Troy Weaver

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.”

Pistons Notes: Trades, Weaver, Grimes, Fontecchio, Hayes, Brown

Pistons general manager Troy Weaver has drawn criticism for the team’s lack of success during his tenure, which included a record-setting 28-game losing streak this season. Speaking to the media on Friday, Weaver maintained that he’s the right person to lead the basketball operations department going forward, writes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press.

Absolutely, I’m the right guy,” Weaver said. “I sat here in June 2020 and said we’re going to restore the Pistons, and that’s what we’re going to do. We have a plan in place, a young core that’s showing that they’re growing and have a chance to be special players. It’s on us to continue to fortify that group. We have things in place, our core is in place. Have a coach in place to lead us. Absolutely, excited about the future. Like I said, we’ll own what’s behind us. But more importantly, we’re excited about what’s ahead of us.”

Weaver also addressed the additions of Quentin Grimes and Simone Fontecchio, who were acquired in separate trades with New York and Utah, respectively.

Grimes is a 3-and-D guy,” Weaver said, per Sankofa. “(Houston coach) Kelvin Sampson, I spoke with him about (Marcus Sasser) and he said his two hardest workers were Sasser and Quentin Grimes. We’re excited about adding Grimes. He fits the profile that we need. Doesn’t need the ball to hit shots and he defends at a high level. Great teammate. We expect him to step into a role to help support the young core. .. He was a target for us.

This guy has made huge, huge strides from his first year in the NBA to this season,” Weaver continued, about Fontecchio. “Versatile, his shooting, toughness, the vigor he plays with. We’re excited about what he adds. A young veteran even though it’s his second year in the NBA.”

Here’s more on the Pistons:

  • While Detroit made five in-season trades in 2023/24 and overhauled much of the roster, Grimes and Fontecchio are the only newly acquired players who look like locks to be on the team to open ’24/25, Sankofa writes in a subscriber-only story. Fontecchio will be a restricted free agent this summer, Sankofa notes, while Grimes will be a RFA in 2025 if he doesn’t sign a rookie scale extension in the offseason.
  • Former No. 7 overall pick Killian Hayes — Weaver’s first draft choice as GM — was released yesterday in order to make room for the incoming players. Head coach Monty Williams hopes the 22-year-old guard catches on with another team, as Sankofa tweets. “He had some good moments with us,” Williams said of Hayes. “(Sasser) was playing at a pretty good clip and then Monte (Morris) came back, and I wanted to try some new things … I think he would agree he had a great opportunity here and I wish him the best.”
  • The trade deadline moves can’t rectify Detroit’s “nonchalant” 2023 offseason, which played a significant factor in the team’s 8-43 record, but having competent wing shooters who can also defend like Grimes, Fontecchio and Troy Brown puts the roster in a better spot for the rest of the season and in the future, says James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Cutting Hayes and trading Morris also made clear that Sasser should be viewed as part of the team’s core, Edwards writes. While Weaver’s asset management is certainly questionable, the Pistons will likely have a top-five pick on top of a ton of cap room to make impact signings or trades this summer, according to Edwards.
  • In another story for The Athletic, Edwards predicts the team’s post-deadline depth chart, with Fontecchio as the starting small forward and Grimes as the backup shooting guard, though he expects both to play heavy minutes. Edwards also believes Brown will find his way into a rotation spot down the stretch.

Pistons Notes: Blame, Losing Streak, Williams, Improvement

The Pistons are in the midst of the worst losing streak in NBA history and there’s plenty of blame to go around. However, The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie, writing with James L. Edwards III, says the brunt of the responsibility is on the front office. No one move is single-handedly causing this slide, but Detroit’s front office has made several moves that didn’t make sense, according to Vecenie.

One of the Pistons’ main issues on the court is spacing and, last trade deadline, they traded away Saddiq Bey, a career 35.9% three-point shooter, in a deal for James Wiseman. Vecenie also points out the Pistons hurt their future flexibility by trading a highly protected first-round pick (which features protections through 2027) for Isaiah Stewart.

