Wayne Blackshear

Central Notes: Pistons, Draft, Rozier

Pistons executive/coach Stan Van Gundy believes that the trade market and NBA Draft are the franchise’s best opportunities to build a contender, Noah Trister of The Associated Press relays. “I think free agency is a little bit of a crapshoot. Guys, they’re out there picking a team. A lot of teams are chasing them,” Van Gundy said. “You never know what’s going to happen, and so, we said coming in that as much as we would go out and try to be players in free agency, [a] great path for us to building a team is through … the draft and trades.” Van Gundy doesn’t anticipate the acquisition of Ersan Ilyasova being the move that makes the team a contender, but rather as another step in a long process, Trister adds. “We’ve got two more years under contract with Ersan – those kinds of things are invaluable to us as we’re building,” Van Gundy continued. “I think as we build and get better, then obviously we become more attractive to free agents. But right now, quite honestly, coming off a tough year, the whole thing, this is a better path for us.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pistons held workouts on Monday for Stanley Johnson (Arizona), Michael Frazier (Florida), Wayne Blackshear (Louisville), and Terran Petteway (Nebraska), the team announced (via Twitter). This was Petteway’s second workout with Detroit, which could make him a potential second round target of the team, notes Vincent Ellis of The Detroit Free Press (on Twitter).
  • Working out for the Pistons today were Justise Winslow (Duke), Bryce Dejean-Jones (Iowa State), Branden Dawson (Michigan State), and Jabril Trawick (Georgetown), the team announced (Twitter link).
  • The Bucks held workouts today for Justin Anderson (Virginia), Montrezl Harrell (Louisville), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Arizona), and R.J. Hunter (Georgia State), Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times tweets. Milwaukee also announced that Derrick Marks (Boise State) and Royce O’Neale (Baylor) would also be participating.
  • The Bulls have met with Louisville point guard Terry Rozier three times already, and may have him back for a fourth go around prior to the NBA Draft, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders notes. Chicago owns the No. 23 overall selection.

Cavs Notes: Love, Draft, Dellavedova

Team officials around the league are split on whether Draymond Green or Kevin Love is the better player, and no one on the Warriors would trade Green for Love straight-up these days, Grantland’s Zach Lowe writes. That represents a dramatic shift from the beginning of the season, but Cavs GM David Griffin, whose team had been discussing Love trades with the Timberwolves two years prior to last August’s trade, is adamant that the Cavs want to keep Love, according to Lowe. There’s more on Love, who likewise continues to insist that he wants to stay in Cleveland, amid the latest on the Cavs:

  • Cleveland’s willingness to have given up Andrew Wiggins for Love in the first place was tied to the choice LeBron James made to return to Cleveland, Griffin admitted in his interview with Lowe. “You have a finite window when you’re dealing with a player that’s 30,” Griffin said, citing James’ age. “The organization had wanted Kevin for a while, but we paid the price we paid entirely because of LeBron’s presence.”
  • Lowe nonetheless suggests that the Cavs could have kept Wiggins and acquired Thaddeus Young from the Sixers instead of Love, sending salary filler to Philadelphia along with the same first-round pick that ended up going to Sixers in the three-team Love trade.
  • The Cavs had workouts scheduled Monday with Arizona power forward Brandon Ashley, Michigan State guard Travis Trice, Wisconsin-Green Bay point guard Keifer Sykes, Louisville swingman Wayne Blackshear and Stanford small forward Anthony Brown, sources told Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops (Twitter link).
  • Matthew Dellavedova is proving former Cavs GM Chris Grant wise as he makes an outsized impact in the Finals at the tail end of the two-year minimum-salary deal Grant signed him to in 2013, as Chris Mannix of SI.com examines. Dellavedova is set for restricted free agency this summer.

And-Ones: Nets, Rondo, Draft

There is no truth to the report that the Nets are among the teams interested in trading for Euroleague MVP Nemanja Bjelica, tweets NetsDaily’s Robert Windrem, who cites league sources. The Wolves acquired the rights to Bjelica on draft night in 2010 after the Wizards made him the 35th overall pick. He has a contract with Turkey’s Fenerbahce Ulker that runs out after next season, but an opt-out clause would allow him to join the NBA this summer. Earlier today, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities listed (in a tweet) the Mavericks, Spurs, Heat, Nets and Bulls as teams that would be interested in Bjelica, if he were made available.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe labels the Kings as a darkhorse team to land Rajon Rondo in free agency this summer, citing Sacramento’s need for a premiere point guard in a pivotal year for the franchise. Rondo spurned Sacramento the last time he was a free agent, as Washburn points out. However, Washburn adds, Rondo is close friends with Kings forward Rudy Gay, and that could make it a more desirable location this time around.
  • Wolves coach and president of basketball operations Flip Saunders confirmed on SI.com’s Chris Mannix’s radio show that Kevin Garnett will be part of the draft process and will meet with in person and/or talk on the phone with players, Wolfson relays in a tweet.
  • Former Arizona swingman Stanley Johnson believes that the Thunder are enamored with his versatility and added the team has scouted him since high school, Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman writes. “I think they think I’m the best two-way player in the draft,” Johnson said. “And that’s appealing to them, as it is to most people. They really like me.”
  • Former Murray State point guard Cameron Payne will work out for the Knicks and Lakers, who both own top five picks in the draft, tweets Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears, who cites a source.
  • Darion Atkins, Wayne Blackshear, Marcus Burton, Michael Frazier, Terry Rozier and Matt Stainbrook all worked out for the Hornets, according to the team’s official website.

Western Notes: Wolves, Oden, Payne

The Thunder have a history of making draft promises to prospects, having reportedly made one to Reggie Jackson back in 2011, as well as agreeing to a unique D-League arrangement with Josh Huestis prior to the 2014 NBA Draft, Royce Young of ESPN.com writes. Chad Ford of ESPN.com noted earlier this week that there are rumblings around the league that OKC told Murray State point guard Cameron Payne that it intends to select him with the No. 14 overall pick this June. Payne as a prospect seems tailor-made for the Thunder, notes Young, since the team values size and versatility in its guards. Payne does indeed possess good size for a guard, though he’ll need to bulk up his thin frame, and with his excellent shooting ability Payne can play either guard position, the ESPN scribe adds.

Here’s what else is happening around the Western Conference:

  • The Grizzlies are considering bringing in oft-injured former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden for a free agent camp next month, Shams Charania of RealGM reports. Memphis’ current level of interest in the big man remains unclear, but the franchise is scheduled to host a free agent mini-camp in the upcoming weeks, Charania notes. Oden’s last regular season action in the NBA was with the Heat during the 2012/13 season, when he made 23 appearances for Miami.
  • The Timberwolves held workouts on Friday for Andre Hollins (Minnesota), Elliott Eliason (Minnesota), Jordan Mickey (LSU), Wayne Blackshear (Louisville), and Jonathan Holmes (Texas), Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reports (Twitter link).
  • Wolves coach/executive Flip Saunders plans on attending Kristaps Porzingis‘ workout in Las Vegas in two weeks, Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune tweets.
  • The Thunder worked out Bobby Portis (Arkansas), Jarell Martin (LSU), and Stefan Nastic (Stanford), Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops relays (via Twitter).
  • Rashad Vaughn‘s scheduled workout with the Timberwolves has been moved from June 4th to June 15th, and may now be an individual showcase, Wolfson tweets.