Thaddeus Young

Central Notes: Casey, Rose, Nance Jr., Young

The Pistons’ decision to hire Dwane Casey as head coach in June of 2018 was the right call, one that remains a smart choice even with the team’s current struggles, Keith Langlois of NBA.com writes.

Detroit has lost three straight games and is just 14-27 on the season, dealing with a litany of injuries to key players such as Blake Griffin, Reggie Jackson and Luke Kennard. Casey was hired after an outstanding 2017/18 season with Toronto that earned him Coach of the Year honors.

“It’s tough because I went through this about six or seven years ago in Toronto, the rebuild we did there,” Casey said, as relayed by Langlois. “I thought I had graduated from that, but we’re back here again – which is fine. I enjoy coaching. I enjoy teaching. There were no parameters put on what type of team it was going to be here. I expected it to be a playoff team and still want to win.”

Casey was hesitant to describe the Pistons’ current situation as a full rebuild, however, with the veteran coach still gunning to compete in the Eastern Conference and guide his players to new heights.

“I wouldn’t necessarily call it a rebuild, totally,” Casey said. “Not down to the nubs, the studs and to the foundation. But of our core, only Andre is still available and I would say Luke would be the other part of that. But then after that, it’s Sekou, Christian, Bruce. That’s the key. It’s shifted to that. Don’t want to call it a rebuild, but that’s where the focus is right now – with those guys.”

The Pistons are 5.5 games behind the No. 8 seed Nets, with Kennard expected to miss another month, Griffin rehabbing from knee surgery and Jackson still without a timetable for a return due to his back injury.

There’s more out of the Central Division tonight:

  • Pistons guard Derrick Rose has been fined $25K for throwing a pen across the court and into the stands on Monday, the league announced in a press release. The incident occurred with 37 seconds left in overtime at New Orleans.
  • Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. is set to make his return to the lineup on Tuesday against the Clippers, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link). Nance has been sidelined for nearly two weeks with knee soreness. The 27-year-old is holding season averages of eight points, seven rebounds and 24.3 minutes per game in 31 contests.
  • It’s time for the Bulls to do right by Thaddeus Young and trade the veteran forward, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times contends. Young signed with Chicago as a free agent last July, inking a three-year deal worth $41MM. Young and his camp initially thought he’d receive more minutes after choosing to join the team, but the 31-year-old is only averaging 22.3 minutes per game — the lowest since his rookie season in 2007-08.

NBA Trade Candidate Watch: Central Division

Over the course of the 2019/20 NBA season, up until February’s trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA, monitoring their value and exploring the likelihood that they’ll be moved. Each of these looks at possible trade candidates focuses on a specific division, as we zero in on three players from that division.

The Central Division may have one or two more sellers than initially anticipated this season. Detroit and Chicago had playoff aspirations in the fall, but are both solidly in the lottery at this point, with the 14-25 Pistons narrowly ahead of the 13-25 Bulls. Both teams are dealing with significant injuries to frontcourt players and may look to move a veteran or two before the trade deadline.

Here are three more trade candidates from the Central, including one from each of those two struggling clubs:

Andre Drummond, C
Detroit Pistons
$27.1MM cap hit; $28.8MM player option for 2020/21

Blake Griffin‘s knee injury, which may be season-ending, makes it all the more likely that the Pistons will throw in the towel on the 2019/20 season and seriously consider getting what they can for Drummond. Even if the return for the big man isn’t massive, it might be a better outcome than seeing him walk for nothing in the offseason or having to invest heavily in a pricey new long-term contract for him.

The Hawks were among the teams linked last week to Drummond and appear on the surface to be an ideal fit for him. They have a massive expiring contract (Chandler Parsons‘) that could be used for salary-matching purposes; they have an extra 2020 first-round pick to offer (the Nets’); and they’re motivated to get up-and-coming star Trae Young some more help.

The idea of a Young/Drummond pick-and-roll combination is legitimately intriguing, but the Hawks have some leverage here — they’ll have more than enough cap room in the summer of 2020 to make a play for Drummond as a free agent. Are his Bird rights important enough that they’d give up a first-round pick and/or another asset of value to land him now?

It would be in the Pistons’ best interests to engage a couple potential trade partners that don’t project to have 2020 cap room in order to put pressure on Atlanta and drive up the price on Drummond. The report linking teams like the Raptors, Celtics, and Mavericks to the big man may have been designed to do that. We’ll see in the coming weeks just how serious those clubs – or others – are about Drummond.

