Patrick Williams

Latest On Jerami Grant

The Pistons aren’t a lock to trade Jerami Grant before the February 10 deadline, but the veteran forward may be this winter’s most popular trade candidate, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

“He’s the grand prize of this deadline,” one team strategist told Fischer. “… He fits everywhere.”

“He’s gonna have so many suitors,” an assistant general manager said. “They’re just gonna wait them all out.”

According to Fischer, the Lakers, Trail Blazers, Knicks, Jazz, Wizards, Celtics, Pacers, Timberwolves, and Kings are among the teams that have signaled some level of interest in Grant. Sources tell Bleacher Report that the Pistons are seeking multiple first-round picks, or one first-rounder along with a high-upside young player.

Fischer likens Grant’s situation this season to Aaron Gordon‘s in 2020/21, a comparison Shams Charania made when first reporting Grant’s availability in December. Like Gordon, Grant is a versatile frontcourt defender who has one-and-a-half seasons left on his contract and will be extension-eligible.

That extension eligibility will be important. Any team acquiring Grant will want assurances he’ll sign a new deal, according to Fischer, who hears from sources that the 27-year-old hopes to receive a four-year offer in the range of $112.7MM (the maximum he can get prior to 2023 free agency).

Fischer does share one complicating factor, writing that Grant wouldn’t be enthusiastic about joining a new team that doesn’t feature him as a “primary offensive option.”

Here’s more on Grant:

  • A November report indicated that the Pistons may be willing to offer a package of Grant, Kelly Olynyk, Saddiq Bey, and a future first-round pick for Ben Simmons. According to Fischer, the Sixers weren’t particularly enthusiastic about that concept, but when it leaked, it alerted teams that Grant might be available, which has helped accelerate his market.
  • Some people around the league view the Wizards as the favorites for Grant, says Fischer, noting that Wes Unseld Jr. coached the forward as an assistant in Denver. Sources tell Bleacher Report that Wizards center Montrezl Harrell, who is on an expiring $9.7MM contract, has been considered available via trade. Harrell could be included in any Washington offer, along with at least one of Rui Hachimura or Deni Avdija, Fischer suggests.
  • Fischer classifies the Lakers and Jazz as unlikely destinations for Grant based on the limited assets those teams have to offer. He also downplays the possibility of the Celtics or Grizzlies acquiring the Pistons forward, writing that neither team is expected to seriously pursue him.
  • As others have reported, the Bulls don’t appear comfortable with the idea of moving Patrick Williams in a deal for Grant, according to Fischer.
  • According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, there’s a belief that the Pelicans will look to be buyers at this year’s trade deadline, and Grant is considered a possible target for them.

Scotto’s Latest: Bulls, Hawks, Finney-Smith, Thunder, Rockets

The Bulls figure to explore potential roster upgrades at the trade deadline, but they’re resistant to the idea of moving Patrick Williams, Michael Scotto said on the latest episode of the HoopsHype Podcast.

If the Bulls want to make a major move at the deadline, it may have to involve Williams, 2020’s No. 4 overall pick, since the club has already traded away multiple future first-rounders. Williams’ ability to help the team this year may also be limited, since a wrist injury is expected to sideline him for most or all of the regular season.

Still, based on Scotto’s reporting, it sounds as if Chicago will likely hang onto Williams. One Bulls player who is available in the right deal is 2019 lottery pick Coby White, rival executives tell Scotto.

Here’s more from the HoopsHype Podcast:

  • Hawks forward Danilo Gallinari could be had for a first-round pick or as part of a larger package, rival executives tell Scotto. I’m very skeptical any team will be willing to give up a first-rounder for Gallinari unless they can dump an unwanted long-term contract on Atlanta. Scotto adds that execs believe Hawks forward Cam Reddish is more likely than not to be on the move at the deadline.
  • Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith and Thunder forward Kenrich Williams are among the role players on modest contracts who are drawing trade interest from playoff teams, says Scotto. Oklahoma City is obviously more likely than Dallas to be a seller, but rival executives believe there may be an opportunity to poach Finney-Smith since he and Jalen Brunson are free agents in 2022 and re-signing both would likely make the Mavs a taxpayer.
  • Playoff-caliber teams are also monitoring Rockets veterans Eric Gordon and Daniel Theis, according to Scotto. They’ve been mentioned multiple times this season as potential trade candidates, since they probably don’t fit the timeline of a rebuilding Houston squad.
  • League sources tell Scotto that Thunder rookie Aaron Wiggins is a good candidate to have his two-way contract turned into a standard deal at some point this season.

