Shake Milton

Jalen Brunson Departs In Opening Minute With Knee Injury

8:37pm: Coach Tom Thibodeau said Brunson has a knee contusion and X-rays were negative, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets.

8:03pm: Knicks All-Star guard Jalen Brunson departed their game against the Cavaliers on Sunday night with what the team’s PR department described as a sore left knee (Twitter link).

Brunson suffered the non-contact injury during the opening minute of the contest. He dribbled to the elbow and elevated to take a shot. He grabbed his leg before he even landed.

Brunson briefly got up and hobbled around before he was helped to the locker room.

A significant injury to their floor leader would obviously be a devastating blow to the Knicks, who are already operating without three starters. Julius Randle is recovering from a dislocated shoulder and OG Anunoby is trying to work his way back from elbow surgery. Mitchell Robinson has been sidelined since early December after undergoing ankle surgery.

Brunson is averaging a career-high 27.7 points and 6.7 assists. He averaged 31.9 points and 7.4 assists in 37.8 minutes per game during February.

If Brunson is out for an extended period, the Knicks will have to lean on backup Miles McBride. Shake Milton, who was bought out by the Pistons, is expected to sign with New York and could also jump into the guard rotation.

Shake Milton To Sign With Knicks

Shake Milton plans to join the Knicks after clearing waivers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Multiple contenders were reportedly interested in the 27-year-old shooting guard, who reached a buyout agreement with the Pistons on Friday night, allowing him to appear in the playoffs with another team.

New York will be the third team of the season for Milton, who signed with Minnesota last summer and was shipped to Detroit at the trade deadline. He appeared in just four games for the Pistons and didn’t appear to be in the team’s long-range plans with a non-guaranteed $5MM contract for next season.

The Knicks contacted the Wolves about Milton prior to the deadline, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.

Averaging 4.9 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 42 combined games this season, Milton will provide another wing scoring threat for New York, which is dealing with injuries throughout its roster. He will compete for playing time with two other former Pistons, Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks, who were both acquired in a trade with Detroit last month.

Milton should clear waivers Monday, tweets Steve Popper of Newsday. The Knicks have two roster spots available, with a third opening over night when DaQuan Jeffries‘ 10-day contract expires, so they can add Milton without a corresponding move.

Pistons, Shake Milton Agree To Contract Buyout

The Pistons and veteran guard Shake Milton have agreed to a contract buyout, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), who says “multiple postseason contenders” are interested in signing Milton once he clears waivers.

The 54th pick of the 2018 draft, Milton spent his first five NBA seasons with the Sixers before hitting unrestricted free agency last summer. He signed a two-year, $10MM contract with the Timberwolves, with the second year being non-guaranteed.

Despite initial enthusiasm, the deal didn’t work out well for either party, as Milton averaged just 4.9 PPG, 1.6 RPG and 1.3 APG on .400/.264/.818 shooting in 38 games with Minnesota (12.9 MPG), well below his career marks. The Wolves wound up trading him to Detroit last month as part of a package for Monte Morris.

Milton appeared in four games for the Pistons, averaging 6.8 PPG and 4.5 RPG in 15.8 RPG. He’s only 27 and has been a productive reserve as recently as last season, so it’s not surprising that he’s expected to draw interest from several suitors.

Players must be waived by 11:59pm ET on Friday in order to maintain their postseason eligibility, so we can safely assume Milton be cut before the end of the day.

Pistons Owner Expresses Support For GM Troy Weaver

Pistons owner Tom Gores expressed confidence in general manager Troy Weaver during a session with reporters Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles, writes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. There has been speculation that Weaver may be replaced amid a historically bad start to the season, but Gores didn’t provide any indication that he’s considering such a move.

“I think we just came together and the first thing we did is take accountability for the mistakes we made,” Gores responded when asked about Weaver. “As an organization, you really can’t go forward until you acknowledge what didn’t work. That was the first thing. And being honest about that provides you the future. If you don’t look in your past for a little bit and what was right and what was wrong, it’s very hard to go to the future. We did that along the process. I have confidence in Troy. I have confidence. We leaned on each other through this process, but we also didn’t avoid the idea of what were we accountable for? It gave us a pathway to go forward.”

The Pistons still have the league’s worst record at 8-44 after losing to the Clippers today, but Sankofa points out that they have been more competitive recently, going 5-8 since acquiring Mike Muscala and the recently waived Danilo Gallinari from Washington last month. The roster shakeup continued at Thursday’s deadline as Detroit added six new players — Simone Fontecchio, Troy Brown Jr., Shake Milton, Quentin Grimes, Evan Fournier and Malachi Flynn — while parting with veteran shooters Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks, among others.

