Cade Cunningham

Pistons Sign Cade Cunningham To Five-Year Max Extension

JULY 10: Cunningham’s maximum-salary extension is official, the Pistons announced today in a press release.

Cunningham is the third player to sign a max rookie scale extension this offseason, joining Scottie Barnes of the Raptors and Franz Wagner of the Magic.

JULY 9: The Pistons and Cunningham are in agreement on a five-year, maximum-salary rookie scale extension, agents Jeff Schwartz and James Dunleavy tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Wojnarowski says it’s a $224MM deal that could be worth up to $269MM, which means it will include Rose rule language that could bump the starting salary from 25% of the 2025/26 cap to 30% if Cunningham makes an All-NBA team

JUNE 30: The Pistons intend to sign 2021 No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham to a five-year, rookie scale max extension, sources tell Shams Charania and James L. Edwards III of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The exact value of Cunningham’s extension is currently unknown. If the salary cap rises by 10% in 2025/26, which is when the extension will kick in, it would be worth approximately $224MM.

ESPN’s Bobby Marks hears (via Twitter) that while Detroit and Cunningham have discussed an extension, a deal doesn’t appear to be imminent. However, Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press has sources who say it’s on track to get done. The guard can’t officially sign anything until July 6.

After a promising ’21/22 campaign which saw Cunningham finish third in Rookie of the Year voting, the 22-year-old was limited to just 12 games due to season-ending surgery in ’22/23. Despite the Pistons finishing with the NBA’s worst record in ’23/24, Cunningham had a strong third season, averaging 22.7 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 7.5 APG and 0.9 SPG on .449/.355/.869 shooting in 62 games (33.5 MPG).

Assuming Cunningham’s contract comes to fruition, which seems likely, he would join Raptors forward Scottie Barnes as the second player from the 2021 draft class to agree to a rookie scale extension. The full list of players eligible for rookie scale deals can be found right here.

While Barnes agreed to an extension that features Rose rule language, potentially allowing him to earn 30% of the ’25/26 salary cap instead of 25%, the terms Charania and Edwards reported suggest that Cunningam might not have gotten that offer from Detroit. Either way, it’s a major commitment to the 6’6″ guard, who will earn $13.94MM in ’24/25, which is the final season of his rookie scale contract.

Central Rumors: LaVine, Bulls, Pistons, Cade, Bucks, Cavs, More

The Bulls continue to seek a deal involving Zach LaVine, but last week’s four-year, $78MM contract agreement between the Kings and Malik Monk may have removed a prime suitor from the picture, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who says some rival executives believe retaining Monk will take Sacramento out of talks for LaVine. As Scotto has previously reported, Kings wing Kevin Huerter has fans within Chicago’s front office, so if the two teams did explore a trade involving LaVine, it seems safe to assume Huerter would be involved.

In other Bulls news, Chicago is interested in re-signing center Andre Drummond, league sources tell Scotto. The big man will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after spending the past two seasons backing up Nikola Vucevic.

Scotto also states that – prior to last week’s Alex Caruso/Josh Giddey swap – there was a belief around the league that the Bulls and Thunder would consider a possible sign-and-trade deal involving Patrick Williams. It’s unclear if that idea is off the table now or if the two clubs will look into making a second offseason trade.

Finally, Scotto reports that before they struck deals to add Wes Unseld Jr. and Dan Craig to Billy Donovan‘s coaching staff, the Bulls also reached out and talked to former head coaches Nate McMillan and Dwane Casey.

Here are a few more items of interest from around the Central:

  • The Pistons – along with the Magic – were expected to be in the mix for Monk before he reached an agreement to return to Sacramento, according to Scotto, who says Detroit will continue to explore the trade and free agent markets for shooting help this offseason.
  • Elsewhere on the Pistons front, Scotto writes that a number of executives around the NBA believe Detroit will come to terms on a maximum-salary rookie scale extension for former No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham.
  • The Bucks, still very much in win-now mode, are open to the idea of trading the No. 23 pick in the draft, league sources tell Scotto. Executives with rival teams also get the sense that Milwaukee would be willing to move Bobby Portis and/or Pat Connaughton in order to upgrade the roster, though Scotto notes that both players have come up in trade talks in the past and nothing has come of it to this point.
  • James Borrego was considered the frontrunner for the Cavaliers‘ head coaching job last week before the front office met with team owner Dan Gilbert, per Shams Charania, Joe Vardon, and Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. After that meeting between management and Gilbert, Kenny Atkinson‘s candidacy “gained considerable momentum,” The Athletic’s trio adds. Assistant coaches Jordan Ott and Trevor Hendry, who worked with Atkinson in Brooklyn, are viewed as potential additions to his new staff in Cleveland, notes Scotto.

