James Wiseman

Contract Details: George, Martin, Wiseman, Isaac, Hield, More

Following the end of the July moratorium on Saturday, teams wasted no time in officially finalizing many of the contracts they’d agreed to up until that point.

Now that those contracts have been completed, we have the official details on many of them. Here, via several reporters – including Keith Smith of Spotrac, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, and cap expert Yossi Gozlan – as well as our own sources, are some of those notable details:

Players with trade kickers:

Lakers forward LeBron James (15%), Knicks forward OG Anunoby (15%), Sixers forward Paul George (15%), Sixers forward Caleb Martin (15%), Mavericks sharpshooter Klay Thompson (15%), and Mavericks forward Naji Marshall (5%) received trade kickers on their new free agent deals, while Celtics guard Derrick White (15%) got one on his contract extension.

As an aside, James’ exact starting salary in 2024/25 is $48,728,845, which is $1,258,873 below the maximum he could have earned.

Players who waived their right to veto a trade:

A player who re-signs with his team on a one-year contract (or two-year contract with a second-year option) is typically awarded the right to veto a trade, but has the option to waive that option.

Heat center Thomas Bryant, Rockets guard Aaron Holiday, Raptors wing Garrett Temple, and Magic teammates Gary Harris and Moritz Wagner all surrendered their right to veto a trade in 2024/25 and could be moved freely.

Unlikely incentives:

Nets center Nic Claxton ($97MM base + $3MM incentives), Pacers forward Obi Toppin ($58MM +$2MM), Suns forward Royce O’Neale ($42MM +$2MM), and Sixers forward Martin ($35,040,704 + $5,256,106) are among the players whose contracts include unlikely bonuses that would boost the total guaranteed salary if those incentives are reached.

As cap expert Albert Nahmad observes, the structure of Martin’s contract helped the 76ers maximize their cap room, since his unlikely incentives don’t count toward the cap once he signs.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Martin’s “unlikely” incentives are easier to earn than a typical player’s incentives would be — I don’t expect them to be for making an All-Star team or anything like that. An incentive is considered unlikely for cap purposes if the player wouldn’t have met the criteria the year before. For example, as Nahmad suggests, a bonus related to Martin making 24 or more starts would be considered unlikely because he started 23 games last season. Martin’s bonuses – considered “unlikely” for cap purposes but perhaps “likely” to be earned in reality – could have served as a way to strengthen the Sixers’ offer without sacrificing that extra cap room.

It’s also worth noting that a player’s unlikely incentives can’t exceed 15% of his guaranteed base salary, and Martin’s $5,256,106 in incentives represent exactly 15% of his overall $35,040,704 salary.

Partial or non-guarantees and options:

James Wiseman‘s two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Pacers is guaranteed for $500K in year one, with a team option for 2025/26. That team option would be guaranteed for $569,041 if exercised (ie. the same percentage as his first-year salary).

Luka Garza got a similarly structured two-year, minimum-salary deal with the Timberwolves, except his first year is fully guaranteed prior to his second-year team option. That 2025/26 option would be guaranteed if picked up.

As previously reported, Isaiah Hartenstein‘s three-year, $87MM deal with the Thunder includes a team option for 2026/27. It’s worth $28.5MM, with $58.5MM in guaranteed money across the first two seasons.

Magic teammates Harris ($7.5MM) and Wagner ($11MM) each have second-year team options on their two-year deals.

The Rockets used their full bi-annual exception to give Holiday a two-year deal worth $9,569,400 that includes a second-year team option ($4,901,400).

Neemias Queta‘s three-year, minimum-salary contract with the Celtics is fully guaranteed in year one with a partial guarantee of exactly 50% ($1,174,789 of $2,349,578) in year two, plus a third-year team option for 2026/27. The third-year option ($2,667,944) would be guaranteed for 50% ($1,333,972) if exercised. Since his minimum deal covers more than two years, a team wouldn’t be able to acquire Queta via the minimum salary exception if he’s traded down the road.

