Quentin Grimes

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.

Pistons’ Grimes To Miss Rest Of Season With Knee Issue

Pistons wing Quentin Grimes will miss the remainder of the 2023/24 season in order to rehab “lingering muscle soreness” from a knee injury he sustained in January, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who says (via Twitter) the third-year guard/forward won’t require surgery.

While Detroit has officially been listing Grimes as out with a right knee contusion, Charania’s sources say the bone bruise has healed — evidently it’s the muscle soreness that’s been causing issues of late. Grimes has missed the past nine contests with the injury, only appearing in six of a possible 24 games with Detroit.

A trade-deadline acquisition from New York, Grimes averaged 5.3 PPG, 2.0 RPG and 2.3 APG in 19.2 MPG over his six games as a Piston. His .214/.143/.909 shooting line in those contests was much worse than his career mark of .428/.371/.772, another indication that he wasn’t right physically.

Grimes, 23, was a starter the majority of last season for the Knicks, averaging 11.3 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.1 APG on .468/.386/.796 shooting in 71 games (29.9 MPG). However, he struggled to make the same impact in a reduced role in ’23/24, and was moved to the bench after 20 games. He later said he wasn’t surprised to be moved last month.

The former Houston Cougar, who was selected 25th overall back in 2021, will be eligible for a rookie scale extension in the offseason.

Pistons’ Stanley Umude Out For Season With Fractured Ankle

Pistons wing Stanley Umude will miss the remainder of the 2023/24 season after sustaining a hairline fracture of his right ankle on Wednesday vs. Indiana, the team announced in a press release.

Umude’s injury will not require surgery and he’s expected to make a full recovery, per the Pistons.

A second-year guard/forward, Umude spent most of this season on a two-way contract with Detroit before the team converted him to a standard deal last month. The Pistons hold a minimum-salary team option on the 24-year-old for ’24/25.

Umude appeared in 24 games in ’23/24, averaging 5.3 points and 2.1 rebounds with a strong .440/.453/.906 shooting line in a small sample size (12.8 MPG). Amid injuries to several rotation players, including Ausar Thompson (blood clot) and Isaiah Stewart (right hamstring strain), who are also done for the season, Umude had started the past two games, playing a career-high 34 minutes on Monday vs. Boston.

Simone Fontecchio (left great toe contusion), Taj Gibson (right hamstring soreness) and Quentin Grimes (right knee contusion) are the other Pistons who have been ruled out for Friday’s rematch with the Celtics.

Tosan Evbuomwan, Evan Fournier and Troy Brown are among the players who could receive more playing time on the wing for a shorthanded Detroit squad.

Central Notes: DeRozan, Caruso, Pistons, K. Brown

The league leader in minutes played per game is a 34-year-old. The Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan is averaging 37.8 MPG, followed by 20-somethings Luka Doncic, Tyrese Maxey and Miles Bridges. It’s a source of pride for DeRozan that he’s receiving such a heavy workload at this stage of his career.

“I love it,” the Bulls forward told K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “I love the game. As a kid when you’re young, you play until your Momma scream at you and those streetlights come on. Same thing here. You love it. You try to relish in these opportunities.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Bulls guard Alex Caruso believes this season has probably been his best from an individual standpoint, though it depends on how he finishes, he told Johnson. “We’re only 75 percent of the way through. We have to finish strong for this to be a completed sentence,” he said. “But to this point, I think it’s up there. I think offensively it’s probably my best. I think the numbers show that. I think I’m close to 10 points a game. And I’m pretty sure I’m close to 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Defensively, it’s been different for me. I’ve been guarding big wings or posts a lot more rather than lead guards. In turn, I have more blocks than I ever have and about the same for steals. That’s been a unique challenge defensively.”
  • Due to a steady diet of roster moves, Pistons head coach Monty Williams has been constantly tinkering with the rotation. James Edwards III of The Athletic suggests that Williams should cut his rotation down to eight players, staggering the starters’ minutes to make it work. In that scenario, recent acquisitions Simone Fontecchio and Quentin Grimes, along with rookie Marcus Sasser, would be the only reserves getting steady minutes.
  • Kendall Brown‘s rookie season with the Pacers was cut short by shin surgery. Brown, a second-round pick, has shown enough this season in the G League to get his two-way deal promoted on Monday to a three-year standard contract. “It’s been a long two years,” Brown said, per Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star. “… The reward feels so much better when the path has been hard. My path has been different than a lot of other players in my class. I was just staying the course, just staying focused. Good things don’t come easy a lot of times. This is a good feeling to finally get that done.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

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

Central Notes: M. Williams, Grimes, Rivers, Mitchell, Garland

After blasting the officiating following Monday’s loss to New York for “the absolute worst call of the season,” Pistons head coach Monty Williams stood by his comments on Tuesday, according to a report from ESPN.com.

