Mason Plumlee

Pistons Expected To Waive-And-Stretch Dedmon

NOVEMBER 21: The Pistons likely won’t use the stretch provision on McGruder after all, according to Edwards (Twitter link). The team will save some money in its trade for Delon Wright and no longer needs the extra space that waiving and stretching McGruder would provide.


NOVEMBER 20: The Pistons have made a flurry of reported free agent moves and they’ll apparently clear cap space by using the waive-and-stretch provision on two recent acquisitions.

They’ll waive center Dewayne Dedmon and use the stretch provision to ease the cap hit, according to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). They’re likely to do the same with Rodney McGruder, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets.

Detroit officially acquired Dedmon from the Hawks on Friday in exchange for Tony Snell and Khyri Thomas. Dedmon was slated to make $13.33MM in the upcoming season with an identical contract number that was only guaranteed for $1MM for the 2021/22 season.

The Pistons acquired McGruder from the Clippers in a three-team trade that became official on Thursday. McGruder had a guaranteed $5.2MM contract for the upcoming season with a non-guaranteed salary of $5MM for 2021/22.

Those non-guaranteed years are significant because they allow Detroit’s front office use the stretch provision for five years instead of three, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report notes (Twitter links). Since only the guaranteed money counts, Dedmon would only count $2.9MM against the Pistons’ cap over the next five seasons, while the cap hit on McGruder would be just over $1MM in those years.

The Pistons made the trade with Atlanta because it allowed them stretch Dedmon’s contract over five years, rather than stretching Snell’s $12.2MM expiring contract for three years, Edwards tweets.

Those moves will allow Detroit to ink free agents Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee, as well as completing a sign-and-trade with Houston involving Christian Wood.

Pistons To Sign Okafor To Two-Year Contract

The Pistons added another big man to their stockpile of frontcourt players, as they’re signing Jahlil Okafor to a two-year contract, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Okafor will sign for the veteran’s minimum, Rod Beard of the Detroit News tweets.

Detroit has added a number of centers and power forwards in recent days. It drafted Isaiah Stewart in the middle of the first round on Wednesday and traded for Dewayne Dedmon. The Pistons also reached a three-year agreement with Nuggets free agent Mason Plumlee.

All this makes it more unlikely their top free agent, Christian Wood, will return. It’s still conceivable they could make a sign-and-trade deal with one of Wood’s pursuers.

Okafor has spent the last two seasons with the Pelicans. He contributed 8.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 1.2 APG in 15.6 MPG in 30 appearances last season. Like Plumlee, Okafor is not a 3-point threat. The third overall pick in the 2015 draft has averaged 11.0 PPG and 5.0 RPG in 220 career games.

Pistons, Mason Plumlee Agree To Three-Year Deal

The Pistons have agreed to a three-year, $25MM deal with free agent center Mason Plumlee, agent Mark Bartelstein tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Plumlee, who has served as Nikola Jokic‘s backup in Denver in recent years, is a solid, steady option in the middle who moves the ball well on offense. He averaged 7.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and 2.5 APG in 61 games (17.3 MPG) for Denver in 2019/20.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), the Pistons had about $10MM in projected cap room before free agency began, so it sounds like a good chunk of that money will go to Plumlee. It’s not clear what this means for Christian Wood‘s future — he overlaps positionally with Plumlee to some extent, and this deal reduced the team’s cap flexibility. However, it’s possible that additional moves will reopen a path to re-signing Wood.

The Nuggets, meanwhile, have now lost one of their three frontcourt players that reached unrestricted free agency this evening. Denver is expected to make an effort to re-sign both Jerami Grant and Paul Millsap.

Nuggets Notes: Malone, Free Agents, Morris, Murray

Even though the Nuggets‘ magical postseason run came to an end Saturday, the team appears to have a bright future ahead, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. After overcoming 3-1 deficits in the first two rounds of the playoffs, Denver couldn’t do it again against the Lakers, but coach Michael Malone believes the experience in Orlando should benefit his players.

“I think we have something special brewing,” Malone said. “And I think most importantly, I think people around this country, around the world, who were watching the playoffs, this group of guys, you would be hard pressed to find a better story coming out of this bubble. A bunch of young kids faced elimination, looked it in the face and just kept on surviving and advancing.”

The Nuggets’ hopes for improvement will center around the development of rookie forward Michael Porter Jr., who averaged 11.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in the postseason. Porter should be a full-time rotation player next season, and fellow rookie Bol Bol may also have a larger role. In addition, Will Barton will return after missing the entire playoffs with a knee injury.

