Trade Candidate Watch: Central Division

Over the course of the 2019/20 NBA season, up until February’s trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA, monitoring their value and exploring the likelihood that they’ll be moved. Each of these looks at possible trade candidates focuses on a specific division, as we zero in on three players from that division.

With just nine days left until the 2020 trade deadline, we’ve surveyed each of the NBA’s divisions three times this season, identifying three potential trade candidates during each go-round. So far, every one of the five in-season trades completed in 2019/20 has included at least one player we’ve previously discussed as a trade candidate. Here’s the full list.

Although we may not have time to circle back through all six divisions a fourth time, we’re revisiting the Central today, taking a look at three more possible trade candidates. Let’s dive in…

Denzel Valentine, SG
Chicago Bulls

$3.4MM cap hit; RFA in 2020

While Valentine has been in and out of the Bulls’ rotation this season, any teams keeping an eye on him Monday night were rewarded with perhaps his best game of 2019/20. He racked up 16 points and made 4-of-6 three-point attempts with a +19 rating in 19 minutes.

The performance provided a glimpse of what kind of value Valentine can bring as a rotation player when things are going well. However, he seems increasingly unlikely to reach his potential in Chicago. Since a solid 2017/18 season, the 26-year-old has appeared in just 27 games due to ankle issues and Jim Boylen‘s rotation decisions. Restricted free agency is on tap for the fourth-year wing this summer, and I’d be surprised if he’s in the Bulls’ plans moving forward.

Given his modest cap hit, controllable rights and .377 career 3PT%, Valentine may appeal to teams looking for a low-cost shooter. The Bulls shouldn’t expect a substantial return, but if they can get a second-round pick out of a deal, it might be an offer worth taking.

Derrick Rose, PG
Detroit Pistons
$7.3MM cap hit; guaranteed $7.68MM salary in 2020/21; UFA in 2021

Like Dwight Howard in Los Angeles, Rose has experienced an impressive resurgence this season. The former MVP isn’t the superstar he once was, but he has been the Pistons’ most reliable scorer, with 18.8 PPG in just 26.6 MPG through 41 contests. He’s a walking bucket and could be a formidable play-making threat for a contender if Detroit decides to move him.

It certainly seems that there has been interest. The Lakers and Sixers were recently cited as potential suitors, with the Clippers also reportedly inquiring. The Pistons may actually have a better chance of acquiring a first-round pick for Rose than they would for Andre Drummond, given the two players’ respective contract situations and cap hits.

Still, with Rose currently battling a sore right knee, potential suitors will proceed with caution. Health has always been the concern for the former Bull, and a contending team willing to surrender a first-rounder for a roster upgrade may prefer to pursue a player with a less worrisome injury history.

John Henson, F/C
Cleveland Cavaliers
$9.7MM cap hit; UFA in 2020

Besides Tristan Thompson, whom we covered in an earlier look at the Central, the Cavaliers have three other veterans on pricey expiring contracts who could be on the move at this year’s deadline. However, none of those players have positive trade value.

Brandon Knight ($15.6MM), Matthew Dellavedova ($9.6MM), and Henson are borderline rotation players, and the Cavs will be hard-pressed to acquire a real asset for any of them unless they’re willing to take on some unwanted multiyear money.

Of the three, Henson looks like the most realistic trade candidate. Knight has barely played this season and is dealing with a knee injury, while Dellavedova’s numbers have been dreadful. Henson, in a part-time role, has at least showed he’s still capable of cleaning the glass and protecting the rim, with 10.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per 36 minutes. The Cavs also have a -1.4 net rating when he plays, compared to -9.8 when he sits.

Cleveland will still be hard-pressed to get much of value for Henson, but I’d expect the team to get more traction on him than some of its other expendable vets.