Central Notes: Williams, Bol, Cavs, Warren, Stephenson

Bulls forward Patrick Williams has replaced the cast on his left arm with a removable brace, head coach Billy Donovan told Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago and other media members. Williams’ rehab from wrist surgery will now focus on rebuilding strength and regaining range of motion in the injured wrist and forearm. His timetable was initially projected to be four-to-six months after he underwent the surgery in late October.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The trade that sent Bol Bol from Denver to the Pistons is now official. According to the Detroit Free Press’ Omari Sankofa II, Bol could be an intriguing pickup for a team in need of a young big. He’s got enough talent to become a core piece for the organization, so he was worth taking a flier on before he heads into free agency this summer, Sankofa adds.
  • The Cavaliers are expected to be active in the trade market, Dan Feldman of NBC Sports relays. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on NBA Today last week that he could “almost guarantee” Cleveland would make another deal beyond the acquisition of Rajon Rondo. The team is seeking perimeter and guard help and is talking to three or four different teams about scenarios, Windhorst added.
  • The Pacers are still awaiting the season debut of forward T.J. Warren and it won’t happen this week, James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star tweets. According to coach Rick Carlisle, Warren is “still weeks away, if things continue to progress as they have been.” Warren is recovering from a foot fracture.
  • Lance Stephenson‘s reunion with the Pacers has exceeded all expectations, Wheat Hotchkiss of the team’s website notes. Playing on a 10-day contract that expires tonight, Stephenson had a 30-point game and a 14-assist outing. Stephenson is expected to sign a standard rest-of-the-season contract.

Injury Notes: Nance, Zion, P. Williams, Z. Collins

An MRI on the injured right knee of Trail Blazers forward Larry Nance Jr. showed no significant damage, the team announced in a press release. While that’s good news for the Blazers and for Nance, who sustained the injury on Wednesday, the 29-year-old remains unavailable for the short term. According to the club, Nance will be reevaluated in one week.

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

  • Zion Williamson will continue his rehab from offseason foot surgery away from the Pelicans, the team announced in a press release. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Williamson has moved his rehab to Portland, Oregon. The former No. 1 overall pick, who called the recovery process a “difficult” one, continues to only participate in partial weight-bearing activities, according to the club.
  • The Bulls still aren’t ruling out the possibility of Patrick Williams returning from his left wrist injury by the end of the season, as Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago writes. Reports at the time of Williams’ injury indicated he would likely miss the rest of the regular season — the Bulls provided a four-to-six month timeline. “Patrick is coming back slowly, the schedule is to be determined,” president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas said during an appearance on the Mully & Haugh Show on 670 The Score. “We’re not going to put any pressure for him to come back. We’re just going to go from week to week, we’ll see how he improves. We’ll see in terms of a date. I don’t want to put any timeline on it, but it would be great to have Patrick back by end of season.”
  • Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said this week that big man Zach Collins is nearing a return from offseason ankle surgery, per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “He was (doing basketball activities) until the new (COVID) restrictions came in,” Popovich said. “But he’s cleared to play once he gets a rhythm, and if he gets a chance to play some 3-on-3 or 5-on-5 or 4-on-4. … It’s kind of difficult now, but he’s almost ready to go.”

Central Notes: Grant, Pistons, Pacers, Love

The Pistons aren’t likely to make a series of major deals at this year’s trade deadline, but Jerami Grant looks increasingly like a candidate to be on the move, according to James L. Edwards III of The Athletic, who hears from sources that contending teams are “routinely calling” Detroit to inquire on the veteran forward.

Edwards views Grant as the most realistic trade chip on the Pistons’ roster, since the team doesn’t seem interested in trading any of its top first- or second-year prospects and doesn’t have any other veterans who would generate as significant a return as Grant.