Eastern Notes: Cunningham, Pistons, Okoro, Hawks, Magic

Cade Cunningham is eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason. James L. Edwards III of The Athletic expects the Pistons guard to receive a maximum-salary deal, he states in a mailbag.

“I’m 99.9 percent sure that Cunningham gets an extension this offseason,” Edwards writes. “I don’t want to say 100 percent because you never know what can happen, but I’d be stunned if the 2021 No. 1 overall pick doesn’t sign a max rookie extension.”

As Edwards outlines, Cunningham improved his averages across the board in his third season and was one of the team’s few bright spots amid another last-place finish which saw Detroit go just 14-68 and break an NBA record by losing 28 consecutive games.

Edwards also answers questions about veteran players who could be attainable for cheap due to their contracts, and Trajan Langdon‘s top priority for Detroit’s roster, among others.

Here’s more from around the East:

  • On the Wine and Gold Talk podcast, Ethan Sands and Chris Fedor of discussed the upcoming restricted free agency of Cavaliers wing Isaac Okoro. While the 23-year-old is a stout defender and made strides with his shot during the regular season (a career-high 39.1% on three-pointers), Okoro also struggled offensively in the playoffs. Sands and Fedor suggest the Cavs could be open to giving Okoro a deal up to the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, but might not go beyond that due to future cap concerns.
  • With just 3% odds, Atlanta won the draft lottery and the rights to the No. 1 overall pick. Simply drafting a player and going about business as usual isn’t enough for the Hawks, according to Mark Bradley of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who argues the team needs a drastic overhaul this season, particularly trading either Trae Young or Dejounte Murray.
  • Keith Smith of Spotrac previews the Magic‘s offseason, writing that while Orlando will have plenty of cap room this summer, the team will also have to spend that money wisely, as impending rookie scale extensions will complicate the club’s financial outlook in 2025/26 and beyond.

Pistons Notes: Front Office Candidates, Weaver, Buzelis

Michael Blackstone, an executive who worked with new Pistons head of basketball operations Trajan Langdon in New Orleans, is considered the favorite to become Langdon’s second-in-command in Detroit, sources tell James L. Edwards and Shams Charania of The Athletic. Blackstone, the Pelicans‘ vice president of basketball administration, was an assistant general manager in Atlanta before coming to New Orleans in 2020.

Other prominent names to watch, according to the authors’ sources, are Matt Lloyd, senior vice president of basketball operations with the Timberwolves; Travis Schlenk, the Wizards‘ vice president of player personnel and former team president in Atlanta; Brock Aller, the Knicks‘ vice president of basketball and strategic planning; and Tayshaun Prince, vice president of basketball affairs with the Grizzlies. The authors note that Prince is a sentimental favorite among fans because he was a starter on Detroit’s last championship team in 2004.

There’s an opening in the front office after the Pistons parted ways with general manager Troy Weaver in what the team described as a mutual decision. Weaver, who served as GM for the past four years, lost decision-making authority with the addition of Langdon.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • Poor draft decisions marked the biggest mistake Weaver made during his time running the organization, contends Andrew Birkle of The Detroit Free Press. Birkle acknowledges that seven of Weaver’s eight first-round picks look like they’ll have a future in the NBA, but he views them as a mismatched collection of talent that doesn’t fit together. He also questions whether the team has any potential stars other than Cade Cunningham, adding that it’s too early to fully evaluate the No. 1 overall pick in 2021 because he’s missed so much time due to injuries.
  • Shooting and rim protection are the most important assets in the NBA, and Weaver failed to provide the Pistons with either of those things, observes Shawn Windsor of The Detroit Free Press (subscription required). Windsor adds that everyone should be considered expendable after a 68-loss season, starting with head coach Monty Williams, who will be Langdon’s next major decision before addressing the roster.
  • Keith Langlois of examines Matas Buzelis as a potential pick for the Pistons at No. 5 in this year’s draft. Although the G League Ignite had a disastrous season, Buzelis showed promise with 14.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. Langlois notes that his 6’10” size, floor-spacing and play-making ability, and his versatility on defense make Buzelis a good fit with the rest of the roster.

