Marcus Sasser

Central Notes: Stewart, Thompson, Morris, Sasser, Terry, Bucks

Isaiah Stewart, Ausar Thompson and Monte Morris could make surprising contributions for the Pistons next season, James Edwards III of The Athletic opines. Edwards believes Stewart will develop into a solid outside shooter. He also sees Summer League standout Thompson becoming a fan favorite with his overall contributions, while Morris could be the team’s best backup point man in over a decade.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Marcus Sasser, the Pistons’ other first-round pick, overcame his offensive struggles in previous Summer League games with a 40-point, five-assist, zero-turnover performance on Sunday. Sasser will need to continue making shots to stand out in Detroit’s crowded backcourt, according to Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press, but he also displayed good man-to-man defensive skills and could be a two-way factor.
  • Bulls second-year guard Dalen Terry admits he had a “tough summer league” but he finished strong, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic points out. He had 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting, including four 3-pointers, and added five rebounds and four assists in his last game. “Obviously, I haven’t had a great summer league. And, in this game, I just had to forget all about it and just keep going,” Terry said during an ESPN interview.
  • The Bucks are operating over the second tax apron when unlikely incentives for Jrue Holiday, Grayson Allen and Khris Middleton are added in, plus A.J. Green‘s contract counts toward the apron as the two-year minimum of $2,019,763 rather the cap sheet hit of $1,901,769. The Athletic’s John Hollinger and Eric Nehm provide a full explanation of the Bucks’ tax apron situation, noting that the only limit placed on Milwaukee this season as a result of being over the second apron is not being able to use the taxpayer mid-level exception.

Central Notes: Stewart, Karnisovas, Bulls, Bucks

Big man Isaiah Stewart has been viewed as the “heart and soul” of the Pistons over his three seasons, which explains part of the reason why they decided to give him a four-year extension, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. The 22-year-old plans to outperform his new deal.

I told (general manager) Troy (Weaver) that my goal has always been to prove him right,” Stewart told The Athletic via telephone on Tuesday. “I told him my next goal is to outplay this contract and continue to prove him right. Troy is someone who believes in me and my game, what I can become. My goal has always been to prove him right. I want to prove myself right, too. I put in a lot of work.

It makes me feel very grateful. They’re rewarding me for the work that I’ve done and what I can become. I’m very appreciative to the front office, (owner) Tom Gores, Troy.”

Here’s more from the Central:

  • In an interview at Summer League with Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press, Stewart said he’s been impressed by first-round picks Ausar Thompson and Marcus Sasser. “Dogs. They’ve definitely got some dog in them. You see it with Marcus on defense. Obviously his ability to score the ball. Ausar, you can tell he’s a very smart player. High IQ. He wants to play defense. He’s not a selfish player at all, he’s always trying to connect the team and connect the dots. I’m a fan of his game and what I’ve seen so far, I’m excited to play with him. You can tell he knows how to play the game the right way.” Stewart also said he’s excited to work with the new coaching staff and has been focused on his shooting this summer, per Sankofa.
  • The Bulls‘ top basketball executive, Arturas Karnisovas, explained the decision to sign Jevon Carter and Torrey Craig in free agency, as K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago relays. Karnisovas reiterated that the team expects to be without Lonzo Ball for the entire 2023/24 season, providing context for the additions. “Unfortunately, we’re going to miss ‘Zo,” Karnišovas said on ESPN2. “He’s the player that pushes the ball, pushes the tempo, gives you 3-point shooting. So we tried to address this this offseason. And I think we got toughness, some shooting and some guys who play with energy and a motor.” Craig’s deal isn’t official yet, Johnson notes.
  • The Bucks decided to give A.J. Green a standard contract after he played on a two-way deal as a rookie last season, and added rookie second-rounder Chris Livingston, the final pick of the draft, to the 15-man roster as well. Both players spoke about their new contracts with Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “It just gives me more confidence, knowing that they trust in me and what I was able to do and how I was able to help the team last year,” Green told The Athletic. “That’s all I’m going to try to continue to do, just help the team and play my role and do what I can.”