“I think all great teams and champions have to go through the pains of losing,” Malone said. “And nothing is handed to you in this business. And we’re making steps. We’re moving in the right direction with a great group of guys.”

There’s more on the Nuggets:

  • Denver’s challenge for the offseason will be deciding how to handle free agents Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee, Torrey Craig and Paul Millsap without exceeding the luxury tax threshold, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN. The Nuggets hold Bird rights or Early Bird rights on all four players and can go over the salary cap to keep them. However, the team already has $95MM in guaranteed money committed to five players. Marks states that Denver can spend $29MM without paying the tax — that figure drops to $20MM if Grant opts into a $9.3MM salary for next season.
  • Reaching an extension with reserve point guard Monte Morris should be another priority, Marks adds in the same story. Morris has a $1.7MM non-guaranteed contract for 2020/21 that will become guaranteed whenever free agency begins. Marks believes a realistic extension offer would be in the neighborhood of $27MM over three years.
  • Jamal Murray played Saturday’s game with a bone bruise on his right knee and another bruise on his right foot, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. The pain contributed to Murray’s off night with 19 points on 7-of-17 shooting. “I don’t like to tell everybody what I got. I just like to play through it,” he said. “I was in pain, but it’s cool. I was out there. I was struggling a little bit today.”

Free Agent Stock Watch: Playoff Edition

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. With the playoffs ongoing at the Orlando campus, it’s time to examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors.

Rajon Rondo, Lakers, 34, PG (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $5.2MM deal in 2019

Just when it seems that Rondo’s career is winding down, he reinforces how effective he can be when he’s healthy. Rondo was an afterthought when play resumes, as he was still recovering from a busted right hand. Coach Frank Vogel didn’t hesitate to give Rondo a large role once he was ready to play again in the conference semifinals. Rondo piled up 10 points, nine assists and five steals in the Lakers’ Game 2 win over Houston and 21 points and nine assists in Game 3. He came up two assists shy of a triple-double in Game 4. Rondo has a $2.62MM player option for next season. He’s given himself the flexibility of opting out and getting a better offer in free agency.

Jae Crowder, Heat, 30, SF (Up) – Signed to a five-year, $35MM deal in 2015

Crowder has played a major role in the Heat’s surprising run to the Eastern Conference semifinals. His defense against Giannis Antetokounmpo and 3-point shooting were instrumental as Miami knocked off the top seed. He averaged 15.2 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 2.2 APG in 33.6 MPG and made 43.2% of his shots during the conference semifinals. When Miami acquired Crowder from the Grizzlies before the trade deadline, it was assumed Andre Iguodala would make the biggest impact. Instead, Crowder has re-established his value. He’ll attract plenty of attention on the free agent market and could get a full mid-level from a playoff contender.

Mason Plumlee, Nuggets, 30, C (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $41MM deal in 2017

Plumlee got steady playing time as Nikola Jokic’s backup during the regular season, averaging 7.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 2.5 APG in 17.3 MPG. As the playoffs have progressed, Plumlee’s minutes have plummeted and so has his confidence. Even with his six-point outing in Game 5 against the Clippers on Friday, the big man is averaging more fouls (2.2) than points (1.6) in 10.3 MPG uring the postseason. That, plus the fact Plumlee doesn’t stretch defenses, complicates his ability to find a home in unrestricted free agency this offseason. Plumlee will probably be staring at veteran’s minimum offers, a far cry from what he received three years ago.

Stanley Johnson, Raptors, 24, SF (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $7.4MM deal in 2019

Johnson’s representatives did their client a big favor by securing a player option on the second year of his contract. It would be foolhardy for Johnson to pass up the guaranteed $3.8MM and test the free agent waters, considering he’s spent most of the season at the end of Toronto’s bench. Johnson’s postseason minutes have consisted of three late-game appearances in blowouts. He wasn’t in the rotation throughout the regular season, either. Johnson was the eighth pick of the 2015 draft and his first team, Detroit, is still lamenting the fact it picked him instead of Devin Booker, Myles Turner or Justise Winslow.

Brad Wanamaker, Celtics, 31, PG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $1.44MM deal in 2019

Coaches often shorten their rotations during the postseason but Wanamaker has continued to receive steady bench minutes from coach Brad Stevens. He’s averaged 5.8 PPG and 1.7 APG in 17.8 MPG and made the most of his limited 3-point opportunities (52.6%). Wanamaker, who spent most of his career overseas, re-signed with the Celtics last season on a minimum deal. He’s a restricted free agent but his qualifying offer of $1.82MM is peanuts by NBA standards. He’s improved his chances of the Celtics extending that offer, unless they have their eyes on another free agent point guard to back up Kemba Walker.

