Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk

Pistons Notes: Brown, Thomas, Draft, Weaver, Casey

The Pistons won’t have to make decisions on three young players with non-guaranteed deals until October, James Edwards III of The Athletic notes.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the Pistons had to decide whether to pick up the contracts of Bruce Brown, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Khyri Thomas during the first two weeks of July with each player scheduled to make approximately $1.66MM next season. That date has been pushed back until after the playoffs are completed in Orlando.

It’s a given that Detroit will exercise its team option on Mykhailiuk and guarantee Brown’s contract, but Thomas’ situation is uncertain. He missed most of the season with a foot injury and returned to action shortly before the stoppage of play. The coaching staff believes Thomas can be a contributor, which helps his chances of getting his deal guaranteed, Edwards adds.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • New GM Troy Weaver has said he’ll be looking for a high-character player in the lottery. That increases the chances that the team will draft Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, USC’s Onyeka Okongwu or Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Though none are currently ranked at the very top of the draft, that trio consistently draws high marks among scouts, college coaches and NBA executives for their personality traits, Langlois adds.
  • The mutual respect between Weaver and coach Dwane Casey bodes well for the franchise’s future, Langlois writes in a separate piece. Casey has proven he can develop talent and he has full confidence that Weaver will acquire the type of talent that can lift the franchise back to prominence, Langlois adds.
  • Assitant GM Pat Garrity is leaving the organization. Get all the details here.

Pistons Notes: Gores, Weaver, Patton, Mykhailiuk

Pistons owner Tom Gores is confident that new general manager Troy Weaver is the right choice to work with coach Dwane Casey, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Ed Stefanski has been running the front office while Detroit has been without a GM for the past two years, and Gores envisions them all operating together.

“There’ll be a nice divide-and-conquer coming in and again that’s why I trust Troy to come in as someone smart enough to leverage resources,” Gores said. “At a high level, we’ll work all this out in the detail. Really, Troy and Ed and Dwane will work on a day-to-day basis with each other, and Troy will have normal — and even higher than normal — GM responsibilities and he’s got a lot to learn. He’s going to get on the ground and know each player well and connect with (Casey) and so on and then as it bubbles up to ownership, (vice chairman) Arn (Tellem) and I — if there’s big decisions that need to be made — we’ll all gather.”

The management team will face two chances to set the direction for the future this fall with the draft, where the Pistons have a shot at a high lottery pick, and free agency, where the team could have as much as $30MM in cap space.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • Weaver made his first move with the Pistons this week, signing former first-round pick Justin Patton to a deal that’s non-guaranteed for next season. Weaver also took a chance on Patton last summer when he was in the Thunder’s front office, points out Omar Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. Injuries have limited Patton to just nine NBA games, but he remains an intriguing center prospect at age 23.
  • The Pistons used about half of their remaining non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Patton, tweets John Hollinger of The Athletic. That means they can offer a similar contract to another player before the NBA’s transaction window closes Tuesday night, if they so choose.
  • Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk developed into an important offensive weapon after moving into the starting lineup and appears to be part of the rebuilding process, writes Lauren Williams of MLive“Physically, right away you can see the things that he brings to the table, but I think he grew this year and sort of his mental approach, and also just his confidence that he can impact the game in more ways than just shooting,” Blake Griffin said. “I think next year will be a big year for him. He’s put in a lot of work and I feel like he’s taking that step.”

Batum, DeRozan Among Players With Earlier Option Decision Deadlines

Most veterans who have player options in their contracts for the 2020/21 season will have an October 17 deadline to either exercise or decline that option. That Saturday represents the second-last day of the 2019/20 league year under the NBA’s new calendar, meaning it would coincide in a normal year with June 29, the usual player option decision deadline.

However, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, some of the players who have to make option decisions for 2020/21 have slightly earlier deadlines. For instance, if the Spurs don’t make the postseason, DeMar DeRozan will be required to make his decision within seven days of the team’s last game, per Marks.

The full list of player options for ’20/21 can be found on our free agents page, but here are the options which must be exercised or declined before October 17, according to Marks:

The rest of this season’s player option decisions must be made by October 17, a deadline that applies to nearly every team option for 2020/21 as well. The only team options with earlier decision dates are minimum-salary ones for Deonte Burton (Thunder) and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (Pistons), which are due by October 15, per Marks.

Pistons Notes: GM Search, Draft, Point Guard, More

As the Pistons continue their search for a new general manager, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic cites a high-ranking team source who says that prioritizing diversity during that process is considered “vital.”

