Reggie Jackson

Pistons Notes: Bradley, Drummond, Jackson

Avery Bradley, who was dealt to the Pistons in exchange for Marcus Morris over the summer, didn’t want to leave the Celtics, but he understands Boston’s decision to make the move, as Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press relays.

“I understand what they did. I have no hard feelings at all. I ended up with a great situation and a great organization so I’m happy and they’re playing well,” Bradley said.

The shooting guard added that the team warned him that a trade was a strong possibility prior to making the transaction.

“There were [conversations] that me and [GM] Danny Ainge had, but when it does happen, it still catches you off guard a little bit destination-wise, where you end up,” Bradley said. “I know it’s part of the business so I respect their decision and I know that Danny is going to make the best decision for the Boston Celtics.”

The Celtics own the best record in the league at 18-4, but the Pistons sit just 3.5 games behind them for the Eastern Conference’s top spot after a pulling out a win on Monday in Beantown.

Here’s more from Detroit:

  • Bradley will be a free agent after the season, though it’s “obvious” that both he and Pistons have interest in a long-term deal, Ellis adds in the same piece. “It’s been really good for me so far,” Bradley said. “We have a great group of guys, a great coaching staff that’s pushing us every day and I feel like we are going to continue to grow as a group.”
  • Andre Drummond was seemingly available for the right price at last season’s trade deadline, but after improving his game this offseason, he is no longer on the table in trade talks, Rod Beard of The Detroit News writes.
  • Executive/coach Stan Van Gundy believes the improvement is a result of Drummond putting in the necessary work and playing hard on a nightly basis, Beard passes along in the same piece. “There were never any doubts about his ability and he’s always been a good guy; the concern was whether he was going to play hard on a nightly basis,” Van Gundy said. “That was the question in my mind — and so far this year, it’s been a lot better.”
  • If the Pistons are going to remain in the conference’s top tier, they’ll need Reggie Jackson to maintain his level of play, Matt Barresi of NBAMath contends. The point guard is shooting a career-high 38.4% from downtown and he’s averaging nearly one more assist per 36-minutes than he did last season.

Central Notes: Bell, Valentine, R. Jackson, Rose

Jordan Bell‘s jab at the Bulls after Friday’s game was a reminder of how many mistakes Chicago’s front office has made in recent years, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. The dynamic Warriors rookie made a money gesture during pre-game introductions and later said, “I wanted to see how cash considerations was playing over there.” Bell was drafted by the Bulls with the 38th pick and traded to Golden State for $3.5MM.

Chicago was focused on wing players at that spot, Johnson explains, and didn’t mind selling the rights to the pick once its prime targets were off the board. At the time, it was an indication that the team planned to re-sign free agents Cristiano Felicio and Nikola Mirotic and had faith in Bobby Portis and first-rounder Lauri Markkanen.

Johnson says the Bulls have to hope that Bell won’t be the latest successful young player they’ve let get away, a list that includes Gary Harris, Jusuf Nurkic and Tony Snell.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • One young player who is offering hope for the future in Chicago is Denzel Valentine, who has started the past six games, notes Sam Smith of NBA.com. Valentine has improved his numbers to 11.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per night in that new role and is getting used to small forward, where he is expected to battle for playing time with Justin Holiday once Zach LaVine returns from injury. “[You] come to an NBA team and the second year basically is like the first year until you gain that trust and prove yourself a little bit in the league,” Valentine said. “I haven’t proved myself yet, but I think I am inching my way to trusting, the coaches trusting me and me trusting the coaches.”
  • Friday’s win at Oklahoma City was important to Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson, who spent the first three-and-a-half seasons of his career with the Thunder before a 2015 trade to Detroit. “It was definitely special because I haven’t won in this building – except for playing here and being on this team, but I hadn’t won in this building with this team,” Jackson told Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. “It’s good to get a team win like that and have these guys’ backs and find a way to get one is special.”
  • The Cavaliers knew physical problems were a concern with Derrick Rose when they signed him this summer, notes Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. However, he worked out with LeBron James during part of the offseason and seemed worth the risk on a veterans’ minimum contract.

Central Notes: Portis, R. Jackson, Vaughn, Turner

Bulls forward Bobby Portis will be eligible to return from his eight-game suspension on Tuesday, but there’s no guarantee he’ll get playing time right away, tweets Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago. Coach Fred Hoiberg responded, “We’ll see,” when asked whether he plans to use Portis in that game.