Revisit the rest of our 2019/20 Trade Candidate series right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injuries Give Cavs Opportunity To Showcase Trade Candidates

While the Cavaliers would surely prefer to have Larry Nance Jr. and Kevin Porter Jr. healthy and in their rotation, knee injuries to both players have given the team the opportunity to showcase a pair of veteran players for potential trades, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

As Vardon observes, John Henson and Brandon Knight each played a season-high 23 minutes during Sunday’s loss to Minnesota after seeing limited action for most of the first half of 2019/20. Henson, who made his first start of the season due to Tristan Thompson‘s illness, scored seven points and grabbed 11 rebounds against the Wolves, as the Cavs look to showcase him in advance of the trade deadline.

With Henson’s $9.7MM contract set to expire at season’s end, Cleveland would like to move him, according to Vardon, a reality the big man seems to have accepted.

“Expiring deals, rebuilding team, young guys — it’s part of the game,” Henson said. “You do the best you can within what you can control, and that’s me going out there and trying to play well within a team concept — and that’s what I’m going to do.”

As for Knight, 14 of his 23 minutes on Sunday came after Porter went down in the third quarter, Vardon notes. While the veteran guard made just 2-of-8 shots vs. Minnesota, he may get a chance to continue playing a regular role, since Porter is expected to miss at least the next two weeks.

“I like Brandon Knight,” one scout told Vardon before Sunday’s game. “But he never gets to play.”

Knight’s $15.6MM cap hit will probably make him trickier to move than Henson, especially since he has struggled in his limited minutes this season. Still, it’s an expiring deal and could appeal to a team looking to create future flexibility.

The Cavs, who have already traded Jordan Clarkson this season, appear open to moving Kevin Love and virtually any of their veterans in contract years, including Matthew Dellavedova and possibly Thompson. Now that Henson and Knight are in the rotation, the Cavs will hope the little-used vets show potential trade partners they’re worth a look.

Cavaliers Notes: Henson, Love, Windler, Beilein

John Henson hasn’t gotten discouraged by the Cavaliers‘ 5-15 start because he’s been through rebuilding before on a team that is now among the NBA’s best, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Henson was with the Bucks when they won 15 games with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton on the roster, and he is confident the young talent in Cleveland will eventually make a similar turnaround.

“You got to keep pushing forward,” Henson said. “Stay positive, hold onto the rope and don’t flinch as Coach says. “We are going to keep trekking this path. We’re not where we want to be, but the way the East is setting up, especially with sixth, seventh, eighth-seed, playoff wise, three or four-game win streak can put you right back in the mix. So, we can’t stop fighting and give up. It’s too early.”

Henson was back on the court last night after missing 17 games with a hamstring injury. He has been serving as a role model to his young teammates and reminding them that players often don’t get the opportunity they have in their first and second seasons in the league.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • The Cavs have been slumping because they’ve stopped using Kevin Love as the focal point of their offense, Fedor observes in a separate story. Love reached double figures in scoring in his first 13 games and posted eight double-doubles, but hasn’t seen the ball nearly as much recently. “We really tried to punch it to Kevin and I think he got doubled up a couple times,” coach John Beilein said Tuesday. “People are trying to make other people beat us. They will double him a lot.”
  • Rookie Dylan Windler is taking significant steps toward making his NBA debut, according to Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. Sidelined since the start of training camp by a stress reaction in his left leg, Windler has practiced the past two days and took part in a shootaround. Team doctors are monitoring Windler to see how he responds to each workout. “Today, I was in a coaches’ meeting, I heard the ball bouncing,” Beilein said. “When I heard the ball bouncing, I shot right out there right away because I knew Dylan was in the first group that was shooting just to see how he felt. He had no complications or no future soreness from yesterday’s workout.”
  • Rod Beard of The Detroit News examines how Beilein is adjusting to losing in the NBA after years of success as a college coach.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Central Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. 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 Central Division:

Andre Drummond, Pistons, 26, C (Up) – Signed to a five-year, $127.2MM deal in 2016
With Blake Griffin sidelined, Drummond has delivered a number of energetic and highly productive performances. He was averaging 21.9 points, an NBA-high 18.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.7 steals heading into Friday’s game against Indiana. He’s also displaying greater maturity and reducing the unnecessary fouls, allowing him to stay on the court for longer stretches. In a very weak free agent market, Drummond could be the top prize unless Anthony Davis opts out. Drummond is expected to opt out of the final $28.8MM on his deal.