Thaddeus Young, PF
Chicago Bulls
$12.9MM cap hit; $13.5MM guaranteed salary in 2020/21; $14.2MM non-guaranteed salary in 2021/22

It was nearly a month ago that reports surfaced suggesting Young was dissatisfied with his role in Chicago and had privately spoken to the Bulls his desire for increased playing time. At the time, Young was averaging just 21.6 minutes per game, his lowest mark since he was a rookie in 2007/08.

Since then, Young’s minutes have increased — but only to 23.3 MPG, and that average is buoyed by his 29.8 MPG in the club’s last three games, which can be attributed partly to Wendell Carter‘s recent ankle injury.

To be fair, it’s hard to blame the Bulls for dialing back Young’s role. His effectiveness has dropped off this season, as his .401 FG% is easily a career low. Still, the veteran forward is only 31 years old, so I don’t know that his struggles are simply the result of him being past his prime. He and the Bulls just haven’t been a good fit so far, and a change of scenery may be in both sides’ best interests.

Young’s contract, which includes a guaranteed $13.5MM cap hit for next season, will probably limit his appeal, but he has reportedly drawn some interest, including from the Clippers. If Chicago can extract even a second-round pick without taking back bad money, it might make sense to pull the trigger.

Myles Turner, C
Indiana Pacers
$18MM cap hit; $18MM guaranteed salaries every season through 2022/23

NBA experts and teams around the league view Turner as a trade candidate. For now though, most importantly, the Pacers don’t. Indiana has insisted for the last couple years that it’s happy moving forward with its duo of Turner and Domantas Sabonis, and a report from earlier today indicated the team continues to rebuff inquiries on Turner.

Turner remains an intriguing speculative trade candidate for a couple reasons. For one, it’s hard to imagine the Pacers as a legit title contender with those two centers playing alongside each other. The Raptors won a championship last spring with Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, but those two vets rarely played together, and Ibaka had to accept a reduced role coming off the bench.

Secondly, Turner’s ability to make three-pointers on offense and block shots on defense makes him the sort of player that teams with frontcourt holes all over the league would love to acquire. He’s locked into a reasonable long-term contract and it’s fair to assume the Pacers could get a strong return if they make him available.

The Pacers’ ideal target in a Turner trade would probably be a versatile, two-way forward who could guard top scorers like Kevin Durant and LeBron James while complementing Sabonis, Victor Oladipo, and Malcolm Brogdon on offense. The problem? There just aren’t many players out there who fit that bill and would actually be available. As such, I’d expect the Pacers to stick to their guns on Turner and only eventually entertain the idea of a trade if they have another disappointing first-round exit this spring.

Revisit the rest of our 2019/20 Trade Candidate series right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacific Notes: Dedmon, Giles, AD, Kerr, Clippers

Kings head coach Luke Walton said earlier this week that making Dewayne Dedmon inactive for three consecutive games wasn’t related to the big man’s desire to be traded and wouldn’t necessarily be permanent, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee writes. Sure enough, an injury to Richaun Holmes gave Dedmon an opportunity to get back on the court on Tuesday.

In fact, Holmes’ absence paved the way for two big men who had been out of the rotation earlier in the season to play significant roles. Harry Giles got his first career NBA start, while Dedmon played 32 minutes off the bench. The duo combined for 20 points and 18 rebounds, helping to lead the Kings to a comeback road win over Phoenix.

According to James Ham of NBC Sports California, both centers received praise from Walton after the game, with the Kings head coach telling reporters that Giles gave the club some “good minutes” and Dedmon “took full advantage” of his opportunity.

With Giles facing unrestricted free agency at season’s end and Dedmon hoping to be dealt, it’s possible neither center has a place in the Kings’ future. But having both players perform well could open some doors for Sacramento at the trade deadline — at the very least, it will help keep the team in the playoff race while Holmes recovers.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • While Anthony Davis will be eligible to earn a projected $202MM over five years with the Lakers on his next contract, he may be more inclined to sign a three-year deal with a player option, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. That would give Davis the chance to opt out and sign a more lucrative long-term contract in 2022, when he has 10 years of NBA experience.
  • The NBA has fined Warriors head coach Steve Kerr $25K for “verbally abusing” a game official and failing to leave the court immediately after being ejected, the league announced today in a press release. Kerr expressed his displeasure with a call in the second quarter of Monday’s game vs. Sacramento, yelling “Wake your a– up!” at referee Jason Goldenberg.
  • Jovan Buha of The Athletic explores the likelihood of the Clippers adding a veteran like Darren Collison, Aron Baynes, or Thaddeus Young. Buha views a trade for Baynes or Young as a long shot, but believes the Clips shouldn’t hesitate to open a roster spot for Collison if he’s willing to sign with them.

