Isaiah Stewart

Pistons Rule Out Thompson, Stewart For Remainder Of Season

The Pistons will go without their starting forwards the remainder of the season, according to a team press release.

Lottery pick Ausar Thompson is being treated for a blood clot. He has been cleared to resume conditioning and will begin non-contact basketball activities at the conclusion of the regular season with a gradual ramp-up over the summer months. He’s expected to be fully healthy for the start of next season.

Isaiah Stewart suffered a right hamstring strain during the third quarter of Monday’s contest at Boston. He won’t recover in time for the season finale, per the team.

Thompson hasn’t played since March 9. The team had listed him as out due to an unspecified illness in recent contests. The No. 5 pick of last year’s draft was in and out of Monty Williams’ rotation but had received steady playing time since the trade deadline.

Noted for his defensive prowess and athleticism, Thompson averaged 8.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists and a team-high 1.1 steals in 25.1 minutes per contest. He appeared in 63 games, including 38 starts. Thompson’s main issue was his perimeter shooting — he made just 18.6% of his 3-point attempts.

Stewart’s season was marred by a three-game league suspension for striking Phoenix’s Drew Eubanks during a pregame altercation prior to the All-Star break. He also missed a chunk of games due to toe and ankle ailments.

Stewart, who received a four-year extension last offseason, started all but one of the 46 games he played this season. He averaged 10.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 30.9 minutes per night. He also displayed a much-improved 3-point shot (38.3%).

Central Notes: Antetokounmpo, Bucks, Pistons, LeVert

The Bucks won’t have their best player in uniform for their showdown with Eastern Conference leader Boston tonight. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been ruled out due to a hamstring injury, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Antetokounmpo also missed Sunday’s game against Phoenix. Bucks coach Doc Rivers stated earlier this week that his goal is to ensure his superstar is healthy for the postseason.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Bucks still hold the rights to their first-round pick in this year’s draft and also owns Portland’s second-rounder. With that in mind, The Athletic’s Eric Nehm breaks down potential prospects participating in the NCAA Tournament who could be available late in the first round and early in the second.
  • The Pistons’ young core of Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Ausar Thompson, Isaiah Stewart and Jalen Duren have a fatal flaw that may force the front office to seriously consider whether they can succeed in the long run, James Edwards III of The Athletic opines: Detroit doesn’t have enough three-point threats within that group. Stewart has developed as a solid outside shooter but he lacks the upside of the other four building blocks. Cunningham has improved in that area but Ivey is subpar from deep and the other two aren’t three-point threats at all.
  • Caris LeVert is making a case for the Sixth Man of the Year award and Cavaliers teammate Tristan Thompson feels he needs to spread the word, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets. “Gotta start the campaign,” Thompson said. “We don’t reward teams that are in seventh place. We don’t reward guys who start. Caris LeVert for Sixth Man. For real. Start pushing it.” LeVert is averaging 14 points, 4.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists in 56 games.

Central Notes: Wade, Cavs, Thompson, McDermott, Stewart

After missing the Cavaliers‘ past three games for personal reasons, forward Dean Wade rejoined the club and participated in Friday’s practice, according to Chris Fedor of (subscription required).

With forward Evan Mobley unavailable due to a left ankle sprain, Wade had been inserted into the starting lineup prior to his stint away from the team. Georges Niang was elevated to the starting five during Wade’s absence, and it’s unclear whether Wade will reclaim that spot once he’s ready to return, Fedor writes. The Cavaliers can put off that decision for at least one more game, since Wade will be out on Saturday in Houston due to knee soreness (Twitter link via Fedor).

As for Mobley, head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said the big man is doing some “light work” and making progress in his recovery. A source tells Fedor that Mobley did some shooting work on Friday, but didn’t participate in practice and is unlikely to play on the Cavaliers’ current road trip, which runs through Monday.

