Stanley Johnson

Central Notes: Wade, Bucks, Casey, Lowe

The signing of Dwyane Wade just before the start of the season led to jealousy in the Cavaliers‘ locker room, according to Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert were most affected, with Smith fearing Wade would take his starting spot and Shumpert believing Wade would cut into his playing time. Wade did start briefly, before asking to be moved to a bench role. Injuries limited Shumpert to just 14 games before he was traded to the Kings in February.

Pluto outlines other problems with the Cavs’ roster, including Tristan Thompson‘s distractions with the Kardashian family and his notoriety on gossip websites, Kevin Love‘s panic attacks and a team meeting where he felt he was being attacked by Wade and Isaiah Thomas, and Jae Crowder‘s ineffectiveness without the structured offense he had under Brad Stevens in Boston.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Bucks contemplated a pair of draft night trades before selecting Donte DiVincenzo at No. 17, reports Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated. They talked about swapping picks with the Pacers and moving down to No. 23, and discussed a deal with the Hawks involving the 19th and 30th selections. Atlanta, which planned to take Kevin Huerter with the 17th pick, ended negotiations when word that the Bucks were drafting DiVincenzo leaked on Twitter. The Hawks expected the Spurs to grab Lonnie Walker at No. 18 and were confident that Huerter would fall to them at No. 19. DiVincenzo was happy to wind up in Milwaukee, which he and his representatives had singled out as a preferred destination.
  • Developing young players will be a priority for new coach Dwane Casey in his first season with the Pistons, writes Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. The front office believes improvement from Stanley Johnson, Luke Kennard and Henry Ellenson is necessary for the team to return to the playoffs. “Three very talented young players,” Casey said at his introductory press conference this week. “That’s going to be on us, the coaching staff, to really draw as much of that as we can. The talent level on the roster is there. Getting it together and identifying how we’re going to play is very, very important. That’s the fun part of it because the talent base is there.”  The Pistons plan to experiment with Kennard as a point guard in summer league play, Ellis tweets.
  • After adding Bucks assistant Sean Sweeney to their coaching staff this week, the Pistons are now targeting Wizards assistant Sidney Lowe, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

Pistons Notes: Thomas, Scouting, Gores, Brown

The Pistons were looking to add depth at the wing spots and got two players who will compete for minutes next season, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. Detroit didn’t have a first-round pick but traded away two future second-rounders to the Sixers to nab Creighton’s Khyri Thomas at No. 38, then chose Bruce Brown of Miami (Fla.) four picks later with their own selection.

“You never know how the draft’s going to go,” senior advisor Ed Stefanski said. “It didn’t look like we were going to be able to move like we did. People were asking for some big asks, but as the night went on it got much better and we were able to make the move. … We need some young guys, especially, to play that position.”

Stanley Johnson, Reggie Bullock and Luke Kennard are projected to eat up most of the minutes at those spots but Thomas and Brown could get into the mix if an injury strikes.

In other news regarding the Pistons:

  • Stefanski notified the team’s scouting department that their contracts would not be renewed at the end of the month, Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated tweets. The team’s front office is undergoing a complete makeover after head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy and GM Jeff Bower were dismissed. The team is still seeking one or more young executives to take front office roles. Spurs executive Malik Rose has been offered a front office job. New head coach Dwane Casey is in the process of building his staff. The team reached an agreement with Bucks assistant Sean Sweeney to join its staff.
  • Top players Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson were asked for their input when owner Tom Gores was conducting the coaching search, Langlois writes in a separate piece“I did consult with them, (though) they weren’t making the decision,” Gores said. “I texted Reggie, Andre, Blake. ‘What kind of coach do you want? Let’s check the boxes.’ I did engage with them. I know them pretty well. Meeting Dwane, he really did check all those boxes.”
  • Bruce Brown underwent season-ending foot surgery in his final season with the Hurricanes but he has no restrictions this offseason, as he told Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press and other media members. “I’m good to go,” Brown said. “I’m fully cleared. All my medicals look fine at the combine so I’m ready to go 100 percent.”

Pistons Will Exercise Patience In Free Agent Market

The Pistons will wait until the big free-agent signings are made before trying to fill out their roster, new senior advisor Ed Stefanski told Rod Beard of the Detroit News. Salary constraints will likely prevent Detroit from being active during the early days of free agency. “We’ll see who’s out there in the second wave,” Stefanski said. In general, Stefanski doesn’t foresee much of a roster turnover due to the decisions made by the previous regime, headed by former coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy“The luxury-tax line is on us,” Stefanski said. “We’ll see what players are available. The team we have now is our team because we don’t have the flexibility at this time.” Re-signing veteran power forward Anthony Tolliver, an unrestricted free agent, will be difficult because of that lack of flexibility unless the Pistons can somehow clear cap space by moving a big salary.