Pistons Notes: Thompson, Duren, Ivey, Sasser

Lottery pick Ausar Thompson didn’t score much in his Summer League debut but his all-around contributions showed why the Pistons were thrilled he was available with the fifth pick, Keith Langlois of writes.

Thompson had seven points, nine rebounds, three blocked shots, three assists and a steal against Orlando on Saturday.

“At the core of him, he makes winning plays,” Summer League coach Jarrett Jack said. “Fifty-fifty balls, trench rebounds, cutting, pushing the basketball, making the extra pass, sacrificing himself in some instances to cut so somebody can get the extra pass on the back side – that’s something you can’t teach. I’m excited for his growth.”

His athleticism impresses even some of the most athletic members of the team.

“He just … floats,” guard Jaden Ivey said. “A layup, you could just tell. It’s something different about him that I’ve never seen before. It’s like he floats in the air when he jumps. A lot of my teammates have seen it and noticed it.”

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Second-year center Jalen Duren showed a new dimension in the same game, as he attempted two 3-pointers and made one, Rod Beard of the Detroit News notes. He was also very aggressive around the rim, which led to 10 free throw attempts. Duren finished the game with 17 points and eight rebounds.
  • Ivey admits the amount of games and the pile of losses the team endured last season weighed on him, he told James Edwards III of The Athletic. He’s hopeful that his second season will be much different. “This past season was hard. I’d never been through a season where you lose so many games and play so many games. We, obviously, only ended up winning 17 games. I think about that a lot because it’s really embarrassing to win just 17 games. … The ups and downs individually, all of the losses, I think that’ll all help me for Year 2. … I’m really excited to get started with Monty (Williams) here, to learn from him and all the coaches, which I have been. I’ve been training, really, in Detroit all summer.”
  • Kelvin Sampson, Marcus Sasser‘s coach at the University of Houston, said the late first-round pick will provide the Pistons with an offensive spark. “He can score at all three levels,” Sampson told Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press. “He’s obviously an outstanding 3-point shooter but he also has a really good float game, outstanding free throw shooter. He’s a good defensive player but he’s a better offensive player than defensive player. Detroit didn’t draft him because he’s a good defender. They drafted him because he can score.”

Pistons Sign Marcus Sasser To Rookie Contract

The Pistons have signed No. 25 overall pick Marcus Sasser to his rookie scale contract, according to the official transaction log at

A four-year college player at Houston, Sasser was a two-time All-AAC selection and a consensus 2023 first team All-American. In 2022/23, the 22-year-old averaged 16.8 points, 3.1 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game and shot .438/.384/.848 across 36 contests (30.8 MPG), earning AAC Player of the Year honors.

The Grizzlies initially held the No. 25 pick, but sent it to the Celtics as part of the Marcus Smart trade. Boston subsequently flipped it to the Pistons, who packaged two future second-round picks along with this year’s No. 31 in order to move up six spots for Sasser.

Sasser will join a talented young Pistons backcourt that includes two recent lottery picks, Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey.

Assuming he receives the maximum allowable 120% of the rookie scale amount, which virtually every first-rounder does, Sasser will earn approximately $2.6MM as a rookie and nearly $13.5MM if he plays out his full four-year rookie contract. The first two years are guaranteed, while the third and fourth are team options.

Pistons’ Draft-Night Trade For Marcus Sasser Finalized

JUNE 28: The trade is now official, according to a tweet from the Pistons.

JUNE 23: The Celtics will receive the following future second-round picks from the Pistons as part of this trade, per a press release:

  • The most favorable of the Pistons’, Warriors’, and Wizards’ 2025 second-rounders.
  • The most favorable of the Timberwolves’, Pelicans’, Knicks’, and Trail Blazers’ 2026 second-round picks.

