James Wiseman

Central Notes: Pistons, Giannis, Hield, Theis, Jackson, Smith

Another Central Division team could be making a deal soon. While the Pistons can’t upstage Milwaukee’s acquisition of Damian Lillard, they have been active in trade talks over the last few weeks, James Edwards III of The Athletic reports.

Edwards speculates that James Wiseman, Marvin Bagley, Killian Hayes, Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks are the candidates to be dealt, which could clear a logjam at some positions and open up more playing time for the Pistons’ rookies. In Hayes’ case, the 2020 lottery pick doesn’t appear to be in the team’s plans after acquiring Monte Morris and drafting Marcus Sasser.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Speaking of Lillard, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst says that despite the acquisition of the longtime All-Star guard, there’s no guarantee that Giannis Antetokounmpo will commit to the Bucks long-term (video link). Antetokounmpo has yet to sign an extension this offseason and has financial incentive to wait but he may want out if Milwaukee doesn’t win another championship this season. “Maybe they’re 10 percent better in terms of this title chase, maybe five percent. The real question is, ‘What does it mean for Giannis?,'” Windhorst said. “Giannis made it clear he was not going to sign an extension with this team. He wanted to see them go all-in. They have gone all-in. But if he still doesn’t sign an extension, they’re still on the one-year window.”
  • Even though general manager Chad Buchanan has downplayed reports that the Pacers are looking to trade Buddy Hield, giving second-year guard Bennedict Mathurin a starting job ahead of Hield could cause chemistry issues, Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star opines. Hield is in the final year of his contract and extension talks have stalled, Buchanan admitted this week, though they could be rekindled.
  • The Pacers have multiple options at center behind Myles Turner. Buchanan indicated that Daniel Theis, Isaiah Jackson and Jalen Smith will battle in training camp for the backup role, according to Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star. Buchanan added he won’t look to trade any of those players until there’s more clarity regarding the rotation.

And-Ones: Extension Predictions, Overtime Elite, Hines, Streaming

Of the players eligible for rookie scale extensions in 2023, five have signed new contracts. What will happen with the remaining group?

Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report explored that topic today, making predictions on which players will sign extensions and which won’t. The players who don’t sign extensions before the start of the 2023/24 regular season will be eligible for restricted free agency in the summer of 2024.

Let’s start with former No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman, who is now on the Pistons after being traded in February.

No deal to be done,” sources told Pincus. “He has too much to prove unless he wants an extremely team-friendly extension. This one will wait.”

How about Magic guard Cole Anthony, who is a member of a crowded backcourt in Orlando?

I think they move Anthony, maybe even before the season. But I don’t think they extend him,” one player agent said.

Ultimately, Pincus believes most of the rookie scale candidates will hit restricted free agency next summer, but a handful could get extensions and a few more have situations worth monitoring.

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

  • The Overtime Elite league has finalized its rosters for the ’23/24 season, tweets Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. A total of 31 players on three teams will compete in OTE during the upcoming campaign. A number of prospects have been drafted from the upstart league over the past couple seasons, including Amen Thompson and Ausar Thompson, twin brothers who were back-to-back lottery picks in June (Nos. 4 and 5, respectively).
  • ESPN’s Dave McMenamin takes an in-depth look at the competitive summer pickup games at UCLA’s student center, which are run by former Bruins guard and current Sixers assistant Rico Hines. Multiple NBA players and teams are in attendance every year, McMenamin writes, including Warriors star Stephen Curry last offseason. “For me, it’s how can somebody get from being a two-way player or just a subpar player to then getting, ‘Man, he’s made it. He’s a real NBA player,'” Hines said. “That’s what it’s about for me.”
  • Some NBA games will be streamed on Max this season, according to Richard Deitsch and Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. The games will be part of an add-on package in partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery Sports, and will cost $9.99 per month.