Nets Owner Joe Tsai Not Involved In A-Rod, J-Lo Mets Bid

After Nets owner Joe Tsai was named as one of many high-profile sports figures attached to Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez’s bid to purchase the Mets, he denied being involved in the process on Saturday.

Sorry Twitter, it is not true,Tsai said in a tweet. “I grew up as a Mets fan and I have a lot of respect for Alex and Jennifer. But I’m not involved in bidding for the Mets. Gotta focus on basketball.”

Rodriguez and Lopez have put together a star-studded group as they attempt to acquire the MLB franchise, with multiple NBA names attached to the group. Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Nuggets big man Mason Plumlee  — who originally named Tsai as part of the group— are among those involved. Additionally, Pro Football Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher, former Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and former Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray are part of the bid.

Whether or not Rodriguez and Lopez are successful in their Mets venture remains to be seen. However, it appears it will be without the help of Tsai, who assumed full ownership of the Nets and Barclays Center last August.

Northwest Notes: Nuggets Draft, Plumlee, Ingles, Beasley

The Nuggets’ front office has focused on the draft during the hiatus and they could prioritize perimeter shooting, Nick Kosmider of The Athletic writes. Vanderbilt’s Aaron Nesmith, Villanova’s Saddiq Bey, Alabama’s Kira Lewis Jr. and Arizona’s Josh Green are among the wings who could be available with Denver’s first-round pick. The Nuggets traded away their pick but own the Rockets’ first-rounder, which currently puts them at No. 21 or 22 overall.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Mason Plumlee is a luxury that the Nuggets may not be able to afford after this season, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post. The reserve center is a steady contributor due to his rebounding, passing and ability to finish on the break. He was also a featured piece in their defensive lineups but Plumlee will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and financial constraints may force the club to let him walk.
  • Jazz swingman Joe Ingles plans to return to Australia when he retires but he’s not sure what the future holds when his current contract expires, according to Aaron Falk of the team’s website. “My whole plan was to play out my deal and make a decision after that,” Ingles said. “But if it’s time to go home and put them in school and settle down, that’s obviously my first priority. It’s not whether I want to keep playing. It’s a family deal.” Ingles is signed through the 2021/22 season, including a one-year, $13MM extension he signed last October.
  • Guard Malik Beasley has already made his way into the Timberwolves’ long-term plans, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. Beasley averaged 20.7 PPG in 14 games after he was acquired from the Nuggets. Beasley is noncommittal. “Right now it’s tough to decide for anything,” Beasley said. “We don’t even know if we’re playing or not, so it’s just tough to decide that.” Minnesota, which also holds Beasley’s Bird Rights, only has to extend a $3.9MM qualifying offer to make Beasley a restricted FA.

USA Basketball Announces 44 Finalists For 2020 Olympic Roster

USA Basketball has formally announced a preliminary group of 44 players who are candidates to be part of the program’s roster for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The final roster will only consist of 12 players, so most of these finalists won’t actually play for Team USA at the Olympics. Some will likely withdraw from consideration, while others simply won’t make the final cut. However, these players have all expressed interest in being involved in the process.

“This is the first step in USA Basketball identifying the 12 players who will represent the United States as members of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team in Tokyo,” said USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo.

“… Over the course of the remainder of the NBA season we’ll continue to monitor all of the athletes. Selecting the 12-man USA roster will obviously be an extremely challenging and difficult process, and we will again attempt to select the very best team possible to represent our country and who we hope will be successful in our difficult mission of repeating as Olympic champions for a fourth consecutive Olympics.”

Although the U.S. men’s team has won three consecutive Olympic gold medals, the program had a disappointing showing at last year’s World Cup, finishing in seventh place. Team USA will be looking for a bounce-back performance in Tokyo this summer, with many players from that World Cup squad among the 44 finalists announced today.