I think I said enough last night,” Williams said before Detroit’s win over Chicago. “I’m not of the mindset of creating or building up an argument against the NBA or the officials. I was talking about an isolated incident last night, and I’ll stand on what I said and what I saw after the game. As I told our guys today, we have to move past it but learn from it.”

Given that it’s been nearly two full days since Williams aired his grievances about the officiating, it looks like the NBA has elected not to fine him for those comments.

Here’s more from the Central:

  • Pistons wing Quentin Grimes, who was acquired from New York at the trade deadline, could help solve some of Detroit’s issues, says James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. As Edwards explains, the Pistons previously had a couple of very good wing shooters in Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks who struggled defensively. Grimes, on the other hand, is younger, more athletic, and far superior on defense compared to those two departed veterans, while still being able to space the floor. Edwards highlights (via video) some of Grimes’ impressive defensive techniques and instincts, and thinks the 23-year-old could be a long-term fixture in Detroit moving forward.
  • Speaking of upgrades on defense, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer details how head coach Doc Rivers has had a positive impact on the Bucks since he replaced Adrian Griffin. According to O’Connor, Milwaukee looks like a much more cohesive unit defensively under Rivers, with game plans that change depending on the matchup. The Bucks only held opponents to under 100 points once in 43 games under Griffin, but have done so four times in the past seven games with Rivers at the helm, O’Connor notes.
  • Various injuries — including a broken jaw — have led to a frustrating season for Cavaliers guard Darius Garland. As Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes (in a subscriber-only story), fans have been critical of Garland since he returned to action at the end of last month. After Sunday’s victory over Washington, in which Garland made some key shots to help turn the momentum around, Donovan Mitchell defended his backcourt mate. “The kid has done a lot here,” Mitchell told Fedor. “So much. For it to be devalued all for a few games is complete B.S. It’s not fair to him. He’s done so much for us as a team. Before I got here. While I’ve been here. He’s going to get back to his form. The kid is 24 years old. It’s not always easy to figure out a fit. He has done a phenomenal job of it and will continue to get back to it. Come playoff time, he will be right there with us. We have his back.”

Pistons Notes: Fournier, Grimes, Umude, Draft, Offseason

Evan Fournier seemed to be a potential buyout candidate when he was traded from the Knicks to the Pistons. However, Marc Stein reports in his latest Substack post that all signs point to Fournier remaining on Detroit’s roster for the rest of the season.

Players must be waived by Friday afternoon to become playoff eligible with his next team. Fournier has appeared in four games with the Pistons, one more than he did with the Knicks this season, averaging 11.5 points in 21.5 minutes with his current club.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Detroit’s game against the Knicks on Monday night features two former New York players — Fournier and Quentin Grimes — and two former Pistons — Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks — who were dealt for each other at this month’s deadline. Grimes admitted during Detroit’s shootaround he was jacked up for the contest. “I really don’t look at it like, ‘Oh, I got to go off or something,’” Grimes told Stefan Bondy of the New York Post. “But you do get a little extra oomph when you wake up and try to go off against a team that traded you.” Grimes lost his starting spot prior to getting traded and knew he wasn’t long for New York. “I knew it was going to happen. I didn’t know it would be Detroit. It was a few teams,” he said. “But I knew it was going to happen, for sure.”
  • Stanley Umude‘s two-year contract includes a team option for next season, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets. Umude had his two-way contract converted to a standard, minimum-salary deal last week.
  • This year’s draft doesn’t have any surefire stars but the Pistons will have a high lottery pick again. Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press takes a look at eight potential lottery picks and considers how they might fit in with the team’s core players.
  • The additions of wings Grimes and Simone Fontecchio will allow the front office to concentrate the Pistons’ resources on one or two high-value targets with their cap space this summer, rather than spreading money around to cover multiple needs, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes.
  • In case you missed it, rookie guard Marcus Sasser will be sidelined at least a week due to a right knee contusion.