“We needed to mix up our formation,” Gores explained. “We had to let a few of our players go, all good men. Bojan and Burks contributed a lot to our Pistons. We just needed to change it up a bit and create some more pace-and-space for our young guys. As you know from Troy, we were at it working all last week, so we just needed to, for the sake of the team, let the young guys fly free.”

Today marked Gores’ first public comments on the team since late December when he promised fans that changes were going to be made. In today’s media session, Gores told reporters that he was involved in the process “almost every day.”

“The first month after that, I did a lot of it on a couple days of Zooms and calls and all that stuff,” Gores said. “Over the last 10 days, the team will tell you, Troy will tell you, we had a lot of all-nighters and up really late just making sure we make the right decision for this team. It’s a pivotal moment and you have to know when it’s pivotal. For us, it was important to get the right makeup and I thought we made pretty good moves. We also have a lot of cap space now in the summer, and we gained some good players.”

Gores added that he learned a lot about coach Monty Williams and people throughout the organization by watching how they responded in difficult times. He also indicated that several of Thursday’s additions could be in the Pistons’ long-term plans.

“This is just the beginning, and it’s our responsibility to do this,” Gores said. “We have to learn from what didn’t work, so we have to take that forward now. As I told the team and front office and everyone else that if we don’t win from our losses, then what are we doing? We have to be better because of our losses, and that’s our opportunity.”

Knicks Notes: Deadline, Bogdanovic, Burks, Hartenstein, Grimes

No team, including the Knicks, was certain whether Bojan Bogdanovic would be available via trade at the deadline, writes SNY’s Ian Begley. Decision-makers in Detroit were split on whether to keep him and guard Alec Burks, but ultimately decided to move off both.

New York managed to acquire both players, who had been on their radar during various time periods. The Knicks were interested in getting some scoring help off the bench and accomplished that by bringing in Bogdanovic and Burks.

Before figuring out which way the Pistons were leaning in regards to keeping or selling Bogdanovic and Burks, the Knicks checked in on Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins and now-Piston Shake Milton, according to Begley. Milton was ultimately traded from the Timberwolves to Detroit as part of a package for Monte Morris, but it’s clear the Knicks were eager to add scoring to their lineup.

We have more notes on the Knicks:

  • Knicks players were happy about the team acquiring both Bogdanovic and Burks, according to Peter Botte of the New York Post. “I think Leon [Rose] and the front office was cooking,Josh Hart said. While the Villanova trio of Donte DiVincenzo, Jalen Brunson and Hart were sad to see fellow alum Ryan Arcidiacono leave as part of the trade, they appear to be on board with what the front office is doing. The Knicks are 16-4 since the New Year but are dealing with a plethora of injuries — including long-term ones with Julius Randle and OG Anunoby. Those injuries left them with an eight-man rotation on Thursday after the deadline, with a bench rotation consisting of a 10-day contract player and a pair of two-way players. Bogdanovic and Burks are expected to provide an instant boost.
  • The Knicks traded their own 2028 and 2029 second-round pick to Detroit in the Bogdanovic/Burks trade, according to The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov (Twitter link). New York also sent $3MM to Detroit.
  • New York’s injury issues got worse on Thursday when center Isaiah Hartenstein exited with a recurring Achilles injury after only 15 minutes of play. He was ruled out for the Knicks’ game against the Pacers on Saturday, according to Botte. Hartenstein is averaging 8.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per agme as a starter this season. With Hartenstein out, Botte writes the Knicks may turn to two-way player Jacob Toppin, who would be squaring off against his brother Obi Toppin. “It was amazing having him on the court with me [in Indiana]. Hopefully we can do that again,” Obi Toppin said last time Indiana visited. “It would be even better if we are able to do that here in New York and at the Garden.
  • Grimes, who was drafted by the Knicks with the 25th overall pick in 2021, expressed his gratitude to the Knicks after being traded to the Pistons on Thursday. “It was an honor to be able to wear a Knicks jersey and represent the city!” Grimes tweeted. “Your love and support throughout the years has meant the world. Forever grateful to the entire Knicks organization, my teammates, and most importantly the fans. THANK YOU, NEW YORK.

Timberwolves, Pistons Complete Monte Morris Trade

FEBRUARY 8: The Pistons have officially traded Morris to Minnesota in exchange for Milton, Brown, and the Timberwolves’ 2030 second-round pick, according to announcements from both teams.

Danilo Gallinari was waived by Detroit to complete the transaction.