There’s also still no specific timeline for the return of Max Strus from a left knee strain, Fedor adds. The Cavs’ starting small forward will miss his seventh straight game on Saturday.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • In a separate subscriber-only story for, Fedor notes that Tristan Thompson‘s 25-game suspension has come to an end, meaning he can once again be active for the Cavaliers as of Saturday. Thompson, who expressed excitement about returning, joked that he was so anxious to play that he “thought about sneaking into the arena a couple times” during his suspension. Bickerstaff, meanwhile, lauded Thompson’s impact in the locker room and referred to the veteran center as “this group’s big brother.”
  • Pacers forward Doug McDermott is “getting close” from returning from the right calf strain that has kept him on the shelf for the past eight games, head coach Rick Carlisle said on Friday, per Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. McDermott has been ruled out for Saturday’s contest against Brooklyn, but practiced on Friday. Indiana should benefit from re-adding him to a second unit that recently lost Bennedict Mathurin for the season.
  • In an interesting conversation with James L. Edwards III of The Athletic, Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart discussed what it was like coming to terms with the knowledge that he won’t become a superstar at the NBA level after starring at every level prior to being drafted. “You definitely have to swallow some ego,” Stewart said. “… Once you get to a certain point … I guess, you see it for what it is. I’m just shooting you straight — there aren’t often plays called for me. For me, it’s, ‘How can I still impact the game?’ To me, I’d rather have the impact that I have, on defense. I feel like I can control the game that way.”

And-Ones: Officiating, Stewart, Eubanks, Ntilikina, Bronny

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr once again lamented the way that NBA games are called, suggesting that offensive players get the benefit of the doubt too often, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic.

“I think there just needs to be a general rule: No bulls–t allowed. Really. It’s the truth,” Kerr said. “And I could go through a tape with you and show you: A guy dribbles off a high ball screen and the defender tries to fight over (the screen) and the guy (with the ball) jumps backwards and the ref calls a foul. Like, what are we doing? Can you imagine calling that in the pickup game? It would start a fight. We just have to get back to (determining) what’s basketball.”

With scoring numbers reaching record heights, NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Joe Dumars confirmed last month that the league has formally launched a review into whether rule changes are necessary to slow that trend and restore the offense/defense balance. Kerr believes that tweaking the way fouls are called would be a good start.

“Let’s make players create an advantage in order to call a foul,” Kerr said. “But we have these exact phrases — ‘illegal guarding position.’ Sometimes a guy will just slam right through the defender and the ref will call a foul on the defender. (The referee will) say, ‘It’s an illegal guarding position.’ The refs have to call that. That’s how they’re judged and taught.

“Like I said, the officials are great. It’s just that we have to recognize what’s happening. I think it’s been about a decade where the offensive players are so smart, they see what’s happening and they’re just completely manipulating the rules to let them go.”

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • TMZ Sports has obtained the Phoenix Police Department incident report on the altercation between Pistons forward/center Isaiah Stewart and Suns center Drew Eubanks. According to the report, Eubanks told police that Stewart confronted him while he was entering the arena due to physical play between the two big men in a previous game. Stewart, who punched Eubanks in the face, was arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge and issued a citation, but Eubanks later told police he wanted the charges dropped, per TMZ.
  • Frank Ntilikina is reportedly looking to return to his home country after being waived by the Hornets last month. Alessandro Maggi of Sportando, relaying a report from French outlet BeBasket, says Ntilikina has been linked to ASVEL and Paris Basketball but would need to be signed as an injury replacement to be eligible suit up for either team down the stretch. The guard is said to be hoping to use the rest of this season to make his case for a spot on the French national team for the Paris Olympics this summer.
  • As he considers whether to enter the 2024 NBA draft or remain at USC, Bronny James is expected to weigh specific team interest more heavily than draft position, agent Rich Paul told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN over the weekend. That would mean seeking out the best developmental fit rather than trying to get drafted as high as possible. Paul added that getting Bronny on the same team as father LeBron James isn’t a top priority, though LeBron would be “head over heels excited if that were to happen organically.”

Eastern Notes: Hornets, Peterson, Clifford, Bridges, Pistons, Murray, Raptors

By all accounts, the Hornets made a strong choice in reportedly deciding on Nets executive Jeff Peterson to run their front office, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

One source who has spent plenty of time around Peterson called it a “great, great get” for the Hornets, while a high-ranking executive who previously worked with Peterson referred to him as “incredibly intelligent and super genuine,” Boone reports.

Peterson will have many items on his to-do list in the coming weeks and months once he’s officially hired, according to Boone, who points to head coach Steve Clifford‘s future as one major decision awaiting the new head of basketball operations. The Hornets don’t owe Clifford any additional guaranteed money, Boone writes, so if they decide not to retain him beyond the season, they could simply turn down his team option for 2024/25.

Peterson will also face an important free agency decision this summer on Miles Bridges, who has picked up where he left off on the court this season but has been the subject of multiple domestic violence accusations in the past two years. His most recent legal case was dismissed last month. Multiple league sources tell Boone that Charlotte could face competition from the Pistons for the former Michigan State forward.

