Jon Leuer

Central Rumors: Leuer, Wood, Love, Bullock

Pistons big man Jon Leuer is expected to be ready by the season opener and perhaps by the start of training camp, Vince Ellis of Detroit Free Press tweets. Leuer underwent surgery to repair a meniscus issue that arose during a workout earlier this month. Leuer appeared in just eight games last season due to a left ankle injury that required season-ending surgery in January. The team is hopeful Leuer, who is entering the third year of a four-year, $42MM contract, can return his role as a rotation player at center and power forward.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Christian Wood is confident he can earn a spot on the Bucks’ opening day roster, as he expressed to HoopsHype’s Bryan Kalbrosky. The 6’11’ Wood reached an agreement with Milwaukee on a training camp deal after posting big numbers on their summer league squad. “Once I get the time and people see me, I know that I can be an X-factor in the NBA. I can run the floor and beat other bigs and I’m faster than most people my size,” he told Kalbrosky.
  • Kevin Love had a pretty good idea that LeBron James would either pick the Lakers or stay with the Cavs, he revealed in an ESPN interview that was relayed by Alysha Tsuji of USA Today. “I knew it was probably between Cleveland and Los Angeles. I think he’s always looking for a different challenge. He’s always wondering what’s next, and it feels like sometimes he’s playing chess and everybody else is playing checkers,” Love said.
  • The Pistons have depth at the wing spots but Reggie Bullock will retain his starting spot under new coach Dwane Casey, MLive’s Ansar Khan writes. Bullock emerged as one of the league’s top 3-point shooters last season after being inserted into the lineup. He’s one of the league’s biggest bargains at $2.5MM, as Khan notes, and should get a much bigger contract as a free agent next summer if he has a similar season.

Pistons Notes: Leuer, Griffin, R. Jackson, S. Johnson

Jon Leuer‘s knee surgery this week gives the Pistons a reason to worry about their frontcourt depth, suggests Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. Leuer had a procedure done on his right knee Wednesday after suffering a medial meniscus injury. Although it’s considered minor, the team isn’t sure that he’ll be ready for camp, saying his condition will be re-evaluated in late September.

New coach Dwane Casey was counting on Leuer to be his primary reserve big man, backing up Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin. But if Leuer’s recovery takes longer than expected, that gives greater responsibility to Henry Ellenson and free agent addition Zaza Pachulia. Ellis notes that Johnny Hamilton, a rookie from Texas-Arlington who was with the Pistons for Summer League, could also be in the mix if he performs well in training camp.

Injury misfortune continues for Leuer, who missed 74 games last season with a left ankle issue that also required surgery. The 29-year-old will make slightly more than $10MM this season and $9.5MM in 2019/20.

There’s more today out of Detroit:

  • There’s reason for optimism about the health of Griffin and Reggie Jackson heading into the new season, Ellis writes in a mailbag column. Neither player had injury issues this summer and they were able to keep up a full workout schedule. The switch to Casey may also help as former coach Stan Van Gundy was known for long, often draining practices. Griffin appeared in 58 games last year between the Clippers and Pistons, missing time with knee and ankle injuries, and hasn’t played more than 67 in the past four seasons. Jackson had a platelet-rich plasma treatment before the start of last season and managed just 45 games.
  • The Pistons may have plans to use free agent addition Glenn Robinson III and Stanley Johnson in the lineup together, Ellis adds in the same piece. Power forward could turn out to be Johnson’s best position, and there will be an opening if Leuer’s injury is worse than expected.
  • Former New Mexico State guard Zach Lofton is excited about the opportunity to join the Pistons for training camp, relays Mark Rudi of The Las Cruces Sun-News. Lofton confirmed the agreement today on Instagram. “I want to thank the Detroit Pistons for the amazing opportunity to be a part of the organization,” he said in a news release. “I also want to thank the amazing support system I’ve had through the years. I’m excited to start this new chapter.”

Central Notes: Pacers, Drummond, Leuer

A number of low profile offseason additions have helped the Pacers take a step forward this summer, so say a number of league experts, as Scott Horner of The Indianapolis Star writes.

The Pacers added significant depth when they brought aboard Tyreke Evans, Kyle O’Quinn and Doug McDermott and will benefit from the addition of first-round pick Aaron Holiday and whatever inevitable improvements Victor Oladipo makes to his game over the course of the offseason.