FEBRUARY 7: The Timberwolves and Pistons are finalizing a trade that will send point guard Monte Morris to Minnesota, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

According to Charania (Twitter link), Detroit will receive Shake Milton, Troy Brown, and a second-round pick in the swap. The pick will be Minnesota’s own 2030 second-rounder, per Chris Hine of The Star Tribune (Twitter link).

Morris was traded from Washington to Detroit during the 2023 offseason in exchange for a future second-round selection, but battled back and quad injuries that delayed his Pistons debut until late January. He has appeared in just six games so far this season and has made a limited impact, averaging 4.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 11.3 minutes per contest, with a shooting line of .364/.182/.500.

However, Morris has a solid track record, having averaged 10.5 PPG, 4.0 APG, and 2.5 RPG on .480/.392/.829 shooting in 339 games across five seasons for the Nuggets and Wizards from 2018-23. He was a key contributor for many years in Denver under current Timberwolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly.

The Wolves had been in the market for a ball-handler who could back up starter Mike Conley. Jordan McLaughlin, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and Kyle Anderson have all gotten some reps in that role, but Morris is a more reliable option as a backup point guard, assuming he stays healthy and rounds into his usual form.

Morris is on an expiring $9.8MM contract and will become an unrestricted free agent this summer if he doesn’t sign an extension before then. As cap expert Yossi Gozlan observes (via Twitter), the 28-year-old will remain eligible until June 30 to sign an extension of up to two years, but Minnesota already projects to be well into tax territory next season, so it’s possible he’ll end up being a rental.

The Wolves will remain about $1.6MM below the luxury tax line after the trade and will have a pair of open spots on their 15-man roster, Gozlan adds (via Twitter). They’ll also be able to create a $4MM trade exception in the deal.

By acquiring a second-round pick for Morris, the Pistons will recoup the price they initially paid for him and won’t impact their projected summer cap room. Milton is earning $5MM this season while Brown is making $4MM, and both players have identical non-guaranteed cap hits for next season.

Assuming the Pistons hang onto both Milton and Brown for the rest of the season, they’ll have to decide by the end of June whether they want to guarantee either player’s 2024/25 salary.

Detroit will have to trade or waive a player to complete the deal, since the club currently has a full 15-man roster.

Central Notes: Hield, Milton, Brown, White, Drummond, Caruso

Buddy Hield has been involved in trade rumors since before the start of training camp, but his Pacers teammates hope he won’t be going anywhere, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Hield may be considered expendable because he’s headed for unrestricted free agency after he and the team were unable to reach an extension agreement. Although Hield’s $18.6MM expiring contract could bring a nice return, Tyrese Haliburton and T.J. McConnell both told Dopirak that his shooting skills are too valuable to part with.

“I think the one thing that people need to understand with Buddy Hield — and I’ve played with him my whole career — is the gravity that he has as a basketball player,” Haliburton said. “His spacing even when he’s not making shots — which isn’t often, I mean, he’s one of the best shooters who’s ever touched a basketball — his gravity when he’s on the floor and in our stack actions and in our movement actions, a lot of times, you have to respect what he does even if he’s not making shots in the game. You have to run two at them and that kind of opens up everything for us.”

Dopirak notes that Hield is having a subpar season, even though Indiana has developed into one of the league’s best offenses. His scoring has dropped to 12.0 PPG after he averaged 16.8 PPG last year, and his three-point shooting percentage and volume have both declined. Still, only 14 players have made more three-pointers this season, which means Hield puts constant pressure on opposing defenses.

After being traded at the deadline in both 2017 and 2022, Hield isn’t stressed about the possibility of it happening again.

“It’s the business of basketball,” he said. “One thing is I always thank God I have a jersey on me. You always appreciate that somebody wants you out there. If it happens, some team is going to get a Buddy who is ready to play and is excited for new opportunities. Right now I’m happy at Indiana and just taking it day-by-day and we’ll see what happens.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Shake Milton appears to be a buyout candidate for the Pistons once today’s trade with Minnesota is finalized, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. Hollinger speculates that Milton could wind up with the Bucks, considering how well he played for coach Doc Rivers during their time together in Philadelphia. Hollinger believes Detroit is more likely to hang onto small forward Troy Brown, who fills a position of need and has a non-guaranteed salary of $4MM for next season.
  • K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago looks at how Coby White has become a foundational piece for the Bulls after being made available at the last few trade deadlines. The three-year, $36MM contract White signed last summer looks like a major bargain, Johnson adds.
  • Finding someone willing to part with a second-round pick in exchange for Andre Drummond could be the Bulls‘ only move before the deadline, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. A source tells Cowley that teams continue to call about Alex Caruso, but he’s unlikely to be moved unless the front office receives an offer that “completely blew them away.”