As Edwards cautions, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Detroit’s next GM will be a person of color. However, it sounds as if the Pistons are casting a wide net as they consider candidates, and Edwards suggests he’d be “very, very surprised” if the team doesn’t hire a person of color to its front office this summer in some capacity, whether it’s as a GM, an assistant GM, or another position.

Here’s more on the Pistons:

  • Within the mailbag linked above, Edwards says he thinks the Pistons may play it a little safer in the 2020 NBA draft after rolling the dice on 18-year-old Sekou Doumbouya a year ago. As Edwards points out, this year’s draft class isn’t considered particularly strong to begin with, and scouting has been a challenge due to the coronavirus pandemic. As such, it might be a good time for the club to take a player it’s confident will develop into a solid pro, even if that prospect doesn’t necessarily have superstar upside. Of course, Detroit’s draft strategy will hinge in large part on where the team ends up in the lottery.
  • On an end-of-season conference call on Wednesday, Pistons head coach Dwane Casey said he thinks the team will look to acquire a starting point guard in the draft or free agency this offseason, per Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). Derrick Rose remains under contract for one more year, but thrived primarily in a sixth-man role in 2019/20.
  • As Sankofa relays in a full Free Press story, Casey also said on Wednesday’s call that he was encouraged by the growth of the Pistons’ young players this season. “We found Christian Wood, who had an excellent season with us when a lot of people had given up on him,” Casey said.Svi Mykhailiuk, I thought he made great strides as far as his shooting ability and his development. And also Bruce Brown, I thought Bruce took strides. I don’t think that he’s a starting point guard in our league. I think he’s going to be an excellent backup for us for whoever we get in that situation. But this year’s development of him is really valuable.”
  • We passed along a few more of Casey’s end-of-season comments on Wednesday evening.

Eastern Notes: Dunn, Mykhailiuk, Pistons, Isaac

Lauri Markkanen’s fit in the Bulls’ offense is the biggest question facing the franchise, Mark Schanowski of NBC Sports Chicago writes. The organization must figure out if he can become a consistent 20-point, 10-rebound player. There will probably be little roster turnover but the organization is likely to allow point guard Kris Dunn to walk. The Bulls would have to give Dunn a $7.1MM qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent but they are already deep at point guard.

We have more Eastern Conference news:

  • Swingman Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk at minimum established himself as a solid rotation player with the potential to be a key piece for the Pistons, according to Keith Langlois of the team’s website. Mykhailiuk doused the perception that he’s just a 3-point shooter by displaying his offensive versatility this season, including times when he functioned as a primary ballhandler. The team holds a $1.66MM option on Mykhailiuk’s contract for next season and there is little question that they’ll exercise it, Langlois adds.
  • The Pistons will have a top-10 draft pick and they’ve been buried in film study during the hiatus, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes. Detroit had the fifth-worst record when play was halted. “The whole league is watching video,” senior advisor Ed Stefanski said. “We’ve seen some (of the top prospects). Everyone has a bank of information on players, so we’re all in the same boat.”
  • Magic forward Jonathan Isaac is continuing his rehab from a severe knee sprain, even though the team’s practice facility is shuttered, as Josh Robbins of The Athletic details. Isaac, who suffered the injury at the beginning of the calendar year, is following a workout program designed by the team’s training staff from his home. “They’ve got a detailed layout of everything that I’ve got to do,” he said. “They send it to me and I get it done. But it works. I like it that way. I know what I’ve got to do each day, and I put some music on and I knock it out.”

Pistons Notes: Doumbouya, Thomas, Knight, Rose

Rookie forward Sekou Doumbouya is buried in a shooting slump, but that’s not why the Pistons are concerned about him, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press relays. The first-round pick, who grew up in France, is struggling to adjust off the court and seems unhappy on it. He’s shooting 28.1% from the field over his last 13 appearances following a 24-point outing against Boston.

“I’ve got to be the papa bear and stay on him and make sure he’s doing the right things, but nothing takes the place of having fun and the joy of playing basketball,” coach Dwane Casey said, “I know there is a culture barrier, but he’s got to continue to play hard, play with passion.”

