Stanley Johnson

Pistons Rumors: Drummond, Jackson, Johnson

The Pistons have “quietly explored” the trade market for Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, two of their roster’s centerpieces, Zach Lowe of ESPN.com reports in his latest piece, which is a deep dive into the situation in Detroit. According to Lowe, the Pistons came away disappointed with what teams might be willing to offer for Drummond or Jackson, reducing the likelihood of either player being moved in the next eight days.

Still, while a Drummond trade remains an “extreme long shot,” a deal involving Jackson isn’t entirely off the table. Lowe suggests the Timberwolves, Magic, and Pelicans are among the potential suitors for the veteran point guard, if Detroit is willing to settle for a modest return. Per Lowe, Jackson’s value has “cratered,” and a player like Ricky Rubio is one of the few solid starters the Pistons could get in any trade package. Lottery teams seeking a long-term solution at point guard are unwilling to move their first-round picks for Jackson, and Detroit isn’t ready to simply dump him for a collection of expiring contracts.

In his attempt to find a potential trade partner for a Jackson deal, Lowe identifies the Magic and Nuggets, pointing to players like Elfrid Payton and Emmanuel Mudiay as possible trade pieces. However, while Mudiay is believed to be available, Denver doesn’t appear to have interest in Jackson. Lowe notes that Orlando is an “intriguing” possibility, since GM Rob Hennigan was in Oklahoma City’s front office when the team drafted Jackson.

Here’s more from Lowe on Jackson, along with a few other intriguing Pistons-related tidbits:

  • The Pelicans have kicked the tires on Jackson, but never engaged in serious talks, league sources tell Lowe.
  • According to Lowe, several Pistons players criticized Jackson during a December players-only meeting for his apparent lack of effort on defense. Drummond tells Lowe that the criticism “wasn’t cool,” since Jackson was coming off an injury and wasn’t yet 100%. However, both Drummond and Stan Van Gundy acknowledge that the team has struggled to adjust to Jackson’s presence on the court this year after finding a groove early in the season with Ish Smith handling the point.
  • According to Lowe, a fear that top free agents won’t come to Detroit has pushed the Pistons to acquire solid players on good contracts when they become available. Those players aren’t always a fit with Drummond and Van Gundy, which has contributed to some of the team’s roster issues.
  • Multiple teams, including the Spurs, made an effort to nab Stanley Johnson in a trade after Van Gundy publicly called out the second-year forward earlier in the season. Although the Pistons rebuffed those efforts, the team has been frustrated by Devin Booker‘s development in comparison to Johnson’s, since the draft room was “almost deadlocked” between those two players in 2015, says Lowe.
  • The Pistons are unlikely to make a major move until closer to the draft, since they want to make the playoffs and are reluctant to do anything that will adversely impact their odds of earning a postseason spot, says Lowe. The ESPN analyst notes that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s pending restricted free agency will be an interesting case to follow this offseason, since the Pistons may have to shed a salary – perhaps Tobias Harris‘ or Boban Marjanovic‘s – if they need to match a max offer sheet for Caldwell-Pope.

Central Notes: Rondo, Middleton, Ellenson, S. Johnson

Rajon Rondo gained respect by standing up for his “rank-and-file” teammates and is unlikely to be traded before the Feb. 23rd deadline, writes Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report. Discord in the Bulls‘ locker room was aired publicly last week when Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler both went to the media with complaints that some players don’t care enough. Rondo responded on Instagram with a post saying that the veteran leaders on his former Celtics teams never would have done that. Rondo not only improved his standing in the locker room, he has also been productive in his role with the second unit, creating shots for younger players rather than fighting Wade and Butler for the ball.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Bucks swingman Khris Middleton is getting closer to making his season debut, tweets Charles F. Gardner of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He has been participating in contract drills and is expected to be ready soon, although not during the team’s current road trip. Middleton had surgery for a torn hamstring in September.
  • Henry Ellenson has only played in 14 NBA games, but the rookie big man has performed well enough in the D-League to the keep the Pistons optimistic about his future, according to Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Ellenson averaged 20 points and nine rebounds per game during his most recent trip to Grand Rapids. Langlois notes that he was taken with the pick that Detroit traded last year for Donatas Motiejunas then regained when the deal was rescinded. “I think the guy is a really, really talented offensive guy and I have great confidence in his work ethic, that he’ll work at it and get better,” said coach/executive Stan Van Gundy.
  • Pistons second-year swingman Stanley Johnson credits weight loss for his increased playing time, relays Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Johnson has dropped about 15 pounds and has become a reliable backup to shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope“The two things to me are he’s gotten in shape — which he wasn’t to start the year — and he’s gotten much more coachable,” Van Gundy said.

