Marvin Bagley III

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.

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: 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 (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.

Central Notes: Pistons, Cavs, Pacers, Craig

The Pistons didn’t have the “loud and exciting” free agency that some fans were anticipating, but they’ve added veteran depth to their young roster, according to James L. Edwards of The Athletic, who notes that former lottery picks like Marvin Bagley III, James Wiseman, and Killian Hayes project to be low enough on the depth chart that they’ll have to earn their minutes.

Edwards does believe that all three of Bagley, Wiseman, and Hayes are candidates to be traded before or during the 2023/24 season. While more established veterans like Bojan Bogdanovic or Alec Burks could theoretically be moved too, none of the public statements made by general manager Troy Weaver about the team’s roster suggests that’s in the cards at this point, Edwards writes.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • The Cavaliers‘ 2023 offseason hasn’t been as splashy as in 2022, when the club acquired Donovan Mitchell. However, the team has accomplished virtually everything it set out to do by lining up deals to add a starting-caliber wing (Max Strus), a frontcourt shooter (Georges Niang), and a reserve center (Damian Jones), says Chris Fedor of The club also re-signed its own top free agent, Caris LeVert, and will bring in a player Koby Altman has targeted in the past: Ty Jerome. Cleveland tried to sign Jerome to a two-way contract a year ago, per Fedor, but he joined Golden State instead.
  • The Cavaliers announced minor some changes within their front office, having promoted Brendon Yu to be the team’s director of scouting. Yu previously held the position of Cleveland Charge general manager, a role that will be taken over by Liron Fanan, the first female G League GM in team history.
  • Some of the top forwards on the free agent market – including Harrison Barnes and Kyle Kuzma – may have used the Pacers‘ interest as leverage to get better deals with their own teams, notes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Still, even if it wasn’t Indiana’s Plan A in free agency, Bruce Brown and Obi Toppin represent solid additions who won’t necessarily compromise the team’s financial flexibility beyond 2023/24, as Dopirak details.
  • Besides being able to play both forward spots and defend multiple positions, Torrey Craig will also bring some much-needed shooting to the Bulls, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. As Mayberry observes, Chicago has ranked dead last in the NBA in each of the two seasons. Craig, who agreed to a two-year deal with the team, made a career-best 39.5% of his attempts from beyond the arc last season.

Pistons Notes: Wiseman, Diallo, Draft, Bagley

James Wiseman has received plenty of playing time since being traded from Golden State to the Pistons. The early results from the No. 2 overall pick of the 2020 draft have generally been positive, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press writes in a subscriber-only story.

Wiseman is averaging 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in 24.5 minutes through his first six games with the Pistons. Coach Dwane Casey said Wiseman is still early in the learning process.

“Let’s keep it simple,” Casey said. “Eventually we’ll do that. We’ve got to go through the process of elementary, middle school, high school and eventually he’ll get there. Like everything else, everybody wants him to be All-Pro and where we are right now, that’s not going to happen. He will eventually get there at some point on both ends of the floor.”

We have more on the Pistons:

  • There’s no guarantee Detroit will retain reserve wing and impending unrestricted free agent Hamidou Diallo, James Edwards III of The Athletic writes in his latest mailbag. Diallo has established himself as a energetic rotation piece but if the club has an opportunity to significantly upgrade the roster via free agency or trade, Diallo will likely not be retained, according to Edwards, who doesn’t see Diallo getting a big raise from his current two-year, $10.4MM deal.
  • The Pistons will almost assuredly have a top-seven selection and Sankofa predicts which player they’d select at each of those draft slots. If the Pistons slide beyond the top five, Sankofa opines they’ll go for either Arkansas’ Anthony Black or Houston’s Jarace Walker.
  • Marvin Bagley III has cracked the 20-point mark in three of four games since returning from a fractured hand that sidelined him for nearly two months. Bagley has also averaged 13 rebounds in that span. He had 20 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks against Cleveland on Saturday. “Marvin played with as much force as he’s played since he’s been here,” Casey said. “Really proud the way he played. The amount of force he played with was really impressive against two of the top big men in the league.”

Pistons Notes: Wiseman, Draft, Bagley, Ivey, Duren

The Pistons gambled on James Wiseman‘s potential, trading away steady forward Saddiq Bey in the process, and they’re confident he’ll be part of their future, Keith Langlois of writes.

Coach Dwane Casey said the staff is working on the “little things” to maximize Wiseman’s growth.

