Killian Hayes

Central Notes: Turner, Markkanen, Hayes, Pistons

Myles Turner heard his name pop up in trade rumors last offseason, specifically regarding the Celtics, and there’s a good chance the Pacers will see what they could get for Turner in talks this summer. Turner says his preference would be to stay put, as he told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney.

“I love Indianapolis and there’s no place I’d rather be than here – it’s my second home and the fans are the best the NBA has to offer. In terms of any trade rumors, I’m really just trying to stick to basketball,” Turner said. “I’m laser-focused on being the best I can be on the court, supporting my teammates and trying not to get wrapped up in rumors.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Mavericks and Knicks are two potential landing spots for Bulls free agent Lauri Markkanen, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times speculates. According to Cowley, Markkanen would prefer to join forces with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, but Markkanen and Porzingis possess similar skill sets, so that might not be a fit for the Mavericks. However, the Knicks will have the most cap room this offseason and could use more shooting, Cowley adds. Chicago will have to extend a $9MM offer to make Markkanen a restricted free agent.
  • Killian Hayes needs more time to develop before anyone can determine whether he’s a long-term fit with the Pistons, Rod Beard of The Detroit News writes. The abbreviated preseason put all rookies behind the proverbial eight-ball and Hayes missed a significant chunk of time with a hip injury. The summer will be crucial for Hayes to develop his game.
  • The Pistons hold the No. 2 spot heading into next month’s draft lottery. The Athletic’s James Edwards III examines some potential scenarios, depending upon where the team sits after the lottery is held.

Central Notes: Hayes, Bucks, Sampson, Jrue Holiday

Pistons rookie guard Killian Hayes has appreciated the opportunity to log some time as a combo guard alongside fellow rookie ball handler Saben Lee as Detroit’s season wraps up, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News.

“I love it,” the 6’5″ Hayes said of his minutes alongside Lee in the Pistons’ backcourt. “That’s the second game I played at the same time with Saben and I love being able to play and be off the ball… So, with me being off of it and Saben doing his thing, creating, I just like playing the combo guard.”

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Bucks will be boosting their home court crowd capacity to 50% (approximately 9K fans) for the playoffs, per an official team announcement. Milwaukee is currently hosting roughly 3,300 fans (18% of the Fiserv Forum’s capacity).
  • Pacers forward JaKarr Sampson cleared the NBA’s concussion protocols and was able to return to the floor tonight for the first time since April 29, tweets J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star. The reserve appeared played 4 minutes in Indiana’s 103-94 win over the Sixers.
  • Bucks point guard Jrue Holiday has clinched a $255K minutes-played bonus after logging 1,823 minutes during the 2020/21 season, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. The 30-year-old has been a key contributor for a stellar Bucks season. Led by All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee is presently the No. 3 seed in the East with a 43-25 record.

Central Notes: Hayes, Stewart, Sirvydis, Gottlieb, Varejao

The Pistons’ four rookie draft picks continue to receive extensive playing time and coach Dwane Casey is encouraged by the progress of the team’s so-called “Core Four,” Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. That quartet of Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey and Saben Lee combined for 73 points, 22 rebounds and 19 assists against the Bulls on Sunday.

“It’s another area of growth, of toughness,” Casey said. “If you win with toughness in this league, we’d have won quite a few games. Those guys toughed it out – mentally, physically – and it says a lot about their character, who they are as people.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Another Pistons rookie, Euro import Deividas Sirvydis, had an eight-point, six-rebound outing against Philadelphia on Saturday and he’s also trying to make an impression in the late going, Langlois writes in a separate story. Sirvydis joined Detroit during the offseason after being selected in the second round in 2019 as a draft-and-stash prospect. “The main thing with him is getting stronger, which he’s done,” Casey said. “I’ve told our guys, he’s going to be a player one day. He’s going to be one of those big two/threes who can stretch the floor.”
  • Cavaliers assistant Lindsay Gottlieb is leaving the franchise when the regular season is completed. She has been named USC’s head women’s coach, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Gottlieb, who had been on Cleveland’s staff since 2019, was the first female head coach from a Power 5 conference to become an NBA assistant coach. She previously coached Cal for eight seasons.
  • While it may have been heartwarming to see 38-year-old Anderson Varejao make a brief comeback in the NBA, the Cavaliers should have evaluated a younger player looking for a chance, Joe Vardon of The Athletic argues. The team could have signed someone who played in the G League or overseas and potentially found a diamond in the rough, Vardon writes, noting that some other teams have gotten productive minutes from players on 10-day contracts or rest-of-season deals.