Eastern Notes: Simmons, Young, Drummond, Theis

Sixers point guard Ben Simmons has stopped taking 3-pointers and coach Brett Brown considers it a personal failure, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps relays. Brown wants Simmons to take at least one long range shot per game but Simmons hasn’t attempted any in the past month.

“Evidently I have failed and it’s something that we’re all mindful of, and this is one of these things that is never going to go away,” Brown said of Simmons, who agreed to a five-year, $170MM extension with the Sixers over the summer. “The attention this has received is remarkable. But I guess i helped fuel it, and I own it, and I’ve got to help him find this, and most importantly, he has to find himself.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Bulls haven’t given any indication they plan to move power forward Thaddeus Young but his contributions have been limited by a lack of playing time, Sam Smith of the team’s website writes. Young signed a partially-guaranteed three-year, $43.6MM contract with the Bulls over the summer. He’s averaging nine fewer minutes with Chicago than he did last season with Indiana and he’s shooting a career-low 39.5% from the field, in part because he’s taking more 3-pointers.
  • Getting traded would be the best thing for Pistons center Andre Drummond, Ben Golliver of the Washington Post argues. Detroit is spinning its wheels and its long-term prospects are not promising, since the Pistons are lacking in young talent and don’t have a long-term solution at point guard, Golliver continues. The Pistons have been unwilling to give Drummond a generous extension, so there’s no reason for him to look back if he’s dealt, Golliver adds. Drummond’s name popped up in trade rumors last week.
  • Big man Daniel Theis has become an invaluable member of the Celtics rotation with key plays he’s made late in games, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston notes. Theis is essentially playing for his contract since his $5MM salary for the 2020/21 season is not guaranteed.

Central Notes: Rose, Bulls, Markkanen, Turner

A minutes restriction has helped Derrick Rose stay healthy in his first season with the Pistons, but he believes he would be OK without it, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Rose, who has been on the court for 28 of Detroit’s first 34 games, is limited to about 27 minutes per night. It’s a decision made in conjunction with the medical staff to help preserve the 31-year-old guard, who has a long injury history.

“I feel good, but it’s not up to me with the minutes; it’s up to the coaching staff and the (training) staff to come up with it,” Rose said. “Of course, I want to be out there, but I guess they see something I don’t, and they’re worried about it — just being cautious with me.”

Coach Dwane Casey has been spreading the time out equally, playing Rose for about 6 or 7 minutes each quarter. He has excelled under the limitation, averaging 16.8 points and 5.9 assists per night and shooting nearly 33% on 3-pointers.

“I promise you, I would love to play him more and Derrick would love to play, but he can’t, I mean physically,” Casey said. “We don’t want to put him in that situation, his body in that situation. So according to the game, we have to be creative.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • A challenging January schedule could determine if the Bulls are sellers at the trade deadline, observes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Despite a 13-21 record, Chicago is only 1.5 games out of a playoff spot, but nine games during the month will be against teams with winning records. The Bulls are only 1-12 so far against teams .500 or better. Cowley notes that Kris Dunn and Denzel Valentine, who will both be restricted free agents this summer, could be moved if the team falls out of contention, along with Thaddeus Young, who has expressed unhappiness about his playing time.
  • The Bulls need to find more minutes for Lauri Markkanen, argues K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. With coach Jim Boylen using a 10- and sometimes 11-player rotation, Markkanen is averaging about two minutes per game less than last season.
  • Pacers center Myles Turner has a new agent, tweets Grant Afseth of Original Turner’s. A league source tells Afseth that Turner signed with Bill Duffy of BDA Sports Management.

Pacific Notes: Bagley, Clippers, Green, Suns

Kings forward Marvin Bagley III will miss the next few games after suffering a mid-foot sprain to his left foot, the team announced on social media.

Bagley sustained the injury with 4:05 remaining in the third quarter during Sacramento’s game against Minnesota on Thursday. He exited the contest in pain and was wearing a walking boot post-game. He saw a foot specialist on Friday to diagnose the injury.

Bagley’s injury adds to what’s already been an injury-riddled season for the Kings. The team holds a 12-20 record on the year, mostly playing without Bagley and talented third-year guard De’Aaron Fox.

Bagley, the No. 2 overall pick in 2018, has averaged 13.7 points, 6.9 rebounds and 23.6 minutes per game in nine contests for the Kings this season. Sacramento has upcoming games scheduled against Denver on Sunday and the Clippers on Tuesday, followed by a three-game homestand starting January 2.