Central Notes: Hayes, Bagley, Wiseman, DeRozan, Giannis

The Pistons are likely to make at least one more trade before the season commences, James Edwards III of The Athletic opines. Killian Hayes, a 2020 lottery pick, doesn’t have a clear path to a rotation spot and there’s no sense the Pistons are interested in signing him to a rookie scale extension. The front office could also look to move either Marvin Bagley or James Wiseman, as it’s unlikely both will have a rotation spot this upcoming season.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The prudent thing for the Bulls to do with DeMar DeRozan is to trade him at February’s deadline to a contender and get future assets, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic writes in his latest mailbag. DeRozan, 34, is entering his walk year. However, Mayberry anticipates the Bulls will let the season play out and re-sign him, since the front office values continuity.
  • While big-market franchises like the Lakers and Knicks have been mentioned as potential suitors for Giannis Antetokounmpo if the Bucks’ star ever demands or trade or hits free agency, Sean Deveney of Heavy.com found some execs who think his future destination could be a big surprise. They’ve speculated that teams like the Thunder, Spurs and Raptors could be dark-horses if Giannis becomes available. “I think you can’t rule out those kinds of teams,” one unnamed executive said.
  • The Bucks have added guard TyTy Washington on a two-way contract. Get the details here.

Eastern Notes: Hayes, Pistons, Queen, Bulls, Skyhawks

Killian Hayes was Troy Weaver‘s first draft choice when he became general manager of the Pistons, having been selected No. 7 overall in 2020. Three years later, the guard’s future with Detroit is uncertain.

As James L. Edwards III of The Athletic writes in his latest mailbag, the Pistons have drafted guards Cade Cunningham (No. 1 overall in 2021) and Jaden Ivey (No. 5 overall in 2022) since Hayes was picked. This offseason, they traded up in June’s draft to acquire former Houston Cougars guard Marcus Sasser (No. 25 overall), and sent out a future second-round pick to land veteran guard Monte Morris from the Wizards.

Where does that leave Hayes? In Edwards’ view, the Pistons will either trade the 22-year-old before the 2023/24 season starts, or they added backcourt depth in order to “light a fire” under the young guard so he’ll have to earn his minutes.

Edwards also touches on some other topics, including who might take the backup center job between James Wiseman and Marvin Bagley III. For what it’s worth, Edwards thinks Bagley is a better player right now, but acknowledges Wiseman might have more upside.

Here’s more from the East:

  • Trevelin Queen will be signing an Exhibit 10 contract with the Magic, reports Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link). Queen’s one-year training camp deal is non-guaranteed and worth the veteran’s minimum. If he’s waived before the season starts, he could earn a bonus of up to $75K if he spends at least 60 days with the Osceola Magic, the team’s G League affiliate. Exhibit 10 deals can also be converted into two-way contracts, and Orlando does have a two-way opening, as our tracker shows.
  • Re-signing forward Terry Taylor to a two-year, minimum-salary contract might be the final offseason move for the Bulls, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Having Taylor and Carlik Jones on non-guaranteed deals creates financial flexibility for the Bulls, who now have 15 players on standard deals and all three two-way slots filled, Johnson notes. It’s worth noting that Chicago is virtually certain to add some players on Exhibit 10 deals ahead of training camp, though those are often geared more toward filling out the G League roster.
  • The College Park Skyhawks — the Hawks‘ NBAGL affiliate — have announced Daniel Starkman as their new general manager and confirmed that Ryan Schmidt will be their new head coach, according to a team press release. Starkman, who has been with the Hawks organization since 2015, was previously Atlanta’s senior manager of basketball operations. Schmidt was head coach of the British Basketball League’s London Lions last season. He will also be an assistant coach with the Hawks under Quin Snyder.

Eastern Notes: Bailey, Herro, Wiseman, Butler

Second-round pick Amari Bailey averaged 9.3 points in 16.1 minutes per game in Summer League and the Hornets rookie found the experience very beneficial, he told Sarah Efress of The Charlotte Observer.