Jonathan Isaac‘s new long-term deal with the Magic is partially guaranteed ($8MM of $14MM) in 2026/27, with non-guaranteed salaries of $14.5MM in 2027/28 and $15MM in 2028/29. However, each of those salaries would become fully guaranteed if Isaac plays at least 52 games in the prior season. For instance, if Isaac were to appear in 54 games in 2026/27, his $14.5MM salary for ’27/28 would be fully guaranteed.

Sign-and-trade contracts:

Interestingly, Kyle Anderson‘s and Buddy Hield‘s new contracts with the Warriors have the exact same salaries for the first three seasons: $8,780,488, $9,219,512, and $9,658,536. Anderson’s three-year deal is fully guaranteed for the first two years and non-guaranteed in year three.

As for Hield, his four-year contract is fully guaranteed for the first two years, with a partial guarantee of $3MM for year three. His fourth year is a $10,097,560 player option that would be partially guaranteed for $3,136,364 if exercised.

Klay Thompson’s three-year contract with the Mavericks comes in at exactly $50MM, as reported — it starts at $15,873,016 and features 5% annual raises.

Jonas Valanciunas‘ three-year contract with the Wizards is worth $30,295,000 in total, beginning at $9.9MM (which is the amount of the trade exception generated for the Pelicans). It’s fully guaranteed for the first two seasons and non-guaranteed in year three.

Cody Zeller got a three-year, $11,025,000 deal in the sign-and-trade that sent him from New Orleans to the Hawks. The first year is guaranteed for $3.5MM, with two non-guaranteed seasons after that.

Finally, as part of the Mikal Bridges trade, new Nets guard Shake Milton got a three-year, $9,162,405 contract that has a guaranteed first-year salary of $2,875,000, with two non-guaranteed years after that ($3MM in 2025/26 and $3,287,406 in ’26/27). His teammate Mamadi Diakite, who was also sent to Brooklyn in the trade, had his $2,273,252 salary partially guaranteed for $1,392,150.

Milton’s $2,875,000 salary, Diakite’s $1,392,150 partial guarantee, and Bojan Bogdanovic‘s $19,032,850 salary add up to $23.3MM, which is equivalent to Bridges’ salary — the exact amount of outgoing salary the Knicks needed to send to avoid being hard-capped at the first tax apron.

Pacers Sign James Wiseman To Two-Year Contract

JULY 5: The Pacers have officially signed Wiseman, according to the NBA’s transaction log.

The fact that the deal is official during the July moratorium is confirmation that it’s a minimum-salary contract. It’s partially guaranteed in year one, with a second-year team option, tweets Tony East of SI.com.

JULY 2: Former No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman is headed to Indiana, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that the Pacers and the free agent center have reached an agreement on a two-year deal.

Wiseman, 23, was selected by the Warriors one pick after Anthony Edwards and one pick before LaMelo Ball in the 2020 draft. However, he struggled to find his fit on Golden State’s veteran roster, then missed his entire 2021/22 second season due to a knee injury, which slowed his development.

The big man was traded to Detroit midway through his third season in 2023 and has spent the last season-and-a-half with the Pistons. In 2023/24, he appeared in 63 games (six starts), averaging 7.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 0.6 blocks in 17.3 minutes per night.

When Wiseman failed to meet the “starter criteria” entering his free agency, the value of his qualifying offer dropped from $15.8MM to about $7.7MM, but the Pistons still opted against tendering him a QO. That gave him the ability to sign with any team as an unrestricted free agent.

Wiseman will join a Pacers team coming off a trip to the Eastern Conference finals. He figures to slot in behind starting center Myles Turner and backup Isaiah Jackson on the depth chart this fall, vying with Jackson for rotation minutes and giving Indiana some additional depth at the five following the departure of Jalen Smith to Chicago.

While Wojnarowski’s report doesn’t provide any details on Wiseman’s salary, a minimum deal seems likely, given the Pacers’ proximity to the luxury tax. Indiana technically has the mid-level and bi-annual exception available, but using the full BAE or a chunk of the MLE would push team salary over the tax line and could create a hard cap at the first apron.

QO Updates: Cavaliers, Pistons, Christie, Watford

The Cavaliers have issued qualifying offers to young wings Isaac Okoro and Emoni Bates, which means they’re both heading for restricted free agency, sources tell Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link).