Here are some other notes from the Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers are believed to have interest in Bulls forward Thaddeus Young with the February 6 trade deadline nearly a month away, writes Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times, citing anonymous NBA sources. Los Angeles could include Maurice Harkless in a deal ahead of the deadline, with Harkless making $11MM in the final season of his contract. “I just focus on what I’ve got going on here. That’s the only thing I can control,” Harkless said. “If I let myself worry about that stuff. … Man, I’ve been in the league long enough where I know how it goes. If it comes to that day, I’ll deal with it when I get there.” Rival executives believe the Clippers are targeting a physical center ahead of the deadline, according to Woike.
  • Nick Friedell of ESPN.com examines how Draymond Green is navigating his new Warriors world, one without the likes of Stephen Curry (broken left hand), Klay Thompson (torn ACL rehab), Andre Iguodala (Grizzlies), Kevin Durant (Nets) and others. The new-look Warriors have posted a 9-25 record on the season with four straight victories, coping with several different injuries to key players. “I got the same mental preparation for a game that I’ve ever had,” Green said plainly. “It’s the same. I don’t [prepare differently] in terms of who’s playing, who’s on the court.”
  • Gina Mizell of The Athletic takes a close look at how the Suns snapped a surprising eight-game losing streak, defeating the Kings 112-110 on the road behind Devin Booker‘s 32 points, 10 assists and two steals. Suns coach Monty Williams held a team meeting on Saturday morning for players to clear the air and work together on how to improve, receiving positive feedback from the group. “We kind of just put it all out on the table,” Oubre said. “The long story short was we all just have to hold each other accountable a little bit more. … If we’re not doing the right things, (we told Williams), ‘Do what you have to do. Take us out, show us a lesson, call us up or just motivate us. Monty’s good for that. He’s good for allowing us to unload — keeping it real, just letting us get things off our chest whenever we need to.”

Clippers Notes: Beverley, Harkless, George, Harrell

Clippers coach Doc Rivers is concerned about the status of Patrick Beverley, who hurt his right wrist in Saturday’s loss to the Jazz, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Beverley removed himself from the game after a hard fall on a third-quarter layup attempt. X-rays showed the wrist isn’t broken, but Rivers is worried that he might be sidelined for a while.

“We knew there was no break, but that doesn’t mean he is going to be out or not,” he said. “It could be a bruise, it could be anything. He clearly felt like he could not even grab the ball, so that is not a good sign. I’m concerned a little bit about what the injury is, if it’s an injury, if it’s just a one-game thing — hopefully it’s that.”

As one of the league’s top perimeter defenders, Beverley’s absence would be significant if he is lost for an extended stretch. He is averaging 8.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists through 29 games.

There’s more Clippers news this morning:

  • Maurice Harkless is a good fit for the Clippers, but he may also be their most valuable asset in trade talks, according to Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times. L.A. picked up Harkless for nearly nothing by helping to facilitate the trade that sent Jimmy Butler to Miami, and his $11MM expiring contract makes him an important piece for matching salaries. Sources tell Woike that the Clippers might be interested in Bulls forward Thaddeus Young, who is making $12.9MM in the first season of a three-year deal, as well as another center and an extra playmaker in the backcourt. “I just focus on what I’ve got going on here. That’s the only thing I can control,” Harkless said. “If I let myself worry about that stuff. … Man, I’ve been in the league long enough where I know how it goes. If it comes to that day, I’ll deal with it when I get there.”
  • The shoulder injuries that required Paul George to get two surgeries over the summer are affecting his approach to the game, tweets Ben Golliver of The Washington Post. “Last year, before the injury started, I was finishing through contact, finishing through defenders,” George said. “This year I’ve been shying away from contact.”
  • A flu that’s going around the team kept Montrezl Harrell out of the lineup Saturday and showed the Clippers could use some more help in the frontcourt, observes Brett Dawson of The Athletic.

Central Notes: Pistons, Young, Thompson, Garland

Now that 119 of this summer’s free agents have become trade-eligible, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link), several playoff-bubble teams have some tough choices to make. Should they shore up their present with moves that may compromise their future (i.e. trading draft picks or still-developing younger players to improve veteran depth), or should they pivot to selling off their more attractive trade options in the hopes of accruing more forward-looking assets?

Rod Beard of The Detroit News cautions Pistons fans about hoping their squad will opt for a complete teardown with trade season in full swing. Beard asserts that owner Tom Gores wants to his team to contend for playoff appearances. The Pistons have a middling 11-15 record, good for just the No. 10 seed in the Eastern Conference.

