Saddiq Bey

Central Notes: Hayes, Stewart, Sirvydis, Gottlieb, Varejao

The Pistons’ four rookie draft picks continue to receive extensive playing time and coach Dwane Casey is encouraged by the progress of the team’s so-called “Core Four,” Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. That quartet of Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey and Saben Lee combined for 73 points, 22 rebounds and 19 assists against the Bulls on Sunday.

“It’s another area of growth, of toughness,” Casey said. “If you win with toughness in this league, we’d have won quite a few games. Those guys toughed it out – mentally, physically – and it says a lot about their character, who they are as people.”

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  • Another Pistons rookie, Euro import Deividas Sirvydis, had an eight-point, six-rebound outing against Philadelphia on Saturday and he’s also trying to make an impression in the late going, Langlois writes in a separate story. Sirvydis joined Detroit during the offseason after being selected in the second round in 2019 as a draft-and-stash prospect. “The main thing with him is getting stronger, which he’s done,” Casey said. “I’ve told our guys, he’s going to be a player one day. He’s going to be one of those big two/threes who can stretch the floor.”
  • Cavaliers assistant Lindsay Gottlieb is leaving the franchise when the regular season is completed. She has been named USC’s head women’s coach, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Gottlieb, who had been on Cleveland’s staff since 2019, was the first female head coach from a Power 5 conference to become an NBA assistant coach. She previously coached Cal for eight seasons.
  • While it may have been heartwarming to see 38-year-old Anderson Varejao make a brief comeback in the NBA, the Cavaliers should have evaluated a younger player looking for a chance, Joe Vardon of The Athletic argues. The team could have signed someone who played in the G League or overseas and potentially found a diamond in the rough, Vardon writes, noting that some other teams have gotten productive minutes from players on 10-day contracts or rest-of-season deals.

Central Notes: Osman, Holiday, Pacers, Pistons Rookies

Cedi Osman has temporarily regained a rotation spot, giving the Cavaliers forward another shot to prove his value before the season ends, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. Due to injuries, Osman made his first start since March 26 and his first appearance since April 14 on Sunday. Osman, whose front-loaded contract lasts through the 2023/24 season, had 19 points and five assists in 37 minutes.

“It was a lot of him putting the time in and working on his own game,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “I think he had some struggles early on, but I believe that Cedi is a good basketball player. And when given the opportunity, when playing with confidence and playing assertive, he can have an impact on the game.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Jrue Holiday is the biggest reason why the Bucks are a different team than last season, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic, and Nehm breaks down some of Holiday’s plays over the weekend to demonstrate his impact. Holiday signed a four-year extension worth up to $160MM earlier this month.
  • The Pacers have played well using small-ball lineups with Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner sidelined by injuries and that should help them in the postseason, according to J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star“It makes us a better team because guys get time on the floor, which means, come playoff time, if those guys play they’ll be ready,” Justin Holiday said. “Whatever happens I think we’re going to be ready for it.”
  • Pistons rookies Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart are all receiving rotation minutes, prompting Pistons.com’s Keith Langlois to review past drafts to see how other teams with three or more first-rounders in the same year fared with their selections — so far, Detroit stacks up favorably to those clubs.

Eastern Notes: Vildoza, Hill, Tucker, Pistons Rookies

The Knicks will likely make a roster move at some point to replace John Henson, who didn’t receive another 10-day contract. A wild card could be Baskonia combo guard Luca Vildoza. According to Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas (Twitter link), Vildoza is on the Knicks’ radar. The 25-year-old, 6’3” Vildoza is averaging 10.1 PPG and 3.4 APG in the EuroLeague this season.

