Rodney McGruder

Central Notes: J. Jackson, George, White, Markkanen

Josh Jackson may be the most expendable player in the Pistons‘ training camp battle for roster spots, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. When Hamidou Diallo re-signed last month, it gave Detroit 16 guaranteed contracts. Sources tell Edwards it took longer than expected to reach a new deal with Diallo, but he was always in the team’s plans.

Jackson is set to make $5MM in the final year of a deal he signed last offseason. The former No. 4 overall pick was productive in his first season with the Pistons, averaging 13.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 62 games, but Edwards notes that he’s just an average defender and an unreliable three-point shooter (30% last season). There may also not be enough minutes for Jackson, Diallo and Frank Jackson, who all play similar roles.

Edwards names Jahlil OkaforRodney McGruder and Sekou Doumbouya as other candidates to be traded or waived to reach the regular season roster limit of 15. Okafor will make $2.13MM in the final year of his contract, while McGruder has a $1.67MM expiring deal and isn’t expected to play much. Doumbouya is still on his rookie contract, but Edwards points out that he remains a raw prospect and is left over from the previous front office.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pistons have officially announced the return of George David as assistant general manager. He held the same position from 2012-14 before leaving for the Wasserman Media Group. “I’m excited to return to the Detroit Pistons and help Tom Gores, Arn Tellem and Troy Weaver in the restoring effort of the franchise,” David said. “Detroit has always been home for me and I know how passionate the city and region is about their sports teams.  Troy’s vision for building the roster aligns with the core values of Detroit Basketball and I look forward to playing a role in the continued rise of the organization.”
  • Even though the Bulls stocked up on guards this summer, there should be playing time available for Coby White once he returns from surgery on his left shoulder, states Jamal Collier of The Chicago Tribune. Collier sees White as a back-up to Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, and he may be on the court with Alex Caruso in three-guard lineups.
  • The Cavaliers will pay Lauri Markkanen $15,690,909 for the upcoming season with slight raises throughout his new four-year deal, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. Markkanen will make $16,475,454 in 2022/23, $17,259,999 in 2023/24 and $18,044,544 in 2024/25, giving the contract a total value of more than $67MM, although only $6MM of the final season is guaranteed.

Pistons Re-Sign Rodney McGruder

AUGUST 11: McGruder’s one-year deal is worth the veteran’s minimum and is fully guaranteed, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.


AUGUST 10: Free agent swingman Rodney McGruder has re-signed with the Pistonsaccording to NBA.com’s official transactions page. It’s a one-year deal, per RealGM’s transactions log.

McGruder came over to Detroit during the 2020 offseason in the trade that sent Luke Kennard to the Clippers. The 29-year-old only played 16 games for the rebuilding team, averaging 5.7 PPG, 1.4 RPG and 1.0 APG in 12.1 minutes a night. His inclusion on a rebuilding Pistons’ roster would likely be in large part to serve in a mentor role to the team’s many young players.

Financial details of McGruder’s deal aren’t yet known. However, the Pistons waived him on Friday to avoid having his $5MM salary for 2021/22 become guaranteed, so it’s a safe bet his new salary will come in below that number.

The Pistons are currently carrying 14 players on guaranteed contracts, not including McGruder, restricted free agent Hamidou Diallo, or the team’s unsigned second-round picks (Luka Garza and Balsa Koprivica). As such, McGruder’s new deal may not come with any assurances of a regular-season roster spot.

Like McGruder, Cory Joseph has also re-signed with the Pistons just days after being released by the team. His deal is official now too, per NBA.com.

Pistons Waive Rodney McGruder

The Pistons have waived veteran wing Rodney McGruder, according to James Edwards III of The Athletic.

McGruder’s $5MM contract would have become guaranteed if he had remained on the roster through August 15 (Twitter links). By releasing him before then, Detroit won’t carry any dead money on its cap as a result of the transaction.

The move was expected, as the club needs to trim down its roster to officially add free agents and draft picks. McGruder was acquired in a three-team deal last November but played sparingly in his lone season in Detroit. He saw action in 16 games, including two starts, averaging 5.7 PPG in 12.1 MPG.