In further Pistons roster talk, The Athletic’s James L. Edwards III examines Detroit’s best and worst trade options throughout their roster. He considers bench guards Derrick Rose and Langston Galloway, plus the expiring $18.1MM contract of starter Reggie Jackson, the team’s most realistic trade chips.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • After reports indicated Bulls forward Thaddeus Young was unhappy with his playing time in Chicago, he logged more minutes on Wednesday against the Hawks and on Friday against the Hornets. K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago notes that Young’s increased playing time has cut into starting power forward Lauri Markkanen‘s minutes. Young played more minutes than Markkanen during Chicago’s 83-73 loss to Charlotte. Young signed a three-year, $41MM contract with the Bulls this summer to be a veteran mentor to the young team.
  • Cavaliers starting center Tristan Thompson downplayed a heated exchange with coach John Beilein during a 117-109 overtime win against the Spurs on Thursday. Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com documents Thompson’s thoughts on the incident. “[Beilein] understands my passion for the game,” Thompson said. “I understand his passion for the game. It’s just family members getting into a quick discussion… We’ve moved on.” 
  • The Cavaliers have found a new role for rookie guard Darius Garland in their revamped rotation: second unit leader. Though Garland still starts, he has been spending more time with the Cavs bench lately, as Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com details“The coaches say I’m more aggressive with the second group,” Garland said.

Bulls’ Thaddeus Young Dissatisfied With Role?

Even after playing a season-high 33 minutes on Wednesday, Bulls forward Thaddeus Young is averaging just 21.6 minutes per contest so far this season, his lowest mark since he was a rookie in 2007/08. According to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times and K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, Young thought he’d be playing more in Chicago and has shared his desire for increased minutes with people in the organization.

Cowley suggests that it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Young’s camp asks for a trade once he’s eligible to be dealt on December 15. However, both Cowley and Johnson note that the 31-year-old is a consummate professional and is unlikely to publicly express any unhappiness. In fact, he told Cowley that he’s willing to accept whatever role head coach Jim Boylen envisions.

“I’m good with whatever Coach sees fit to do with me,” Young said. “Obviously everybody wants to be on the court more, everybody wants to be on the floor as much as possible. For me it’s just be productive with the time I am given.”

With Otto Porter on the shelf until at least the new year and Chandler Hutchison battling a shoulder issue, the Bulls have talked about getting Young some minutes at the three, according to Boylen (link via Cowley). However, it’s not a solution the club has explored extensively on the court.

Young, who has started 671 regular season games in his career, is coming off the bench this season, and while he doesn’t seem to have a problem with that, he admits he’d like to be part of more end-of-game lineups, as Cowley relays.

“Of course,” Young said. “I’ve been closing for years. But like I said, if Coach decides to go with a different unit, different guys, then I have to go with that and try and be one of the guys that’s ready to go when my number is called.”

Bulls Notes: Davis, Toughness, Satoransky

A day after seemingly leaving the door open to the possibility of joining his hometown team, Anthony Davis told reporters today that he never said he would consider the Bulls in free agency next summer, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com tweets.

Davis said he is focused on winning a championship with the Lakers, and as for his free agency: “We’ll see where it goes.”

As Chicagoans go through the emotional roller coaster of a Davis news cycle, let’s take a look at more notes on the Bulls:

  • Coach Jim Boylen feels the Bulls need to toughen up, as K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports relays. “Where we have struggled I think is at times we’ve been willing physically, but we’ve been weak mentally, ” Boylen said. “That’s also part of our development with this group. And we can make excuses for that. We can say we’re young, we can say we’re new. A lot of the league is young and a lot of the league is new. We can say we’re going to have played nine games in 14 days, we’ve played the most road games in the league. Is that pulling on our mental and physical toughness? Is that pulling on this group that’s never really been through it before together? Maybe it is. That’s the growth plate. That’s the learning moment.”
  • New addition Tomas Satoransky sees an area in which the 2-5 Bulls can improve, as Johnson passes along in the same piece. “Offensively, we’re missing our pace from the preseason and I think sometimes we’re not taking open shots and instead we’re taking the tough ones and I think that has to change,” the point guard said.
  • Sam Smith of NBA.com details how Thaddeus Young, who signed with the Bulls this offseason, is attempted to turn the young squad into a winning team. “The team has been straightforward to tell me what they expect of me and this is what’s going to happen,” Young said. “It’s up to me to be able to go out there and do my job to the best of my abilities. Whoever has it shaking and moving at that time, that’s who we have to go with. You just have to be ready to seize the moment, seize the opportunity.”