Here’s the full list of players who are candidates to play for Team USA at the 2020 Olympics:

  1. Bam Adebayo (Heat)
  2. LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs)
  3. Harrison Barnes (Kings)
  4. Bradley Beal (Wizards)
  5. Devin Booker (Suns)
  6. Malcolm Brogdon (Pacers)
  7. Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
  8. Jimmy Butler (Heat)
  9. Mike Conley (Jazz)
  10. Stephen Curry (Warriors)
  11. Anthony Davis (Lakers)
  12. DeMar DeRozan (Spurs)
  13. Andre Drummond (Cavaliers)
  14. Kevin Durant (Nets)
  15. Paul George (Clippers)
  16. Draymond Green (Warriors)
  17. James Harden (Rockets)
  18. Montrezl Harrell (Clippers)
  19. Joe Harris (Nets)
  20. Tobias Harris (76ers)
  21. Gordon Hayward (Celtics)
  22. Dwight Howard (Lakers)
  23. Brandon Ingram (Pelicans)
  24. Kyrie Irving (Nets)
  25. LeBron James (Lakers)
  26. Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
  27. Kawhi Leonard (Clippers)
  28. Damian Lillard (Blazers)
  29. Brook Lopez (Bucks)
  30. Kevin Love (Cavaliers)
  31. Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
  32. JaVale McGee (Lakers)
  33. Khris Middleton (Bucks)
  34. Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
  35. Victor Oladipo (Pacers)
  36. Chris Paul (Thunder)
  37. Mason Plumlee (Nuggets)
  38. Marcus Smart (Celtics)
  39. Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  40. Klay Thompson (Warriors)
  41. Myles Turner (Pacers)
  42. Kemba Walker (Celtics)
  43. Russell Westbrook (Rockets)
  44. Derrick White (Spurs)

Northwest Notes: Whiteside, Nuggets, Towns, Wiggins, Dort

The Trail Blazers will entertain offers for center Hassan Whiteside, a free agent after the season, and The Athletic’s Jason Quick estimates the chances of him being traded at 50/50. Quick also dealt with a few other Blazers-related topics.

Their recent trade with the Kings which involved five players and two second-round picks was a solid one, according to Quick, because the Trail Blazers saved approximately $12MM and upgraded at the wing with Trevor Ariza replacing Kent Bazemore. Portland is unlikely to deal its first-round pick because president of basketball operations Neil Olshey covets draft choices, even if the draft class is considered weak, Quick adds.

We have more from around the Northwest Division:

  • The Nuggets will continue to be without three rotation players when they face the Grizzlies on Tuesday, Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports tweets. Starting point guard Jamal Murray will miss his sixth straight game due to an ankle sprain while power forward Paul Millsap will sit out for the 11th consecutive game due to a knee injury. Backup big man Mason Plumlee will miss his fourth straight game due to a foot ailment.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins get the blame when things aren’t going well with the Timberwolves but the players around them need to do more, Kent Youngblood of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. Guard Shabazz Napier told Youngblood that the role players need to do their jobs better. “This team is so used to KAT and Wigs doing all the work that when it doesn’t happen, we just stand around,’’ Napier said. “That’s how it is. We just gotta find ways to help them guys out. … We all, the role players, have to figure out, how do we help them out better?’’
  • Undrafted rookie guard Luguentz Dort has earned playing time with the Thunder for his defense while showing more of an offensive game, Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman relays. Over the last five games, Dort is averaging 7.2 PPG and 1.8 APG while shooting 5-for-12 on 3-pointers and making seven steals. “You can’t tell me he’s a rookie,” guard Chris Paul said of the two-way player.

Western Notes: Vanderbilt, Burks, Drummond, Howard

Nuggets reserve forwards Jarred Vanderbilt and Vlatko Cancar could be the beneficiaries of Mason Plumlee‘s misfortune, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post.

Plumlee will be out 2-4 weeks with a foot injury. Vanderbilt, a 2018 second-round pick, had played in 13 G League games and four with the NBA club this season. Cancar had appeared in seven Nuggets games entering Wednesday’s action.

“Just find ways, that’s our biggest challenge right now,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said of Plumlee’s injury. “Don’t waste an ounce of energy on the guys that can’t play, let’s figure out who can play and go out there, fight and give ourselves a chance.”

We have more Western Conference news:

  • Alec Burks is the Warriors’ most valuable trade chip and the team is likely to make at least one deal before February’s deadline, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area relays. The versatile wing, who scored 33 points on Monday, is making just $2.32MM this season. Several teams in recent weeks have expressed interest in Burks, according to Poole.
  • Detroit’s Andre Drummond, Sacramento’s Nemanja Bjelica, Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love and San Antonio’s Jakob Poeltl are potential trade targets for the Mavericks, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News writes. The Mavs are seeking help in the wake of Dwight Powell‘s season-ending injury.
  • In an unusual decision for a player of his age, Dwight Howard has decided to participate in the Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star weekend, according to a league press release. Howard, who has turned into a valuable member of the Lakers’ bench, participated in three previous dunk contests early in his career but hasn’t been in one since 2009.