The fifth overall pick of the 2020 draft, Okoro’s QO — essentially just a one-year contract offer that gives the team the right of first refusal — is worth approximately $11.83MM. Bates’ QO, meanwhile, is for another two-way contract; he spent his 2023/24 rookie campaign on a two-way deal with Cleveland.

The Pistons announced in a press release (via Twitter) that they have extended a qualifying offer to forward Simone Fontecchio, making him a restricted free agent as well. Detroit is considered likely to retain the Italian sharpshooter, whose QO is worth about $5.2MM after he met the “starter criteria” in March.

However, the Pistons have decided not to tender QOs to former first-round picks James Wiseman and Malachi Flynn, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter links). Both Wiseman and Flynn will be heading for unrestricted free agency.

The second pick of the 2020 draft, Wiseman did not meet the starter criteria, so his QO would have been worth $7.7MM. Flynn’s QO was valued at $5.8MM.

The moves were expected, as clearing the cap holds for Wiseman and Flynn will allow Detroit to create a significant amount of cap room heading into the new league season. Teams can officially begin negotiating with external free agents on Sunday evening.

Here are a couple more players who are heading for restricted free agency:

  • Lakers guard Max Christie was given a $2.3MM qualifying offer, Scotto reports (via Twitter). The 21-year-old has averaged 3.8 points and 2.0 rebounds while shooting 37.8% from deep over his first two NBA seasons (108 games, 13.5 minutes per contest). Scotto hears Christie is expected to receive interest from rival suitors as a RFA.
  • Sources tell Brian Lewis of The New York Post that the Nets plan to give Trendon Watford a QO before Saturday’s deadline (Twitter link). A former undrafted free agent who played college ball at LSU, Watford’s one-year QO is worth just over $2.7MM. He averaged 6.9 points and 3.1 rebounds on .527/.397/.794 shooting in 63 games last season for Brooklyn (13.6 minutes).

How Starter Criteria Will Impact QOs For Potential 2024 RFAs

As we outlined in a glossary entry earlier today, the value of a qualifying offer for a player eligible for restricted free agency can increase or decrease depending on whether or not he meets the “starter criteria.”

A player who is eligible for restricted free agency is considered to have met the starter criteria if he plays at least 2,000 minutes or starts 41 games in the season before he reaches free agency — or if he averages either of those marks in the two seasons prior to his restricted free agency.

In many cases, the difference in the qualifying offer amounts is negligible. For instance, since the Sixers will almost certainly sign Tyrese Maxey to a long-term, maximum-salary contract this summer, it doesn’t really matter that he has bumped the value of his qualifying offer a little by meeting the starter criteria.

But in other cases, the adjusted qualifying offer amount could have a real impact on how a player’s free agency plays out by making his team more or less likely to actually issue the QO — and by making the player more or less likely to accept it.

Here are the players whose projected qualifying offers will change as a result of the starter criteria this season:

Players drafted between Nos. 10 and 30 who met the starter criteria:

Bey, Maxey, and Quickley would have had qualifying offers worth $6,498,258, $6,259,588, and $6,128,004, respectively, if they had fallen short of the starter criteria. Instead, their QOs will each be worth $8,486,620.

As noted above, the QO change won’t have any effect on Maxey’s free agency. It’s unlikely to affect Quickley either, since the Raptors will be looking to sign him to a multiyear deal. But it could make a difference for Bey, who tore his ACL last month to bring an up-and-down season to an early end.

A healthy Bey would probably be a safe bet to to get his qualifying offer despite a disappointing season, but ACL recoveries are lengthy processes. If Bey isn’t going to play much – or at all – next season, will the Hawks want to risk him accepting a one-year qualifying offer worth $8.5MM that would set him up to become an unrestricted free agent in 2025?

That QO decision will likely depend on whether or not the Hawks envision Bey as part of their long-term future and whether they expect to reach a multiyear agreement with him.