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  • Sixers coach Doc Rivers is optimistic George Hill will make his team debut in the coming week, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Hill was acquired from Oklahoma City in a three-team deadline deal last month. The veteran guard had surgery on his right thumb on February 2, and hasn’t played since January 24. Hill’s $10MM salary for next season isn’t guaranteed and Philadelphia is looking for him to be a postseason factor.
  • P.J. Tucker missed three weeks of action before returning this week and revealing that the calf injury that sidelined him cropped up before he was traded by Houston to the Bucks, Eric Nehm of The Athletic tweets. Tucker wanted to play through the injury but the Bucks’ medical staff chose to keep him inactive until he healed.
  • The Pistons started all of their first-round picks for the first time on Friday and Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey lifted the team to a win over Oklahoma City. Backup center Jahlil Okafor says it’s a pleasure to be around the hard-working trio, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. “Seeing them every day, how serious they are in their approach, I’m really proud of them,” Okafor said. “It’s a breath of fresh air being around these types of rookies who love the game so much and are so eager to learn. It’s kind of uplifting.”

Central Notes: Nance, Bey, Vucevic, Bulls

Cavaliers big man Larry Nance Jr. hasn’t suited up for the team since March 27, but he’s starting to feel better after having dealt with an undetermined illness that caused rapid weight loss and left him bedridden, sources tell Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

None of the tests that Nance was administered in an attempt to identify his illness have come back positive, including COVID-19 tests, writes Fedor. A source tells Cleveland.com that the 28-year-old lost nearly 20 pounds and had a hard time keeping food down while he battled the illness.

Although Nance is improving, he’ll miss Thursday’s game and may not play on Saturday or Sunday either, according to Fedor, who says the training staff wants him to regain some of his lost weight and build his stamina back up before he returns to game action.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Following Saddiq Bey‘s 25-point showing on Tuesday in Denver, Pistons head coach Dwane Casey reiterated a point that he and GM Troy Weaver have made before, referring to the rookie as a long-term keeper.He’s an NBA starter for us and part of our building blocks,” Casey said of the young forward (Twitter link via Rod Beard of The Detroit News). Detroit gave up Luke Kennard and several second-round picks to land Bey in the 2020 draft.
  • In his early days with the Bulls, Nikola Vucevic is looking like the sidekick that Zach LaVine and the club have long needed, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic.
  • While he’s not particularly high on the team’s playoff chances this season, Michael Pina of SI.com makes the case for why the Bulls‘ future looks bright. Meanwhile, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago fields a number of questions on the Bulls’ future in his latest mailbag, suggesting that Coby White still looks like part of the long-term core, even if the club is likely to pursue a point guard in the offseason.

Haynes’ Latest: Bagley, Pistons, Bey, Gordon, Collins, Cavs

The Pistons recently turned down an offer from the Kings that would have sent rookie forward Saddiq Bey to Sacramento in a deal involving Marvin Bagley III, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

After Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report suggested earlier today that Bagley would welcome a change of scenery, Haynes reiterates that point in his latest report, writing that the Kings and the third-year big man are “keen on discovering a corridor toward separation.”

A deal for Bey would be a long shot though, as the Pistons have shown little to no interest in parting with any members of their rookie class, according to James Edwards III of The Athletic, who says all four of those rookies (Bey, Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart, and Saben Lee) are considered building blocks for the team’s rebuild.

Here’s more from Haynes:

  • Rockets players thought the team was on the verge of acquiring Magic forward Aaron Gordon a few days ago, but at least one source with knowledge of trade talks disputed that a deal was at the finish line, writes Haynes. Sources tell Yahoo Sports that Gordon doesn’t want to go to a rebuilding team, preferring to join a club with the potential to make a playoff run. While Gordon doesn’t have the ability to dictate his landing spot, he’ll be a free agent in 2022, so any team giving up assets to acquire him would want to be relatively confident it could sign him beyond then, Haynes observes.
  • As other reports have suggested, the odds of a John Collins trade this week appear to be declining. Haynes says the Hawks haven’t been overly impressed by the offers, including a Mavericks package featuring Maxi Kleber.
  • Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen isn’t going anywhere before the trade deadline, but Cleveland is expected to have plenty of competition for him on the restricted free agent market this summer. Haynes reports that the Pistons, Raptors, Spurs, and Wizards are expected to be among the teams with interest in Allen, who turned down a four-year, $48MM extension offer from the Nets before the season.
  • A buyout is becoming a more likely outcome than a trade for Cavaliers center JaVale McGee, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. A buyout would be a bit of a surprise if there’s any interest in McGee, since he’s on a very movable $4.2MM expiring contract.