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Second-year guard Khyri Thomas, who has been sidelined since late October after undergoing right foot surgery, has returned to practice, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com tweets. Thomas, a second-round pick, appeared in 26 games during his rookie campaign but only played in two games this season before the foot issue cropped up. He has a partially guaranteed $1.66MM salary for next season.
  • Point guard Brandon Knight said he’s “excited” to re-join the team that drafted him, Langlois writes. Knight was one of the players acquired in the Andre Drummond deal with Cleveland on Thursday. His second stint may only last a couple of months, as Knight has an expiring contract. But Casey said the veteran guard will get some playing time to show what he can add to the team. “It’s a great opportunity for us to get a look at him and him to look at us at the same time,” Casey said.
  • Point guard Derrick Rose and shooting guard Svi Mykhailiuk could return against Orlando on Wednesday, according to Ellis. Neither has played since February 2 due to an adductor strain and a hip injury, respectively.

Lowe’s Latest: Redick, Bertans, Collins, Drummond, OKC, More

A number of players who have been mentioned as trade candidates this season may not be moved – or may not be available at all – at Thursday’s deadline, ESPN’s Zach Lowe writes in an article jam-packed with trade-related rumors and speculation.

For instance, teams who have called the Pelicans asking about J.J. Redick have been “shooed away,” sources tell Lowe. The Wizards have taken a similar approach to clubs inquiring on Davis Bertans, though Lowe notes that could change if Washington is offered something concrete that moves the needle more than a future first-round pick.

As Shams Charania of The Athletic reported last week, teams have been monitoring John Collins in case the Hawks think about trading him, but there’s no indication Atlanta has interest in moving Collins “on any of the general terms being bandied about,” Lowe writes.

The Pistons‘ talks involving Andre Drummond aren’t entirely dormant, but it’s “far from a sure thing” that he’ll be moved, according to Lowe, who suggests that even if Detroit does make a deal, the return will likely be less than the team envisioned.

Meanwhile, the Thunder have been mentioned all season long as a potential seller, given their offseason moves and their veteran trade candidates. But the safest bet is that they stand pat with guys like Danilo Gallinari, Dennis Schroder, and Steven Adams, per Lowe.

As Lowe points out, the Thunder could still have leverage to make deals after the season, when Schroder and Adams will be entering contract years and Gallinari will be a prime sign-and-trade candidate. The Heat are among the teams to inquire on Gallinari this season, sources tell Lowe.

As noted above, Lowe’s latest ESPN piece is filled with many more trade rumors and notes. Here are several of the highlights:

  • Lowe confirms a previous report that the Nuggets and Heat are among the teams to express interest in Jrue Holiday. Lowe also names the Raptors as a club that would be an ideal fit for the Pelicans guard, but he has a hard time envisioning a deal involving any of those teams unless they’re willing to part with young players like Michael Porter Jr., Tyler Herro, or OG Anunoby, which seems unlikely.
  • The Pacers could probably net a first-round pick for backup guard Aaron Holiday, but haven’t shown any real interest in moving him, says Lowe.
  • The chatter about the Trail Blazers making a major win-now move has died down, sources tell Lowe.
  • According to Lowe, the Lakers have explored the Kyle Kuzma market and are eyeing several ball-handlers, including Kings swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic, who has also received interest from the Hornets.
  • The Sixers don’t intend to include Matisse Thybulle in any deal and seem most likely to “tinker” around the edges of their roster, per Lowe.
  • The Grizzlies have asked for a first-round pick from teams inquiring on Jae Crowder, according to Lowe. However, he’d “bet heavily” against any potential trade partner meeting that price.
  • Lowe provides updates on both Morris brothers, suggesting that the Knicks “seem hell-bent” on keeping and re-signing Marcus Morris, and citing sources who say the Pistons could probably get a second-round pick for Markieff Morris.
  • A lot of teams have asked the Bucks about Sterling Brown, while Pistons youngsters Christian Wood and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk have also generated interest, according to Lowe, who thinks that Detroit is more likely to engage in talks on Wood than Mykhailiuk. Lowe also hears that a few clubs have “poked around” on Kings big man Harry Giles, and identifies Denzel Valentine (Bulls), Jakob Poeltl (Spurs), Marvin Williams (Hornets), and Malik Monk (Hornets) as other under-the-radar trade candidates to watch.

Central Notes: Beilein, Sexton, Mykhailiuk, Antetokounmpos

The Cavaliers seem distracted by the trade deadline as they rack up embarrassing losses, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The latest came last night as the Warriors broke a 10-game road losing streak with a 19-point blowout in Cleveland.