Second-round picks or undrafted free agents who met the starter criteria:

An experienced veteran who will turn 29 later this year, Fontecchio spent the first part of his career playing in Europe and has just two years of NBA experience, so he’ll be a restricted free agent this summer. His qualifying offer got bumped from $3,806,090 to $5,216,324 when he met the starter criteria.

Fontecchio has been a bright spot in Detroit, averaging 15.4 points per game with a .426 3PT% in 16 games as a Piston. Based on those numbers – and his solid first-half play in Utah – the Italian wing is probably in line for a salary exceeding $5.2MM, which means the QO bump shouldn’t be a difference-maker.

Top-14 picks who won’t meet the starter criteria:

As a former No. 2 overall pick, Wiseman would have been in line for a qualifying offer worth $15,815,870 if he had made at least 41 starts or played 2,000 minutes. Because he fell short, his actual QO will be worth less than half that ($7,744,600).

Wiseman hasn’t shown a whole lot in Detroit, averaging just 6.9 points and 5.0 rebounds in 16.6 minutes per game this season across 59 appearances. But the Pistons will have a ton of cap room this offseason — maybe they’d be comfortable bringing back Wiseman for one more year and trying again to unlock his full potential if the price is just $7.7MM instead of $15.8MM. I’m still skeptical he’ll get that qualifying offer, but it’ll at least be a tougher decision now.

Toppin’s qualifying offer, meanwhile, will drop from $9,170,460 to $7,744,600, but I think the Pacers would have extended it either way. The former No. 8 overall pick has had his best season in 2023/24 as a reserve in Indiana, establishing new career highs in points per game (10.1), field goal percentage (57.2%), and three-point percentage (40.3%), among other categories.

The qualifying offer change for Lewis is marginal — his QO will dip by less than $200K from $7,913,687. He’s unlikely to receive it either way.

It’s worth noting that three other top-14 picks from the 2020 draft met the starter criteria this season. The qualifying offers for Bulls forward Patrick Williams and Cavaliers forward Isaac Okoro will remain at $12,973,527 and $11,828,974, respectively. Those aren’t cheap, but I’d still be a little surprised if either team decides to pass on the QO.

Former Pistons guard Killian Hayes also met the starter criteria, but was later waived, so he won’t get a qualifying offer this June. If he had remained under contract and was eligible to receive one, it would have been worth $9,942,114.

Pistons Notes: Flynn, Nowell, Weaver, Williams, Fontecchio, Wiseman, Grimes

Pistons guard Malachi Flynn became the unlikeliest player to score 50 points in a game this season, coming off the bench to reach that mark in Wednesday’s loss at Atlanta, writes James L. Edwards of The Athletic. It was an out of character scoring explosion for Flynn, who came into the night averaging 5.8 PPG in 17 games with Detroit since being acquired from New York at the trade deadline.

“It’s tougher to put (in perspective) because you want to win. But it definitely feels good,” Flynn said. “I think in a couple days I’ll be able to put it into perspective.” Flynn added that it’s been a long time since he’s come close to 50 points, telling reporters, “I almost did in high school. I had 49 and my coach took me out. I still have a grudge.”

Flynn played 34 minutes and shot 18-of-25 from the field, 5-of-9 from three-point range and 9-of-12 from the foul line. His outburst set a franchise record for the most points by a reserve and fell one short of the NBA record held by Jamal Crawford. Flynn will be a free agent this summer, and the Pistons can make him restricted with a $5.8MM qualifying offer.

There’s more on the Pistons:

  • Jaylen Nowell‘s 10-day contract makes him the 31st player on the roster this season, which ties an NBA record set by this year’s Grizzlies, per Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. With the team experiencing numerous injuries, Nowell may get a shot at consistent playing time. “I expect him to come in and try to acclimate,” coach Monty Williams said. “He’s a guy that’s scored in segments of his career. I watched him in Minnesota a little bit, and had to scout against him. We know he can score the ball. He’s been around. I don’t want to put it out there what we want from him, we just feel like guys like that, who are hungry and looking for opportunities, allow for us to have more bodies with all the guys we’ve lost this year. But it’s also a chance for a guy to come in and help us win games.”
  • The Pistons’ nightmarish season raises questions about general manager Troy Weaver’s future with the franchise, Edwards states in a mailbag column. While he admits any outcome is possible, Edwards’ guess is that Weaver will remain with the team, but a president of basketball operations will be hired to make final decisions on personnel. Edwards also isn’t convinced that Williams will return, even though he signed a record-setting six-year, $78.5MM contract last summer.
  • Of the Pistons’ potential restricted free agents, Simone Fontecchio is likely to be back next season, but James Wiseman may not return and Flynn likely won’t, Edwards adds. Fontecchio has been impressive since being acquired from Utah at the deadline, and Edwards sees him as part of the team’s future unless he’s needed for a major trade. Edwards notes that the front office gave Wiseman numerous opportunities, but he hasn’t produced the way they’d hoped. He’s headed for free agency, and it will take a $7.7MM qualifying offer to make him restricted.
  • Edwards also isn’t certain about Quentin Grimes‘ future with the Pistons. Grimes, who is under contract for $4.3MM next season, had a knee injury when he was acquired from the Knicks and only appeared in six games with Detroit. He should return, Edwards writes, but that’s not a lock, especially if someone besides Weaver is calling the shots.

Central Notes: Pistons, Giannis, Lopez, Craig, Phillips

The Pistons entered this season hoping to push for a spot in the postseason. They currently have the NBA’s second-worst record (12-53), so they’ll fall well short of that preseason goal. Still, they’ve won as many times (six) in their past 16 games as they did in their first 49 contests, and have shown real signs of growth as of late, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com and Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press.

During their past 16 games, the Pistons rank 20th in the NBA in net rating (-3.0) and 16th in defensive rating (113.0). Their pieces also seem to fit together in a way that they didn’t before their trade deadline overhaul, Langlois observes.

“We’re coming together as a team,” center Jalen Duren said, per Sankofa. “We’re all feeling good playing, I feel like everyone is catching their rhythm. You see (Marcus Sasser) coming in and doing his thing, Big Wise (James Wiseman) coming in and doing his thing. … Everyone’s contributing in their own way. That’s helping us.

“… We talk about running through the tape as a team and finishing the year strong, so that’s kinda been my mindset these last whatever games it’s been since All-Star break. Just running through the tape.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • In a conversation with Sam Amick of The Athletic, Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo offered some interesting thoughts on the integration of Damian Lillard, the team’s multiple recent coaching changes, and the MVP race, among other topics. Antetokounmpo admitted this might be “the hardest season” of his career due to the adjustments to the personnel and coaching changes, as well as the procedure he underwent on his knee last summer.
  • Bucks center Brook Lopez tells Mark Medina of Sportskeeda that he believes the ups and downs of the season have made the team more resilient, adding that Doc Rivers‘ impact on the club has been “incredibly noticeable” since he replaced Adrian Griffin. “He’s given us a great energy and a great confidence,” Lopez said. “Things have been simplified. We have a lot of people on the same page right now.”
  • Torrey Craig made his ninth start of the season on Thursday, replacing injured Bulls guard Coby White. As K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago details, Craig made a strong impression, knocking down four three-pointers and serving as the primary defender on Kawhi Leonard.
  • The Bulls announced today in a press release that rookie forward Julian Phillips has been diagnosed with a right foot sprain. The team didn’t offer any sort of recovery timeline for Phillips, simply stating that he’s wearing a walking boot and that his status will be updated as appropriate.

Central Notes: Wiseman, Sasser, Merrill, Bitim

The Pistons are still hoping reserve center James Wiseman can produce on a more consistent basis, per Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). During his first full season in Detroit, the seven-footer out of Memphis is averaging 5.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 0.6 blocks across 40 appearances. The No. 2 pick in 2020 is now playing just 14.3 minutes per night for a 9-50 Pistons club.

“I just want him to be consistent,” head coach Monty Williams said. “The effort is always there. Communication in defense is improving. We love his presence in pick-and-rolls. We just want to see consistency.”