“It was just an amazing experience, being able to spend time with some of the guys on the team and the coaches as well. I feel like we have a great family dynamic around the whole organization,” Bailey said. “Given us being somewhat of a younger team, I feel like I can come in and just work right with everyone else. I feel like we’re very hungry, so there’s a lot to look forward to here.” Bailey signed a two-way contract with the Hornets last month.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • If Tyler Herro is re-routed in a potential blockbuster between the Heat and Trail Blazers, the Raptors should only be moderately interested in being the third team, Eric Koreen of The Athletic writes in a mailbag piece. While the Raptors could use a high-level shooter and scorer like Herro, he’s a defensive liability and the Raptors are not in a position where they should be giving away more first-round picks, Koreen opines.
  • If the Pistons can unlock James Wiseman‘s overall game to match his physical gifts, they’ll have two premier young centers, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. Wiseman is expected to share minutes with Jalen Duren, a late lottery pick last year who turned heads during his stint with the USA Select Team. Wiseman felt reinvigorated merely by getting an opportunity to play through his mistakes after he was traded from Golden State, Langlois notes.
  • Jared Butler was arguably the Thunder’s best player during his four Summer League appearances, averaging 20.0 points and 4.3 assists per game, Bijan Todd of the NBC Sports Washington writes. Todd takes a closer look at Butler, who signed a two-way deal with the Wizards last month.

Pistons Notes: Duren, Stewart, Hayes, Thompson

Jalen Duren and Isaiah Stewart appear to be the favorites to start at center and power forward for the Pistons heading into training camp, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes in a mailbag column. Langlois sees them as having a clear edge over James Wiseman and Marvin Bagley III. He cites Duren’s impressive showing at Summer League, which he followed up with a strong performance as part of the Select Team that scrimmaged against Team USA’s World Cup squad.

The bigger concern for Wiseman and Bagley, according to Langlois, is whether new head coach Monty Williams is willing to give regular playing time to four big men. They could be battling for one rotation role, not only in camp but throughout the season.

Langlois also raises the possibility that Williams won’t want to start two traditional big men. That could lead to Bojan Bogdanovic getting the starting nod as a stretch four, with Isaiah Livers possibly claiming the other forward spot.

There’s more on the Pistons:

  • Killian Hayes needs to establish himself as an NBA player as he enters the final year of his rookie contract, but his path to playing time appears to be blocked, Langlois adds. Cade Cunningham‘s return will consume a lot of the backcourt minutes, and Hayes will have to compete with Jaden Ivey, Alec Burks, newcomer Monte Morris and rookie Marcus Sasser as well. Langlois suggests that Hayes might be included in a multi-player trade at some point to help balance salaries.
  • Overtime Elite trainer Luke Cooper believes Ausar Thompson has the drive to become a star, per James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Cooper said Thompson’s obsession to excel at every part of the game led to some late-night phone calls during their two years of working together. “I’ll get a text or call saying, ‘I mastered it,’ and I’d have no idea what he was talking about,” Cooper said. “It would be some little move that we worked on earlier that day that bothered him so much because he didn’t feel comfortable with it, so he went to his room and worked on it, in his room, until he felt comfortable with it.”
  • In a separate story, Edwards examines potential lineup combinations for the upcoming season, looking at which five-man units might work best in different situations.

Central Notes: Toppin, Catlin, Pistons, Bucks

Forward Obi Toppin, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal and is currently eligible for a rookie scale extension, says he’s looking forward to playing for the Pacers in 2023/24 after being acquired from New York in a trade last month. Part of that is Indiana’s “family-type environment,” but he also thinks it’ll be a good fit on the court as well, according to Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star.

That’s my game,” Toppin said at his camp in Dayton. “Everybody knows my game. In the open floor, I run the floor really hard. We’re gonna play with a fast pace. That what’s the league is. We’re not slowing it down. They’re trying to get a bucket in the first 10 seconds of the shot clock. I feel like that’s good for us, getting us as many easy buckets as we can.

“I just feel like Indiana’s vision is going to be playing me to my strengths. I feel like they’re going to allow me to get back to what I do best, which is put pressure on the rim, attack the rim.”

Here’s more from the Central:

  • Longtime Pacers staffer Vance Catlin, who previously held the title of director of pro scouting, has been promoted to vice president of pro scouting, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Catlin is known as a tireless worker and has been with the organization for 20 years, Agness notes.
  • How do Pistons fans feel about the team’s offseason? Are they confident in Detroit’s direction? James L. Edwards III of The Athletic received over 1,500 votes from subscribers for his annual survey, and fans seem to be cautiously optimistic for the most part, despite the Pistons winning just 17 games last season. Notably, fans are bullish on Cade Cunningham‘s potential and the hiring of new head coach Monty Williams. Fans are less optimistic about Marvin Bagley III and James Wiseman, but Edwards believes the former No. 2 overall picks likely won’t have major roles, as Jalen Duren is firmly entrenched as the center of the future.
  • The Bucks have a new head coach in Adrian Griffin and he will face some tough rotation decisions entering 2023/24, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Starting shooting guard and backup point guard are the two spots that appear the most tenuous at the moment. In fact, Milwaukee doesn’t have a traditional backup point guard on its 15-man roster, which makes Nehm wonder if the team will eventually take the “simplest” route by addressing the position with a trade or free agent addition.