In the shorter term, Peterson may look to start filling out his new front office. According to Boone, one candidate for a possible assistant general manager role is Matt Tellem, Brooklyn’s director of strategic planning and an assistant GM for the G League’s Long Island Nets. Tellem is considered a salary cap expert, says Boone.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Although the Pistons envision trade-deadline acquisitions Quentin Grimes and Simone Fontecchio as key pieces of next season’s team, they plan to bring both wings off the bench for now and take a look at five of their recent first-round picks as starters, writes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (subscription required). Healthy and back from his three-game suspension, Isaiah Stewart will continue to be part of Detroit’s starting five alongside Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Ausar Thompson, and Jalen Duren for the foreseeable future, barring injuries. The hope is that Stewart’s defense will make up for the first unit having less spacing, Sankofa explains.
  • Hawks guard Dejounte Murray has locked in a $500K bonus on top of his base salary this season after making his 125th three-pointer of the season on Saturday, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The bonus had been deemed likely and already counted against Murray’s $18.2MM cap hit because he earning that incentive last season by making 133 threes.
  • Raptors star Scottie Barnes is out indefinitely after fracturing his hand on Friday and may have played his last game of the 2023/24 season. However, Warriors forward Draymond Green believes Barnes is capable of great things next year and beyond, as Michael Grange of relays. “Scottie is an incredible player,” Green said on Friday. “… Me playing the point forward position, I’m not going to sit up here and act like I was the first one to ever do it, but I think I’ve done it a little differently than most. And he’ll take that to another level. … I think Scottie will do way more than I ever did.”
  • Barnes’ injury was unfortunately timed, given that the new-look Raptors were beginning to show some promise, according to Josh Lewenberg of, who explores what the All-Star’s absence means for the team going forward.

Central Notes: Stewart, Fontecchio, Bitim, White

Pistons forward Isaiah Stewart returned to action on Tuesday after serving a three-game NBA suspension for punching the Suns’ Drew Eubanks during a pre-game altercation. Stewart played 34 minutes and contributed 11 points and nine rebounds, along with providing a much-needed defensive presence. He’ll remain in the lineup going forward, coach Monty Williams said.

“We’re gonna run with these guys for a while and see if we get some synergy, especially on defense,” Williams told Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press.

Stewart offered an apology for losing his temper, Sankofa relays (Twitter links). “I always want to represent the organization in great fashion,” he said. “I apologized to my teammates and coaches because it’s been a tough season and I don’t want to bring anything upon them. And I’m glad they had my back.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Forward Simone Fontecchio joined the NBA last season by signing with the Jazz. Fontecchio, 28, felt it was a now-or-never opportunity after starring in Europe. He was acquired by the Pistons at this month’s trade deadline. “It was a no-brainer to be honest. Once you see that train passing you, you just want to catch it,” Fontecchio told James Edwards III of The Athletic. “I just thought, ‘It’s a three-year deal. I’m going to do everything I can to make this work. If it doesn’t, I’ll just go back to Europe. It’s OK. I tried my best.’ I’ve been putting in a lot of work the last two years. I’m thankful to be in the position that I am now.” He’ll be a restricted free agent after the season.
  • Bulls rookie Onuralp Bitim got extended playing time against Cleveland on Wednesday with Alex Caruso sidelined and made a favorable impression. Bitim scored the first 10 points of his NBA career and added six rebounds in 27 minutes, including all 10 minutes in the double-overtime triumph. “I really can’t describe how I feel. But it’s not about my English, even my own language,” Bitim, a native of Turkey, told K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “I was dreaming of this moment for a really long time. And I was really trying to be ready and my teammates really helped me, my coaches. I knew the chance was going to come. You just never know when. You just have to be ready.” Bitim was promoted from a two-way deal to a multiyear standard contract on Sunday.
  • Coby White is having a breakout season, but the Bulls are concerned about their point guard burning himself out by putting in too much work, rather than pacing himself, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley. “You don’t want to lose that perspective, but there’s a point of how efficiently you can work with the time you have and developing the routine,” coach Billy Donovan said. “And we’ve talked to him a lot about it where, ‘Listen, coming in the gym and driving yourself into the ground is not always the solution or the answer.’ I would rather have a guy like Coby that’s willing to put the work in than a guy where you’re like, ‘Come on, let’s watch more film, let’s get in the gym.’ He’s never shied away from work. But I also think that when you’re coaching somebody, the routine has got to be theirs because there’s nothing worse for a player than to go into a game with the anxiety of, ‘I’m not prepared.’ Where is that balance? He’ll have to strike that for himself.”