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Pistons rookie swingman Marcus Sasser, who’s dealing with a knee injury, is considered probable to suit up for today’s bout with the Magic, reports James L. Edwards III of The Athletic (via Twitter). Edwards notes that, should Sasser actually play, Detroit will field a completely healthy roster for the first time all season.
  • Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com wonders if, after scoring 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting – all from long range – during a 110-100 victory over the Pistons on Friday, Cavaliers shooting guard Sam Merrill might have earned further consideration for legitimate rotation minutes. Merrill is already enjoying a career year with Cleveland. In 41 games this year, the Utah State product is averaging a career-best 7.8 PPG on a .435/.435/.917 shooting line, with career highs in rebounds (1.9) and assists (1.5) per game as well.
  • Bulls rookie shooting guard Onuralp Bitim has enjoyed a pair of solid games since being promoted from a two-way contract onto the injury-plagued club’s standard roster. He’s averaging 21.9 minutes across his last two contests and scoring 8.0 PPG on .455/.571/1.000 shooting, along with 5.0 RPG. As Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times details, the 24-year-old was a seasoned pro long before making his NBA debut with Chicago. The 6’6″ wing has been playing with Turkish clubs since he was 19. ‘‘Playing professionally since such a young age helped me a lot because, in the end, basketball is universal,’’ said Bitim, whose parents both suited up for professional Turkish teams. ‘‘[My mom] tells me that I got my IQ and vision from her… My dad says that the athleticism and other things are from him.’’

Pistons Notes: Williams, Rotation, Wiseman, Grimes

The Pistons went 11 deep into their rotation through the first 13 minutes of their Thursday loss to the Pacers. According to James L. Edwards III of The Athletic, it felt like Detroit was auditioning for players who might be on next season’s roster, even though coach Monty Williams denied that was the case a day earlier.

I’m not going to be throwing combinations on the floor to just be looking at certain combinations,” Williams said Wednesday. “We’re done with that, in my opinion. We’re trying to develop guys, for sure, but we’re going to try and win every game we can so that we can create what we feel [will give us momentum] going into the summer.

In Edwards’ view, it doesn’t feel like there’s much synergy with the rotations Williams is putting on the floor. If the team is prioritizing winning, Edwards writes, it doesn’t make sense that James Wiseman is earning minutes over Mike Muscala and there’s been no staggering the minutes of franchise guards Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey. But it doesn’t feel like development is the priority in the rotation either, according to Edwards, because rookie Marcus Sasser played fewer minutes than Evan Fournier and Malachi Flynn.

The deep rotations and new faces are making it difficult for any consistency to develop in Detroit and too many minutes are being given to players who might not be on the roster next season, Edwards writes.

In response to questions surrounding his 11-man rotation on Thursday, Williams explained that he told the coaches he’d prefer to run with about nine rotation players but Sasser bumped his knee and that’s why he ended up using Flynn more (Twitter link via Omari Sankofa II of Detroit Free Press).

We have more Pistons notes:

  • Williams also explained his decision to play Wiseman over Muscala (Twitter link via Sankofa). “I like what he’s giving us, especially on the defensive side,” Williams said of the former No. 2 overall pick. According to Sankofa, Williams said that the rim protection Wiseman provides is more important when smaller guards like Sasser and Flynn are on the floor.
  • Wiseman is hoping to shed the bust label he picked up after being traded away for a modest return at the 2023 deadline after he was drafted second overall in 2020, according to FOX Sports’ Melissa Rohlin. “I believe I can be a great player,” Wiseman said. His career has been derailed by a combination of injuries, illness and a lack of NBA preparedness, Rohlin writes.
  • Quentin Grimes, acquired by the Pistons at the deadline, is listed as probable ahead of their Saturday matchup against Orlando, according to Sankofa (Twitter link). Grimes hasn’t played since being traded due to a right knee sprain, but averaged 8.6 points per game while connecting on 37.9% of his three-pointers in his first three seasons in the league.

Central Notes: Pistons, Sasser, DeRozan, Haliburton

Saturday’s announcement that Bulls guard Zach LaVine will have season-ending foot surgery reduces the chances that the Pistons will make a major trade before Thursday’s deadline, writes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. Detroit had seemingly emerged as the frontrunner to acquire LaVine, but a source told Sankofa that the front office was split on the move because of the guard’s injury history and expensive contract. The Pistons weren’t willing to give up any significant assets in a potential deal, Sankofa adds.