Because of these moves, the Pistons simply don’t have the depth other teams do, Vecenie writes, which has been a factor in the losing streak. Vecenie doesn’t absolve coach Monty Williams, stating the rotations that put franchise centerpiece Cade Cunningham around non-shooters are confusing.

As for the team’s short-term future, the trade deadline is approaching, and Vecenie suggests the Pistons need to target a two-way, hybrid three/four wing like Torrey Craig to help their woes on the perimeter and should only sell Bojan Bogdanovic for a huge haul.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • The Pistons have bigger issues than their record-tying 28-game losing streak, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps writes. According to Bontemps’ sources, the Pistons are viewed as a team with “several stakeholders articulating different visions for the team.” Everyone from Williams to owner Tom Gores to general manager Troy Weaver to vice chairman Arn Tellem is said to have a different outlook for the organization, which hasn’t won a playoff game since 2008/09.
  • While all the Pistons’ power brokers hold some responsibility for the losing streak, The Athletic’s Sam Amick is less critical of Williams, to whom Detroit awarded a six-year, $72MM contract. Williams shouldn’t be in Detroit at all, according to Amick, who says the veteran coach instead deserved to remain in Phoenix, where he became a “fall guy.”
  • The Pistons almost defeated the Celtics on Thursday in a matchup between the teams with the NBA’s best and worst records. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated writes Detroit showed fight in the overtime loss. “I think it shows we’re on the same level of all the teams we’re playing against,” Cunningham said. “There’s no team I’ve ever come across where I felt like I was going into a slaughterhouse. I’ve never felt like that in my life going into a basketball game…there’s a lot of growth in tonight, some things we can learn from and definitely take into the next game.

Pistons Notes: Losing Streak, Trade Market, Weaver, Harris

The Pistons keep making the wrong kind of history as their losing streak has now reached record territory, writes Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press. Detroit dropped its 26th consecutive game Saturday night in Brooklyn, moving into a tie with the 2010/11 Cavaliers and 2013/14 Sixers for the longest single-season slide in NBA history.

There are no obvious win opportunities on the horizon as the team prepares for a rematch with the Nets on Tuesday, followed by a trip to Boston on Thursday. Two more losses would tie the Pistons with Philadelphia for the league’s longest losing streak of any kind, which was set during the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons.

“Everybody wants to win, everybody hates losing, so it’s hard,” Cade Cunningham said. “We’ve got to be realistic as well. Can’t just keep saying the same things over and over, like we’ll get the next one. There has to be like a plan of action, so we’re just trying to figure that out.”

Detroit stayed close for much of Saturday’s game, trailing by just two points midway through the third quarter before Brooklyn pulled away. Mahoney notes that familiar mistakes were a problem again for a team that commits the most fouls per game at 22.8 and ranks 29th in turnovers at 16.6 per night.

“We had a lot of tough breaks this year, but I try not to look at life that way. It just happens,” coach Monty Williams said. “When you turn it over 14 times you don’t expect 22 points, but it happens. Those live turnovers, they’re basketball death for possessions and we’ve had a lot of those this year.”

There’s more on the Pistons:

  • Detroit needs to be active on the trade market, not only to stop the losing streak but to get the franchise moving in the right direction, contends James L. Edwards of The Athletic. Owner Tom Gores vowed this week that changes are coming, and Edwards believes the current team relies too heavily on young players without enough veterans to teach them how to succeed.
  • Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press offers similar advice, stating that general manager Troy Weaver has placed too much emphasis on preserving cap space and not enough on acquiring talent. Sankofa hears that the front office is prioritizing veterans in trade talks and is hoping to “address glaring areas of need.” Those are numerous, he adds, as the current roster doesn’t have enough shooting, depth or defensive prowess. Sources tell Sankofa that ownership doesn’t plan an immediate move involving Weaver or anyone on the coaching staff, with the trade market being viewed as the best source of help.
  • Saturday marked an emotional return to Brooklyn for Joe Harris, who was traded to Detroit this summer after spending seven seasons with the Nets, per Mark W. Sanchez of The New York Post. “[Brooklyn] means everything,” Harris said. “This is literally where I developed into an NBA player — here. If it wasn’t for my stop in Brooklyn, I’m not sure I’d be in a similar spot. You like to think that you would, but there’s a lot of dots that gotta be connected.”