Pistons’ Isaiah Stewart Suspended Three Games Without Pay

3:40pm: The misdemeanor assault charge against Stewart has been dismissed after prosecutors declined to pursue the case, tweets Baxter Holmes of ESPN. That explains why the NBA handed out a suspension today, since the league typically doesn’t act until the legal process has played out.

Stewart will lose $108,966 as part of his three-game suspension, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).

3:17pm: Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart has been suspended three games without pay for initiating an altercation with Suns big man Drew Eubanks prior to last week’s game in Phoenix, the NBA announced (via Twitter).

Stewart punched and pushed Eubanks during the incident, per the league’s statement. His suspension is expected to begin on Thursday vs. Indiana, as Detroit’s forward/center was set to be active tonight for the first time in several weeks after dealing with an ankle sprain.

Eubanks said he was sucker-punched in the face by Stewart in the hallway of the Footprint Center shortly after arriving at the arena, though he wasn’t injured and was able to suit up for the Suns’ victory last Wednesday. Stewart was arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge and issued a citation before being released.

Stewart, 22, is averaging 11.0 PPG and 6.8 RPG on .470/.374/.746 shooting in 35 games (30.6 MPG) this season for the Pistons, who hold the worst record in the league at 8-46.

Eastern Notes: Stewart, Drummond, House, Maxey

Despite his pregame altercation with Suns big man Drew Eubanks prior to the All-Star break, Pistons forward/center Isaiah Stewart could play against Indiana on Thursday, James Edwards III of The Athletic reports.

Stewart punched Eubanks on Wednesday after they exchanged words. Stewart, who didn’t play in that game due to an ankle sprain, was later arrested on an assault charge and issued a citation.

A resolution to his legal case is not expected prior to Thursday’s game. The NBA is investigating the situation but is not expected to hand down any punishment prior to that game. Meanwhile, Stewart could be healthy enough to play.

If Stewart is found guilty of misdemeanor assault, he’ll likely only have to pay a small fine and would not serve any jail time, Edwards adds.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • While Andre Drummond has gone from an All-Star to a valuable reserve, the Bulls center believes he’ll be in the league for many more years, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “I can play another eight to 10 years if I want to. I haven’t lost a step. It’s just opportunities I need to get,” Drummond said. He’s also headed to free agency and looking forward to seeing his worth on the open market. “I’m excited to see what happens in the offseason. Whatever team sees me as an asset, I’m ready. Obviously, I’m here now and I love it here. I would love to be here still,” the veteran center said.
  • Free agent Danuel House Jr. is weighing a number of options, including interest from the Hawks, according to the Pat Bev Pod (Twitter link). Considering the source is another current player like Patrick Beverley, who was teammates with House in Philadelphia up until the trade deadline, this info would appear to be very credible. House was traded, along with a second-round pick, by the 76ers to the Pistons, who quickly waived him.
  • Speaking of the Sixers, Tyrese Maxey made his first appearance as an All-Star over the weekend. He was humbled by the honor, he told Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Honestly, as a kid, I grew up saying I’d be an All-Star and those different things,” Maxey said. “But when it actually comes to light and it comes to something that you are and you see your name on the list, it’s kind of surreal. I know a lot of hard work went into it. I got what I deserved, but to still actually see it come true is like crazy.”

Central Notes: Turner, Stewart, Williams, Bulls

Pacers center Myles Turner is the longest-tenured player on the team, having played in Indiana since being drafted in 2015. Fresh off winning the Skills Challenge at All-Star weekend as part of a Pacers trio that also featured Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin, Turner sat down with HoopsHype’s Sam Yip to discuss his career, team and philanthropic efforts.

Honestly, it’s all been a blur,” Turner said of being Indy’s longest-tenured player. “Like for real. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend my entire career here in Indianapolis, and when I see young guys coming in, I just don’t see them lasting more than two or three years. They come in with a lot of hype and whatnot, but then it just dies down.

Turner is averaging 17.2 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in his ninth season with the team, helping the Pacers to a 31-25 record at the break. With Haliburton and Turner as fixtures, the Pacers have transformed into a playoff contender, virtually removing the big man from trade rumors that have followed him throughout his career.

Honestly, I still got PTSD from that, so I really didn’t even feel super secure at that,” Turner said of those rumors. “I was kinda expecting at least a rumor or something here and there (at this season’s deadline), but I’m just very fortunate to be in the same position. A little bit… I guess you can say that. I think it was just more of that we had a more clear-cut idea of the direction we were going with so it made it easier for me.