Central Rumors: Cavs Moves, Caldwell-Pope, Pacers

Acquiring a veteran backup point guard will be the next move the Cavaliers make, but there could be others in store, Joe Vardon of the Cleveland Plain Dealer speculates in his latest mailbag column. The team doesn’t trust that rookie Kay Felder can run the offense and defend for 8-12 minutes in postseason games as Kyrie Irving‘s backup, pushing the need for a backup point to the top of the wish list, Vardon continues. The club would also like to add another big man and perhaps an additional wing player, Vardon continues. GM David Griffin could open up roster spots by dumping the contract of injured Chris Andersen and moving a bench player like Jordan McRae for a draft pick, Vardon adds.

In other developments around the Central Division:

  • The defending champs have lost three of the five and their stars believe practice will get them back on track, Sam Amick of USA Today writes. LeBron James expressed that sentiment during his postgame press conference in Portland and Kyrie Irving echoed it as the team prepares to face the Kings on Friday.  “Practice does the mind good and the body good sometimes, and I think we’re in need of it,” Irving told Amick and other reporters. “But we’re on the West Coast road trip, West Coast swing, so we’ve just got to make due with the time we have.”
  • Stanley Johnson and Darrun Hilliard are the only healthy wing players the Pistons have left in the wake of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s shoulder injury, Aaron McMann of MLive.com reports. Caldwell-Pope was injured in the early going against the Warriors on Thursday when he crashed into Golden State center Zaza Pachulia, who was setting a screen. Caldwell-Pope will have an MRI on Friday. That leaves the Pistons with the second-year duo of Johnson and Hilliard sharing the shooting guard spot until he returns. “We have two right now,” coach Stan Van Gundy said of his two-guard situation. “I mean, two actual wings, unless we play Marcus (Morris) or Tobias (Harris) there. Yeah, we’re down in numbers right now.”
  • The Pacers cannot continue to pair Al Jefferson and Kevin Seraphin on their second unit because of their defensive limitations, Zach Lowe of ESPN.com details in his latest column. Opponents have outscored Indiana by about 7.5 points per 100 possessions when they’ve been on the floor together, mainly due to Seraphin’s inability to check power forwards and hedge on pick-and-rolls, Lowe continues. Adding Lavoy Allen to the rotation, or ensuring that either Thaddeus Young or Myles Turner plays alongside Jefferson, would fix the problem, Lowe adds.

Central Notes: Mirotic, Carter-Williams, Pistons

Nikola Mirotic‘s standing with the Bulls has been called to question after consecutive DNP-CDs suggest he could be falling out of the rotation. Mirotic failed to get off the bench on Thursday, then missed the team’s Friday walk-through, leaving head coach Fred Hoiberg little choice but to sit him for that game as well. Though Mirotic claims he simply forgot about the walk-through, he’s still subject to a fine, says K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. The 25-year-old admitted to being surprised about Thursday’s lack of playing time, but insists his absence from practice was unrelated.

“No, I’m not that kind of guy. Even if things are not like how I would like them to be, I’m very professional,” the Bulls big man told ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “It’s not my first year here. Those guys respect me and I respect them. I would never do that, something like that.”

In 22.4 minutes per game this season, Mirotic has logged 8.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. That offensive output and his corresponding .381 field-goal percentage mark the lowest figures of his career.

There’s more from the Central Division.

  • Michael Carter-Williams had his cast removed Friday and the backup Bulls point guard believes that he’ll be able to play by the end of next week, reports Friedell. A return to the court on Christmas Day, therefore, is realistic.
  • The Pistons have the assets to make a major trade, a testament to the work that head coach Stan Van Gundy and general manager Jeff Bower have done over the years, writes Keith Langlois for the team’s official website. The team has been aggressive in the trade market in recent memory, too, having acquired Reggie Jackson and Tobias Harris mid-season in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
  • Pistons sophomore Stanley Johnson appears to be working his way back into the rotation, says Rod Beard of The Detroit News. In three contests this week, Johnson has played 26, 14 and 16 minutes. Prior to that span, the last time he had seen more than 10 minutes in a game was on November 23.