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: Williams, Haliburton, Fontecchio, Grimes

Bulls forward Patrick Williams hasn’t played since Jan. 25 due to a left foot injury. He’s also dealt with a right ankle injury while missing a total of 12 games this season.

Coach Billy Donovan hinted that Williams, a restricted free agent after the season, needs to give the team’s medical staff a heads-up if he’s not feeling 100 percent.

“I think Patrick has got to get better at when he has ailments and issues, not that he’s not getting treatment, but sometimes – and I’m not saying that this was the issue – but he’s got to really make sure that he’s not taking himself to a point where he’s putting himself in harm’s way health-wise,” Donovan said, per Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Williams’ hasn’t had any setbacks regarding his current injury but his return depends on his ramp-up activity, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. He doesn’t have discomfort walking at this time but it’s unlikely he’d play against Boston, Chicago’s first game out of the All-Star break, Johnson adds (Twitter links).

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Tyrese Haliburton believes the Pacers can reach the Eastern Conference Finals, and perhaps even represent the conference in the NBA Finals. “I have no doubt in my mind that we can be a conference finals team, no doubt in my mind that we have that capability,” he told Marc J. Spears in an Andscape interview. “And again, I don’t even want to say that because I don’t want to put a limit on it. I think that teams already know when they see us it’s not a walk in the park. That was established last [season] with the way we played. And now add another guy like Pascal (Siakam)  and with the success that I’m having and the success that everybody on our team is really having this year, it ain’t a walk in the park at all.”
  • The Pistons enter the All-Star break with eight victories in 54 gamse. After the Pistons made numerous trades before the deadline, James Edwards III of The Athletic believes that the impact of acquisitions Simone Fontecchio and Quentin Grimes will be one of the top storylines to follow in Detroit for the rest of the season.
  • As for the Bulls, Johnson takes a look at the reasons for optimism and pessimism heading into the second half of the season. Chicago currently holds a play-in spot.

Central Notes: Fournier, Grimes, Bucks, Carter

Evan Fournier is glad for the change of scenery, even though he isn’t sure whether he’ll have a role with the Pistons. Fournier was languishing on the Knicks‘ bench before getting dealt to Detroit a week ago.

“I’m really excited to finally be out of New York,” he said (video link from James Edwards III of The Athletic). “As soon as I got traded they called me and said they’ve been trying to have me for the last couple of seasons now, so I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”

Fournier’s contract includes a $19MM club option for next season, which almost certainly will be declined. He hopes to show what he has to offer before the end of this season.

“I don’t know what my role is, but I’m just going to be myself and prepare as if I’m going to play,” he said. “I have to get to know the guys still, but if I can help them with what I see then I’ll gladly do it.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • There’s little doubt that Quentin Grimes, who was also included in the same trade, will have a rotation role with the Pistons, though he’s dealing with a knee sprain and won’t make his Detroit debut until after the All-Star break. “I’ve always felt like he’s one of those guys who’s trying to find that consistent path, but he has a skill set and body type that fits the way we want to play,” coach Monty Williams said, per Mike Curtis of the Detroit News. “He can shoot the ball. He’s got a big body, so defensively, he can switch and guard the way that we like to. I think there’s a lot more in his game. We want to try to figure that out.”
  • The Bucks defeated the Nuggets 112-95 on Monday, marking the second consecutive game they have held an opponent under 100 points. It’s the first time the Bucks have pulled that off in the regular season since November 2021. Giannis Antetokounmpo said the coaching change from Adrian Griffin to Doc Rivers has made a difference. “Coach Doc is holding us to a high standard,” the Bucks superstar said. “He wants us to defend. He doesn’t take lack of effort as an excuse. If you’re on the floor, you’ve got to do your best.”
  • The Bulls signed guard Jevon Carter to a three-year, $19.5MM contract last summer but he’s played a much smaller role than anticipated, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago notes. “They don’t really have too much to say about it,” Carter said of the coaching staff’s reasons for not playing him more often. “It’s just the NBA. That’s how it goes. All I can do is keep working and be ready for whenever my name is called. And that’s what I’m going to do.” Carter has appeared in 51 games off the bench, averaging 13.8 minutes per night. He averaged 22.4 MPG while playing 81 regular season games with Milwaukee last season.