Clippers forward Paul George has expressed a desire to remain in Los Angeles but has yet to reach an extension agreement with his current team, and rumors have started to circulate about the possibility of George and Indiana reuniting this offseason. Turner and George played together from 2015-17.

PG was my favorite teammate, personally,” Turner said. “When I first got here to the league, he’s someone who took me under his wing, and obviously he’s one of the most dynamic players that’s out there right now. And I’ve always enjoyed and appreciated his approach to the game, so he’s definitely someone I rock with.

I recommend checking out the rest of Turner and Yip’s conversation here.

We have more notes from the Central Division:

  • Phoenix Municipal Court set a Feb. 23 court date for Pistons center Isaiah Stewart on a misdemeanor assault charge, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania (Twitter link). Stewart was arrested and issued a citation on Thursday after punching Suns center Drew Eubanks in the face.
  • Even though the Pistons have been improved as of late, the season as a whole has been hard to stomach. Shawn Windsor of Detroit Free Press (subscriber link) argues that Monty Williams‘ rotations are stunting the team’s ability to develop. Windsor asserts that playing all five reserves at a time is a mistake and – despite recent moves – all-bench lineups continue to bleed points. Another questionable decision was to play Killian Hayes, whom the Pistons released at the deadline, over Jaden Ivey, who looks like a long-term fixture, according to Windsor.
  • The Bulls know what they have to do to secure a play-in and potential playoff spot, and DeMar DeRozan expressed confidence in the team’s ability to make a postseason push, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. “Now we can kind of just breathe a little and gather our minds and emotions,” DeRozan said. “Get some bodies back and get rejuvenated for the next 27 games. We’re going to need to put everything and more into those.

Pistons’ Stewart Arrested For Punching Suns’ Eubanks Before Wednesday’s Game

FEBRUARY 15, 7:00am: Stewart was arrested by Phoenix police for assault, according to Mark McClune of KTVK 3TV (Twitter link), who says the Pistons big man was issued a citation and was released. The police investigation into the incident remains active.

Meanwhile, Pistons head coach Monty Williams said after Wednesday’s game that the Suns’ statement on the incident was “irresponsible” (Twitter link via Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press).

“I know Phoenix came out and said it was unprovoked. I think it’s irresponsible,” Williams said. “… Until you find out everything, you can’t make those statements. I heard about that, and that did not need to happen.”

FEBRUARY 14, 7:55pm: The Suns have released a statement regarding the incident, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link). “The attack on Drew Eubanks was unprovoked, and acts of violence such as this are unacceptable. We unequivocally support Drew, and will continue to work with local law enforcement and the NBA.”

A league spokesperson confirmed the NBA will review the altercation, Rankin adds (via Twitter).

FEBRUARY 14, 7:10pm: Prior to Wednesday’s game in Phoenix, Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart punched Suns center Drew Eubanks in the face, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The NBA is expected to review footage of the incident, Charania adds.

According to Charania and James L. Edwards III of The Athletic, it’s unclear what initiated the incident, but evidently the two big men were “chest-to-chest” before Stewart landed a punch near Eubanks’ lip. Police separated the two players and “inspected the scene,” per The Athletic’s report.

Speaking to reporters pregame, Eubanks confirmed he was hit, as Gerald Bouguet of PHNX Sports relays (All Twitter links). Phoenix’s backup center said he’d just arrived to the arena and was in street clothes when the incident occurred, adding that he had never been involved in any other off-court altercations with Stewart.

Words were said, I got sucker punched, and security intervened. … Clearly you can see what he does, how he acts on the court, so it wasn’t surprising,” Eubanks said.

Eubanks added that he was fine and will be playing tonight vs. Detroit, while Stewart is inactive with an ankle sprain.

Wednesday will mark Stewart’s eighth straight absence due to the injury, with his last appearance coming January 28. As Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press tweets, Stewart had been slated to return to action immediately after the All-Star break, but that return could be postponed if he’s suspended, which seems very likely.

According to Sankofa (Twitter link), the Pistons had no comment on the altercation as of 7:15 pm CT.

In November 2021, Stewart was suspended for two games without pay “for escalating an on-court altercation by repeatedly and aggressively” pursuing LeBron James, who received a one-game suspension for “recklessly hitting Stewart in the face” and initiating the incident. Both players were ejected — Stewart received two technical fouls and James received a Flagrant 2 foul. The video of that incident can be found here.