“Every loss is hitting me really hard and hitting us … I know it’s hitting me hard, I can’t answer for other people,” coach John Beilein said. “It’s just trying to find solutions and trying to find a better way to get our guys to play harder and smarter, which will lead to wins. But there’s some things that just happen because we’re young and some things happen because of persistence in our effort and some things happen because we’re just missing some pieces in the roster here and there.”

The team may have a different attitude and a different look once the deadline passes Thursday afternoon. Tristan Thompson, Brandon Knight, John Henson and Matthew Dellavedova are all veterans on expiring contracts who may be sent elsewhere. Kevin Love, the team’s highest-paid player, has displayed frustration throughout the season and is also a candidate to be moved.

One question Beilein couldn’t answer last night is whether he still has the support of the players as the Cavaliers have fallen to the bottom of the Eastern Conference at 13-37.

“I think that our guys have to measure themselves,” he said. “Are they bought in to playing winning basketball? I don’t think it has anything to do with a particular coach or coaches, whatever, they’ve just got to go and play hard.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton was “shocked” to be passed over for the Rising Stars Challenge, Fedor adds in a separate story. “I knew I deserved to be there,” said Sexton, who also wasn’t invited to the game last year. “I knew the hard work every day, coming here and playing the game. I knew I deserved to be out there, but I took the good with it. Hey, just continue to build. Can’t be too mad because it is what it is.”
  • The Pistons are benefiting from an under-the-radar trade last February that brought in Svi Mykhailiuk from the Lakers in exchange for Reggie Bullock, notes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. “He’s on track to be one of our core pieces as far as his shooting ability, his ability to make plays off the dribble,” coach Dwane Casey said. “He’s right with Luke (Kennard) as far as being able to put the ball on the floor, run pick and rolls. And the kid’s a sponge – you can get on him, you can coach him, you can teach him.”
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo and Thanasis Antetokounmpo were thrilled to be in the starting lineup together on Friday, relays Eric Woodyard of ESPN. It marked the first start of Thanasis’ NBA career, and Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer made the decision because it was Greek Night in Milwaukee.

Doncic, Young, Zion Headline Rising Stars Rosters

The NBA has officially announced the 20 rookies and sophomores who have been named to the league’s Rising Stars game for All-Star weekend. Those 20 players, selected by assistant coaches from around the league, will be divided into a U.S. Team and a World Team, as follows:

U.S. Team:

World Team:

Williamson’s inclusion is notable since he has appeared in just four games due to injuries. It’s not surprising that the NBA found a way to get him into the game, since he’s one of the most exciting prospects to enter the league in years, but it’s a tough break for youngsters who have been on the court since the fall for contenders, such as Sixers wing Matisse Thybulle. or Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr.

Snubbed players like Thybulle, Porter, and others could eventually make their way into the Rising Stars game if players have to pull out due to injuries, or if All-Stars like Doncic and Young opt not to play in both events.

The Rising Stars game will take place in Chicago on Friday, February 14.

Pistons Notes: Jackson, Mykhailiuk, Drummond

Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson has been medically cleared to return and could return to action this week, head coach Dwane Casey said today (Twitter link via Rod Beard of The Detroit News).

A lot of is going to depend on Reggie,” Casey said. “He’s been in practice dunking on people and talking more than anybody else, so I’ll be glad when he gets back.”

Jackson, 29, appeared in just two games at the start of the season before being sidelined with a back injury. In his absence, Bruce Brown has emerged as the Pistons’ starting point guard and Derrick Rose has become one of the team’s most important contributors, so it’ll be interesting to see how Casey adjusts the rotation when Jackson – who is in a contract year – is ready to go.

Here’s more on the Pistons:

  • Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, acquired from the Lakers nearly a year ago in a deadline deal for Reggie Bullock, is cementing himself as a part of the Pistons’ long-term future, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. The second-year sharpshooter has knocked down 44.5% of his three-point attempts this season and has taken on an increased role in the last month, averaging 27.9 minutes per game since December 20.
  • As trade rumors continue to swirl around Pistons big man Andre Drummond, Dwane Casey looked to put a positive spin on the chatter and speculation, as A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston details. “If you’re doing anything in this league your name is going to be out there,” Casey said. “At the end of the day on the 1st and the 15th, you’re getting paid by the team you’re with. So, you have to do your job each and every day. There’s no reason to be upset with anybody. It’s a business; we understand that. We’re all professionals. We have a job to do.”
  • Rod Beard of The Detroit News explores what the next steps are for a Pistons team that is just three games out of the playoffs in the East and hasn’t yet picked a lane for the trade deadline.