McGruder, 30, entered the league in 2016. He played three seasons with Miami and one for the Clippers before the trade last fall. He’ll look to latch on to another team as an unrestricted free agent.

Pistons Notes: Smith, Casey, McGruder, Weaver

Dennis Smith Jr. could follow the path of Josh Jackson on the rebuilding Pistons, Keith Langlois of the team’s website opines. Jackson is reviving his career after signing with the club as a free agent, as evidenced by his 28-point outing against the Lakers on Saturday. Smith, who was officially acquired from the Knicks on Monday, is another lottery pick who could get his career back on track in Detroit.

With lottery pick Killian Hayes out indefinitely, Smith will get playing time and he’s now in an organization invested in the futures of all its young players, Langlois adds. Smith could be a restricted free agent after the season if Detroit extends a $7MM+ qualifying offer.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Since Smith spent time at Orlando’s G League bubble, coach Dwane Casey anticipates the guard will have to quarantine a few days in Detroit, James Edwards of The Athletic tweets. If so, Smith won’t be in uniform on Tuesday against Brooklyn, Detroit’s first game since its 0-4 West Coast trip. He’s officially listed as questionable.
  • Casey didn’t sign up for a rebuilding project when he was hired by owner Tom Gores but he’s on board with the team’s rebuilding effort, Edwards adds in another tweet. The Pistons also acquired a second-round pick from the Knicks in the Derrick Rose deal. “It’s a direction, and it’s one needed for a long time with this organization,” Casey said.
  • Rodney McGruder has known GM Troy Weaver since childhood, as McGruder’s father grew up with Weaver in Washington, D.C., according to Langlois“Troy’s like an uncle to me. Grew up in the same neighborhood,” McGruder said. “I’ve known him all my life. That relationship, he’s family. We both want to see each other succeed.” McGruder’s $5MM for next season in non-guaranteed.

Pistons Expected To Waive-And-Stretch Dedmon

NOVEMBER 21: The Pistons likely won’t use the stretch provision on McGruder after all, according to Edwards (Twitter link). The team will save some money in its trade for Delon Wright and no longer needs the extra space that waiving and stretching McGruder would provide.


NOVEMBER 20: The Pistons have made a flurry of reported free agent moves and they’ll apparently clear cap space by using the waive-and-stretch provision on two recent acquisitions.

They’ll waive center Dewayne Dedmon and use the stretch provision to ease the cap hit, according to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). They’re likely to do the same with Rodney McGruder, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets.

Detroit officially acquired Dedmon from the Hawks on Friday in exchange for Tony Snell and Khyri Thomas. Dedmon was slated to make $13.33MM in the upcoming season with an identical contract number that was only guaranteed for $1MM for the 2021/22 season.

The Pistons acquired McGruder from the Clippers in a three-team trade that became official on Thursday. McGruder had a guaranteed $5.2MM contract for the upcoming season with a non-guaranteed salary of $5MM for 2021/22.

Those non-guaranteed years are significant because they allow Detroit’s front office use the stretch provision for five years instead of three, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report notes (Twitter links). Since only the guaranteed money counts, Dedmon would only count $2.9MM against the Pistons’ cap over the next five seasons, while the cap hit on McGruder would be just over $1MM in those years.

The Pistons made the trade with Atlanta because it allowed them stretch Dedmon’s contract over five years, rather than stretching Snell’s $12.2MM expiring contract for three years, Edwards tweets.

Those moves will allow Detroit to ink free agents Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee, as well as completing a sign-and-trade with Houston involving Christian Wood.

Nets, Clippers, Pistons Complete Kennard/Shamet Deal

The Nets, Clippers, and Pistons have officially completed a three-team trade, Brooklyn announced in a press release. The deal is an amalgamation of a series of moves that were previously reported separately. Here’s what the swap looks like as a whole:

  • Nets acquire Landry Shamet (from Clippers), Bruce Brown (from Pistons), and the draft rights to Reggie Perry (No. 57 pick; from Clippers).
  • Clippers acquire Luke Kennard (from Pistons), Justin Patton (from Pistons), the draft rights to Jay Scrubb (No. 55 pick; from Nets), the Trail Blazers’ 2023 second-round pick (from Pistons), the Pistons’ 2024 second-round pick, the Pistons’ 2025 second-round pick, and the Pistons’ 2026 second-round pick.
  • Pistons acquire Dzanan Musa (from Nets), Rodney McGruder (from Clippers), the draft rights to Saddiq Bey (No. 19 pick; from Nets), the draft rights to Jaylen Hands (from Nets), the Raptors’ 2021 second-round pick (from Nets), and cash (from Clippers).