Pistons Notes: Langdon, Weaver, Draft, Fontecchio

To succeed as the Pistons‘ new head of basketball operations, Trajan Langdon will have to be given total freedom to remake the organization as he sees fit, contends Shawn Windsor of The Detroit Free Press. Windsor notes that Langdon impressed team owner Tom Gores by building one of the league’s best young rosters with the Pelicans. He’ll have a head start on that process with a Detroit team that’s about to pick in the top five for the fourth straight season.

Windsor expects Langdon to part with general manager Troy Weaver, whose roster moves haven’t produced any on-court success during his four years on the job. A decision will also have to be made about head coach Monty Williams, who is still owed $67.5MM in guaranteed money from the record-setting contract last summer. Williams failed to develop the team’s young talent, according to Windsor, and often gave the impression that he only took the job because of the money.

Langdon’s greatest challenge will be trying to forge a competent roster from a group that only had 14 wins this season. Windsor observes that the Pistons won’t really know how good Cade Cunningham can be until they surround him with teammates who complement his skills. He adds that Langdon built a reputation as an effective talent evaluator in New Orleans, so management should trust his judgment as a new rebuilding process begins.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • Finding or developing a rim protector should be an offseason priority, Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press writes in a mailbag column. Sankofa says Jalen Duren is physically able to handle the job, but he needs to improve in terms of timing and consistent effort. Isaiah Stewart is undersized for a center, which makes him less of a deterrent under the basket. Sankofa lists ball control and shooting as other areas of concern, as the Pistons were 28th in turnovers per game and assist-to-turnover ratio and 26th in three-point shooting percentage.
  • Trading out of the draft may help spark the rebuild quicker than adding another young player, Sankofa adds in part two of his mailbag. He notes that the Pistons’ roster already includes six first-round picks made by Weaver. Stewart has signed an extension and Cunningham is expected to this summer, while Ivey and Duren become extension-eligible in 2025. Sankofa points out that decisions are already being made about which young players are going to form the team’s foundation, and another lottery pick might complicate the process.
  • Simone Fontecchio, who recently underwent left foot surgery, won’t be able to play for Italy this summer in an Olympic qualifying tournament, according to a Sportando report.

Central Notes: Bucks, Middleton, Cavaliers, Donovan, Pistons

Bucks coach Doc Rivers responded to the team’s late-season swoon by holding a film session on Saturday, according to Eric Nehm and Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The meeting involved the team’s nine veteran rotation players — Giannis AntetokounmpoDamian LillardKhris MiddletonBrook Lopez, Malik Beasley, Bobby PortisPatrick Beverley, Pat Connaughton and Jae Crowder — and each of them was given the opportunity to share his perspective on the team’s recent slide and offer suggestions on how to address it.

“It’s only the start of these tough and necessary conversations,” a source told Nehm and Charania.

