Luke Kennard

Central Rumors: Henson, Lopez, Sexton, Kennard

John Henson‘s wrist injury will cost him more than just a chunk of the season, as Bobby Marks of ESPN explains. The Bucks center will lose $750K in bonus money due to clauses in his contract. He was due $250K for appearing in 60 games and an additional $500K for 75 games. Henson, who is signed through next season, is expected to miss at least 12 weeks due to a torn left wrist ligament. Henson’s cap hit for the 2019/20 campaign will be reduced to $9.7MM after the season once the bonuses are deemed unlikely. That will give Milwaukee a little more financial flexibility next summer.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Bulls center Robin Lopez has seen his playing time increase in recent games and the team may be showcasing him and his expiring contract, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Lopez is making $14.3MM and the team could acquire an asset and move him to a contender, where he could add toughness off the bench without a long-term commitment, Cowley notes. Lopez is downplaying the possibility of getting traded. ‘‘I’ve always found that I kind of play best when I go out there and play unencumbered or unhampered by things like that,’’ he said.
  • Collin Sexton may have taken over the Cavaliers’ starting point guard spot from George Hill, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Cleveland’s lottery selection is averaging 18.0 PPG and shooting 48.4% since Hill injured his shoulder earlier this month. “There are just guys who feel more comfortable starting than coming off the bench,” head coach Larry Drew told Fedor and other media members. “I think everybody wants to start, but everybody’s production as a starter is not very good. … Certainly with G-Hill out, Collin has definitely stepped up to the plate and made his presence felt and has made a major impact to what we’ve been doing.”
  • Pistons shooting guard Luke Kennard will be out a few more weeks, according to the team’s latest medical update. Kennard suffered a right shoulder AC joint sprain on October 25th. Kennard’s rehabilitation process will continue for an additional two weeks with a gradual intensification towards basketball activity. That suggests Kennard, a second-year guard, won’t be back until sometime next month.

Pistons Exercise 2019/20 Option On Luke Kennard

The Pistons have picked up their 2019/20 team option on former lottery pick Luke Kennard, the team announced today in a press release. As a result, Detroit will carry a guaranteed cap hit of $3,827,160 on its books for Kennard next season.

Kennard, the 12th overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, may never reach the level of the player selected one spot after him (Donovan Mitchell), but he’s developing into a reliable contributor for the Pistons. In 76 career games so far, Kennard has averaged 7.6 PPG with an impressive .416 3PT% in a part-time role.

[RELATED: Decisions On 2019/20 Rookie Scale Options]

Kennard’s option was one of two that the Pistons had to make a decision on by Wednesday, and it seems his will be the only one exercised. A report from earlier today indicated that Detroit has opted not to pick up Henry Ellenson‘s fourth-year option for 2019/20.

Central Notes: Kennard, Dunn, Asik, Evans

Pistons coach Dwane Casey will use a variety of players to replace reserve guard Luke Kennard, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com reports. Kennard suffered a separated shoulder against Cleveland on Thursday and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks. Rookies Bruce Brown, Khyri Thomas and Zach Lofton along with Glenn Robinson III and Jose Calderon will take turns filling up Kennard’s rotation minutes until he returns.

“It’ll be matchup driven,” Casey said of the Pistons’ plans to fill Kennard’s minutes. “Glenn does a good job of chasing guys. Some guys have trouble against length. That will be Glenn. But Bruce, he’s capable of really guarding a lot of different people. Khyri Thomas, too. Luke going down is an opportunity for Khyri, Jose to be ready. … That’s why we have 15 on the roster. We’ll have to make a decision whether we want to bring up (two-way player) Zach Lofton. This is why you stay ready for your opportunity.”

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Bulls point guard Kris Dunn had no idea how badly he injured his knee until he returned home from Dallas, according to Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. Dunn will be out 4-6 weeks with an MCL sprain in his left knee. He originally thought it was just a bruise but the pain increased on the flight home on Monday and the knee locked up on him when he returned home. An MRI the next morning revealed the severity of the injury. “I think it’s unlucky. It comes with the game,” Dunn said. “I can either cry about it or try to work my way around it. I’m going to stay positive, be a man about it.”
  • The Bulls decided not to use the stretch provision on the $3MM guarantee for Omer Asik‘s 2019 salary, ESPN’s Bobby Marks confirms (Twitter link). Chicago ate the approximately $11.3MM owed to Asik this season and waived him over the weekend. The team could have chosen to stretch out the $3MM guarantee for next season over a three-year period. However, the $3MM cap hit could be erased entirely if the 32-year-old Asik is deemed medically ineligible to play. Asik is out indefinitely with inflammatory arthritis.
  • Tyreke Evans will sit out Saturday’s game against Cleveland for violating team rules, the Pacers announced in a press release. Evans, who signed a one-year, $12MM contract as a free agent this summer, said that he was late for practice and expressed remorse. “This is the most professional and team-oriented organization I have been with in my career,” he said. “They deserve my best every day and I am disappointed in myself for causing a distraction that prevents me from being able to help my team tomorrow. I will do better.”

Luke Kennard Injures Shoulder, Expected To Miss 3-4 Weeks

OCTOBER 26: After undergoing an MRI, Kennard has officially been diagnosed with an AC joint sprain, the Pistons announced today in a press release. He’ll be re-evaluated in two weeks, according to the team.

Wojnarowski, meanwhile, classifies the injury as a separated shoulder and tweets that Kennard is expected to miss three to four weeks.

OCTOBER 25: Pistons guard Luke Kennard has suffered a sprained right shoulder and a likely separation, according ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Kennard will undergo an MRI Friday to determine the severity of the injury.