Central Notes: Temple, Bryant, Pacers, Hayes

As his first year with the Bulls nears its end, veteran swingman Garrett Temple praised the job that president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley have done for the franchise so far, suggesting that the front office is one reason why Chicago will be an appealing destination for free agents.

“I think people that understand and are free agents and things of that nature, are probably looking at the Bulls front office as a place, a group of people that know what they’re doing for sure,” Temple said, per Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago.

Temple, whose one-year contract with the Bulls will expire at season’s end, added that he believes the club is capable of taking “great steps in the next year or two” and expressed interest in remaining in Chicago beyond 2020/21.

“Yeah, no question. I love what we’re doing here. I love the coaching staff. I’m enjoying the front office. I’m really enjoying being around the guys,” Temple said. “For example in Detroit (Saturday) night we were hanging out together in the lobby area, talking and playing cards. Those type of things. Not every team is like that. I enjoy being here. And I would love to see what we could do to progress this type of team.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Maccabi Tel Aviv issued a press release confirming that they’ve officially parted with Elijah Bryant, allowing him to pursue an NBA opportunity. Having left his team in Israel, Bryant is on track to sign with the Bucks.
  • After their very public altercation on the sidelines last week, Pacers center Goga Bitadze and assistant coach Greg Foster appear to have smoothed things over. Video from before Saturday’s game showed them embracing, laughing, and working together, as Nat Newell of The Indianapolis Star relays.
  • Pistons rookie Killian Hayes racked up a career-high 21 points against Chicago on Sunday and said after the game that he appreciated being able to play off the ball alongside fellow guard Saben Lee. This is the second time I played with Saben, I loved it,” Hayes said, per Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). “… When you always have the ball in your hands, the defense can read what you’re going to do.” As Sankofa observes (via Twitter), Hayes’ comfort level in that role could be important if the Pistons find themselves in position to select an on-ball guard such as Cade Cunningham near the top of this year’s draft.

Eastern Notes: Butler, Spoelstra, Hayes, Williams, Wizards

Heat star Jimmy Butler recently reflected on his relationship with head coach Erik Spoelstra, a partnership that’s lasted since the team acquired Butler in a sign-and-trade back in July of 2019.

Butler and Spoelstra are known as basketball purists, a competitive player-coach duo that helped lead Miami to its first Finals berth since 2014 last season.

“(We) keep it real with one another,” Butler said of his relationship with Spoelstra, as relayed by Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “We got in a little predicament [Wednesday against the Spurs]. But it’s nothing new. Everything is not all good all the time. But we both want to win, we both have the same agenda.

“So I think he’s helping me grow a tremendous amount, talking about leadership as a player and what to look for with my guys. He’s making sure that I put a lot of trust in my teammates and in my young guys, and I appreciate him for it.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • Pistons rookie Killian Hayes is still playing with a sense of urgency despite his team being eliminated from playoff contention, as relayed by Rod Beard of The Detroit News. The 19-year-old Hayes was the team’s No. 7 pick in the draft last year and has only appeared in 19 games this season due to injury.
  • The Bulls need more production from rookie Patrick Williams, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times opines. “I’m trying to be aggressive,’’ Williams said. “But kind of like I said, it’s a learning experience, for sure. We have some more games to go, so hopefully I can continue to get better at that.’’ On the season, Williams has averaged 9.2 points and 4.6 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game across 63 starts.
  • The red-hot Wizards have three secret weapons in the middle, Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post writes. Boswell examines the production the club has received from Daniel Gafford, Robin Lopez and Alex Len, all of whom have seen valuable minutes in recent weeks. Washington has been playing without its starting center, Thomas Bryant, since he suffered a partially torn ACL in January.

Central Notes: Osman, Holiday, Pacers, Pistons Rookies

Cedi Osman has temporarily regained a rotation spot, giving the Cavaliers forward another shot to prove his value before the season ends, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. Due to injuries, Osman made his first start since March 26 and his first appearance since April 14 on Sunday. Osman, whose front-loaded contract lasts through the 2023/24 season, had 19 points and five assists in 37 minutes.

“It was a lot of him putting the time in and working on his own game,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “I think he had some struggles early on, but I believe that Cedi is a good basketball player. And when given the opportunity, when playing with confidence and playing assertive, he can have an impact on the game.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Jrue Holiday is the biggest reason why the Bucks are a different team than last season, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic, and Nehm breaks down some of Holiday’s plays over the weekend to demonstrate his impact. Holiday signed a four-year extension worth up to $160MM earlier this month.
  • The Pacers have played well using small-ball lineups with Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner sidelined by injuries and that should help them in the postseason, according to J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star“It makes us a better team because guys get time on the floor, which means, come playoff time, if those guys play they’ll be ready,” Justin Holiday said. “Whatever happens I think we’re going to be ready for it.”
  • Pistons rookies Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart are all receiving rotation minutes, prompting Pistons.com’s Keith Langlois to review past drafts to see how other teams with three or more first-rounders in the same year fared with their selections — so far, Detroit stacks up favorably to those clubs.

Eastern Notes: Vildoza, Hill, Tucker, Pistons Rookies

The Knicks will likely make a roster move at some point to replace John Henson, who didn’t receive another 10-day contract. A wild card could be Baskonia combo guard Luca Vildoza. According to Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas (Twitter link), Vildoza is on the Knicks’ radar. The 25-year-old, 6’3” Vildoza is averaging 10.1 PPG and 3.4 APG in the EuroLeague this season.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Sixers coach Doc Rivers is optimistic George Hill will make his team debut in the coming week, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Hill was acquired from Oklahoma City in a three-team deadline deal last month. The veteran guard had surgery on his right thumb on February 2, and hasn’t played since January 24. Hill’s $10MM salary for next season isn’t guaranteed and Philadelphia is looking for him to be a postseason factor.
  • P.J. Tucker missed three weeks of action before returning this week and revealing that the calf injury that sidelined him cropped up before he was traded by Houston to the Bucks, Eric Nehm of The Athletic tweets. Tucker wanted to play through the injury but the Bucks’ medical staff chose to keep him inactive until he healed.
  • The Pistons started all of their first-round picks for the first time on Friday and Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey lifted the team to a win over Oklahoma City. Backup center Jahlil Okafor says it’s a pleasure to be around the hard-working trio, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. “Seeing them every day, how serious they are in their approach, I’m really proud of them,” Okafor said. “It’s a breath of fresh air being around these types of rookies who love the game so much and are so eager to learn. It’s kind of uplifting.”

Pistons Notes: Doumbouya, Jackson, Hayes, Draft

Pistons second-year forward Sekou Doumbouya has earned more playing time in recent games, serving as a key cog in the team’s rotation this past week.

The 20-year-old saw just over 23 minutes of action on Monday, nine minutes on Tuesday, 13 minutes on Thursday, and nearly 23 minutes on Saturday. He finished with 11 points and three rebounds in Saturday’s contest, also recording two steals and two blocks.

“He’s earning it and he’s playing well,” head coach Dwane Casey said, according to Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). “A lot of it is the seriousness of his approach to the game. He’s put in the extra work, and it’s showing.”