While the session may have cleared the air, it didn’t help Milwaukee end its slump as the Bucks fell to New York on Sunday while getting outscored 72-48 in the second half. Although they remain in second place in the Eastern Conference, the Bucks are now just one game ahead of the Magic and Knicks and a game-and-half up on the Cavaliers, as home court advantage in the first round is no longer a guarantee.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Middleton’s bad luck with injuries continued Sunday as he had to leave the game after being accidentally struck in the face by Donte DiVincenzo, Nehm and Charania add. Rivers said Middleton had to make an emergency trip to the dentist, which is why he didn’t return to the game. “You just feel bad for him. The guy can’t catch a break,” the Bucks‘ head coach said. “I mean, what are the odds you go into a game, ‘OK, tonight, it will be my tooth gets knocked out.’ He’s having one of those seasons right now, but that’s OK because it can all turn for him. I thought he came with great spirit tonight, too, so just tough luck.”
  • The Cavaliers had a disastrous end to their five-game Western swing as they let a 26-point lead slip away in Sunday’s loss to the Clippers, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland went 1-4 on the trip and returns home in fifth place in the East. “Just a very disappointing loss,” said Isaac Okoro, who was able to return after missing four games with pain in his big toe. “Think we all know right now we need wins. Wanted this one bad.”
  • Head coach Billy Donovan admits that the Bulls aren’t having the type of season he expected, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago is just a game ahead of Atlanta for ninth place in the battle to host next week’s play-in game between the two teams. “I certainly didn’t come here [when I was hired in 2020] to say, ‘Hey, listen, let’s be a play-in team,’” Donovan said. “When I sat down first with [executive vice president of basketball operations] Arturas [Karnisovas] and [general manager] Marc [Eversley] about this, it was to try and build something. I still feel like we’re building something, but I don’t think anyone is happy with where we’re at.’’
  • James L. Edwards of The Athletic ranks the Pistons‘ best assets heading into the offseason. Not surprisingly, Cade Cunningham tops the list, with this year’s first-round pick coming in second, followed by Ausar Thompson, Jalen Duren and Jaden Ivey.

Eastern Notes: Wagner, Carter, Cunningham, Middleton

The Magic have a major injury concern as the playoffs approach. Franz Wagner, who is averaging 19.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists, suffered a sprained right ankle during the third quarter tonight against Chicago, the team’s PR department tweets.

Initial X-rays were negative, but Wagner didn’t return to the contest. The Magic are battling for home court advantage in the opening round.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Bulls signed Jevon Carter to a three-year, $19.5MM contract last summer to fortify their backcourt. Carter hasn’t played nearly much as he anticipated, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times notes, and hopes to get a better idea this offseason what the organization plans to do with him next season. “I just want to hear something that makes sense. That’s all,” Carter said. “That’s all I’m looking for, just clarity.” Carter played in 81 games for Milwaukee last season and averaged 22.4 minutes per night. He has appeared in 68 games this season, averaging 13.6 minutes.
  • Pistons star Cade Cunningham missed his third consecutive game on Saturday against Brooklyn due to knee soreness. However, he hasn’t been ruled out for the season, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press tweets. “We do expect him back (this season). He’s working his tail off to get back on the floor,” coach Monty Williams said.
  • Bucks wing Khris Middleton departed early from his team’s game against the Knicks on Sunday. Middleton had a tooth knocked out, Newsday’s Steve Popper tweets. Donte DiVincenzo inadvertently hit him in the face and Isaiah Hartenstein fell on top of him on the play. Middleton has appeared in just 51 games this season, including a 16-game absence due to a right ankle sprain.

Central Notes: Lillard, Giannis, Craig, Cade, Flynn, Mitchell

Damian Lillard will be back in action for the Bucks on Friday vs. Toronto after missing the last three games due to personal reasons and an adductor strain, tweets Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and TNT. Lillard will be looking to help Milwaukee get back on track after a pair of ugly losses this week to lottery-bound teams (the Wizards and Grizzlies).

As Eric Nehm of The Athletic writes, during Wednesday’s loss to the Grizzlies, Giannis Antetokounmpo was dealing with what the Bucks are calling left hamstring tendinopathy and didn’t look like his usual explosive self en route to 21 points on 10-of-23 shooting. He’s listed as doubtful to play in Friday’s game.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • One reason why the Bulls signed Javonte Green for the rest of the season is a belief that Torrey Craig‘s knee still isn’t 100%, even though the veteran wing hasn’t missed a game in nearly a month. “I’m not a doctor, but I do know he has stiffness,” head coach Billy Donovan said of Craig, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “To me, he’s just not himself. That doesn’t mean he isn’t cleared to play. He is, and he wants to play, as well. Going back to the plantar fasciitis [from earlier in the season] and then the knee injury over All-Star break, he’s not moving the way he was before those things. He’s just not.”
  • Pistons guard Cade Cunningham hasn’t gotten any real buzz for this season’s Most Improved Player award, but does he have a case for consideration? James L. Edwards III of The Athletic explores that topic, laying out the argument for Cunningham as MIP.
  • Although it came in a loss, Malachi Flynn‘s 50-point outburst on Wednesday was a feel-good moment for a Pistons team that hasn’t had many of them and for a player who has had a tough season, writes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (subscription required). A former first-round pick, Flynn has played for three teams in his contract year and has struggled to carve out consistent minutes for any of those clubs. “We’re all super happy for him because we all know what he’s had to go through,” Evan Fournier said. “I don’t want to say we wouldn’t give a (expletive) if it was Cade, but it wouldn’t be the same. The fact that it’s Malachi adds more to the story, I think.”
  • Following a loss to Phoenix on Wednesday, Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell spoke about the issues he’s having getting past a nagging knee ailment and his desire to have it get “1% better every day” in order to be ready to go for the playoffs. Chris Fedor of has the story and the quotes from Mitchell.