Central Notes: Middleton, Rubio, Jerome, Morris, Pistons

Khris Middleton‘s new contract with the Bucks includes a series of bonuses related to his total games played and the team’s postseason success, as Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel outlines (via Twitter).

According to Owczarski, Middleton will earn $1.5MM if he appears in at least 62 games in 2023/24 and $617K if the Bucks make the playoffs. He’ll also receive $206K if Milwaukee makes the Eastern Conference Finals, another $206K if the club makes the NBA Finals, and an additional $206K for a championship. Of those incentives, only the $617K playoff bonus is currently deemed likely, since Middleton and the Bucks didn’t achieve any of the other benchmarks last season.

Those figures add up to about $2.735MM — Middleton has approximately $2.963MM in total bonuses next season, so it sounds like at least one of his incentives is missing. However, Owczarski’s reporting gives us a pretty good sense of how the veteran forward would be able to max out his earnings in ’23/24.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • The Cavaliers are optimistic about Ricky Rubio‘s bounce-back potential in 2023/24, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (subscriber link). As Fedor explains, Rubio is another year removed from ACL surgery and is expected to play for Spain in the World Cup, which could be a spring-board to a successful season. The Cavs’ addition of Ty Jerome was more about acquiring “playable depth” than an expectation he’ll usurp Rubio on the depth chart, Fedor adds.
  • Monte Morris, who was born in Grand Rapids and grew up in Flint, spoke on Saturday about what it means to him to get the opportunity to play for his hometown Pistons, per Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. “I always dreamed about playing for the Pistons, just where I grew up,” Morris said. “I was at the Boys and Girls Club a lot. We would get a lot of Pistons gear and I remember when Chauncey (Billups), Ben (Wallace), Tayshaun (Prince), and Rip (Hamilton) came down, it was like 2003, I believe. I was 8 years old running around the Boys and Girls Club. … I used to watch the games in the nosebleeds at the Palace. That pride of just being a Piston, I know what it feels like.”
  • In a separate subscriber-only story for The Free Press, Sankofa answers mailbag questions about the Pistons‘ rotation, Ausar Thompson‘s role, and Thompson’s potential ceiling, among other topics. Within a discussion of trade possibilities, Sankofa expresses skepticism that James Wiseman will be moved this offseason, but acknowledges that if the former lottery pick can’t crack the team’s rotation this season, his days in Detroit could be numbered.

And-Ones: Summer League, McClung, Motiejunas, NBAGL Showcase

The Hornets‘ poor play was one of the worst parts of Las Vegas Summer League, writes John Hollinger of The Athletic.

Despite having eight players on the roster attending (and a ninth, James Nnaji, as one of a handful of remaining unsigned draft picks), Charlotte went 1-6 and was minus-55 overall. No one played particularly well, with Hollinger noting that the team may end up regretting not taking Scoot Henderson instead of Brandon Miller, if their brief Summer League performances were any indication.

Of more immediate concern for the Hornets are the fourth-year team option decisions on 2021 first-round picks James Bouknight and Kai Jones, which are due by late October. Neither looks like a sure bet to have his option picked up, as both players struggled in Vegas despite entering their third seasons, Hollinger adds. Bouknight’s option in 2024/25 is worth $6.1MM, while Jones’ is worth $4.7MM — not exactly team-friendly rates given they haven’t contributed much thus far.

Nnaji showed some defensive promise, but may be a draft-and-stash prospect while he develops his offensive game, says Hollinger.