Pistons Have Resisted Overtures For Stanley Johnson

After a promising rookie season in 2015/16, Stanley Johnson has taken a step back this season, having been sent to the D-League on Saturday for the first time this year. With Johnson’s place in Detroit’s long-term plan no longer certain, Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com expects rival executives to become more aggressive in trying to pry him away in a trade. However, sources tell Goodwill that the Pistons have “resisted overtures” for Johnson so far.

As Goodwill notes, even before assigning him to the Grand Rapids Drive for a game over the weekend, Stan Van Gundy had called Johnson out publicly and has suspended him for violating a team rule. It’s certainly possible – likely, in fact – that the Pistons will be patient with 2015’s eighth overall pick, but he does seem to have fallen out of favor a little this season in Detroit.

After averaging 8.1 PPG and 4.2 RPG in 73 games last season, the 20-year-old has averaged only 3.5 PPG and 2.2 RPG so far this season, with his minutes per game dipping from 23.1 to just 13.4. With Reggie Bullock having been sidelined due to injuries for most of the season, there was a rotation role available on the wing, but 2015 second-rounder Darrun Hilliard – rather than Johnson – has been getting most of those minutes lately.

Still, Johnson did get a chance to play 26 minutes against the Sixers on Sunday, albeit in a that game was a blowout early — Philadelphia jumping out to a 32-12 lead in the first quarter. Johnson picked up an impressive five steals in that contest after having looked good for Grand Rapids on Saturday, so perhaps the former Arizona Wildcat is starting to turn a corner. In any case, it doesn’t look like he’s on the trade block in Detroit for now.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 12/11/16

Here are Sunday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • Jazz forward Joel Bolomboy was assigned to the Salt Lake City Stars, the Jazz’s D-League affilitate, the team announced via its website. This marks the fourth assignment this season for Bolomboy.
  • The Pistons recalled forwards Stanley Johnson and Henry Ellenson and guard Michael Gbinije from the team’s D-League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive, Detroit announced in a press release. That was Johnson’s first D-League stint and it lasted one day.
  • The Bulls announced via press release that guard R.J. Hunter was recalled from the Windy City Bulls.
  • The Lakers recalled Ivica Zubac from their D-League affiliate, Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News tweets.

Pistons Notes: Johnson, D-League, Van Gundy

After falling out of the rotation partially because of some inconsistency on the offensive end, Stanley Johnson thrived Saturday night in a game for the Pistons’ D-League affiliate, Aaron McMann of MLive writes. Johnson, whom the Pistons picked up a 2017/18 option on, rediscovered his scoring ability with 26 points, as McMann relays. This was the first time Johnson was assigned to the D-League and it will be interesting to see when he can regain a spot in the rotation after McMann writes that he seemingly fell out of favor with the coaching staff.

Here’s more out of Detroit:

  • Johnson’s stint in the D-League may act as a wake-up call as he was expected back with the Pistons on Sunday, Rod Beard of The Detroit News writes. Johnson, who appeared to be a solid piece of the Pistons’ long-term plans after averaging 8.1 points as a rookie last season, took a positive step forward and must use that as a building block, Beard adds.
  • Unprompted, coach Stan Van Gundy squashed trade rumors involving the Pistons during a pregame presser and there has been no indication that the Pistons would be willing to surrender a talented haul in exchange for an all-star, Beard writes in a separate story.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 12/10/16

Here are Saturday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

10:59pm:

  • The Magic have recalled center Stephen Zimmerman from their Erie affiliate, the team posted on its website. Zimmerman spent four games with Erie, averaging 21.8 points and 15.5 rebounds per game. He has appeared in two games with Orlando.

3:05pm: 

  • The Pistons have assigned Stanley Johnson, Henry Ellenson, and Michael Gbinije to the D-League, the team announced today in a press release. Ellenson and Gbinije have already spent some time in Grand Rapids this season, but it’ll be Johnson’s first D-League stint of the season. According to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link), the 2015 eighth overall pick discussed the move with Stan Van Gundy, and will return to the Pistons after playing tonight with the Drive.
  • Jerian Grant and Paul Zipser have been recalled from the D-League by the Bulls, the club announced in a press release. Both players contributed to the Windy City Bulls’ victory over Canton on Friday night, with Grant making the game-winning shot. R.J. Hunter remains on assignment with the club.
  • The Hawks don’t have their own D-League affiliate, but they’ve assigned DeAndre’ Bembry back to the Salt Lake City Stars, per Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution. In a one-game stint with the Stars earlier this season, Bembry poured in 16 of 22 shots and racked up 35 points.
  • A day after being assigned to the D-League to practice with the Salt Lake City Stars, Joel Bolomboy has been recalled by the Jazz, according to a team release.
  • The Lakers have sent rookie big man Ivica Zubac back to the D-League, tweets Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News. Zubac will suit up tonight for the Los Angeles D-Fenders in their game against Austin.

