Jon Leuer

Central Notes: Lopez, Parker, Love, Carter, Pistons

It’s only a matter of time before Bulls center Robin Lopez and forward Jabari Parker are either traded or bought out, suggests Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. The Bulls are in fire sale mode and the Justin Holiday deal with the Grizzlies is just the start, Mayberry continues. Lopez has an expiring contract, while Parker has lost his rotation spot under new coach Jim Boylen. Lopez jokingly referenced in practice Friday how he could be the next shoe to drop with the front office in a seller’s mode, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune relays. “There’s kind of been a little shoe-dangling over the past couple years,” Lopez said.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • Cavaliers forward Kevin Love can progress with “select” basketball activities and continue to advance his therapy and strength and conditioning program, according to a team press release. Love has been targeting a mid-January from the foot surgery he underwent in early November and the latest news suggests the timetable hasn’t changed. There have been conflicting reports recently on whether the rebuilding team is interested in trading the power forward, who signed an extension during the offseason.
  • Bulls rookie center Wendell Carter Jr. has seen wild swings in his playing time but he’s not squawking about it, Mayberry reports in a separate story.  Carter played a season-low 13 minutes against Orlando on Wednesday and has played fewer than 20 minutes in five games since Boylen took charge. Carter blamed himself for his limited minutes against the Magic. “I don’t feel like I brought it,” Carter said. “I couldn’t get into a good groove. So I would have (taken) myself out.”
  • The Pistons’ cap situation will improve marginally this offseason, Rod Beard of the Detroit News notes. Reggie Jackson, Jon Leuer and Langston Galloway will also be entering the final year of their contracts and that could open up opportunities for the team to retool, Beard adds.

Pistons Would Move Assets For Impact Player

The Pistons are willing to move assets to become more competitive in the Eastern Conference, but they’re not inclined to make a trade simply to dump a bad contract. That’s what senior advisor Ed Stefanski told Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press in a recent Q&A.

Second-year guard Luke Kennard and future first-round picks are the most likely enticements to acquire another impact player, Ellis continues. The Pistons are close to the luxury-tax line and won’t exceed it unless they can get that type of talent.

“(Pistons owner) Tom Gores would go into the luxury tax only — and I agree with this — if it would move the needle for us to be a team that would allow us to compete in the conference,” Stefanski said. “If we’re asked to give up a big asset like a first-round pick to help the growth of the franchise, we would consider it. … If we weren’t sure of that, to make a big commitment with assets, I think could really hurt us. We can’t make a deal to set the franchise back.”

The Pistons have shown a willingness to trade a first-round pick in order to get an All-Star caliber talent. They traded their 2018 first-rounder last winter as part of the Blake Griffin deal.

Here’s more from Ellis’ chat with Stefanski:

  • Using an asset in order to move forward Jon Leuer, who is making approximately $10MM, or guard Langston Galloway ($7MM) — both of whom are signed through next season — wouldn’t make much difference on the Pistons’ cap situation for the 2019/20 season. Stefanski explains they’d be better off retaining their mid-level exception. “We wouldn’t improve substantially (in terms of cap room), so to use assets to get off some of the contracts you may want to get off — I’m not saying we want to — but to do something like that? It still wouldn’t create a lot of room.”
  • Stefanski believes Kennard, who was sidelined by a knee injury in the summer and a shoulder injury early in the season, is ready to make a bigger contribution. “What Kennard can do is make plays for other people. It’ll be interesting to see how he’s used now that he’s got his legs back. … We can’t have enough shooters and you need playmaking. I think Kennard provides both to the table.”
  • Reggie Jackson has underperformed in Dwane Casey’s system but Stefanski is optimistic that will change. Jackson spent most of the offseason rehabbing an ankle injury. “Our medical people said he would not be physically there until the end of the year, that he would still need time because when you’re off your feet that long and not playing basketball, it doesn’t just pop back on. This will get better and better.”