Central Notes: Weaver, Crowder, White, DeMar

The Pistons are currently mired in a league-worst 17-game losing streak. If Detroit isn’t able to somewhat right this ship, even while clearly headed for the lottery this year, general manager Troy Weaver should be fired so a new front office can thrive, opines Shawn Windsor of The Detroit Free Press.

Windsor writes that the Pistons are currently on a 7.5-game win pace for the rest of the season, which would shatter the current record for a full 82-game NBA slate.

Given that the club will have lots of space under the league’s projected salary cap next summer, through which it could add veterans and make significant transactions to improve, Windsor submits that Weaver should not be in a decision-making role with the Pistons at that juncture — barring some kind of growth this year.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Following a November 14 surgery to correct a partial tear in his left adductor, Bucks reserve forward Jae Crowder is on the mend, having resumed individual on-court work within the last week, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “When I touched the ball, I was like, ‘All right, I’m getting close,’” Crowder said. The 33-year-old combo forward was a solid two-way contributor for Milwaukee when healthy this year. In his nine healthy games, he’s logging 8.1 PPG on .532/.416/.583 shooting splits, along with 3.9 RPG, 1.7 APG and 0.8 SPG.
  • Bulls starting point guard Coby White is enjoying an excellent start to the season for a struggling 7-14 Chicago club. His willingness to shoot from distance early and often has played a part in the team’s current two-game mini-win streak, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. The 6’5″ guard is averaging 15.0 PPG on .427/.403/.846 shooting splits, 4.2 APG, 3.1 RPG and 0.9 SPG. He’s connecting on a career-best 40.3% of his career-most 7.1 three-pointers per night.
  • Bulls All-Star small forward DeMar DeRozan seems to be rediscovering the passing game that he developed during his three-year stint with the Spurs, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. To wit, he notched a season-most 10 dimes during Chicago’s surprise 124-118 win over the Pelicans on Saturday. “Just being unselfish, pushing the pace,” DeRozan said of his — and the team’s — approach to the victory.

Pistons Notes: Weaver, Gores, Lineup Change, Bogdanovic

The Pistons dropped their 17th straight game Saturday to fall to 2-18, but the organization is still emphasizing patience instead of panic, writes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. Sources tell Sankofa that ownership is unlikely to make major front office changes with so much of the season remaining, which means general manager Troy Weaver will have more time to fix the current mess.

Still, Sankofa cites concern throughout the franchise as no one expected this season to start so badly. Coming off the worst three-year stretch in team history, the Pistons thought they were ready to take a step toward contention. Instead, they have the worst record in the league and are just 4-41 since February 12.

Sankofa traces everything that has gone wrong in Detroit, including management’s decision to be conservative with its offseason cap space while counting on the development of young players to make the team better. The Pistons traded for Monte Morris, who was supposed to bring veteran leadership to the backcourt, but he hasn’t played yet and may be sidelined through January with a quad strain. Joe Harris was acquired to add shooting, but injuries have limited him to seven games and he’s connecting at just 36% from the field.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • There’s nothing to be gained by firing Weaver now, but owner Tom Gores will have no choice if things don’t improve over the rest of the season, contends Shawn Windsor of The Detroit Free Press. Windsor argues that Weaver hasn’t done anything in his three-plus years with the organization to justify letting him run another draft or oversee the considerable money the Pistons will have to chase free agents next summer.
  • Coach Monty Williams made a lineup change Saturday night, using guards Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey and Killian Hayes as starters, per Mike Curtis of The Detroit News. Williams explained that the move was made partially to match up with Cleveland’s small backcourt, but he likes the way his three guards have been performing together. Curtis notes that Cunningham played off the ball more frequently for the second straight game and showed better decision making with his shooting.
  • The Pistons got a much-needed addition Saturday night with the season debut of Bojan Bogdanovic, who had been sidelined with a strained right calf. Bogdanovic said he suffered the injury shortly before training camp and had another setback that kept him out longer than expected, tweets James L. Edwards of The Athletic.