Pistons Notes: Jackson, Bullock, Smith, Johnson

Point guard Reggie Jackson will make his season debut tonight, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Coach Stan Van Gundy confirmed that Jackson will play on a limited basis against Orlando, with the plan being to start him and use him for a few minutes each quarter (Twitter link). Jackson has been sidelined since receiving plasma injection therapy to treat tendinitis on his left knee October 10th. He told Van Gundy on Friday that he didn’t expect to be ready to play, but changed his mind Saturday night (Twitter link). “This is about far along as I’m going to be and the rest is going to be playing through kinks,” Jackson said (Twitter link).

There’s more news out of Detroit:

  • Small forward Reggie Bullock had meniscus surgery Saturday and will be out four to six weeks, Beard tweeted. Van Gundy relayed the recovery timetable, which is shorter than originally expected.
  • Ish Smith has been helping the team stay competitive in Jackson’s absence, Beard writes in a separate piece. Smith, who came to Detroit on a three-year, $18MM contract this summer, has averaged 15.5 points and 5.3 assists over his last four games. “It’s a comfort level,” Smith said. “You come to a new team and you don’t want to step on any toes. You don’t want to extend out but you want to play your game.”
  • It’s way too early for the Pistons to think about trading Stanley Johnson, argues Vince Ellis of USA Today. Johnson, who was expected to be Detroit’s sixth man when the season started, has seen his playing time drop dramatically. Van Gundy has questioned his work ethic, and Darrun Hilliard has taken his minutes as the backup shooting guard. However, Ellis points out that the Pistons can afford to be patient because Johnson is only 20, has the athleticism to guard several positions and is making about $3MM per season on his rookie contract. “He’s definitely a part of our long-term plan,” Van Gundy said. “I think the guy has a chance to be really, really good. We need him to become a really good player. We have to do everything we can to get him there because he’s a huge part of any type of long-term success that we’re gonna have.”

Central Notes: Jones, Cavs, Johnson, Bulls

Cavaliers swingman James Jones plans to retire after the 2017/18 season, Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal reports. Jones, 36, becomes a free agent after this season but would likely remain with Cleveland, given LeBron James affinity for Jones as a teammate, Lloyd adds. “I know playing 15 years is a number where I can look back and I can be like, ‘I accomplished something,’ ” Jones told Lloyd. “Fourteen vs. 15 may not be much, but to be able to say I played 15 years, that’s enough for me to hang ’em up.”
In other news around the Central Division:
  • The Cavaliers are in the market for a backup point guard and could fulfill that need later this month, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. That potential acquisition will likely come after December 15th, when free agents who signed contracts over the summer can be traded, Vardon adds. Cleveland doesn’t have a true point guard to back up Kyrie Irving other than rookie Kay Felder, who has played sparingly.
  • Stanley Johnson needs to improve his work habits in order to reclaim his rotation spot, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy told Aaron McMann of MLive and other beat reporters. Johnson, a 2015 lottery pick, was benched in two games the last two weeks and also served a one-game team suspension after showing up late for the morning shootaround, McMann continues. Johnson only played four garbage-time minutes against the Hawks on Friday. “He’s got to be a better practice guy,” Van Gundy told McMann. “He’s got to be a better workout guy. He’s got to be better with all that stuff. Really working to get better. Once he’s out there competing, you don’t have a problem with that. He’ll play as hard as anybody, but he’s got to understand that’s not the whole thing. It’s preparing to play.”
  • Bulls forward Doug McDermott could return sometime next week from a concussion that has sidelined him the last eight games, Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com writes. McDermott has suffered two concussions this season and the might practice with the team’s D-League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls, as well as the NBA team before he returns, Goodwill adds. “It’s gonna take him at least a couple days to have full practices,” Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg told Goodwill and other reporters.
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