Central Notes: Galloway, Ellenson, Nance, Sumner, LaVine

Pistons guard Langston Galloway has reemerged as a rotation player under new coach Dwane Casey. Galloway was a forgotten man entering camp with Reggie Bullock, Stanley Johnson, Luke Kennard and free agent signee Glenn Robinson III seemingly ahead of him at the wing positions. But Casey’s emphasis on 3-point shooting has helped Galloway, who averaged 26 MPG during the preseason, gain a rotation spot.  “I’m one of the snipers on the team,” he told me in a Detroit Free Press story. Galloway is coming off a disappointing first year with the Pistons after signing a three-year, $21MM contract in free agency. He only appeared in 58 games under former coach Stan Van Gundy, averaging 6.2 PPG in 14.9 MPG.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Casey will go with a committee approach at the power positions behind his star duo of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. He’ll use free agent acquisition Zaza Pachulia at times when he goes with a conventional center. Power forward Jon Leuer, who is still working his way back from minor knee surgery, will be the primary backup in some games. When Casey uses smaller lineups, Johnson and Robinson will play some minutes at power forward. One player who is apparently out of the mix is 2016 first-round pick Henry Ellenson, who played just 10 minutes in the last three preseason games.
  • Larry Nance Jr.‘s rookie scale extension descends during the life of the contract, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Nance signed a four-year, $44.8MM extension with the Cavaliers that kicks in next season. Joe Vardon of The Athletic was the first to report that Nance’s salary would steadily decline (Twitter link). His salary will go from $12.7MM next season to $11.7MM, $10.6MM and $9.6MM. That could help the Cavaliers open significant cap space in 2020, when it’s projected to rise to $116MM, Wojnarowski adds.
  • Pacers power forward Thaddeus Young believes two-way player Edmond Sumner is worthy of a standard contract, as he told Scott Agness of The Athletic (Twitter link). “He’s done very, very well. He has exceeded all expectations,” Young said. Summer appeared in 14 G League games and one with the Pacers last season. The 6’6” combo guard out of Xavier averaged 9.0 PPG in four preseason games but will likely spend the bulk of his second season with Fort Wayne once again.
  • Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine appears to be fully recovered from the ACL injury he suffered during the 2016/17 season, Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago reports. LaVine averaged 17.8 points on 52% shooting in 22.3 MPG during the preseason. Chicago retained LaVine by matching the Kings’ four-year, $78MM during restricted free agency this summer. LaVine appeared in 24 games last season after being acquired from the Timberwolves. “I think I found a good rhythm and then just keep that going into the regular season. I think last year still, I was trying to catch my rhythm with the games I played,” LaVine said.

Pistons Rumors: Drummond, Griffin, Jackson, Johnson

Pistons center Andre Drummond doesn’t plan to shoot a lot of threes but he’s thrilled that new coach Dwane Casey has given him the green light, as he told the Detroit Free Press. Casey believes if Drummond hits a couple of long range shots every game, it will create more space for everyone offensively. “The 3-point shot is something I’ve added six years ago,” he said. “I just never had a coach that allowed to me to shoot it. It’s something I’ve worked on consistently for a long time, so I guess now is my time to really showcase it.” Frontcourt partner Blake Griffin doesn’t want Drummond to stray from the basket too often.  “We still want to use Dre to his strengths because he’s one of the most dominant centers, one of the best finishers, one of the best rebounders,” Griffin said. “So it would be doing him a disservice to keep him away from the rim and doing the things he does best.”

We have more from the Pistons:

  • Both of Detroit’s top big men believe the team should set lofty goals. Griffin said homecourt advantage in the playoffs, at least for the opening round, should be the team’s regular-season aim. Drummond expects the Pistons to be serious contenders in the East. “The time is now,” he said. “We have everything we need to be great. There’s no reason why we can’t be a top team in the East or a top team in the NBA.”
  • Point guard Reggie Jackson (ankle), power forward Jon Leuer (knee) and shooting guard Luke Kennard (ankle) will be limited for the start of camp but all should be ready to play by opening night, according to senior advisor Ed Stefanski. “Those three are not in basketball shape,” Stefanski said.
  • Stefanski wouldn’t specifically address a question whether the team was interested in trading for Jimmy Butler but he noted the team has payroll limitations. However, he’s not averse to dealing for star players with expiring contracts. “That wouldn’t bother me,” he said. “It depends on what you have to give up.”
  • Small forward Stanley Johnson is eligible for an extension but the franchise is more focused on whether he’ll develop into a consistent performer. Johnson admits he still has a lot to prove. “(Owner) Tom (Gores) said, ‘I’m tired of hearing the word potential,'” Johnson said.