With a LaVine trade presumably off the table, Sankofa expects Detroit to wait for the offseason to pursue a major deal. He considers the team likely to be active at the deadline, but with smaller moves that will put the franchise in better position for next season and won’t compromise its cap room for this summer.

Killian Hayes, the seventh pick in the 2020 draft, is likely near the end of his time with the Pistons, Sankofa adds. He has been a healthy scratch in the past two games and is headed toward free agency after not reaching a rookie-scale extension last fall. Sankofa also anticipates a move involving James Wiseman, who has fallen out of the rotation since Mike Muscala and Danilo Gallinari were acquired from Washington last month.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Marcus Sasser has brought some efficiency to the Pistons‘ offense and has a chance to be the first rookie ever in the 50-40-90 club, notes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Detroit appears to have found a long-term rotation piece in Sasser after trading into the first round to grab him with the 25th pick in last year’s draft. “The more and more I play … I’m starting to feel comfortable,” he said. “I’m learning when to take my shots, learn to look for my teammates and create.”
  • DeMar DeRozan refused to speculate on whether LaVine’s injury will make the Bulls more likely to trade him before the deadline, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. DeRozan will be a free agent this summer if he and the team can’t agree on an extension. “I really live my life day-by-day,” he told reporters. “If I get caught up in having future thoughts on things, I’m going to drive myself crazy. And I’d rather not be that way. I take it day-by-day and be prepared for whatever happens. That’s my approach for life.”
  • Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton is trying to find the most efficient way to use his restricted minutes since returning from a hamstring injury, per James Boyd of The Athletic. Haliburton sat out the first quarter Friday against Sacramento so he could be available later on, but he had one of his worst games of the season as Indiana dropped its third straight. “I think anybody who’s dealt with a hamstring before understands that it’s not just nothing,” he said. “Even when you’re fully good a little bit after, you still feel it a little bit. Nothing structurally (is wrong). I think there is some pain, but I can play through that.”

Central Notes: Ivey, Muscala, Gallinari, Giannis, White

It took nearly half a season, but Jaden Ivey is back to being a central part of the Pistons‘ offense, writes James L. Edwards of The Athletic. Ivey appeared headed for stardom after earning All-Rookie honors last year, but new head coach Monty Williams started the season with a clean slate and forced everyone to earn their playing time. Edwards observes that Williams seemed to have little patience with mistakes from Ivey, who rarely played more than 25 minutes in a game during the season’s first two months.

That changed with a recent injury to Cade Cunningham and an organizational meeting that resulted in a larger role for Ivey, Edwards adds. Over the last nine days, Ivey has the highest usage rate on the team at 31.8% and he tied a career high with 32 points Wednesday night.

“Like I said, I’m trying to learn,” Ivey said. “Each and every day is a learning opportunity for me. Like (Williams) is still trying to figure out everyone and the system, I’m still trying to figure out as much as I can. We’re growing as a team. Sometimes you find growth in the losses.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Williams expects newly acquired Mike Muscala and Danilo Gallinari to be part of the Pistons‘ rotation, according to Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. Gallinari didn’t play Wednesday, but Muscala made his debut with the team, taking James Wiseman‘s place in the rotation. “If you look around the league at young teams, what they’ve done is surround their guys with savvy, experienced players who can still play,” Williams said. “Anytime you do that with high-level, high-character guys like Mike and Gallo, it’s going to be a benefit to your team. It’s not just the in-game stuff. You get a chance to watch how these games work, how they prepare and understand why they’ve been around so long. It’s gonna be an asset to the organization and the program.”
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out Wednesday’s game with a right shoulder contusion, but the Bucks don’t expect him to miss much time, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “Well, from what I’ve been told, he went through shootaround and then prior to the game tonight, he just felt that he couldn’t go,” coach Adrian Griffin told reporters. “So, we’re just being smart. And I don’t believe it’s going to be multiple games. It’ll just be day-to-day for now.”
  • In an interview with Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic, Bulls guard Coby White talks about a spiritual transformation last summer that led to his breakthrough season.