Got all that?

Besides combining these three trades into one giant transaction, the three teams exchanged a few more pieces that weren’t previously reported — most notably, the Clippers received a whopping four future second-round picks from Detroit as part of the deal. Patton and Hands’ draft rights also weren’t mentioned in previous reports, though they’re minor pieces.

The most important parts of the deal from Brooklyn’s perspective are Shamet and Brown, who will compete for backcourt minutes in 2020/21. The Clippers acquire Kennard, a knockdown outside shooter who should fit in well alongside L.A.’s stars, and stock up on future second-round picks. And the Pistons were able to land a top-20 pick that allowed them to nab Bey, a prospect who had been viewed as a potential lottery pick entering draft night.

Kennard To Clippers, Shamet To Nets In Three-Team Trade

The Clippers, Nets, and Pistons have agreed to a trade, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links).

Wojnarowski and Charania report that Brooklyn will acquire Landry Shamet in the three-team trade, with Luke Kennard going to the Clippers and the Pistons acquiring Rodney McGruder and the No. 19 overall pick in tonight’s draft (Twitter link). Detroit selected Villanova forward Saddiq Bey using that selection.

The Clippers are betting that Kennard, who averaged 15.8 PPG on .442/.399/.893 shooting in 28 games for Detroit last season, will be an upgrade on Shamet. who recorded 9.3 PPG on .404/.375/.855 shooting in 53 games.

The Clippers also discussed a bigger trade with the Celtics which included Shamet, Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo tweets.

Kennard has a slightly less favorable contract than Shamet — he’s extension-eligible this fall and will be a restricted free agent in 2021 if he doesn’t sign a new deal. He’ll earn $5.3MM in 2020/21. Shamet, meanwhile, will earn $2MM in ’20/21 and $3.8MM in ’21/22 before potentially reaching restricted free agency in 2022.

Kennard is coming off an injury-marred season in which he played just 28 games due to tendinitis in both knees. However, he looked completely healthy during the team’s workouts in September.

Shamet provides another rotation guard for the Nets at a reasonable salary.

Bey is the third first-round pick by Detroit. It earlier selected Euro guard Killian Hayes at No. 7 and Washington center Isaiah Stewart at No. 16.

Pacific Notes: Myers, McGruder, Hollins, Dumars

Warriors general manager Bob Myers admits it’s a little unsettling potentially drafting a player that he may have not seen in person or viewed in an individual workout due to the pandemic. Myers’ comments were posted on the team’s website.

“It’s a rare thing to not have … I would have liked to see more guys than I did, but if you’re talking about me, that’s a possibility,” Myers said. “If you’re talking about our group, I think between us all, somebody will have seen the person at least play.”

Myers also says it’s too early to speculate whether he might trade his first-round pick until the lottery is drawn on Thursday: “Nobody is talking about trades. … Even assuming we had the pick number in hand, it’s premature to even know the value of it, for us or for another team, so we’ll have to wait and see kind of how things go in that direction.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers guard Rodney McGruder has signed with Octagon Sports as his representative, the entertainment management organization tweets. McGruder is signed through next season but his $5MM salary for 2021/22 is not guaranteed.
  • Veteran Lakers assistant Lionel Hollins was not permitted to coach at the Orlando campus but he’s still involved in the team’s planning and preparation, as Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times details. Hollins watches practices live and prepares scouting reports with two other assistants, one of whom is in Orlando. The 66-year-old was deemed a high risk for the coronavirus due to preexisting conditions.
  • Joe Dumars, now the interim GM with the Kings, has a lot on his plate this offseason, as Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee details. Along with the draft, Dumars will try to work out a contract extension with point guard De’Aaron Fox. Bogdan Bogdanovic is headed to restricted free agency, while Kent Bazemore, Harry Giles, and Alex Len will be unrestricted. Dumars could also explore trades involving Buddy Hield, whose large extension kicks in next season after a very disappointing 2019/20 season.