Pistons: Leuer, Brown, Robinson, Kennard

Injuries have sidetracked Jon Leuer‘s career but the Pistons will likely need him to provide minutes at both frontcourt spots during the upcoming season, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes in his latest mailbag. The Pistons have only two true centers and three power forwards on the roster, including Leuer, Langlois notes. He missed most of last season with an ankle injury that required surgery in January, then underwent a knee procedure this summer for a meniscus injury that occurred during a workout. He is expected to be ready by opening night.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Bruce Brown, one of two second-round picks from this June’s draft on the roster, will have a successful season if he proves he can play multiple positions, Langlois writes in a player profile. Brown will likely spend most of the season playing for the G League’s Grand Rapids Drive, where he could develop his skills at both wing positions and point guard. Offensively, he needs to improve his perimeter shooting and become a better finisher in the paint, Langlois adds.
  • Glenn Robinson III will soon have lunch with Dwane Casey to discuss his role at length but the former University of Michigan standout has a pretty good idea what his new coach wants, Langlois reports in a feature story. Robinson signed a tw0-year, $8.35MM contract with Detroit after an ankle injury wrecked his 2017/18 season with the Pacers. “We’ve got a spread offense,” he said. “My ability to shoot and help our big guys, Dre (Andre Drummond) and Blake (Griffin), my ability to defend, those are the main things I’ve been focusing on this summer – really knocking down that shot for us, being able to make plays for others, but also defending.”
  • Robinson and second-year wing Luke Kennard are the team’s most likely breakout candidates, Langlois opines in his mailbag posting. The timing could be just right for Robinson to emerge as an above-average wing, given his skill set. Kennard shot 40% from the 3-point line as a rookie despite his rotation spot being in flux. Casey’s penchant for spacing and ball movement should play to Kennard’s strengths, Langlois adds.

Central Notes: Hood, Leuer, Cavs

It’s official, Rodney Hood‘s long, humbling summer is over. We wrote earlier today that the restricted free agent was planning to accept his qualifying offer from the Cavaliers and now, per Shams Charania of The Athletic, the paperwork has been submitted.

Hood will land back in Cleveland for one season at $3.4MM but will try his luck again as an unrestricted free agent next summer. While Hood had initially hoped to land an eight-digit offer sheet and put pressure on the Cavaliers to match, such a generous offer never materialized.

As Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets, prior to Hood’s decision to sign the qualifying offer both he and the Cavaliers explored sign and trade options. Alas, the 25-year-old didn’t quite command what many – including us here at Hoops Rumors, admittedly – thought he might.

There’s more out of the Central Division this evening:

  • The Pistons need Jon Leuer to earn the $20MM he’s owed over the course of the next two seasons if they’re going to procure the frontcourt depth that they’ll need to compete in the East. Realistically, Keith Langlois of the team’s official site writes, they’ll look for the 29-year-old big man to slot in at both power forward and center and provide solid defense off the bench.
  • The Cavaliers have their work cut out for them building another serious contender in the Eastern Conference, fortunately the club isn’t afraid to take risks. Joe Gabriele of the Cavs’ team site recently broke down the biggest trades in club history.
  • Want to know more about Rodney Hood‘s terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad summer? Check out our summary of the initial announcement that he’d accepted the Cavaliers‘ qualifying offer, as well as some reporting about how he was angling for twice as much as recently as yesterday.

Central Notes: Pistons Lineup, Griffin, Smith, Paxson

Determining the two starters who will join Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson in the lineup is one of the things to watch for during the Pistons’ training camp, according to Keith Langlois of the team’s website. Stanley Johnson, Reggie Bullock and Luke Kennard are the three major candidates for those two slots. Jon Leuer, Henry Ellenson and Zaza Pachulia will vie for the role of first big man off the bench, though Leuer’s status for training camp is uncertain due to recent knee surgery, Langlois adds.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Having Griffin as the focal point of their offense for a full season has created optimism around the Pistons franchise, Ansar Khan of MLive writes in his latest player profile. The Pistons had trouble incorporating Griffin into the offense following the blockbuster trade with the Clippers in late January. But he has developed his all-around game and become a better 3-point shooter and passer, Khan continues. New coach Dwane Casey plans on putting the ball in his hands more often, Khan adds.
  • Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith was issued a desk ticket for misdemeanor criminal mischief after he allegedly tossed a fan’s cell phone into a construction site on July 26, according to an ESPN story. Smith spoke to police in New York City on Friday about the allegation and he will appear in Manhattan Criminal Court later this year.
  • Jim Paxson’s title with the Bulls has been changed from director of basketball operations to director of pro personnel, the team announced in a press release. The Bulls also promoted Brian Hagen to associate GM, Steve Weinman to assistant GM and and Miles Abbett to manager of minor league scouting and analytics.

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.