JUNE 22: The Celtics and Pistons are swapping draft picks, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Detroit is moving up from No. 31 to No. 25 and selecting Houston guard Marcus Sasser.

Technically, the No. 25 pick is still held by the Grizzlies, but it’s being sent to Boston as part of the three-team Marcus Smart trade that was agreed to on Wednesday night. The Celtics will reroute it to the Pistons.

In return, Boston is set to receive both the first pick in the second round and multiple future second-round selections from Detroit, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). This could be a tactical money-saving move for the Celtics, in the short term.

Sasser, a 6’1″ combo guard, will join a talented young backcourt in Detroit. He will be fighting for bench minutes behind backcourt starters Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey, two recent top-five lottery picks.

During his four-year NCAA career with the Cougars, Sasser was a two-time All-AAC selection and a consensus 2023 First Team All-American. In 2022/23, the 22-year-old averaged 16.8 PPG on .438/.384/.848 shooting splits. He also chipped in 3.1 APG, 2.8 RPG, and 1.6 SPG across 36 contests, all starts.

Luke Adams contributed to this report.

Pistons Notes: Barnes, Burks, Livers, McGruder, Hayes, Sasser, Thompson

There’s been plenty of speculation about the Pistons making offers to restricted free agent Cameron Johnson and unrestricted free agent Jerami Grant. The Athletic’s James Edwards III believes another forward might make a nice fit in the short-term — Kings unrestricted free agent Harrison Barnes.

Edwards doesn’t think a big one- or two-year offer to Barnes is out of the question, noting that the veeteran could provide a stabilizing force to the team’s young core.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • In the same piece, Edwards said the Pistons are likely to bring back several veteran reserves. It’s expected they’ll exercise their teams options on Alec Burks ($10,489,600) and Isaiah Livers ($1,836,096). Unrestricted free agent Rodney McGruder could also return, presumably on a veteran’s minimum deal, for a fourth consecutive season.
  • It’s not only unlikely the Pistons will pursue a rookie scale extension with Killian Hayes, the 2020 lottery pick may have to scrounge for playing time, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press opines. With the addition of Marcus Sasser in the draft, Hayes will have to fight for minutes off the bench with the rookie and Burks behind starters Jaden Ivey and Cade Cunningham. The Pistons will also have plenty of options at the wing, including rookie Ausar Thompson and Bojan Bogdanovic, so the Pistons may use fewer three-guard lineups.
  • GM Troy Weaver has placed a premium on high character, low-maintenance players since he joined the franchise. Thompson and Sasser fit that mold, Keith Langlois of writes. “These two young men represent what we want to be about here in Detroit,” Weaver said. “We doubled down hard with these two. These two young men are about the right things.”

Pistons Notes: Sasser, Burks, Hayes, Thompson, Summer League

After they selected Ausar Thompson with the No. 5 pick in Thursday’s draft, the Pistons started making phone calls in hopes of landing Marcus Sasser, writes James L. Edwards of The Athletic. General manager Troy Weaver had been hearing rave reviews from his scouts all season about the Houston guard, whose combination of shooting, defense and self-confidence made him a target late in the first round or early in the second round.

Detroit found a willing trade partner in the Celtics, who agreed to swap their newly acquired pick at No. 25 in exchange for the 31st selection and two future second-rounders. While it could be viewed as a high price to move up six spots, Weaver wanted to be sure he was in position to grab Sasser.

“You can talk about his shooting, defense, but he’s a rock … steady,” Weaver said. “He brings it every game. You never have to worry where he’s going to be, what he’s going to do. He’s rock solid. We wanted to add this stabilizing player and personality to the restoration. We pushed our chips in and went and got him.”