Scotto’s Latest: Jones, Wright, Hayes, Grizzlies, Okoro, More

He may not be a splashy name, but veteran point guard Tyus Jones is drawing interest from a variety of teams on the trade market, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

The Lakers and Timberwolves have previously been linked to Jones, which Scotto confirms. However, he also adds three new possible suitors to the list: the Magic, Spurs and Nets.

As Scotto previously reported, the Wizards want a first-round pick back for Jones, preferably one beyond the 2024 draft, with a chance at being a top-20 selection. However, rival executives are reportedly confident that Washington will ultimately accept multiple second-rounders for the 27-year-old, who likely wouldn’t be a starter in certain situations and is on an expiring $14MM contract.

Jones has been the NBA’s assist-to-turnover leader for several years running and is posting career highs in several categories as a full-time starter for the first time in his NBA career, averaging 12.2 PPG, 6.3 APG (against 0.9 TOV), 2.8 RPG and 1.2 SPG on .491/.392/.758 shooting in 49 games (28.5 MPG). He has limitations too of course, namely size (he’s listed at 6’1″, 196 lbs.), which limits his defensive versatility.

It’s worth noting that San Antonio currently deploys Jones’ younger brother, Tre Jones, as its starting point guard, though the Spurs are reportedly on the lookout for a long-term fixture at the position, viewing Tre as more of a strong backup.

The Magic seem like an odd fit for Jones, since they have Markelle Fultz (another impending free agent), Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs and Anthony Black as backcourt players who can initiate offense, though those duties are frequently handled by Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner. Jones would obviously help on the turnovers front, but he’s small as opposed to rangy and athletic, which is the mold of the rest of Orlando’s roster, and he isn’t a high-volume long-range shooter (3.7 three-point attempts per game), which is a team weakness.

Here’s more from Scotto’s latest rumor round-up:

  • The Celtics, Kings and Timberwolves are among the teams with interest in Wizards guard Delon Wright, sources tell Scotto. Washington is looking for second-round picks for the veteran guard, who had a previous stint with Sacramento back in 2020/21. Known for his excellent defense, Wright is on an expiring $8.2MM contract.
  • Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (subscription required) reported on Sunday that Killian Hayes‘ camp preferred a change of scenery, and sources tell Scotto the Grizzlies are among the teams to show interest in the fourth-year Pistons guard. Hayes has fallen out of Detroit’s rotation of late and could be a restricted free agent if given a qualifying offer this summer. As for players rivals teams are monitoring from Memphis’ side, Scotto hears Xavier Tillman, Ziaire Williams and Jake LaRavia are all considered potential trade candidates. Tillman will be an unrestricted free agent, while former first-rounders Williams (third year) and LaRavia (second) are still on rookie scale deals.
  • Forward Danilo Gallinari is another Pistons trade candidate, Scotto adds, with the Lakers checking in on the asking price for the Italian veteran.
  • Cavaliers wing Isaac Okoro is considered a trade candidate by rival teams, Scotto writes. One GM who spoke to HoopsHype speculated that Okoro could get $14MM annually in free agency this summer — right around the projected mid-level exception for 2024/25. As with Hayes, Okoro will be a restricted free agent if he’s tendered a qualifying offer, otherwise he’d be unrestricted and free to sign with any team. According to Scotto, the Knicks, Hawks, Pacers, Suns and Bucks are all worth watching, as they all have an interest in two-way wings.
  • In addition to Tyus Jones, Monte Morris, Bones Hyland and Wright, the Timberwolves also have interest in Pistons guard Alec Burks, Scotto reports. As Sankofa reported, the Pistons value Burks and “aren’t eager” to part with him. Sankofa suggested it would take a “strong offer” for Detroit to trade the 32-year-old, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. As for players Minnesota might move, rival executives are eyeing Wendell Moore, Shake Milton and Troy Brown, according to Scotto.
  • The Timberwolves are “hopeful” about their chances of re-signing veteran point guard Mike Conley this summer, Scotto adds. Conley, 36, has started all 45 of his games this year for Minnesota, averaging 10.6 PPG, 6.4 APG, 2.8 RPG and 1.0 SPG while shooting 43.6% from long distance. He’s making $24.4MM in the final year of his deal.
  • The Celtics continue to look for bench upgrades, with minimum-salary players and draft picks the likely outgoing pieces in a deal, according to Scotto.

Trade Rumors: Suns, Biggest Needs, Warriors, Lewis, More

Instead of focusing on acquiring a true point guard for their roster, the Suns are more interested in trying to bring in an athletic wing, NBA on TNT’s Chris Haynes said during a broadcast (via Inside The Suns).