There was no shortage of journalists willing to praise the Pacers for their summer work and NBA.com’s David Aldridge even went so far as to say that they’re as good a threat as any in the East to challenge the Celtics this season.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • There’s no denying that Andre Drummond has been busy working on his perimeter shooting, at least if you’ve followed his Instagram stories this offseason. Rod Beard of The Detroit News writes that the Pistons big man is hoping to use the new weapon to move away from the basket. “Adding that to my game is something I’ve been working on for years but this is the year where I’ve taken it to another level of putting up a lot more shots, and I’m getting more comfortable with it,” Drummond said.
  • Fans may be quick to call the new-look Eastern Conference a three-horse race involving the Celtics, Raptors and Sixers, but Brook Lopez assures Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype that the Bucks are confident they can take the crown. “I think we’re very confident that we can, no question, win the East.
  • Injured Pistons forward Jon Leuer had successful surgery yesterday, the team announced in a press conference. The procedure is related to a meniscus injury that occurred in a workout earlier this week. His status will be updated prior to training camp.

Pistons Sign Jose Calderon

JULY 7: The signing is official, the Pistons announced on Twitter.

JULY 2: The Pistons have reached an agreement with veteran point guard Jose Calderon, according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes (Twitter link). League sources tell Haynes that’s worth $2.4MM, which means it’s a minimum-salary deal.

The agreement will reunite Calderon with new Pistons head coach Dwane Casey, who coached the 36-year-old several seasons ago in Toronto.

A 13-year NBA veteran, Calderon spent the 2017/18 with the Cavaliers. Although he played a modest role with the club, he was solid when called upon, averaging 4.5 PPG and 2.1 APG with a .503/.464/.800 shooting line.

While it’s a low-cost investment for the Pistons, it’s a somewhat curious one. The team was already well-stocked at the point guard spot, with Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith atop the depth chart and Langston Galloway occasionally getting ball-handling duties too. However, it’s possible Detroit has another move in mind. The club is exploring possible trades, according to Rod Beard of The Detroit News (Twitter link), who identifies Smith, Galloway, and Jon Leuer as potential chips.

Calderon figures to take Dwight Buycks‘ place on Detroit’s roster. Buycks has a $1.6MM non-guaranteed salary for next season, but waiving him would help give the Pistons a little extra distance below the tax line, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks details (via Twitter).

Central Rumors: Tolliver, Griffin, J.R. Smith, Markkanen

Power forward Anthony Tolliver would like to stay put but his future with the Pistons is uncertain at best, Ansar Khan of MLive.com reports. Tolliver, 32, quickly emerged as a rotation player in his second stint with the franchise and posted career highs in field-goal percentage (46.4) and 3-point percentage (43.6), Khan notes. But Tolliver becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer and the Pistons still have Jon Leuer, who missed most of the season with an ankle injury, and Henry Ellenson at that spot behind Blake Griffin“I’ve been here longer than anywhere else in my career and would love to keep that going,” Tolliver told Khan and other beat writers. “But at the end of the day, got to see what’s up this summer.”

In other news around the Central Division:

  • Griffin told his Pistons teammates during their postseason meeting that he wants to be the leader of the team, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com relays. Griffin arrived in a late January trade with the Clippers and feels he needs to take more responsibility. “It’s a role that he should and does embrace,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “It’s not he and Chris Paul. Clearly, he’s the most accomplished guy on our team to this point. Five-time All-Star. Guys look up to him, so people are going to be looking at him and I think he wants that.”
  • Former starters J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson are candidates to return to the starting five for Game 2 against the Pacers, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue confirmed to Joe Vardon of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and other media members. Smith scored 15 points off the bench in Game 1, while Thompson made just a cameo appearance. “We’ve been talking about it as a staff,” Lue said. “I just know those guys have been through everything with us the last four years and we won a championship, went to three finals. Tristan and J.R. played a big part of that. We understand that and trust me, we know that.”
  • Bulls rookie forward Lauri Markkanen will play for the Finnish National Team in the FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifiers scheduled for the end of June, Sportando reports. He averaged 15.2 PPG and 7.5 RPG in 29.7 MPG during his first NBA season.

Pistons Awarded Disabled Player Exception

The NBA has awarded the Pistons a disabled player exception in the wake of Jon Leuer‘s season-ending ankle injury, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The exception will be worth $5,248,660, half of Leuer’s salary for 2017/18.

The disabled player exception granted to the Pistons won’t give the team an extra roster spot or any additional compensation. However, Detroit now has another tool available to acquire a player without requiring cap room.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Disabled Player Exception]

The Pistons’ disabled player exception will allow the team to sign a free agent for the rest of the season or to acquire a player in the final year of his contract via trade or waiver claim. The team will have until March 12 to use its DPE.

With the Pistons having been awarded a disabled player exception, there are now seven NBA teams holding those exceptions for 2017/18. One of those clubs – the Celtics – has committed to using its DPE to sign free agent center Greg Monroe. Of the remaining six disabled player exceptions, the Pistons’ DPE is the third-most valuable, behind the ones held by the Nets ($6MM) and Heat ($5.5MM).