Pistons Notes: Griffin, Youth Movement, Ellington, Wright

It’s hard to imagine a trade scenario for Blake Griffin, according to a number of staff members on The Athletic. Griffin’s max salary and declining play make it nearly impossible to deal him. Griffin, who will reportedly sit until the Pistons can find a trade partner or buy him out, is a shell of his former All-Star self after multiple knee surgeries, as the story points out his inability to dunk and block shots any longer. The Celtics, Trail Blazers, Nets, Warriors, Lakers, Bucks, Kings and Spurs are all mentioned as possible destinations if Griffin is bought out.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • If Griffin is able to pick his next destination, the situation will be a win-win for both him and the Pistons, Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press writes. GM Troy Weaver can continue to chart his own course with his multi-year rebuilding plan and the team’s younger players, like Eastern Conference Player of the Week Saddiq Bey, can get extended playing time.
  • Griffin deserves to be remembered fondly by Detroit fans, James Edwards of The Athletic opines. Griffin led the team to the playoffs two seasons ago and continually played through injuries and pain. He showed the city’s trademark grit, diving for loose balls, barking at opponents and taking charges. Griffin gave everything he could to the team until his body betrayed him, Edwards adds.
  • Given his age and early-season production, Wayne Ellington is the most logical player to be traded, Edwards writes in a separate piece. The Pistons might be able to flip the veteran shooting guard for a second-round pick. Delon Wright‘s versatility to play both guard positions could also make him an attractive trade target. The Sixers are one of the teams reportedly interested in Wright.

Central Notes: Donovan, Weaver, Drummond, LeVert

The frustration for the Bulls and new head coach Billy Donovan is mounting over their penchant for blowing big leads. Chicago squandered a 10-point cushion in the final two minutes of regulation and lost in overtime on Friday to the Thunder, prompting Donovan to make some pointed comments about his team’s psyche.

“This is a hard-working group. It’s a good group of guys. They want to win,” the Bulls’ coach said, per Royce Young of ESPN. “They don’t know how to. They are learning how to.

The Bulls have committed a league-worst 18.3 turnovers per game and Donovan believes that’s the crux of their problem. “We’ve gotten destroyed in the turnover battle the whole entire year,” he said.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • New Pistons GM Troy Weaver engineered a number of draft-night trades and wound up with four rookies on the roster. He’s thrilled with all of them, even though lottery pick Killian Hayes struggled as a starter before suffering a hip injury, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart have jumped into the rotation and second-rounder Saben Lee is getting some spot time with Hayes sidelined. “We can debate the player all day long, but we’re not going to debate the person,” Weaver said. “These are high-character guys who work and are selfless. Extremely excited about them.”
  • Jarrett Allen appears to be the Cavaliers’ main man in the middle after they acquired the restricted free agent from the Nets this week, but they shouldn’t be so quick to give away Andre Drummond, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer opines. Drummond has been highly productive this season, as his 33-point, 23-rebound outing against the Knicks demonstrates. Trading Drummond, an unrestricted free agent after the season, could wind up making the team less competitive.
  • The Pacers are replacing Victor Oladipo with Caris LeVert in their impending trade with the Rockets. While those guards have similar stats, their skill sets vary greatly. J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star provides a breakdown of their strengths and weaknesses.