Portis was punished for injuring teammate Nikola Mirotic in an altercation during a scrimmage last month. Mirotic suffered a concussion and fractured two facial bones, and is expected to be out until mid-November. Hoiberg told reporters today that Mirotic remains in good spirits and has progressed to doing pool work, relays Nick Friedell on ESPN Now.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Two front office sources from the Pistons confirmed to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press that the organization has no plans to trade Reggie Jackson for Eric Bledsoe. One source said there was no substance to the rumored deal, while another confirmed communication between the Pistons and Suns but indicated a trade is unlikely.
  • Bucks guard Rashad Vaughn wasn’t surprised that the team elected not to pick up his option for next season, relays Gery Woelfel of WoelfelsPressbox. Considered a gamble when Milwaukee made him the 17th pick in the 2015 draft, Vaughn played 70 games as a rookie, but slipped to 41 last season. He is still just 21 and hopes for a long NBA future, although as he heads into unrestricted free agency following this season, he knows it probably won’t be with the Bucks. “It’s a business,’’  Vaughn said. “You just have to respect their decision and move on. I’m not going to let this stop me. I’m going to keep striving. That’s all I can do.’’
  • Myles Turner saw his first action for the Pacers Friday since an opening-night concussion and is now ready to return to the starting lineup, according to Clifton Brown of The Indianapolis Star. Turner will be the starting center Sunday against the Knicks, with Domantas Sabonis returning to the bench. “It”ll take me a few games to get my rhythm back,” Turner said, “but being back out there is what’s important.” Coach Nate McMillan has been impressed by Sabonis’ play during Turner’s absence and plans to give him a steady dose of minutes off the bench.

Southwest Notes: Jackson, Evans, Cuban, James

Unless it actually happens, rumors of Reggie Jackson joining the Pelicans may persist for years to come. A reported three-team deal that would have sent Suns’ point guard Eric Bledsoe to the Pistons and Jackson to the Pelicans fell through this week. As Bryan Kalborsky of HoopsHype writes, interest in Jackson by people within the Pelicans organization goes back to the 2014/15 season.

Pelicans’ assistant coach Darren Erman was the Celtics’ director of NBA scouting during the 2o14/15 campaign. Boston reportedly had interest in Jackson that trade deadline, according to MassLive. Fast forward two years, Jackson has been connected to New Orleans in some form since February of this year. In mid-June, the Pistons and Pelicans discussed a deal that would send Jackson to New Orleans for E’Twaun Moore and Alexis Ajinca, per Basketball Insiders.

The Pelicans have since re-signed Jrue Holliday to a long-term contract, have veteran Rajon Rondo on the shelf, and recently added Jameer NelsonJackson, still just 27 years old, may remain on the Pelicans’ radar until he’s actually wearing their uniform at some point in the future.

Check out other news out of the Southwest Division:

  • Tyreke Evans had a near-historic performance off the Grizzlies’ bench on Wednesday, scoring 32 points. As Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal writes, it may be time to accept that Evans’ shooting — once considered a weak point of his game — has improved.
  • Through the Mavericks‘ first nine games, the team owns an abysmal 1-8 record. However, owner Mark Cuban feels the team is a lot better than the record indicates, Eddie Sefko of Dallas Morning News writes.
  • Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated examines LeBron James‘ possible thinking as he faces free agency next offseason. A lot has been made of James possibly considering Los Angeles as a place of interest but Golliver looks at the Rockets and Spurs as two possibilities for King James.

SVG: Pistons Not Trading Jackson For Bledsoe

After trade rumors surrounding Eric Bledsoe and Reggie Jackson swirled on Thursday, Pistons head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy once again assured his starting point guard that no deal is in the works, as Rod Beard of The Detroit News details.

“It was crazy yesterday,” Van Gundy said on Friday. “I left practice yesterday and there’s a rumor out on Reggie and Bledsoe so I had to get home and call Reggie and say we’re not trading you for Bledsoe. I don’t usually address all of them, but it’s early in the (season). You can’t address all of them at the trade deadline, but I felt the need to address this.”

Van Gundy acknowledged that Pistons general manager Jeff Bower is active when it comes to reaching out about trade possibilities and doing his due diligence. However, SVG confirmed that a rumored deal involving the Pistons, Suns, and Pelicans – described yesterday as “dead’ – doesn’t have legs. The hypothetical three-team swap would have seen the Pistons give up Jackson and a first-round pick in exchange for Bledsoe.

For the Pistons, it’s a situation eerily reminiscent of one that took place last January. At that time, reports linked the Pistons and Jackson to a possible Ricky Rubio trade, and Van Gundy publicly denied that such a deal would happen. He was right about that, and there’s no reason to believe he’s misleading reporters and fans about the possibility of a Bledsoe deal either.

Still, the fact that Van Gundy keeps having to come out and shoot down reports involving Jackson suggests that the Pistons continue to explore possible point guard deals, even with the 27-year-old off to a strong start this season. For his part, Jackson says he’s not worried about his name popping up in trade rumors once again.

“I don’t pay attention and really don’t care (about rumors),” Jackson said. “I’m still in Detroit and still here to compete and make my team the best it can be. If something else happens, it happens. That’s not something I’m concerned about.”