Injury Notes: Zeller, Dunn, Lydon

The Hornets are expected to get  Cody Zeller involved in team scrimmages in a matter of days Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes. The forward has been sidelined since undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in mid-December.

Zeller was a critical piece of the Hornets’ rotation before his injury and will look to settle back into his new role of manning the backup center position behind Dwight Howard as soon as he’s cleared to do so.

In 19 games of action for the Hornets, Zeller has averaged 7.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. His return will be much appreciated by a team that’s struggled mightily in the first half of 2017/18.

There are other injury updates to report on this evening:

  • Rookie forward Tyler Lydon will miss four months of action after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports. The Nuggets revealed in a press release that Lydon went under the knife after an injury sustained on assignment in the G League.
  • We wrote last week that Bulls guard Kris Dunn was out indefinitely after entering the NBA’s concussion protocol. This week, Nick Friedell of ESPN writes that the guard’s symptoms haven’t changed much. Dun, who still suffers headaches, will take the comeback process slow and be out a while longer.
  • Pistons big man Jon Leuer underwent successful surgery on his left ankle and will miss the remainder of the 2017/18 campaign, Rod Beard of The Detroit News tweets. Leuer now faces a four-month recovery process.

Jon Leuer To Undergo Season-Ending Surgery

Pistons big man Jon Leuer has confirmed to Rod Beard of The Detroit News (Twitter link) that he’ll undergo surgery on his troublesome left ankle. The procedure, which will take place today, will sideline Leuer for the rest of the 2017/18 season.

Leuer, 28, was expected to be a key part of the Pistons’ frontcourt rotation after averaging 25.9 minutes per contest in 2016/17, his first year in Detroit. However, ankle problems have limited the veteran to just eight games this season. Leuer hasn’t seen the court since October 31, and while the injury wasn’t initially expected to be a season-ending ailment, it didn’t heal as the player and team had hoped.

The confirmation that Leuer will undergo season-ending surgery doesn’t come as a major surprise, considering word broke on Thursday that the Pistons had applied for a disabled player exception to replace Leuer. The club had to apply for that exception before a January 15 deadline, and it’s only granted to teams with an injured player who is deemed likely to be sidelined through June 15. So the Pistons were prepared for this possibility.

Should the Pistons’ DPE application be approved, they would be granted a cap exception worth about $5.25MM. That said, the provision wouldn’t give the team an additional roster spot, so the club would have to cut or trade one of its 15 NBA players. As we outline in our glossary entry, a disabled player exception allows a team to sign a player to a one-year deal or trade for a player in the final year of his contract. If the Pistons receive a DPE and don’t use it by March 12, it will expire.

As for Leuer, he’ll focus on getting back on the court for the 2018/19 campaign. He has two more years and $19.5MM left on his contract after this season.

Pistons Seek Disabled Player Exception For Jon Leuer

With Jon Leuer sidelined indefinitely, the Pistons have applied for a disabled player exception, Rod Beard of The Detroit News writes. Leuer was once regarded as a key rotation piece in Detroit’s frontcourt, but has been limited to just nine games of action this season.

The deadline for the DPE application was January 15 and the Pistons made their case for salary-cap relief, with the 28-year-old now considering season-ending surgery.

Should the application be approved, the Pistons would be granted an exception worth about $5.25MM. That said, the provision wouldn’t grant the team an additional roster spot. Since the Pistons currently roster 15 players, they would have to cut or trade someone if they intend to use a DPE.

As we outline in our glossary entry, a disabled player exception allows a team to sign a player to a one-year deal or trade for a player in the final year of his contract. If the Pistons receive a DPE and don’t use it by March 12, it will expire.

Injury Notes: Turner, Harden, Leuer, Ball

Pacers center Myles Turner has missed his club’s last three games and has already been ruled out of the remaining four contests on Indiana’s current road trip, the team announced today in a press release. Turner won’t require surgery, but he has been diagnosed with a ligament sprain and muscle strain in that troublesome elbow, and isn’t close to returning. Following the Pacers’ current road trip, Turner will be considered week to week, according to the team.

Here are a few more injury updates from across the NBA:

  • Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni hopes that James Harden will be able to return from his hamstring injury before the end of this week, as Tim MacMahon of ESPN details. “It could be Thursday or Saturday, I don’t know,” D’Antoni said on Sunday. “He’s got to get better. We’ll see. Whenever he’s ready.” Harden would presumably like to be back on the court for those showdowns later this week against Minnesota (Thursday) and Golden State (Saturday).
  • Jon Leuer continues to battle ankle issues, having recently received a second injection in his ankle, according to Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy (Twitter link via Rod Beard of The Detroit News). Season-ending surgery looks like an increasingly likely possibility for the veteran big man.
  • After undergoing an MRI, Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball was diagnosed with minor left knee sprain, the Lakers announced last night (via Twitter). It’s not viewed as a significant injury.