“He has all the athletic skills,” Casey said. “The length, the size and that’s something that’s helped our defense, having that deterrent at the rim, that 7-footer at the rim to block shots. He’s done a good job of that. Just now learning all the little things, footwork in the post, not letting them push him off his sweet spot in the post. Command your spot. That’s what the coaches now are working on him with that.”

Wiseman had 23 points and seven rebounds in a loss to Charlotte on Monday.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • So what will the Pistons do if they don’t win the lottery and the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes? James Edwards III of The Athletic explores that scenario, predicting which players the team would select in the 2-6 range. Edwards still sees Detroit taking Scoot Henderson at No. 2 despite drafting guards Killian Hayes, Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey in the lottery the past three years. However, other teams would make significant trade offers to the Pistons if they get the No. 2 pick, Edwards notes.
  • Marvin Bagley III erupted for season highs of 21 points and 18 rebounds against Toronto on Saturday after he missed nearly two months due to a fractured right hand. After re-signing Bagley last summer, the Pistons want to see more of that on a consistent basis, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press writes. “He told on himself when he got 18 rebounds,” Casey said. “So now we’re looking for 18 rebounds (Monday) night, the next night, the next night, or close to it. Let’s be consistent.”
  • Ivey missed Monday’s game due to personal reasons,, Sankofa tweets. Fellow rookie Jalen Duren missed his second straight game with ankle soreness. Bojan Bogdanovic (Achilles soreness) and Isaiah Stewart (hip) also sat out.

Pistons Notes: Wiseman, Hampton, Cunningham, Grant, Bagley

The Pistons have been out of the playoff race for a long time, but they still have some important work to do in their final 23 games, observes Keith Langlois of Part of that mission includes seeing what they have in a pair of reclamation projects who were once considered elite draft prospects.

James Wiseman was acquired from the Warriors at the trade deadline, but because a health issue involving Gary Payton II held up the deal, Wiseman only appeared in one game before the All-Star break. He displayed a glimpse of the potential that caused Golden State to take him with the No. 2 pick in 2020, posting 11 points and five rebounds in 24 minutes.

Detroit has to determine how Wiseman can fit with the team’s other young big men. He has been used exclusively at center during his brief NBA career, but Langlois believes the Pistons will want to test out a lineup with Wiseman at power forward alongside rookie center Jalen Duren. The addition of another seven-footer seems to indicate that Isaiah Stewart will now be used primarily at power forward, Langlois adds.

Detroit will reportedly sign R.J. Hampton sometime after he clears waivers on Thursday. Hampton hasn’t made an impact in his first two NBA stops, but he’s only 22 and a rebuilding team like the Pistons could give him an opportunity for regular playing time.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • Cade Cunningham is still recovering from season-ending shin surgery in December, but the Pistons are optimistic about his long-term prognosis, Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press writes in a mailbag column. Cunningham hasn’t been cleared to play 5-on-5 yet, but team officials believe he’ll be ready for full summer workouts once the season ends. Sankofa notes that Cunningham has been dealing with soreness in his left shin for several years, so there’s hope that he’ll be pain-free next season.
  • Jerami Grant could become a target for the Pistons in free agency, Sankofa adds. Grant, who Detroit traded to the Trail Blazers last summer, hasn’t decided on a four-year, $112MM extension offer from Portland. If he turns it down, Sankofa sees Grant as an obvious target for general manager Troy Weaver, who could have up to $40MM in cap space to work with this offseason.
  • Marvin Bagley III participated in most of Wednesday’s practice and coach Dwane Casey said he’s close to returning, Sankofa tweets. Bagley has missed the past 19 games after having surgery on his right hand.

Injury Notes: O. Robinson, Williamson, Bagley, Beal

Heat backup center Orlando Robinson has only missed two games since fracturing his right thumb on January 31 in Cleveland, but the rookie big man is ready to return. Robinson said that he plans to suit up on Wednesday after receiving positive news from a doctor and testing out the thumb in practice, tweets Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

The Heat have listed Robinson as probable on their injury report for Wednesday, so it sounds like the team is comfortable having him play. Udonis Haslem and Dewayne Dedmon each spent one game as Miami’s backup center in Robinson’s absence, but Dedmon has since been traded and Haslem will almost certainly remain out of the rotation as long as Robinson’s good to go.