Within his story, Edwards considers what a Grant trade might look like, exploring scenarios involving Atlanta, Chicago, Indiana, and Memphis. While those ideas are merely hypothetical for now, Edwards notes within his section on the Bulls that the Pistons were high on Patrick Williams during the 2020 draft — Williams, who is expected to miss the rest of the regular season due to left wrist injury, could be available if Chicago wants to take another big swing at the trade deadline.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer also explores trade scenarios involving Grant, suggesting it makes sense for the Pistons to maximize their return for the versatile forward this season and further invest in their youth.
  • Within the same story for The Ringer, O’Connor cites sources who say the Pacers will listen to trade offers heavy on draft picks, but would prefer to make deals for players who can help them get back to the playoffs. While Indiana is said to be open to trading Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner, and/or Caris LeVert, the team may be seeking players who are of “near-equal value” in the short term, says O’Connor.
  • Long viewed as a candidate to be traded or bought out, Kevin Love has once again emerged as a valuable contributor for the Cavaliers in recent weeks, writes Joe Noga of Since December 1, the veteran forward has put up 18.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 2.3 APG in just 22.3 MPG (16 games). That would be Love’s highest scoring average since 2016/17 despite a career low in minutes.

Pelicans Get Disabled Player Exception, Bulls’ Request Denied

The Pelicans have been granted a disabled player exception for Kira Lewis‘ season-ending ACL injury, reports Will Guillory of The Athletic (Twitter link).

A salary cap exception designed to give teams extra flexibility when a player suffers a major injury, the disabled player exception can be used to sign a free agent, to claim a player off waivers, or to acquire a player in a trade. However, it can only be used on a single player and can only accommodate a player on a one-year deal. A free agent signee can’t get a multiyear contract, and any trade or waiver target must be in the final year of his contract.

The DPE is worth half the injured player’s salary if that amount is less than the non-taxpayer mid-level exception. Lewis is earning a relatively modest $3,822,240 salary this season, so the Pelicans’ new DPE is worth just $1,911,120, which will limit the team’s options.

A disabled player exception also doesn’t create an extra roster spot, so if New Orleans wants to make use of its DPE, it will need to have an open spot on its standard roster.

Meanwhile, the Bulls – who applied for a disabled player exception in response to Patrick Williamsleft wrist injury – have had their request denied, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

In order for a team to be approved for a DPE, its injured player must be deemed by a league-approved physician to be “more likely than not” to be out through at least June 15.

In Williams’ case, the Bulls announced a four-to-six month recovery timeline when the forward underwent wrist surgery in October, and reports have indicated he could be back during the postseason. In other words, he’s not considered likely to remain sidelined through June 15, which is presumably why Chicago’s request wasn’t granted.

If it had been approved, the Bulls’ DPE would have been worth $3,711,000.

Bulls Notes: Williams, Vucevic, Dosunmu, White

Bulls forward Patrick Williams is back with the team after having surgery on his left wrist last Sunday, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. It will be several months before doctors can determine whether Williams is able to return for the end of the season or the playoffs, and he wants to stay as involved as possible. That means joining his teammates for an upcoming road trip if the medical staff approves.

“You’d like him around the team, but he’s going to have some difficulties sleeping, just because he has to pretty much keep that hand in a position where he really does no movement until he gets the cast off,” coach Billy Donovan explained. “That’s what the medical staff will talk about. We’ll have discussions on what is in his best interest there. It’s such a detailed surgery he went through, you don’t want to get into anything that disrupts what’s been done. They may recommend against the travel.’’

Donovan adds that he hasn’t talked to executive VP of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas about acquiring a possible replacement for Williams. With the season only a couple of weeks old, their conversations have focused on the current personnel.

“We haven’t talked about any of that stuff,’’ Donovan said. “Eight games in, these guys need time to play with each other. I think we’re both excited about the team. We haven’t talked about anything, ‘Hey, going forward, let’s add this.’ None of that. It’s been more about our team and where we can get better.’’

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Nikola Vucevic‘s low-post opportunities have decreased after the Bulls added more perimeter scoring in the offseason, but he’s not concerned about his new role, Cowley adds in the same piece. The coaching staff prefers to have him initiating the offense from the top of the arc or operating out of the pick and roll. “Billy does want the ball to go through me a lot on the high post and play through that, especially if we don’t get much out of our initial action,’’ Vucevic said. ‘‘He wants me to flash to the ball and get actions out of that. It’s pretty similar . . . to something I’ve done for years to try to be more of a facilitator.’’
  • Ayo Dosunmu has become a rare second-round pick who is able to contribute right away, Cowley adds in a separate story. Taken 38th in this year’s draft, Dosunmu has earned a spot in the rotation and is averaging 12.8 minutes per night through his first eight games.
  • Coby White, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, was able to take part in light-contact shooting drills at Friday’s practice, per Paul Sullivan of The Chicago Tribune. However, there’s still not a set timetable for him to return, with Donovan saying, “I don’t know how close he is.”

Central Notes: LeVert, Cade, Bulls, Williams, White

Pacers swingman Caris LeVert made his season debut on Saturday after a stress fracture sidelined him during training camp. LeVert learned a lot from the way he was thrown into the deep end last season following his return from a kidney surgery in March 2021, writes Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. After just one post-surgery practice, the Pacers’ prior regime under embattled former head coach Nate Bjorkgren had LeVert play for 27 minutes of game action. LeVert had not yet communicated to the team that he was ready to play.

“I’m like, ‘Damn, OK, thrown right into it,” LeVert said of his prior experience. This season, under new head coach Rick Carlisle, the Pacers took a more measured approach with LeVert’s return from the stress fracture.

LeVert, the club’s starting small forward, suited up for Indiana’s seventh game of the young season, a 97-94 loss to the Raptors. Across 16 minutes of action, the 27-year-old LeVert poured in 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field. Despite losing the game, the 1-6 Pacers must be grateful to have gained LeVert following the injury layoff.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • No. 1 Pistons draft pick Cade Cunningham is looking forward to making his own mark in the NBA, after several of his fellow 2021 rookies have already made an impact on the young NBA season, per Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports“My class is full of big-time talent,” Cunningham said. “So I think it kind of motivates me more to be more of myself. I’m used to us pushing each other to be better. Now I’m excited to get my chance to do my thing.” In his NBA debut, a 110-103 victory over the Magic, Cunningham made just one field goal for two points. The 6’8″ guard out of Oklahoma State also logged seven rebounds, two assists and one block in 19 minutes of action.
  • After holding on for a solid 107-99 home court victory against the previously-undefeated Jazz last night, the 5-1 Bulls appear to be for real. The club, featuring 10 new players this season, is showcasing a new on-court persona, predicated around a fast pace and willingness to take free throws, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago“This, from an identity standpoint, is how we want to play,” head coach Billy Donovan said after the victory. “I thought this was one of our better games from start to finish. For the most part, the consistency was there for how we need to play.” The club’s surprisingly-great defense held Utah to just 38% shooting from the field while making them cough up the ball for 20 turnovers.
  • Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic posits that the Bulls are looking like one of the better teams in the league during this young season after the Jazz win. Mayberry highlights Chicago’s stellar, overpowering defense, noting that the Jazz had an awful 96.1 offensive rating on the night. Mayberry adds that reserves Derrick Jones Jr. and Tony Bradley exhibited plenty of defensive promise with their extended rotational minutes Saturday.
  • Though the Bulls could have enough depth this season to weather the injury absences of third-year guard Coby White and second-year forward Patrick Williams, both lottery selections, the team is missing out on key development windows for its two young players, opines Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Cowley says that White is scheduled to have the condition of his injured shoulder assessed in November, and his return to the Bulls could happen as late as January. Williams could miss the whole season with a wrist injury that will require surgery. “I think we’ve got to as best we can organizationally help those guys get back and utilize this time as best they can,’’ head coach Billy Donovan said of dealing with the absences of White and Williams. “But it’s certainly not the most ideal situation for their development.’’

Central Notes: Cunningham, LeVert, Williams, Green

Cade Cunningham only scored two points in his NBA debut Saturday night, but he was happy to finally be on the court, writes Eric Woodyard of ESPN. A sprained ankle he suffered in training camp forced the overall No. 1 pick to miss the entire preseason and the Pistons‘ first four games.