Pelicans, Suns, Pistons Discussed Bledsoe Trade

6:28pm: It turns out the third team involved in the Bledsoe/Jackson trade discussion was New Orleans. Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated writes that the Suns would have landed Detroit’s 2019 first-round pick, New Orleans’ 2018 first-round pick, Alexis Ajinca, and Omer Asik. Jackson would have gone to the Pelicans in that scenario. The talks are now “dead,” the report states.

2:25pm: According to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders, the Pistons offered the Suns a package including Jackson and a first-round pick for Bledsoe.

12:06pm: If they make a deal with the Pistons, the Suns would prefer to get a third team involved to take Jackson, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

It makes sense that the rebuilding Suns wouldn’t want to absorb Jackson’s contract, which runs through 2019/20, but involving a third or fourth team typically makes trades more difficult to complete, so we’ll see if this goes anywhere.

11:39am: The Pistons should be added to the list of teams that have exhibited interest in disgruntled Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe, league sources tell Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link). However, Stein cautions (via Twitter) that for a deal to appeal to Phoenix, the Pistons would have to attach additional pieces to Reggie Jackson.

Shortly after Bledsoe publicly expressed his dissatisfaction with his situation in Phoenix a week and a half ago, the Suns sent him home and began aggressively seeking a trade. At that point, it seemed as if the Suns may resolve the situation quickly, but GM Ryan McDonough said this week that there’s no timetable for a Bledsoe deal, suggesting the team isn’t rushing to get something done.

Reports last week indicated that the Nuggets and Bucks might be the most likely landing spots for Bledsoe, but Jamal Murray and Emmanuel Mudiay have played well lately for Denver, and Malcolm Brogdon – whom the Suns would reportedly target – is off to a good start in Milwaukee. As such, the Suns may be looking to engage other teams in trade discussions.

The Pistons would be an interesting trade partner. It’s worth noting that the Suns were said to have expressed “strong” interest in Andre Drummond back in June. Jake Fischer of SI.com, who initially reported Phoenix’s interest in Drummond, tweeted today that Bledsoe’s name was part of those discussions as well.

For what it’s worth, Detroit has been linked to multiple point guard trade candidates over the course of the year, including Kyrie Irving in August and Ricky Rubio back in January. Those rumors never led to anything real, so it’s possible Stan Van Gundy and the Pistons are just doing their due diligence again here. However, the fact that they’ve kicked the tires on so many other point guards may also suggest they’re open to moving on from Jackson.

After enjoying a career year in 2015/16, Jackson struggled through an injury-plagued 2016/17 campaign. He’s off to a good start this season, averaging 16.4 PPG and 6.0 APG through eight games.

Central Notes: Pacers, Bell, Bulls

The Pacers have made a concerted effort to play a faster tempo and managed to do just that thanks to their new-look backcourt spearheaded by Victor Oladipo. As Clifton Brown of the Indianapolis Star writes, Indiana managed to up their pace eventually outrunning their opening day opponent altogether.

While Oladipo led the squad in scoring with 22 points in Indiana’s first game, he wasn’t the only guard to post an impressive stat line. Veteran Darren Collison added 21 and 11 of his own while reserve guard Cory Joseph – plucked from the Raptors this offseason – put in 11 points and 4 assists of his own for the victorious Pacers.

[Pacers coach] Nate MacMillan’s done an unbelievable job of letting us take the onus as point guards and kind of let us run the show,” Collison said. “He was a point guard himself. He knows what it’s like to let us see the game, instead of micromanaging every single play. If we can play like that, call a guard game, play with one another, we’ll be alright.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Bulls have gotten flak for, among other things, selling second-round pick Jordan Bell to the Warriors. Cody Westerlund of 670 The Score tweets that VP of basketball operations John Paxson said that he was “building up equity” with ownership when he sold the No. 38 pick to Golden State for $3.5MM.
  • After a down year besieged by injuries in 2016/17, Reggie Jackson has recovered and returned to the court for the Pistons. He’s “only going to get better as time goes on” head coach Stan Van Gundy told the media, Brendan Savage of MLive included.
  • The Bulls are looking to regroup after a fight in practice set the team into chaos before the season even began. Sam Smith of the team’s official website offers an inside account of what happened and what comes next.

Central Notes: Pistons, Maker, Munford

Only two of the Pistons‘ opening day starters are set in stone, the other three have yet to be determined, Keith Langlois of the team’s official website writes. With Avery Bradley at the two and Andre Drummond in the middle, head coach Stan Van Gundy is hard-pressed to figure out who will join them at tip-off.

Everything’s a consideration,” Van Gundy said, before implying that Tobias Harris would probably start for the Pistons but, then, again might not. “I thought he was good off the bench last year. I’m really not locked in to anything.”