Fischer’s Latest: Pistons, Ivey, M. Williams, Bridges

After starting 73 games and averaging 31.1 minutes per night as a rookie last season, Pistons guard Jaden Ivey has started just five of 15 games in 2023/24, with his playing time dipping to 22.7 MPG. As we outlined last night, he was moved back to the bench on Thursday vs. New York and logged just 13 minutes, his second-lowest mark of the season.

Ivey’s inconsistent role under new head coach Monty Williams has “sparked some tension” among the team’s top decision-makers, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who cites league sources.

As Fischer details, there were rumblings back in training camp that Williams’ fondness for rookies Ausar Thompson and Marcus Sasser – who were drafted after he was hired – could lead to reduced minutes for Ivey. For his part, last year’s No. 5 overall pick has taken his fluctuating role in stride.

“There wasn’t anything said,” Ivey told Fischer. “Once I saw what was going on, coming off the bench was no problem for me. I love every single one of these dudes in here. I’d ride for them any day. Coming off the bench isn’t a confidence thing or a downer for me. I’m still confident in my game and play the same way.”

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • If Ivey’s role remains in flux, there will certainly be rival teams calling the Pistons to see what it would take to acquire him, according to Fischer, who notes that several clubs attempted to trade up and acquired the guard during the 2022 draft, even after Detroit made the pick official. For now though, the expectation is that the Pistons will be focused on trading veterans, Fischer says, with Bojan Bogdanovic, Alec Burks, and Monte Morris among the candidates to be dealt.
  • Monty Williams‘ record-setting six-year, $78MM+ contract has led to speculation from rival teams about the type of influence he’ll have in personnel decisions. However, the Pistons‘ head coach said this week that he doesn’t expect to get overly involved in the team’s in-season trade negotiations, even though he and general manager Troy Weaver talk about the roster. “Troy tells me stuff, but that’s not my job,” Williams said, per Fischer. “I trust his ability to evaluate talent. He’s one of the best in the league. He’s gonna ask me about a guy. Does he fit our style? Is he the kind of player we want? That kind of thing. But I’m not one of those coaches that’s gonna be like, ‘No’ or ‘Yes,’ that kind of thing. I gotta trust his judgment.”
  • In the latest episode of his No Cap Room podcast with Dan Devine (YouTube link), Fischer suggested that it’s possible 2023/24 will be Miles Bridges‘ last season with the Hornets. “There’s not a lot of confidence or expectation around the league that’s going to be back in Charlotte next year,” Fischer said. Bridges signed his qualifying offer as a restricted free agent during the 2023 offseason, which means he’ll be unrestricted in 2024.

Pistons Notes: Weaver, Thompson, Sasser, Duren, Livers

After winning no more than 23 games in each of the last four seasons, the Pistons appear headed for another lottery finish in 2023/24. They’ve lost 12 straight games to fall to an NBA-worst 2-13 record through the first four weeks of the season.

Still, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic says there’s no indication that general manager Troy Weaver is on the hot seat. Although this was supposed to be the season that the team took a step forward and vied for a playoff spot, Pistons ownership is aware that injuries have decimated the rotation and doesn’t seem inclined to take a “sky is falling” view, according to Edwards, who notes that Weaver’s latest contract extension hasn’t even begun yet.