“I think it was good. I feel like coming in, just being able to make some plays off the ball, get some rebounds. I felt like I was solid defensively,” he said. “And, I mean those are the points that I really wanted to come out and just prove to myself that my ankle was straight and that I could move, guard and do everything else. So, I got all the jitters out now and now I can just go play free.”

Because of lingering concerns about the ankle, Cunningham is beginning his NBA career under a restriction of 20 to 25 minutes per night. He played 18 minutes Saturday, recording seven rebounds and two assists while shooting just 1-of-8 from the field as Detroit picked up its first win of the season.

“I try to keep my energy in the right place,” Cunningham said. “I try to keep my head in the right place and so, my team, they know what they expect out of me, I know what I expect out of me, so that’s all that’s really mattering to me. People can say whatever they want, outside of that, but I probably won’t hear it.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Also making his season debut Saturday was Pacers swingman Caris LeVert, who suffered a stress fracture in his back during training camp, notes Akeem Glaspie of The Indianapolis Star. LeVert, who is dealing with a minutes restriction too, made an impact while he was on the court, scoring 15 points in 15 minutes. “The hope is that there wouldn’t be a long period where there’s a restriction but right now it’s just really hard to say, it’s really impossible to say,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Would’ve been great to have him in the second half but that just wasn’t in the cards.”
  • The Bulls will take steps not to lose an entire year of development for Patrick Williams, who will have surgery today to repair torn ligaments in his left wrist, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. ‘‘He’s probably going to lose a significant amount of muscle mass in his upper body because he’s not going to be able to lift or do anything from that standpoint,” coach Billy Donovan said. ‘‘The more we can keep him engaged with our team (the better) because what happens is the season is going on, and these games are coming and coming and coming, and he can feel like he’s over here on an island.’’
  • Donovan tabbed Javonte Green to fill the open spot in the Bulls‘ starting lineup, just as he did when Williams had an ankle injury during the preseason, Cowley adds. Donovan explained that Green’s energy and versatility on defense make him a good fit with the team’s other starters.

Central Notes: LaVine, Williams, Jackson, Duarte

Bulls guard Zach LaVine says that playing with a ligament tear in his left thumb is difficult but he’ll make it work, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes.

“It will be like this for a little bit,” LaVine said. “Knock on wood that nothing happens in the game to where it re-aggravates it. But it has to play its course. They were telling me it’s almost like a Grade 2 ankle sprain but in my thumb. So it’s going to take some time.”

LaVine has shot 20-for-51 from the field over the last three games after exceeding 30 points in his first two outings this season.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Bulls forward Patrick Williams is expected to miss the rest of the regular season after tearing ligaments in his left wrist. In response, the Bulls will likely go with a smaller lineup, Johnson writes in a separate piece. Individually, Williams loses a year of growth and the ability to establish himself as a two-way force. “When you lose a guy like that who can physically guard a lot of different positions and who has the strength and size to deal with post-up players, it definitely hurts,” coach Billy Donovan said.
  • The Pistons are still seeking their first win and reserve guard Frank Jackson has struggled with his shooting this season, but he’s holding onto his rotation spot, James Edwards III of The Athletic notes. Jackson was waived by the Thunder last December and Detroit took a flyer on him. He was re-signed to a two-year, $6.2MM deal this summer with a team option. “What got my attention as much as his shooting last year was his defense,” coach Dwane Casey said. “He pursues, he competes defensively. Very athletic with speed and quickness. Then you add shooting on top of that.”
  • Pacers lottery pick Chris Duarte heard a lot from scouts and executives about his age at the pre-draft camp. The 24-year-old Duarte put a different twist on that concern, Steve Aschburner of writes. Duarte responded, “If you want to win games, get me. If you want to win in four years, go ahead and draft a 19-year-old kid. Then you can develop him and make him a superstar in three, four or five years. But you don’t know if he’s going to be a superstar — you don’t know, who knows? So you know what you’re getting now.” Duarte is averaging 18.7 PPG and 4.5 RPG through six games.