As Langlois explains, what Van Gundy decides to do with Harris will impact the other decisions he’ll have to make with the Pistons’ lineup. If the 25-year-old forward plays the three, they’ll look to somebody like Jon Leueur to fill in at the four. If they pencil Harris in at the four, they could turn to someone like Stanley Johnson to man the three.

Another decision that the Pistons will need to come to terms on ahead of opening day is who to start at the point. On one hand the idea of a healthy Reggie Jackson working in tandem with Drummond is tantalizing but there’s no guarantee it plays out that way in the first game of the season.

Langlois writes that Ish Smith could get serious consideration to start for the Pistons. “We found out last year just about anybody’s going to play pretty well with Ish,” Van Gundy said.

There’s more from the Central Division:

Pistons Notes: Drummond, Ellenson, Johnson, Jackson

Many teams remain interested in trading for Pistons center Andre Drummond, according to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. Ellis talked to several talent evaluators around the league, who say that at age 24, Drummond still has the potential to become a successful big man despite questions about his energy and defense. Teams don’t seem reluctant to take on Drummond’s contract, which will pay him more than $105MM over the next four seasons.

The people Ellis spoke with don’t believe the Pistons are currently shopping Drummond, athough they were over the offseason and before February’s trade deadline. However, he cites two potentially interested parties in Knicks GM Scott Perry, who was an assistant GM in Detroit when Drummond was drafted, and Clippers executive VP Lawrence Frank, who coached the Pistons when Drummond was a rookie.

There’s more this morning out of Detroit:

  • Henry Ellenson‘s impressive preseason could mean more minutes for the second-year big man, Ellis adds in the same piece. Coach Stan Van Gundy said Ellenson is “playing at a high level” after he scored 16 points in 17 minutes Friday. He is competing with Tobias Harris, Jon Leuer and Anthony Tolliver for playing time at power forward.
  • The competition at power forward will keep Stanley Johnson at small forward, which may not be his best position, Ellis writes in a separate story. Many observers believe Johnson would excel as a stretch four, but Van Gundy expects nearly all of Johnson’s minutes this season to come at small forward. “We just don’t really have a need for another [power forward],” Van Gundy said. “There may be some defensive things late in the game where teams go small and we could go small with him, but we’ve got enough stuff we could run without having him to spend a lot of time there. I’m not going to confuse him and have him having to work and know all the sets at [power forward].”
  • Point guard Reggie Jackson is ready to take on a larger leadership role this season, Ellis writes in a another story. Now one of the oldest players on the team at 27, Jackson wants to erase the nightmare of last year when knee problems forced him to miss the start of the season and the team wasn’t able to incorporate him smoothly once he returned. Part of the problem was physical, as assistant coach Tim Hardaway says Jackson never fully recovered. “He’s the catalyst,” Hardaway said. “He wants to come out here and be the man. He can be the man, but first he has to be healthy. Once he’s 100% and shape, everybody’s going to see a different Reggie because last year he was hurt all the time.”

Central Notes: LaVine, Jackson, Calderon

The Bulls have had a busy week signing Nikola Mirotic and buying out Dwyane Wade. Now, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes, the team will turn its attention to Zach LaVine, their recently acquired guard currently eligible for a contract extension.

They [the Bulls and his representation] have had some conversations,” LaVine said. “It doesn’t really matter to me. I’m going to let all that take care of itself. I know I’m a big part of this team and I’m excited to be in negotiations with them. I want to be here for a long period of time. If it’s now or later, I know it’s going to be done either way.

The guard averaged 18.9 points per game for the Timberwolves last season before tearing his ACL last February. He, along with Kris Dunn and the No. 7 pick ended up with the Bulls in the Jimmy Butler deal.

Just yesterday we wrote about how the Bulls’ front office was clear about their intentions to build around a core that featured the 22-year-old dunk contest champion. Whether that means committing to him on the heels of a significant injury before he even suits up for a game, however, is a whole other question.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • After four months resting and recovering from knee tendinitis, Reggie Jackson has officially returned to contact practice. The Pistons guard was able to get through his most recent test pain-free, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes,  but will need to work his way back into game shape. “I’m happy to be feeling good each and every day. The best thing is to wake up and be pain-free; even if [I’m] sore, it’s really body soreness and nothing with the knee. My legs may be a little fatigued because I’m getting back to the swing of things,” Jackson said.
  • Consider Jose Calderon‘s role with the Cavaliers in danger, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. The Cavs have 16 players on guaranteed deals and the 36-year-old veteran doesn’t have the upside that somebody like Cedi Osman has.
  • The Pacers were among the 28 teams that supported draft lottery reform, Jim Ayello of the Indianapolis Star writes. Indiana’s support for the new system is particularly interesting considering they’re a small market team perceived to face inherent challenges recruiting talent via free agency.
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