Central Notes: Dellavedova, Bey, Oladipo, Hankins

Matthew Dellavedova’s return from a concussion has taken longer than expected because of his concussion history, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Cavaliers guard, who has yet to make his season debut, is progressing slowly and there’s no definitive timetable for his return. Dellavedova was re-signed on a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal in November.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Pistons didn’t line up a pre-draft workout and interview with forward Saddiq Bey because they figured he wouldn’t slide out of the lottery, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Bey dropped to the No. 19 pick and was acquired in a draft-night trade. “We were shocked,” coach Dwane Casey said. “He’s one player we did not meet with because we didn’t think he was going to be there later where we were trying to get the pick. Luckily he was and we jumped on it. “
  • Victor Oladipo becomes a free agent after the season but the Pacers aren’t in a hurry to resolve that situation, Michael Pina of Sports Illustrated reports. According to Pacers GM Chad Buchanan, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, but in the meantime we want to try and help this team hit its fullest potential this season.” Oladipo is averaging 19.9 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 4.2 APG this season.
  • Tom Hankins has been hired as the head coach of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the G League affiliate of the Pacers, according to a team press release. The 54-year-old Hankins was the head coach at the University of Central Oklahoma from 2015-19. He was then hired by the Pacers as assistant player development coach. The Mad Ants are one of the 18 teams participating in the league’s “bubble season” in Orlando.

Central Notes: Bey, Grant, Garland, Bickerstaff

Saddiq Bey is making the Pistons look wise after they engaged in a three-team deal to land the No. 19 pick in the draft, James Edwards of The Athletic writes. The rookie forward from Villanova was averaging 10.4 PPG and 45.7% from 3-point range entering Sunday’s action, though he needs to do a much better job finishing around the rim, Edwards notes. Bey has also display uncommon maturity and has elevated his play in crunch time, Edwards adds.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Jerami Grant has impressed fellow Pistons forward Blake Griffin with his expanded offensive role, according to Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press. Grant inked a three-year, $60MM contract in a sign-and-trade with Denver in large part because he wanted to be a go-to scorer. He’s posted back-to-back 31-point games. “I’m very impressed with his patience and his decision-making in games. He doesn’t settle,” Griffin said. “He’ll size somebody up. Seems like he can get to the hole whenever he wants and he does a great job of finishing.”
  • Prior to suffering a shoulder sprain, Cavaliers guard Darius Garland was emerging as the most improved player of the NBA’s sophomore class, Garrett Brooks of Basketball Insiders opines. Garland, the No. 5 pick of the 2019 draft, is averaging 17.2 PPG and 6.3 APG and shooting 46.9% from 3-point range.
  • Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff has been forced to improvise due to a number of injuries, especially to his backcourt, and he’s using an old-school scheme, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. “It’s a flashback to the 80s,” Bickerstaff said. “We try to slow the game down. We try to make it half court. We’re calling sets and running plays that literally they ran into the early’ 90s, late ’80s when they played with those bigs.”

Eastern Notes: Jordan, Allen, Bey, Okeke, Vucevic

Nets coach Steve Nash is trying to avert a controversy over his decision to keep DeAndre Jordan as the starting center, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Nash gave Jarrett Allen more playing time off the bench on Friday but didn’t tinker with the lineup. Allen will be a restricted free agent in the summer. “I want to be very careful not to make it like a mini-drama because it’s not,” Nash said. “They both play. JA has been outstanding and will play plenty, if not the bulk of the minutes, but for right now, he’s just playing those minutes from the second unit.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Pistons veteran point man Derrick Rose is highly impressed with the maturity of rookie forward Saddiq Bey‘s game, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Bey started in place of injured Blake Griffin, who is in the league’s concussion protocol, and fired in five 3-pointers against Boston on Friday. “Right when we picked him, I knew we had an asset,” Rose said. “He’s a shooter. Whenever I’m out there with him, I always keep an eye on him and see where he is on the floor.”
  • Gary Clark will likely fill Chuma Okeke’s bench role with the Magic until Okeke returns, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Clark is a solid defender but does not bring much to the table offensively, Robbins notes. Okeke will miss several weeks due to a left knee bone bruise. Clark re-signed with the Magic on a two-year contract, though the second year isn’t guaranteed.
  • Nikola Vucevic has become the Magic’s all-time leader in field goals made and he’s achieved that feat without having a lot of plays drawn up for him, as Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel explains. Coach Steve Clifford says Vucevic gets his points within the flow of the offense. “There’s no guy here that I’ve done less to help than him,” Clifford said. “If there’s any guy in the locker room who would have a complaint that Steve doesn’t get him the ball, it would be him.” Vucevic, the team’s highest-paid player, is signed through the 2022/23 season.