Here’s more from Beard’s interview with Stefanski:

  • The Pistons feel they lucked out that Dwane Casey essentially fell into their laps during their coaching search. “We’re very happy to bring Casey on board; it was our first priority,” Stefanski said. “We’re very fortunate that the Coach of the Year was sitting out there without a job. It’s unusual in any sport that that caliber of coach is out there.”
  • All of Detroit’s draft preparation is complete, thus there’s no rush to hire a GM. The team doesn’t own a first-round pick in the upcoming draft. Assistant GM Pat Garrity remains in the running for a front-office position.
  • Casey met this week with many of his top players this week during summer workouts in California, including Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, Stanley Johnson and Luke Kennard“He’s getting an idea of how each guy will play and have them work that into their individual (summer) workouts,” Stefanski said.

Central Notes: Oladipo, Pistons Rotation, Griffin

Victor Oladipo knew a breakout season was possible after speaking with Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard on the team’s private plane prior to his introductory press conference last summer, as Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated divulges in a feature story. Pritchard assured Oladipo that the club truly coveted his services, rather than just matching up salaries to facilitate the Paul George blockbuster with the Thunder. Indiana wanted to play faster this season. “This wasn’t a dump. We targeted you,” Pritchard told Oladipo, according to Jenkins. The All-Star shooting guard is averaging a career-high 24.4 PPG for the surprising Pacers.  “It was the first time in my career I felt like a team really believed in me,” Oladipo told Jenkins. “I was just thinking, Don’t mess this up.”

In other nuggets involving the Central Division:

  • Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy will likely go with a 10-man rotation once Reggie Jackson returns from his Grade 3 ankle sprain, according to Ansar Khan of MLive.com.  Jackson would join a starting unit of Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin, Stanley Johnson and Reggie Bullock. Ish Smith would return to his usual role as leader of the second unit with center Eric Moreland and forwards Anthony Tolliver and James Ennis getting steady minutes, Khan speculates. Luke Kennard and Langston Galloway would split time as the backup shooting guard, Khan adds.
  • Pistons owner Tom Gores invited Griffin and his business partners over to his California home immediately after the blockbuster deal with the Clippers, as Keith Langlois of Pistons.com details. Gores wanted to assure Griffin how badly the Pistons wanted him and address any concerns the five-time All-Star power forward might have, Langlois continues. The Pistons are 5-3 since Griffin joined their lineup. “We were very quickly on the same page with the same view of what we want to achieve and the approach to get there,” Gores told Langlois. “He’s definitely hit the ground running. It’s been great to see how his teammates, the whole organization and the fans have embraced him.”

Spurs Interested In Trading For Avery Bradley

FEBRUARY 8, 8:23am: According to Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link), the Pistons discussed the possibility of trading Bradley or Stanley Johnson to San Antonio for Danny Green before including him in the Blake Griffin trade, so it makes sense that the Spurs would still have interest.

One potential deal the Spurs and Clippers have discussed is Green and a first-round pick in exchange for Bradley, league sources tell Stein (Twitter link). However, San Antonio would prefer not to part with a first-rounder, Stein adds (via Twitter).

FEBRUARY 7, 10:31pm: The Spurs have become a “trade suitor” for Clippers guard Avery Bradley, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

Bradley was acquired from the Pistons last week in the deal that sent Blake Griffin to Detroit. He has an $8.8MM expiring contract and reportedly isn’t in the Clippers’ long-term plans. He has been productive in two games for L.A., playing 30 minutes per night and averaging 10.0 points.

The Spurs have been shorthanded on the wing with both Kawhi Leonard and Rudy Gay sidelined by injuries. It would take Gay, Danny Green or a combination of smaller salaries to match up with Bradley’s, and the Clippers will probably want some draft assets in return.

Central Notes: Pistons, S. Johnson, Dunn, Bucks

The Disabled Player Exception the Pistons received doesn’t make them more likely to complete another deal before tomorrow’s trade deadline, writes Ansar Khan of MLive. Coach/executive Stan Van Gundy says tax concerns will limit the team’s ability to follow up last week’s blockbuster that brought Blake Griffin to Detroit.