The injury news isn’t all positive for the Heat, however. Victor Oladipo (right ankle sprain) has been ruled out for a third consecutive game, and – as we relayed on TuesdayKyle Lowry will miss at least the next three contests due to knee soreness.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Pelicans head coach Willie Green said on Tuesday that he doesn’t think the team will have its opening night starting five available before the All-Star break, per Will Guillory of The Athletic (Twitter link). Currently, four of New Orleans’ five opening night starters are healthy, so Green’s update suggests Zion Williamson (right hamstring strain) won’t be back before All-Star weekend.
  • Pistons big man Marvin Bagley III has progressed to individual work as he makes his way back from surgery on his right hand, tweets James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. The team announced on January 5 that Bagley would be reevaluated in six weeks, so we can probably expect a more concrete update on his progress sometime late next week.
  • After missing the team’s last two games, Wizards star Bradley Beal (left foot soreness) practiced on Tuesday and has been upgraded to questionable for Wednesday’s contest vs. Charlotte, tweets Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma (left ankle sprain), also listed as questionable, didn’t take part in Tuesday’s practice.

Pistons’ Bagley To Miss At Least Six Weeks After Hand Surgery

JANUARY 5, 3:45pm: Bagley underwent successful surgery on Thursday and will be reevaluated in six weeks, per the Pistons.

JANUARY 3, 7:09pm: Bagley has his two broken fingers on his right hand and will likely need surgery, Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports tweets. Bagley is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks.

JANUARY 3, 1:57pm: Pistons big man Marvin Bagley III will miss “extended time” after sustaining a right hand injury, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

According to Wojnarowski, Bagley is undergoing additional evaluation to determine next steps, so a recovery timeline has yet to be established.

The injury occurred during the second quarter of the Pistons’ game in Portland on Friday night. Bagley was attempting to post up Blazers wing Keon Johnson and the two players got tangled up battling for position (video link). Bagley immediately grabbed his right hand in apparent pain and was seen grimacing and favoring the hand until he checked out of the game a couple possessions later. He didn’t return.

Bagley, 23, has been a regular rotation player for the Pistons this season after signing a new three-year contract with the team over the summer. In 25 appearances (13 starts), the former No. 2 overall pick has averaged 10.6 points and 5.9 rebounds in 21.3 minutes per night.

With Isaiah Stewart and Jalen Duren starting alongside one another for the past few weeks, Bagley has been the first big man off the bench. In his absence, it’s possible that Nerlens Noel, who played six fourth-quarter minutes on Friday, could find his way into the rotation. The Pistons may also lean more heavily on smaller lineups, with reserve forwards like Saddiq Bey and Kevin Knox seeing additional playing time.

Eastern Notes: Williams, Sims, Hartenstein, Nets, Bey, Bagley III

Celtics forward Grant Williams will be a restricted free agent in the summer and Shams Charania said on FanDuel TV (video link) that he’ll attract strong interest. Charania anticipates Williams will receive something in the range of $15-17MM annually on his next deal. If he doesn’t reach an agreement with Boston, the club would have to decide whether to match an offer sheet.

“When you look at the cap space teams in the summer, the Orlandos, the OKCs, the Indianas, those are teams that you can plug a Grant Williams on a team that’s not competitive right now, he can help you with leadership and obviously, on the court as well,” Charania said of the Celtics forward.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • With Obi Toppin sidelined by a leg injury, the Knicks have been using the power combination of Isaiah Hartenstein and Jericho Sims on the second unit. Coach Tom Thibodeau likes what he’s seen from that duo, Fred Katz of The Athletic writes. “I think it gives you rebounding. It gives you size,” Thibodeau said. “It gives you physicality.”
  • The Nets overcame an early 18-point deficit against Toronto and a 19-point deficit at Detroit. That’s not a recipe for long-term success against tougher competition, forward Royce O’Neale told Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “It’s a big challenge for us. So I think we’ve got to raise our level of play,” he said. “The way we’ve been playing sometimes, you know, can’t come out with lack of energy or [focus]. We’ve got to set the tone from the jump and then we’ve just got to execute and control the whole game.”
  • Saddiq Bey and Marvin Bagley III have been moved to the Pistons’ second unit by coach Dwane Casey. It has led to better bench production, though the team has lost six of its last seven after falling to Utah on Tuesday, Mike Curtis of the Detroit News writes. “It’s no disrespect to Saddiq, no disrespect to Marvin at all being in the second unit,” Casey said. “We need that. I love the way our second unit is coming in and changing the game and kind of having an identity, defensively, offensively, some go-to actions that they can click with.”