Kennard appeared to injure his shoulder while running into a hard screen in the first half of the Pistons game on Thursday, leaving the contest early in clear pain. He tallied eight points, one assist and one steal before exiting the game.

Kennard’s timetable for a return largely depends on the details of the injury and whether he needs surgery. Some NBA players have missed several months with a shoulder separation, while others have simply been listed as day-to-day in past seasons for a mild separation.

As noted by Wojnarowski, it’s possible Kennard didn’t suffer a separation and only sprained his shoulder, although results won’t be released until the MRI exam is complete.

Kennard, 22, was drafted by the Pistons with the No. 12 pick in 2017. He averaged 7.6 points and 2.4 rebounds per game last season, shooting an impressive 42% from 3-point range.

Central Notes: Love, Harrison, Kennard, O’Quinn

The Kevin Love trade watch is already under way in Cleveland, according to Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. The Cavaliers were hoping to continue their streak of playoff appearances after losing LeBron James, but they haven’t looked like contenders in any way during an 0-3 start, especially in Sunday’s blowout loss to the Hawks.

Love has been among the few bright spots, averaging 20.7 PPG and 14.3 RPG, but at age 30 he seems out of place on a team that may have to get serious about rebuilding. The four-year, $120MM extension he signed this summer may make him more attractive on the trade market, Bontemps suggests, just as a similar deal did for Blake Griffin last summer. Love won’t become trade eligible until late January, and the Cavs could be well out of the postseason race by then

There’s more today from the Central Division:

  • The Bulls have an abundance of point guards after signing Shaquille Harrison over the weekend, notes Sam Smith of NBA.com. Kris Dunn is expected to take over the starting role when he returns from paternity leave tonight, with Harrison and former Suns teammate Tyler Ulis in reserve, along with Cameron Payne and Ryan Arcidiacono. Harrison hopes to use his defensive prowess to help him emerge from the pack. “It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “When I found out, I was extremely excited and ready to get down here and get to work. It was an unfortunate situation in Phoenix, but I’m going to take full advantage of it here in Chicago.”
  • Coach Dwane Casey’s lineup shuffling led to Luke Kennard not playing at all on Saturday after being in the starting lineup for the season opener, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. The new Pistons coach is working his way through a crowded rotation and has used point guards Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith at the same time, cutting down on the available wing minutes.
  • Free agent addition Kyle O’Quinn paid early dividends for the Pacers in Saturday’s win over the Nets, states Scott Agness of The Athletic. With Domantas Sabonis ruled out shortly before game time, O’Quinn stepped in with 16 points, eight rebounds and a pair of blocks. “This is what we brought him here for,” coach Nate McMillan said. “… There are going to be nights where we’re going to need him. Domas was out, (Kyle) stepped in and he was ready to go, and played a really, really good game for us.”

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: 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.

Pistons Rumors: Kennard, Ellenson, Smith, Projection

The Pistons have big plans for second-year guard Luke Kennard and he rates as a breakout candidate for the upcoming season, Ben Nadeau of Basketball Insiders writes. Kennard averaged 11.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG and 2.5 APG during the last 19 games of his rookie season and his role will expand under new coach Dwane Casey, Nadeau continues. Kennard has the ability to play three positions and he has the potential to become one of the league’s premier 3-point shooters, Nadeau adds.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Power forward Henry Ellenson has been selected for the USA National Team qualifying for the World Championships, Rod Beard of the Detroit News tweets. Ellenson has played sparingly in his first two NBA seasons after being chosen in the first round of the 2016 draft but his role is expected to expand during the upcoming season under Casey.
  • Point guard Ish Smith could be traded during the season, Ansar Khan of MLive.com opines. Smith is entering the final year of his contract and the Pistons also have Jose Calderon and Kennard available for that role, Khan continues. Otherwise, Smith will be the primary backup to Reggie Jackson. He improved his 3-point shooting toward the end of last season and is well-suited for the second unit due his energy, speed and ability to attack the basket, Khan adds.
  • The big man combination of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond should be enough for the Pistons to secure the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype predicts. Sierra sees Detroit finishing third in the Central Division and eighth in the conference despite a lack of talent beyond the frontcourt duo.

Central Rumors: Cavs Roster, Kennard, Lopez

The Cavaliers plan to leave an open spot on the roster heading into training camp, Joe Vardon of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Cleveland currently has 12 players on guaranteed deals and has filled both of its two-way slots. The Cavs are holding spots for both restricted free agent Rodney Hood, whose negotiations with the organization have stalled, and free agent guard David Nwaba, who has agreed to a contract but is still working out all the details, according to Vardon. Training-camp invitees will battle for the final spot on the 15-man roster, Vardon adds.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers will allow the remainder of their trade exception from the Kyrie Irving deal to expire on Wednesday but they still have two more exceptions, Vardon notes in the same piece. It has exceptions of $2.5MM and $1.3MM from the deal that sent Richard Jefferson and Kay Felder to the Hawks last season. Those exceptions expire on October 15th.
  • Pistons swingman Luke Kennard could have an expanded role in his second season, according to Ansar Khan of MLive.com. New coach Dwane Casey wants Kennard to handle the ball more often and become a playmaker, Khan continues. He could see action at three positions, though he will primarily back up Reggie Bullock at shooting guard, Khan adds.
  • Free agent acquisitions Brook Lopez and Ersan Ilyasova fit the current NBA model of big men who can stretch the floor, Bucks GM Jon Horst declares in a video clip posted on the team’s Twitter feed“With Brook and Ersan, you have guys that have great size, that can shoot the three. They compete on both ends of the floor and have high basketball IQ,” Horst said.