A lot of people will point to a point guard, but in talking with the Suns they believe that with Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal, they feel like they need the ball in their hands. They feel like they don’t need another point guard that’s going to take the ball away [from their stars],” Haynes said during the broadcast.

It’s unclear what specific players the Suns are targeting but Haynes expects the market to heat up in the near future, which could provide some clarity.

Obviously around this time of year, this is when things start to get serious,” Haynes said. “Right now teams are posturing — there’s not a whole lot of sellers right now, but I expect things to change over the next week or so. I think things will really get serious.

We have more trade rumors from around the league:

  • Staffers from The Athletic pooled together to break down what all 30 teams in the league should be targeting at the trade deadline. The article mostly focuses on archetypes of players, with Doug Haller agreeing with the notion the Suns need another perimeter defender. Some writers gave specific trade targets for teams, with Andrew Schlect identifying Utah’s Kelly Olynyk and Brooklyn’s Royce O’Neale as two targets who make sense for the Thunder.
  • In the same article, The Athletic’s Anthony Slater writes the Warriors have “poked around” the center market and could dangle Chris Paul‘s expiring salary. Slater also believes Andrew Wiggins is more likely to be traded at the deadline than Jonathan Kuminga.
  • A trade involving Pelicans guard Kira Lewis Jr. to avoid the luxury tax feels “inevitable,” according to The Athletic’s William Guillory. While that’s speculation, it has been obvious for months that such a move makes sense. If the Pelicans do move on from Lewis, they should target shooting in return, Guillory writes. Otherwise, he expects New Orleans to have a relatively quiet deadline unless something changes in the next few weeks.
  • Some recent acquisitions haven’t panned out the way teams may have thought when signing or trading for them, and those teams could look to move said players. The Athletic’s Jay King and Jared Weiss write the Celtics could use another option on the wing since Oshae Brissett hasn’t taken a stranglehold on a rotation spot. Signing Shake Milton hasn’t panned out for the Timberwolves‘ bench, Jon Krawczynski writes, and the team needs more bench scoring as a result. Other recent acquisitions who haven’t quite played up to expectations and could be on the move or supplanted, per The Athletic’s staffers, include the ClippersP.J. Tucker and Jock Landale of the Rockets.
  • The Wizards have a number of players who could appeal to contending teams, according to The Athletic’s Josh Robbins, including Tyus Jones, Delon Wright, Danilo Gallinari and Mike Muscala. Robbins writes the goal in any trade, along with obtaining first-round picks, should be to get young prospects who haven’t been able to crack rotations on other teams.

Northwest Notes: Watson, Edwards, Milton, Jazz

A rotation player this season after logging limited minutes as a rookie, second-year Nuggets guard Peyton Watson has Deion Sanders’ portrait in his locker to remind of the type of defender he wants to be, writes Vinny Benedetto of The Denver Gazette. Watson, who has earned praise from teammates Nikola Jokic and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for his defensive play and his energy, explained his thinking.

“I just thought it was the most admirable thing that teams would literally throw away from his side (first) through (third) downs. Then, on fourth down, (they) punt out of bounds so he couldn’t return it. Like, you can’t even let this guy get involved in the game,” Watson said. “I admire the mentality and how he approached the game.”

While minutes have fluctuated this fall for some of the Nuggets’ reserves, Watson has remained a part of head coach Michael Malone‘s regular second unit, averaging more than 21 minutes per night in his past six games.

“He can guard bigs. He can guard smalls. I like how he’s playing right now,” Malone said. “He’s helping impact the game in a positive manner right now, and it’s great to see for a young player, taking advantage of the opportunities that’s being given to him.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards, who recently missed two games with a hip pointer and appeared to be favoring that hip in his return on Wednesday, exited Friday’s game after just three minutes (Twitter link). He’s undergoing further examination on Saturday and it remains unclear whether he’ll miss any additional time, per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.
  • The Shake Milton that scored 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting in Friday’s win over Memphis was the player the Timberwolves thought they were getting when they signed him in free agency this summer, according to Krawczynski, who suggests Minnesota will become an even more dangerous team if the guard’s Friday performance wasn’t a one-off. Head coach Chris Finch has been pushing the struggling Milton to be more confident and assertive, which was reflected in his play in Memphis, Krawczynski adds.
  • While Salt Lake City officials are working hard to keep the Jazz in the downtown area, the franchise has explored the possibility of building a new arena outside the city, including perhaps at the south end of Salt Lake County, according to Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune (subscription required). Larsen takes a deep dive into the story, examining the factors at play and clarifying that the team won’t be moving out of the Delta Center anytime soon.