Denzel Valentine, Bulls, 25, SF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $9.9MM deal in 2016
Valentine established himself as a rotation player during his second year in the league, appearing in 77 games (37 starts) while averaging 10.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists with an above-average 3-point percentage (38.6). A major ankle injury ended Valentine’s third season before it began. He has struggled thus far to reestablish himself and got sent to the G League this weekend to get some game action. The Bulls can make him a restricted free agent next summer by extending a $4.MM qualifying offer. He’s unlikely to get that unless he reemerges as a second unit fixture.

Justin Holiday, Pacers, 30, SG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $4.77MM deal in 2019
Holiday is one of those glue guys whose contributions go well beyond the stat sheet. He provides guidance to the team’s younger players and has been the team’s top wing defender in the early going. He can guard multiple positions, which has helped him earned steady minutes (22.1 per game). Holiday hasn’t shot it well (32.7) and he’ll likely lose playing time once Victor Oladipo finally returns from his quad injury. But Holiday might get another contract similar to the one Indiana handed him over the summer if he continues to be a steadying presence.

Sterling Brown, Bucks, 24, SG (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $3.8MM deal in 2017
The 2017 second-round pick averaged 17.8 minutes in 58 games during his second season in the league. Brown has been buried on the bench for the most part this season, racking up several DNP-Coach’s Decisions. His only extended action was a 21-minute outing in a 32-point romp over Orlando at the beginning of the month. Brown’s qualifying offer is just $2MM, so it wouldn’t cost the Bucks much to make him a restricted free agent. However, there’s no real clear path to steady playing time this season unless injuries strike.

John Henson, Cavaliers, 28, PF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $48MM deal in 2016
Henson’s biggest problem is one that always makes buyers beware — he can’t stay on the court. Henson’s 2018-19 season was essentially a washout due to a wrist injury. The Cavs, who acquired him last December after Henson underwent surgery, were hoping he could earn a spot in John Beilein’s rotation this fall. Instead, he suffered groin and ankle injuries during the preseason. When he finally appeared in a regular-season game, he strained his right hamstring, which is expected to cost him 2-4 weeks. Henson will be an unrestricted free agent next summer and will have to settle for a major pay cut to stay in the league.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cavaliers Notes: Windler, Veterans, Porter, Beilein

Cavaliers rookie Dylan Windler could be ready for his NBA debut next week, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The 26th pick in this year’s draft continues to make progress after being sidelined with a stress reaction in his leg. He has been ruled out for the team’s upcoming three-game road trip, which starts Friday, but may be ready for the next home game on November 14.

The Cavs are counting on Windler to add another shooting threat to their lineup, with Jordan Clarkson and Kevin Porter Jr. most likely to lose minutes, Fedor states, noting that Porter still gets lost on defense and slows down the flow of the offense. Cleveland needs a reliable backup for Cedi Osman, and the front office is encouraged by Windler’s performance this summer.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • Brandon Knight, Tristan ThompsonJohn Henson and Matthew Dellavedova and Clarkson are all veterans on expiring contracts. While the Cavaliers will shop all of them between now and the trade deadline, they will consider long-term deals with whomever who still remains, Fedor adds in the same piece. Management considers all five players to be good for the team culture and accepting of their roles.
  • Porter has expressed regret over the one-game suspension he received for running into an official, Fedor relays in a separate story. It happened during Sunday’s game when Porter bumped into Bill Spooner after not getting a foul call. “He was very contrite, very disappointed in himself,” coach John Beilein said. “I didn’t see the bump (at the time). I just saw him running that way and I turned to talk to the assistants. I didn’t even know about it until (general manager) Koby (Altman) told me.”
  • Celtics coach Brad Stevens marvels at the Cavs’ progress since the teams met twice in the preseason, Fedor writes in another piece. Boston picked up a victory in Cleveland last night, but Stevens believes Beilein has the team headed in the right direction. “I have a lot of respect for him,” Stevens said. “I watched how they’ve even tweaked and changed since we played him in the preseason. He’s just really advanced, he’s very good. Structurally, they’ve changed so much on offense and defense. I feel like they’ve really adjusted too as they’ve gotten back healthy, playing to the strengths of (Kevin) Love, playing to the strengths of Thompson.”