Among the other players who struggled in Summer League were Pistons center James Wiseman (poor screening and defense), Nets first-rounder Noah Clowney (looked overmatched) and Lakers draft picks Jalen Hood-Schifino and Maxwell Lewis, according to Hollinger.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • On the other end of the spectrum, Hollinger also revealed his under-the-radar Summer League standouts for The Athletic, including Javon Freeman-Liberty, who just agreed to a two-way deal with the Raptors, and Cavaliers guards Sam Merrill and Craig Porter Jr., the latter of whom went undrafted and signed a two-way contract with Cleveland. Hollinger says he would have given Merrill, whose contract for next season is non-guaranteed, the Summer League MVP award over Cam Whitmore.
  • Free agent guard Mac McClung, who finished last season on a two-way deal with the Sixers, tells Sean Deveney of Heavy.com he’s focused on making another NBA team, but he’s open to going to Europe if he can’t find a roster spot. “We’ll see,” McClung said. “I am in free agency right now, my agent is talking to some teams, back and forth. We’re just trying to evaluate what is the best situation for me. Hopefully, I will be in the NBA next year and finding my way.”
  • Former NBA big man Donatas Motiejunas has signed a two-year extension with AS Monaco Basket, the team announced (via Twitter). Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com had the scoop on Motiejunas’ extension (Twitter link). The 32-year-old spent six seasons in the NBA, ending with a brief stint with San Antonio back in 2018/19. He was productive on a per-minute basis for Monaco, which won France’s LNB Pro A and finished third in the EuroLeague playoffs.
  • In 2023/24, the NBA G League’s Winter Showcase event will be held in Orlando instead of Las Vegas, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The Showcase has been held Vegas for several years, but will be moving due to the NBA’s new in-season tournament, as the semifinals and final will be held in early December in Vegas.

Central Notes: Dosunmu, Jones, I. Mobley, Pistons

Re-signing restricted free agent guard Ayo Dosunmu to a three-year, $21MM contract was a shrewd business decision by the Bulls, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

The Bulls like Dosunmu’s aggression, competitiveness and work ethic, according to Johnson, and bringing him back at $7MM per year could be valuable if Chicago decides to make moves in the future, as mid-sized deals can come in handy when negotiating trades. That isn’t to imply the team wants to deal away a player it is retaining — it’s just a reality of the business.

With Zach LaVine, Coby White, Alex Caruso, Jevon Carter, Dosunmu, Dalen Terry and the injured Lonzo Ball already in the backcourt, Johnson believes Carlik Jones will likely be released. Jones’ deal is currently non-guaranteed, but becomes partially guaranteed for $250K if he makes the Bulls’ opening night roster. The team’s next free agent addition will “almost certainly” be a frontcourt player, Johnson adds.

Here’s more from the Central:

  • He may not be as well-known as his younger brother, but Cavaliers big man Isaiah Mobley, who is on a two-way deal with Cleveland, made his mark during Las Vegas Summer League, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (subscriber link). Mobley hit an overtime game-winner in the team’s fifth game against Brooklyn, with the Cavs going on to finish 6-0 and leaving with a championship. He averaged 17.8 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 4.5 APG, 1.5 BPG and 1.0 SPG on 49.3% from the field in 28.3 MPG in Vegas. Mobley is the older brother of Evan Mobley, who finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting this past season.
  • James L. Edwards of The Athletic recently took a stab at projecting the Pistons‘ depth chart entering 2023/24, with a possible 10-man rotation of starters Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Bojan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Stewart and Jalen Duren, alongside reserves Monte Morris, Alec Burks, Ausar Thompson, Isaiah Livers and Marvin Bagley III. Notably, that group does not include James Wiseman, with Edwards writing that Bagley is the superior screener and roller and better at creating his own shot. It also doesn’t include Killian Hayes or Joe Harris. That said, with the obvious caveat that it’s only July, I agree with Edwards.
  • In another article for The Athletic, Edwards evaluates trade proposals from readers. One fake trade was a complex four-team deal where the Pistons receive Tobias Harris; the Clippers receive James Harden and a 2029 first-round pick (from Philly); the Sixers receive Bogdanovic, Norman Powell, Marcus Morris, Danilo Gallinari and 2028 and ’29 first-rounders (from the Clips); and the Wizards receive Bagley and a 2024 second-rounder (from L.A.). Edwards thinks the Sixers would decline that proposal, and likely the Wizards too, though the latter might be more interested if another second-round pick or two were added.