“The chances of that helping us at all are very, very slim because it would take us into the [luxury] tax to begin with and we only have until March 12 to use it,” Van Gundy told reporters before tonight’s game. “I don’t expect it to be of much value, but you want to have every tool at your disposal.”

The Pistons’ DPE is valued at about $5.25MM, half the salary of Jon Leuer, who is out for the season with an ankle injury. The Griffin deal cost the team its top two scorers in Tobias Harris and Avery Bradley, but Van Gundy believes there are still enough good shooters on the roster.

There’s more news from the Central Division:

  • It might take a starter and a draft pick to pry Stanley Johnson away from the Pistons, according to Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Johnson is among the team’s best defensive players and has increased his offensive production over the past five games, averaging 15 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists.
  • Bulls guard Kris Dunn returned to practice today for the first time since suffering a concussion after taking a hard fall in a January 17th game, writes Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago. Dunn has been ruled out for Friday’s game, but is hoping to play again before the All-Star break. However, coach Fred Hoiberg warned that may not be possible. “He hasn’t done anything,” Hoiberg said. “His inactivity will prevent him from playing anytime soon. But the important thing is he was able to do some non-contact drills, he’s been on the treadmill, he’s completed the bike portion.” The Bulls are 1-7 without Dunn, who sparked a streak of success after moving into the starting lineup in December.
  • The Bucks created a $1.9MM trade exception when they shipped Rashad Vaughn to the Nets on Monday, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Milwaukee also has two other trade exceptions valued at $3,4MM and $5MM.

Trade Rumors: Suns, Smart, Pistons, Ferguson

While Suns general manager Ryan McDonough is working the phones, one source tells Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic that there hasn’t been a whole lot of Suns-related chatter this week. The odds of Phoenix completing a major deal in advance of the deadline appear slim, according to Bordow.

Still, as Bordow details, there are a few Suns players who make some sense as trade candidates. The team would like to shed Tyson Chandler‘s contract, which includes a $13.6MM guaranteed salary for 2018/19, a source tells Bordow. Alex Len, who wants to be a starter – or at least a backup on a contender – next season, is another trade candidate. As is Troy Daniels, who says he’s prepared to move if necessary, but would rather stay in Phoenix for now.

“I’m prepared for whatever. I’ll be prepared to play wherever it is,” the fifth-year Suns guard told Bordow. “Everything is smooth running right now. If I was going to get traded I would like it to happen in the summertime.”

Here are a few more trade notes and rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Marcus Smart trade rumors may be somewhat overblown, according to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald, who writes that the Celtics will likely only move Smart if they can land a player who helps the team more this season — or if they can acquire a draft pick that can be flipped to secure a player who fits that bill. Bulpett also expressed skepticism that Boston will surrender Smart solely for a rental player.
  • Based on the Pistons‘ cap situation, Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press believes it’s “highly unlikely” that either Luke Kennard or Stanley Johnson gets moved before Thursday’s deadline. Both players will attract interest from other teams, but their affordable contracts are valuable to the Pistons, who are on the hook for a few big contracts, including Blake Griffin‘s.
  • Several teams have expressed interest in Thunder rookie Terrance Ferguson, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN. However, those teams came away with the impression that Oklahoma City has no desire to move Ferguson, as we heard earlier this week.

Pistons Notes: Trade Talks, S. Johnson, Griffin

The Pistons have already completed a deal that will likely go down as the biggest in-season trade of the 2017/18 season, acquiring Blake Griffin last week from the Clippers. Still, that doesn’t mean Detroit is ready to sit out this week’s deadline.

“[GM Jeff Bower] is always working,” president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy said today, per Rod Beard of The Detroit News (Twitter link). “I don’t know that we will do anything or we won’t. I couldn’t put a percentage on the possibilities, but Jeff is still working.”

With Griffin and Andre Drummond – the latest Eastern Conference player of the week – leading the frontcourt, Van Gundy was asked about the possibility of adding a third star to that duo and creating a “Big Three” for the Pistons. In Van Gundy’s view though, the club already has a solid third option on the roster.

“To me, the third piece is Reggie [Jackson],” Van Gundy said, per Beard (Twitter link). “That’s pretty good. That’s a pretty good three. We’ve got it in place. We just don’t have it on the court right now.”