John Henson To Miss 2-4 Weeks

Cavaliers center John Henson will be sidelined for approximately two-to-four weeks after suffering a strained right hamstring during Cleveland’s home-opening win over Indiana last night, per an official release from the team.

It’s an unfortunate turn of events for the 28-year-old big man, who dealt with injuries to both his groin and ankle during the preseason and underwent wrist surgery last season. The Cavs were even recently reported to have become somewhat frustrated with Henson’s injury woes, so the timing of this latest setback is not ideal.

Henson, who hadn’t played in a regular-season game in nearly a year, logged just eight minutes on Saturday night.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes, Henson has a $500K bonus in his contract that he only earns if he appears in 75 or more games this season. It’s now all but certain that Henson will fail to meet that 75-game mark as a result of this latest injury.

Henson will not travel with the team to Milwaukee and will instead begin a period of treatment and rehabilitation. His return to play will be updated at a later date.

Eastern Notes: Knicks, Sabonis, Hachimura, Johnson, Henson

Knicks management was “stunned and depressed” that marquee free agents Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant chose the Nets, a team source told Frank Isola of The Athletic. The Knicks have tried to convince outsiders they didn’t want meetings with them or another top free agent, Kawhi Leonard, but in actuality they desperately wanted those big-ticket free agents, Isola continues. However, it may work out for them in the long run considering Durant’s Achilles injury and Irving’s injury history, Isola adds.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • It makes sense for the Pacers to move Domantas Sabonis if he doesn’t mesh well with Myles Turner in the Pacers’ starting lineup, Sam Vecenie of The Athletic opines. Indiana is reportedly shopping Sabonis because extension talks have gone nowhere. The team should see if they can play together but if it doesn’t work, there’s no need to tie up a chunk of the team’s cap space on two centers, Vecenie continues, especially since it drafted another center in June.
  • Sabonis expressed his disappointment about the extension negotiations and subsequent trade rumors on Saturday, Forbes’ Tony East tweets. “Theres not really much to talk about. I know exactly how the Pacers feel about me now,” Sabonis said. “They know how I feel about that. There’s not much more to say. I’ll let my agents do the rest of it, we’ll see what happens.”
  • Wizards first-round selection Rui Hachimura is likely to be in the starting lineup for the season opener, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post tweets. Coach Scott Brooks said he was “leaning the way.” Hachimura averaged 10.3 PPG and 6.5 RPG in 21.9 MPG during the preseason.
  • Heat forward James Johnson believes he’ll suit up for the opener, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. Johnson has returned for workouts after a team-imposed suspension when he failed to meet their conditioning standards. Johnson said he just needs to get his body fat percentage down a little more. “You know, body fat takes a long time to drop. So I’m just waiting for that to get down,” he said. “I know my numbers. My weight is good, my conditioning is good, I’m just waiting for my numbers to drop.”
  • Center John Henson‘s injury woes have continually frustrated the Cavaliers, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Henson has been sidelined most of the preseason with groin and ankle injuries. A wrist injury that required surgery made last season a virtual washout for the former Bucks big man. Coach John Beilein was hoping Henson could challenge for a rotation or even starting spot. ““I’ve seen him so limited this year because he’s basically been injured almost every day that I’ve known him,” Beilein said.