And-Ones: House, Betting, Malauch, Rookie Extensions

Free agent swingman Danuel House has parted ways with agent Raymond Brothers and has replaced him with Tandem Sports’ Jim Tanner, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The 30-year-old out of Texas A&M began his season with the Sixers. He appeared in 34 contests off the bench, averaging 4.2 PPG, 1.7 APG, 1.2 RPG and 0.8 SPG across 15.0 MPG.

House was dealt to the Pistons at the trade deadline, but Detroit cut his expiring $4.3MM deal from its books before he could suit up for a game. The 6’6″ wing has yet to find a new NBA home even as the postseason looms.

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault is concerned about the impact sports betting could have on the NBA game, per Joel Lorenzi of The Oklahoman (Twitter link). “[It’s] obviously growing the pie,” Daigneault said. “That’s the purpose of it, which everybody benefits from. I do think it’s worth asking what the cost is of that… It does have a bit of fox in the hen house feel to it, if I’m being honest.”
  • It took some seasoning with the NBA Academy in Senegal for possible top 2025 lottery pick Khaman Malauch, a 7’1″ Duke commit, to realize just how high his ceiling could be, writes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. “I didn’t know whether I was good,” Malauch said. “I thought I was just a pick-up player. As soon as I arrived at the academy, that’s when I realized my full potential and what I can be, and then they turned me into who I am.’ “
  • The draft class of 2021 will soon be eligible for rookie scale contract extensions. In a thorough story, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report makes his predictions for which first-round picks will be extended and what it will cost their respective teams to do so, considering potential disparities between a player’s asking price and what his team may think he’s worth. Perhaps most intriguing is the question of what exactly No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham, who has battled injuries as a member of some underwhelming Pistons clubs, will fetch. Pincus expects the young point guard to seek a LaMelo Ball-esque maximum-salary extension and wonders if Detroit will be willing to commit to that sort of deal.

Central Notes: Morris, DeRozan, Terry, Cunningham, Duren

Cavaliers forward Marcus Morris, who is on a 10-day contract, was ejected from Monday’s win over the Hornets, according to ESPN News Services. Morris threw a high elbow that struck Charlotte center Nick Richards in the jaw.

Morris said he wanted to send a message to his new Cavaliers teammates: “There’s been a lot of grueling games and I was just wanted to toughen us up. Step in front of it like, listen this is what’s going to be expected moving forward, not just for today. Set the precedent going into the playoffs. We’re not about to have anybody coming in here and doing what they want to do. I wanted to play the game, I didn’t want to get thrown out, but I definitely wanted to put a little lick on him. I was happy the way we responded.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Bulls lost by two points to Washington on Monday. DeMar DeRozan was angry that his team didn’t take advantage of a matchup against a depleted team playing out the string, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “All these games matter. You want to be playing good basketball towards this part of the season,” DeRozan said. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to be pissed off until we get back out on the court. We shouldn’t drop games like this right now. We’re resilient. But we can’t live on the edge every game. We gotta leave it out there these last 10 games. We can’t have no more excuses. We gotta play like your life depends on it.”
  • Bulls forward Dalen Terry has been working on his three-point shot since being drafted in the first round in 2022. However, it hasn’t shown on the court. He’s shooting 24.1% from deep this season. “I definitely believe it’s going to be a real big offseason for me, just taking care of my shot,” Terry told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times.
  • The Pistons are listing Cade Cunningham as questionable and Jalen Duren as probable for Wednesday’s game at Minnesota, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets. Cunningham has missed the last two games due to knee soreness, while Duren has sat out three games due to back spasms.