Injury Updates: Clarke, Lowry, D-Lo, Crabbe, More

Just three days after ruling out Ja Morant with a week-to-week injury, the Grizzlies have done the same with their other prized rookie. Forward Brandon Clarke aggravated a sore left oblique muscle during Sunday’s game and will be sidelined on a week-to-week basis, the team announced today in a press release.

The 6-14 Grizzlies are certainly lottery-bound, but Morant and Clarke have at least been two bright spots – and reasons to keep an eye on the young team in Memphis – so far this season. Clarke has averaged 11.8 PPG and 5.9 RPG with a .630 FG% in 18 games (21.2 MPG). In his absence, the club will presumably lean a little more heavily on bigs like Jaren Jackson Jr., Solomon Hill, and Bruno Caboclo.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Kyle Lowry, who has missed nearly a month with a left thumb injury, will return to the Raptors‘ starting lineup tonight. As Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca tweets, head coach Nick Nurse said he’d like to ease Lowry back in, but the veteran point guard won’t have a specific minutes cap.
  • Another star point guard who has been out with a thumb injury appears to be nearing a return as well. Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets that D’Angelo Russell, who hasn’t played since November 15, has been upgraded to questionable for the Warriors‘ game in Charlotte on Wednesday.
  • Hawks wing Allen Crabbe underwent a non-surgical procedure on his right knee today, according to the team. The club didn’t provide a timeline for Crabbe’s recovery beyond saying he’ll miss Wednesday’s game vs. Brooklyn, but this is the same knee that gave him trouble earlier in the year.
  • A Thunder spokesman said on Tuesday that Andre Roberson will continue his injury rehab process in Los Angeles, away from the team, writes Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Billy Donovan said the decision wasn’t related to a setback or another operation, but the head coach’s comments didn’t sound overly promising. “He can’t get himself back to play, and he just wants to try some other avenues to try to get himself back to play,” Donovan said of Roberson. “He’s gotten to a point, and he can’t get past that point.”
  • Clippers swingman Rodney McGruder remains sidelined with a right hamstring strain, and head coach Doc Rivers said earlier this week that he didn’t believe McGruder was close to returning (Twitter link via Jovan Buha of The Athletic).

Injury Updates: Kyrie, McGruder, E. Davis, Fall

After missing Wednesday’s game in Boston, Nets point guard Kyrie Irving has also been ruled out of Friday’s rematch with the Celtics in Brooklyn, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes. Irving, who continues to deal with a right shoulder impingement, will miss his eighth consecutive game as a result of the injury.

The Nets and Celtics face one another four times this season, but the next two games won’t take place until after the All-Star break. Irving’s first opportunity to play his old team will be on March 3, when the Nets travel to Boston again for a prime-time showdown on TNT.

The Nets did get some good injury news on Thursday, as the team announced that center DeAndre Jordan has been listed as probable for Friday’s game vs. the Celtics after missing Brooklyn’s last two contests.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Rodney McGruder, who has been playing a regular rotation role for the Clippers during the team’s seven-game winning streak, has been ruled out of Friday’s game vs. San Antonio after suffering a right hamstring strain on Wednesday, per the team. As Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register details, head coach Doc Rivers is prepared to be without McGruder “for a while,” though the club has yet to announce any sort of timeline for the swingman’s recovery.
  • Veteran center Ed Davis appears to be nearing a return for the Jazz. Davis, who was diagnosed with a fractured fibula nearly four weeks ago, has been upgraded to questionable for Utah’s game in Memphis on Friday, tweets Ben Dowsett of Forbes.
  • Celtics rookie big man Tacko Fall was diagnosed with a right knee bone bruise this week while playing for the Maine Red Claws, Boston’s G League affiliate (Twitter link). Fall is off to a good start in Maine, with 15.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 2.7 BPG in six games (24.0 MPG), but he’ll miss at least the next week or two, according to the team.