The Pistons drafted Doumbouya with the No. 15 pick back in 2019. His role has fluctuated this season, but it’s one that could be worth keeping an eye on as the campaign moves forward.

Here are some other notes from Detroit today:

  • Point guard Frank Jackson is finding his groove as a scoring option off the bench, Keith Langlois of NBA.com writes. Jackson scored 17 points in just over 20 minutes on Saturday against Portland, shooting 6-of-9 from the floor. “He’s instant offense off the bench,” Casey said. “He’s one of our best defenders on the ball. That young man is really growing right before us. For me, he’s grown as much as anyone else. Just really impressed with his approach. He stays ready. It’s not easy to come off the bench and score the way he does with ease.”
  • Omari Sankofa II examines a number of Pistons-related topics in his latest mailbag, including the return of rookie Killian Hayes (hip). Hayes has only appeared in 11 games this season, averaging 4.9 points per contest on 32% shooting. He made his return against New York last week after missing nearly three months of action.
  • Rod Beard of The Detroit News considers which prospect the team should draft if it obtains the No. 2 pick this year. Players such as Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, Evan Mobley and Jalen Suggs are all potential options depending on who gets selected with the first pick — which could ultimately wind up with Detroit. The Pistons currently trail the Timberwolves by three games and the Rockets by two games in the NBA’s “reverse standings.”

Central Notes: Hayes, Theis, Okoro, White

Rookie Pistons point guard Killian Hayes discussed his first game for Detroit in almost three months with reporters, as captured by The Detroit News (video link). “It’s a whole different team from when I left,” Hayes said. Detroit has subtracted Blake Griffin and added Hamidou Diallo and Cory Joseph since the rookie last played.

The No. 7 pick in the 2020 draft, Hayes has missed 41 games thus far this season with a right hip subluxation. In his first game back on the court since January 4 (and eighth overall) against the Knicks yesterday, Hayes went scoreless on 0-of-3 shooting, but pulled down five rebounds and dished out three assists.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic assesses how new Bulls big man Daniel Theis can make an impact in Chicago. Theis is already impressing his teammates. “He’s a difference-maker,” All-Star shooting guard Zach LaVine raved. Mayberry contends that adding the 6’8″ Theis, the starting center for the Celtics across the past year-and-a-half, was a coup at the deadline. “Whenever I step on the court I just want to give everything I’ve got,” the 29-year-old said. “I just want to help the team, whenever I’m out there, get better and win games.” 
  • Although the Cavaliers fell 115-104 to the Heat yesterday, rookie shooting guard Isaac Okoro scored 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field and won the respect of star Heat wing Jimmy Butler, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “His potential is out of this world,” Butler said of 2020’s fifth overall pick drafted out of Auburn. Okoro has had an erratic 2020/21 season (averaging a relatively modest 8.0 PPG, 2.8 RPG and 1.7 APG), but he has started in all his 44 games with Cleveland thus far.
  • Second-year Bulls reserve point guard Coby White has entered the NBA’s coronavirus health and safety protocols, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago tweets.

Pistons Expect Killian Hayes To Return Saturday

Killian Hayes has missed most of his rookie season with a hip injury, but the Pistons believe he’ll be able to return for Saturday’s game against the Knicks, tweets James Edwards III of The Athletic.

Hayes has been making significant progress with the injury lately, although most estimates were for him to return sometime next week. He was cleared for on-court basketball activities in mid-March.

The seventh pick in last year’s draft, Hayes won the starting point guard job in training camp. He played just seven games, averaging 4.6 points and 3.6 assists in 21.1 minutes per night, before suffering a right hip subluxation.

Aside from that early-season glimpse, the 19-year-old remains something of a mystery to most North American basketball fans. He grew up in France and played a season in Germany before being drafted. He will presumably be worked back into a starting role so the Pistons can see what he’s capable of before this year’s draft.