Here’s more on the Pistons:

  • With the possibility of another trade looming, Ansar Khan of MLive.com runs through the entire Pistons’ roster, examining each player’s value and odds of being dealt.
  • Stanley Johnson‘s name has surfaced repeatedly in trade rumors this season, and according to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link), the Knicks are one team that has been monitoring the third-year forward. Ellis adds that he’d be “stunned” to see Johnson moved, however.
  • The acquisition of Griffin has re-energized the Pistons and their fan base, Beard writes for The Detroit News. Within the same piece, Beard notes that two-way players Kay Felder or Reggie Hearn could be in line for a call-up from the G League if Detroit’s need for backcourt help persists.
  • Earlier today, we passed along the latest on the Pistons’ reported interest in Rodney Hood.

Thunder, Bulls, Others Eyeing Rodney Hood

The Thunder, Bulls, and Pistons are among the teams showing interest in Jazz guard Rodney Hood as Thursday’s trade deadline nears, according to Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. League sources tell Jones that the Nuggets and Magic have also displayed “at least a passing interest” in Hood.

The Jazz have reportedly been exploring the trade market for Hood for at least the last few weeks, and Jones suggests the team is seeking “an asset” in return. While a first-round pick would be ideal, Utah may need to take on a bad contract in order to land a draft pick of that caliber, and it’s not clear whether the club is willing to do that, says Jones.

Hood, 26, is having the best offensive season of his career in 2017/18, averaging 16.4 PPG and shooting 38.7% on three-point attempts — both marks are career highs. However, he has once again been limited by injuries, a recurring issue throughout his NBA career. A fourth-year guard, Hood has only played more than 59 games in a season once so far.

As for Hood’s potential suitors, it’s no surprise that the Thunder, Bulls, and Pistons would have some interest, as all three teams could use another young shooter. However, Oklahoma City’s trade assets are limited, and Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press tweets that Detroit’s interest in Hood was stronger before the Blake Griffin trade. With Griffin’s long-term salary on their books, Ellis notes, the Pistons are less inclined to explore a swap of Stanley Johnson for Hood, since Johnson’s affordable rookie contract runs through 2019, while Hood will get expensive in restricted free agency this summer.

Meanwhile, Alec Burks is also generating some trade interest around the NBA, according to Jones. However, Jones cautions that Burks’ contract, which pays him $11.5MM in 2018/19, is limiting his appeal to some extent.

Pistons Notes: Van Gundy, Johnson, Jackson

Despite the fact that they’ve won a pair of games with him in the lineup, the Pistons haven’t quite figured out how to play with Blake Griffin. That’s not all that surprising, Rod Beard of The Detroit News writes, considering that they’ve had so little time to acclimate to the new star.

Playing with Blake is still new to us. We had an hour and a half, and now we’ve had, what, two days now?” third-year forward Stanley Johnson said on Saturday. “So it’s still not the greatest stuff in the world, but if we can do that every night, regardless with what we have in, it doesn’t matter.”

While the Pistons have, at times, been smoother with Griffin on the sidelines, that’s nothing head coach Stan Van Gundy didn’t expect.

I have to get figured out offensively. I’m not helping him or us a lot. You can see today in the early fourth quarter, we were actually a lot smoother when he was out because we were just playing,” Van Gundy said after the Pistons took down the Heat. “I’ve got this great player now and we’re just sort of playing to him all the time and the defense is all loaded up.

When Griffin is on the court he’s a constant penetration threat, which commands attention from defenses and frees up teammates. While the Pistons may not have a set offensive scheme that features him in place already, their success through two games is a testament to the impact that he’s had already.

There’s more out of Detroit:

  • Among the Pistons players most impacted by the arrival of Blake Griffin has been small forward Stanley Johnson. The 21-year-old spoke with the media, including The Detroit News, about how much easier his life is with Griffin on board. Johnson has averaged 17.7 points and 6.7 rebounds in just under 37 minutes per game since the trade was announced. “I see a lot more opportunity. Now with Blake involved, he creates so much attention, it’s crazy. It’s easy to turn the corner sometimes, with him. Then with Andre Drummond, you have two guys that are crazy lob threats. It’s kinda pick your poison sometimes,” Johnson said.
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy is intent on finding a better way to feature Blake Griffin in the team’s offense. “I think Blake is naturally a guy who moves the ball and stuff. I think I’ve been running stuff to him and making him play against a loaded up defense,” he told Ansar Khan of MLive and the rest of the media. “We gotta get moving so the defense has to play against movement and not be loaded up against him. We’ll make that correction hopefully fairly quickly.”
  • For the Pistons to make the most of the Blake Griffin addition, other players are going to have to accept new roles, Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press writes. One such player is Reggie Jackson who, after years behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City, had embraced being a go-to option for Detroit.