As Edwards points out, last season’s leading scorer Bojan Bogdanovic has yet to appear in a single game and neither has Monte Morris, who was acquired over the summer to bring a steady hand to a young backcourt. With Bogdanovic and Morris unavailable, the Pistons have the NBA’s 26th-best offense and have committed a league-worst 17.5 turnovers per game.

According to Edwards, the real evaluation period figures to begin once the roster is healthier, which could happen within the next couple weeks. If the Pistons continue to struggle once all their key players are available, some “uncomfortable conversations” could be had in the spring, Edwards adds.

Here’s more out of Detroit:

  • Within that same mailbag for The Athletic, Edwards says he doesn’t anticipate the Pistons will make any major trades in the short term in an attempt to turn their season around. However, he believes Detroit will pursue win-now moves far more aggressively in the summer of 2024 than it did this past offseason, especially if the club’s record in 2023/24 is “no better or barely better” than it was last season.
  • One bright spot for the Pistons so far this season has been the play of their rookies. In an ESPN Insider story published last week, Kevin Pelton and Bobby Marks ranked Ausar Thompson and Marcus Sasser third and fourth among this season’s rookies, behind only young phenoms Chet Holmgren and Victor Wembanyama. As Keith Langlois of Pistons.com observes, Thompson and Sasser should put Detroit in good position to have at least one All-Rookie player for a fourth straight season.
  • Second-year center Jalen Duren, who has missed five consecutive games with a right ankle injury, is making progress toward a return, according to head coach Monty Williams. “He’s just been able to do a bit more on the floor,” Williams said on Monday (Twitter link via Edwards). “He’s playing 3-on-3 now. We expect him to be back soon.”
  • Pistons forward Isaiah Livers made his season debut on Monday vs. Denver after missing the first 14 games this fall due to a sprained ankle. Livers was on a minutes restriction, according to Mike Curtis of The Detroit News (subscriber link), who says the 25-year-old spoke after the game about needing to regain his conditioning. He made just 1-of-7 shots from the field in 23 minutes, but appeared to get through the game with no injury setbacks.

Eastern Notes: Dinwiddie, Bol, Pistons, Harris, Heat, Maxey

Spencer Dinwiddie is eligible for an extension later this offseason and there’s support within the Nets organization to add years to his current contract, according to Ian Begley of SNY.TV.

Dinwiddie is entering his walk year with a cap hit of $20,357,143. After being reacquired from Dallas last season, Dinwiddie started 26 regular-season games and averaged 16.5 points and 9.1 assists in 35.3 minutes.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Magic have pushed back their decision regarding Bol Bol‘s contract, Jamie Seh of WKMG-TV tweets. Bol has a non-guaranteed $2.2MM salary for next season and the original deadline to guarantee his deal was Friday. If they don’t guarantee his contract, he’ll end up on waivers.
  • By trading for Joe Harris and his expiring contract rather than pursuing a high-level free agent, the Pistons are protecting the cap space for next summer while avoiding a potentially bad contract, according to James Edwards III of The Athletic. Handing a huge offer sheet to restricted free agent Cameron Johnson, as had been anticipated, would have meant overpaying for a role player. They could easily have $60MM in cap space to play with next summer for a better free agent market. Detroit won’t give up a player to the Nets in the trade for Harris, who will provide shooting and wing depth.
  • Agent Mark Bartelstein said Harris has spoken with Pistons GM Troy Weaver, coach Monty Williams and executive Arn Tellem, Mark Medina tweets. According to Bartelstein, the Pistons have wanted Harris “for a couple of years” and “he’ll have a great role there.”
  • The Heat only have veteran’s minimum contracts to offer to free agents, Barry Jackson of Miami Herald tweets. The cap-strapped Heat don’t have a trade lined up to clear enough cap space to use exceptions within league cap rules.
  • While the Sixers aren’t expected to pursue a rookie scale extension with Tyrese Maxey, they haven’t made him available in trade discussions, Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice tweets.

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.