There’s more from Detroit:

  • If Sasser is going to have an immediate role, it will create a logjam in the backcourt for a team that used first-round picks on Killian Hayes, Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey over the past three years, Edwards adds. The Pistons hold a $10.4MM option on veteran guard Alec Burks that Edwards expects them to exercise, so a battle for playing time is shaping up. Edwards suggests that Weaver may look to trade either Burks or Hayes, who is eligible for a rookie-scale extension this offseason.
  • Thompson spent a few days in Detroit when he and his brother traveled there for a workout and he got a strong indication that the Pistons were going to draft him, Edwards adds in a separate story. “They told me I fit where the modern NBA was going — having multiple facilitators on the court, being able to come off screens, play defense.” Thompson said Thursday shortly after hearing his name announced. “That was one of the main things. I just felt the chemistry while being there. I was excited being there. I left there impressed. I thought this would be a place that I’d be very happy ending up. Now look at me.”
  • Ivey, Jalen Duren, James Wiseman and Isaiah Livers are all expected to play at least one game in the Summer League, Edwards tweets.

Draft Notes: Henderson, Sheppard, Wizards, Hornets, Magic, Warriors

With Scoot Henderson ranked second or third in nearly every mock draft, the G League Ignite star only plans two workouts during the pre-draft process, tweets Sean Highkin of The Rose Garden Report.

Henderson was in Portland on Saturday to show off the skills that have made him one of the most talked-about prospects in this year’s class. The Trail Blazers hold the third pick and appear to be the most likely destination for Henderson if speculation about Brandon Miller going to Charlotte at No. 2 is correct. There’s been plenty of conjecture that Portland may trade the pick for veteran help, but some sources believe the team would be comfortable adding another young player.

Henderson hasn’t scheduled a session with the Hornets yet, but he told Casey Holdahl of that he expects to work out for them at some point before the June 22 draft. He also talked about what he’ll bring to the team that selects him.

“You always want a guy like me, that dog mentality,” Henderson said. “Just my personality, the culture I bring to the locker room. I’m a great leader, I’ll tell what’s up and I can do everything on the floor. I can do everything on the floor. I’m going to go out there and give my 110 percent every day. And that’s the thing about me: I’m very consistent in effort. Even if it’s not there, I just try to even it out the next game, try to get right to it. Give it a 120 if I didn’t give it 110 the last game.”

There’s more draft news to pass along:

Draft Notes: Sasser, Smith, Rodriguez, Plavsic

Marcus Sasser withdrew from last year’s draft as he recovered from a foot injury, which hindered him at the combine. He had a much better experience at the 2023 event, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports.

The Houston Cougars guard improved his draft prospects with a stellar season and a strong showing at the combine.

“I’m way more comfortable coming in this year, way more confident,” Sasser said. “It wasn’t as nerve-racking as last year. I was excited to go talk to these guys and build relationships.”

Sasser, who averaged 16.8 points and 3.1 assists per game last season, has a decent shot to be selected in the first round. He’s currently ranked No. 35 overall on ESPN’s Best Available list.

We have more draft-related notes:

  • Tolu Smith will withdraw from the draft and return to Mississippi State next season to use his additional year of eligibility, CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein tweets. He averaged 15.7 points and 8.5 rebounds for the Bulldogs last season.
  • Ditto for UNLV guard Luis Rodriguez. He has decided to return to college, Rothstein tweets. Rodriguez averaged 10.7 points and 5.7 rebounds last season.
  • Tennessee’s Uros Plavsic disclosed in a Twitter post he’s leaving the university to pursue professional opportunities. The 7’1” Plavsic started 20 of 34 games for the Vols last season.

NBA Reveals Players Expected At 2023 Draft Combine

The NBA has announced 78 players that are expected to attend this year’s draft combine, scheduled for May 15-21 at in Chicago, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets.

Additionally, a select number of standout players from the G League Elite Camp, which takes place May 13-14 in Chicago, will be invited to participate in the combine.

Players will have interviews with NBA teams and participate in five-on-five scrimmages, as well as shooting, strength and agility drills. Some top prospects opt out of the scrimmages.

Victor Wembanyama, the projected top pick, is not on the list. His French League season is still ongoing.

The list of invitees is as follows: