Tony Snell

Pistons Notes: Snell, Wood, Doumbouya, Griffin

The Pistons want to put up plenty of three-point shots in 2019/20, but the club lost one of its top outside shooters in the offseason when Wayne Ellington headed to New York in free agency. As such, new forward Tony Snell – who is a career 38.2% three-point shooter but has never attempted more than 4.4 3PG in a season – will be asked to let it fly more than ever this season, head coach Dwane Casey tells Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.

“With Wayne Ellington with 10 attempts (per 36 minutes) going out the door and we want to be a three-point shooting team, you’ve got to bring those guys in and I think we did that in Tony,” Casey said. “He lit up like a Christmas tree when I said, ‘You’ve got a green light. We need your three-point shooting.’ We need to make up those 10 threes. Maybe not him getting them all up, but he’s going to get a big bulk of those shots coming in.”

With Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin, and Reggie Jackson locked in as starters, the Pistons will have a couple spots in their starting five to fill out, and one of those spots will likely be Snell’s to lose, according to Casey, who praised the former Buck’s size and defensive versatility.

Here’s more on the Pistons, including a handful of additional comments from Casey on his new-look roster:

  • Speaking to Langlois, Casey pointed to Markieff Morris and Christian Wood as two players who could play center in smaller lineups. The Pistons’ head coach added that the team is looking for consistency and discipline out of Wood, who is on a non-guaranteed contract and isn’t a lock to make the 15-man roster. “There’s never been a question about Christian’s talent,” Casey said. “With Christian, it’s temperament, being a pro, doing the right things all the time and doing what you’re supposed to do all the time.”
  • Pistons first-round pick Sekou Doumbouya will still be 18 years old when his rookie season begins, and the team will bring him along at the right pace, per Casey. Still, Detroit’s head coach is bullish on Doumbouya’s chances to develop into an impact player, calling him a “keeper for our program” and suggesting the young forward could have a role sooner rather than later if he proves he can handle it. “I’m not one of these guys that just because a guy is young, not going to play,” Casey said to Langlois. “If he can help us win games, he’s going to be out there.”
  • The Pistons expect Blake Griffin, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery at the end of last season, to be 100% and “back to full speed” when the season gets underway, Casey tells Langlois. The club also hopes to limit the wear and tear on the All-Star forward in 2019/20 by surrounding him with a few more guys who can “handle the ball and make plays.”
  • In a mailbag, Rod Beard of The Detroit News takes a look at the upcoming battle between Wood and Joe Johnson for the 15th roster spot and explores whether the Pistons might consider a trade that would clear the way for both players to make the team to start the season.

Pistons Notes: Snell, Griffin, Morris, Mykhailiuk

The addition of Tony Snell in a trade with the Bucks cleared the way for the rest of the Pistons‘ offseason moves, writes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Milwaukee made Snell available in June to free up money to re-sign other players. Detroit, which was in the market for a small forward after moving Reggie Bullock and Stanley Johnson at the trade deadline, was happy to accept, getting the final first-round pick of this year’s draft as well in exchange for Jon Leuer.

Snell, who has played three seasons each with the Bulls and Bucks, comes to Detroit in the prime of his career. He’s a 3-and-D wing player who has taken 57% of his career shots from behind the arc. He’s in line for a starting role after averaging 6.0 PPG in 74 games last season.

Getting Snell in a trade enabled the Pistons to use their cap-exception money to address other areas. They added depth at point guard by signing Derrick Rose and Tim Frazier, then upgraded their frontcourt with the addition of veteran power forward Markieff Morris.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • Signing Morris may help reduce the workload on Blake Griffin, Langlois adds in a separate story. With no effective back-up at power forward, Griffin averaged 35.0 minutes in 75 games last season, a risky burden for someone with a long injury history. Morris’ numbers dipped last year because of a neck injury that sidelined him for six weeks, but before that he had five straight seasons of averaging at least 25 minutes per night.
  • The Pistons didn’t see much of Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk after acquiring him from the Lakers in February, but his shooting could make him part of the rotation, according to Ansar Khan of MLive. The 22-year-old played just three games for Detroit before suffering a broken left index finger that required surgery. The Pistons need 3-point shooters, and Mykhailiuk was lethal from long range in college. He had a strong showing in the Summer League, and coach Dwane Casey has praised his athleticism and toughness, as well as his shot. “I think everybody knows I’m a pretty good shooter, so definitely spacing the floor, creating my own shot and just help whatever they need me to do and just play hard and make the right plays,” Mykhailiuk said.
  • Are the Pistons headed for the playoffs? Vote in our poll.

Central Notes: Horst, Pistons, Kornet, Holidays

Eric Nehm of The Athletic recently sat down with the Bucks’ award-winning GM Jon Horst to discuss the team’s free agency this summer. Here are a few noteworthy passages from Horst’s interview.

Regarding the team’s ability to bring back Khris Middleton on a five-year deal:

“Khris was always a focus… He’s our second superstar, our second star. He’s an All-Star. He’s been one of our best players for a long period of time here… Khris was a target obviously and he got a contract that represents that and we think it’s a great contract because we got our second All-Star locked up for the next five years.”

Regarding the team’s trade of Tony Snell and a first-round pick for Jon Leuer in order to create the requisite cap space needed to re-sign Brook Lopez:

“When we got Brook last offseason, we understood, at some level, how important he was going to be to us… (and) we also understood if he’s as good as we think he’s going to be, it’s going to present a lot of challenges.”

“So, we spent the entire year trying to prepare for that… Just different things we did throughout the year were in preparation to position ourselves to either be prepared to keep Brook, be in a position to keep Brook or be prepared to react if we couldn’t… I don’t know if a lot of people saw it coming, maybe after the Tony Snell deal. Then, maybe they were like, ‘Okay, this is how they’re going to try to do it.’ But before that, I don’t think people saw the moves we lined up to position ourselves to hopefully keep Brook and I’m very thankful we were able to.”

Regarding the decision to trade RFA Malcolm Brogdon to Indiana and whether the luxury tax was a factor in that decision:

“I think there’s a lot that goes into restricted free agency. It’s a monster. Malcolm is very, very important and we knew how important he was to our team. It will be hard to replace him. I think we’ve done the best that we can and we’ll continue to work in ways to be creative and fill that gap.”

“I would say the luxury tax was only part of the consideration for not matching or not being willing to pay Malcolm the market that he was able to get from Indiana. Whether or not he had that market from anywhere else besides Indiana, I don’t know. The decision on Malcolm was much more about our internal evaluations, the roster fit, the ability to be flexible and have options going forward and just building a team that, as I always say, can sustain success over a long period.”

There’s more from the Central Division this afternoon:
  • Horst confirmed in the above interview that the Bucks were not able to create a traded player exception when they traded Brogdon to Indiana, as the signing of George Hill with cap space occurred after the trade, and teams lose their exceptions (other than the Room MLE) when they go under the cap.
  • Taking a look at what each player’s role may be for the Pistons’ during the 2019/20 season, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com opines that there are five guys locked in to being sure-fire rotation pieces – Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, and Derrick Rose, and three who will almost certainly join that group – Markieff Morris, Tony Snell, and Bruce Brown.
  • The Bulls are hoping that the three-point shooting ability of free-agent addition, big man Luke Kornet, will be a nice complement next to starter Wendell Carter Jr. and fellow reserve, rookie Daniel Gafford, writes Sam Smith of Bulls.com.
  • Pacers’ new addition Justin Holiday is excited about the prospect of playing with his baby brother, reserve point guard Aaron Holiday, reports Scott Agness of The Athletic. “It was the best situation I had at this time,” Justin said. “(T)he Pacers obviously being a contender every year and going to the playoffs, and then also them having my brother was something that was very, very enticing for me. To be able to be a part of that culture and play with my brother, I think it made it pretty simple where I needed to go.”

Central Notes: Dunn, Leuer, Doumbouya, Bucks, J.R. Smith

Bulls executive VP John Paxson insists that Kris Dunn still has a role despite the addition of North Carolina point guard Coby White with the team’s lottery selection, K.C. Johnson of Chicago Tribune reports. “We still value Kris very much,” Paxson said. “But competition is a part of this business. You have to have that. The goal for us is to be deeper, more talented. You see in our game today, the successful teams have versatile rosters. … And, hey, if he comes in, as we hope, in training camp in great shape and ready to roll, he has every chance to earn any spot he wants — just like any of our guys do.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • It’s uncertain whether veteran power forward Jon Leuer will play for the Bucks, Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tweets. Milwaukee traded Tony Snell and its first-round pick to the Pistons for Leuer in an effort to clear cap space. Leuer is in the final year of his contract. GM Jon Horst told Leuer and his agent that he could be included in a future trade, Velazquez adds. Leuer appeared in 41 games last season after injuries limited him to eight games the previous season.
  • The Pistons were stunned that forward Sekou Doumbouya slipped just outside the lottery, allowing them to pick him with the No. 15 selection, according to Rod Beard of the Detroit News. The Pistons watched him work out in Dallas but were convinced they had no chance to draft him. “He kept dropping and we had Plan A in place and we didn’t expect him to be there. Then Plan B came into place and it was the best plan of all — because we had him ranked very high on the board,” coach Dwane Casey said. “We were there at the workout in Dallas and we thought we were wasting our time because we saw all the teams in front of us.”
  • The Bucks didn’t get any players in the draft but it was for lack of trying, Velazquez reports in another tweet. The Bucks made calls on every second-round pick but didn’t want to give up future picks and discovered that it’s much tougher to simply buy picks now.
  • The Cavaliers were unable to unload J.R. Smith on draft night and it’s likely he’ll be waived before his contract becomes fully guaranteed at the end of the month, Joe Vardon of The Athletic reports. Cleveland doesn’t want to go over the luxury-tax line. Acquiring a player on a multi-year contract whose salary pushed them over the line was a deal breaker. Only $3.87MM of Smith’s $15.68MM salary is guaranteed.

Bucks Trade Tony Snell To Pistons

JUNE 20: The trade is now official, according to a press release from the Bucks. The 30th pick was used to select Kevin Porter Jr., but the Pistons are flipping his rights to the Cavaliers.

JUNE 19: The Bucks have reached an agreement to trade Tony Snell to Detroit, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Milwaukee will get Jon Leuer in return and will also send the 30th pick in tomorrow’s draft to the Pistons (Twitter link).

The move is a cost-cutting measure for the Bucks, as Snell is due $11.4MM next season and has a $12.2MM player option for 2020/21. Leuer is entering the final year of his contract and will make $9.5MM.

Milwaukee will save about $2MM next season, along with a $1.9MM cap hold for pick No. 30, notes Matt Velazquez of The Journal-Sentinel (Twitter links). The larger savings come from having Snell off the books in the future.

Milwaukee is entering a crucial summer with Brook Lopez, Malcolm Brogdon, Khris Middleton and Nikola Mirotic all headed for free agency. Every dollar the team can unload will help with luxury tax concerns. Once the deal with Detroit is complete, the Bucks can create up to $14MM in cap room that could be used to re-sign Lopez, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).

Snell, 27, was a rotation player for the Bucks this season, averaging 6.0 points per night in 74 games. Leuer appeared in just 41 games for the Pistons last season and played less than 10 minutes per night.

Bucks Shopping Snell, Ilyasova For Cap Room

The Bucks are looking to move either guard Tony Snell or forward Ersan Ilyasova in a trade this week with draft compensation as the sweetener to the deal, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.

Milwaukee had the league’s best record but its roster is in a state of flux. The Bucks’ second-best player, swingman Khris Middleton, will become an unrestricted free agent when he opts out this month. Starting center Brook Lopez will also be unrestricted and guard Malcolm Brogdon will be a restricted free agent. The Bucks are also expected to make guard George Hill an unrestricted free agent, rather than guaranteeing his $18MM salary before the end of the month.

Snell has an $11.4MM salary next season and a player option for $12.2MM in 2020/21. Ilyasova’s contract might be easier to move. He’ll make $7MM next season but his $7MM salary for 2020/21 is not guaranteed.

There are also limitations to which draft picks the Bucks can offer, since they already are obligated to move several of them. They owe a protected first-rounder to the Suns next year and a protected first-rounder to the Cavaliers in 2022. They’ve also traded second-round picks to the Kings (2019), Pelicans (2020) and Pacers (2021).

This year’s first-round pick (No. 30) could be officially traded after the pick has been made, but not before then, due to the Stepien rule.

Snell, 27, appeared in 74 regular-season games this season, including 12 starts, but was a non-factor in the postseason due to an ankle injury. He’s a career 38.2% 3-point shooter.

Ilyasova, 32, has played for six organizations since the 2015/16 season. He’s a 36.5% career 3-point shooter and also led the league this past season in charges drawn.

Bucks Notes: Giannis, Middleton, Snell

Now that their season is over, the Bucks will shift their focus to free agency, as several of the team’s key contributors don’t have contracts for the 2019/20 season. Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is locked up through 2020/21, said today in his end-of-season session with reporters that he doesn’t want to get involved in front office decisions, but he hopes Milwaukee can re-sign all of its top free agents (Twitter link via Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).

“Obviously, I want everybody back,” Antetokounmpo said, per Malika Andrews of ESPN.com. “Great fricking team — unselfish players that play basketball the right way. They’re winners. We had a great atmosphere. We didn’t have no — I want to be polite. I want to say the A-word — we didn’t have no buttheads. Obviously, I want everybody back. I’m going to let my teammates know that.”

Khris Middleton, perhaps the Bucks’ most important free-agent-to-be, spoke today about having unfinished business with Giannis and the Bucks as a whole, tweets Velazquez. That doesn’t necessarily guarantee he’ll be back though. As Andrews tweets, Middleton said that his top two priorities will be what’s best for his family, followed by his fit.

Here’s more on the Bucks:

  • Although Antetokoumpo was disappointed not to win the Eastern Conference Finals, he’s confident that the Bucks are in position to make more noise in the playoffs in future seasons. “I think it’s just the start of a long journey,” Antetokounmpo said after Saturday’s loss, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “We’re going to get better. We’re going to come back next year and believe in who we are, believe in what we’ve built this year, and hopefully, we can be in the same situation and be the ones moving forward.”
  • Prior to the end of the Eastern Finals, Gery Woelfel of Woelfel’s Press Box wrote that some NBA officials believe the Bucks are eager – or even “desperate” – to dump Tony Snell‘s contract. Snell is owed $11.59MM in 2019/20 and $12.38MM in 2020/21. “I think the only way they can move him is if they package him with a pick,” one NBA executive told Woelfel. “But [the Bucks have] already traded two [future] No. 1s, so that won’t be easy to do that, either.”
  • It will be interesting to see how imperative it is for the Bucks to move off of Snell’s deal. If Milwaukee re-signs Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon, and Brook Lopez (or Nikola Mirotic) to lucrative contracts, getting rid of Snell’s money could help the team avoid the tax. But if even one of those players departs, keeping Snell on their books for another year may not hurt the Bucks.

Central Notes: Pistons, Bullock, Bucks, Pacers

Although the Pistons traded Reggie Bullock to the Lakers at last month’s trade deadline, Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press says he gets the impression that Bullock would be open to returning to Detroit as a free agent this offseason (Twitter link). The Pistons would likely reciprocate that interest, though it would depend on Bullock’s price tag, Ellis adds (via Twitter).

With the Pistons projected to be over the cap next season, they’ll be limited to a few modest exceptions, including the mid-level, as they attempt to upgrade their roster. Signing a three-point shooter like Bullock – or perhaps current Piston Wayne Ellington – will be a priority, but Detroit figures to commit part of its MLE to a point guard, Ellis notes. Reggie Jackson remains under contract for another season, but Ish Smith, a key part of the club’s rotation, will be a free agent.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • After officially signing Tim Frazier today, the Bucks are now only about $250K below the tax line, tweets cap expert Albert Nahmad. As Nahmad explains, Tony Snell can earn up to $400K in bonus money if Milwaukee wins the Finals, but the team should be on track to stay out of the tax if it falls short of a title — or if Christian Wood is claimed on waivers tomorrow.
  • In a pair of recent pieces by Sam Amick and Scott Agness of The Athletic, Indiana executives revisited the Paul George trade that turned into a rare win-win for both the Pacers and Thunder. “I think it worked out good for Paul, and I think it’s working out pretty well for us,” consultant Donnie Walsh said of the deal, per Amick.
  • In Agness’ story on that trade with the Thunder, Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard raves about Domantas Sabonis, who gets somewhat overlooked as the only non-All-Star (so far) involved in the swap. “When we looked at all the deals, once we heard ‘Sabonis’ is when I said, ‘I’m in. I want to do this,'” Pritchard said. “And I asked everybody around the room, ‘Is everybody on board?’ As soon as that happened, we got pretty excited about that.”
  • Dwane Casey‘s ability to respond to adversity, which has been on display throughout his first season with the Pistons, is one reason why owner Tom Gores hired him as the club’s head coach last spring, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Despite a 9-22 stretch earlier in the season, Detroit currently holds the East’s No. 6 seed.

Bucks Acquire George Hill From Cavs

DECEMBER 8, 9:00am: As part of the deal, the Wizards also removed the protections on the 2020 second-round pick they owe the Bucks, reports Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). In summation, the trade looks like this, as Smith tweets:

  • Bucks receive George Hill, Jason Smith, cash considerations (from Wizards), the Wizards’ 2021 second-round pick (from Cavaliers), and the protections removed on the Wizards’ 2020 second-round pick.
  • Cavaliers receive John Henson, Matthew Dellavedova, the Bucks’ 2021 first-round pick (protections detailed below), the Bucks’ 2021 second-round pick, and the Wizards’ 2022 second-round pick.
  • Wizards receive Sam Dekker.

DECEMBER 7, 9:25pm: The trade is official, according to a Cavaliers press release. as relayed by Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix.

6:20pm: The Wizards have agreed to make it a three-team deal by acquiring Dekker for big man Jason Smith and a second-round pick, Wojnarowski tweets. The Cavs will swap a 2021 second-rounder with Washington for a 2022 second-rounder, Brian Windhorst of ESPN tweets.

5:05pm: The Bucks have agreed to acquire veteran guard George Hill from the Cavaliers in exchange for guard Matthew Dellavedova, injured center John Henson and first- and second-round picks in 2021, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

Cleveland is also sending forward Sam Dekker to Milwaukee, Brian Windhorst of ESPN tweets.

As always, the deal is contingent on the players passing physicals.

The Bucks will save approximately $18MM for the 2019/20 season with this move, which will increase their flexibility to make more moves next summer, Wojnarowski notes in a separate tweet. With Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe both on track to become free agents in July, that extra flexibility could be crucial.

The Cavs are showing a continued willingness to take on salary in order to acquire future assets, Wojnarowski adds.

There was a sense of urgency in getting this deal done on Friday. These players are now eligible to be aggregated on the February 7th trade deadline, Wojnarowski points out in another tweet. Thus, these players can be combined with other contracts in a deadline deal.

While Cleveland is technically acquiring Milwaukee’s 2021 first-rounder in the deal, it’s likely to get pushed back to 2022. That’s because the first-rounder that Milwaukee owes Phoenix next summer almost certainly won’t change hands until 2020, as it’s protected 1-3 and 17-30 for 2019. Since teams can’t trade future first-round picks in back-to-back seasons, the Cavs would have to wait an extra year to get their pick from Milwaukee.

There are protections on the first-round pick going to Cleveland, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN (Twitter link). The first-rounder is protected 1-14 in 2021; 1-10 in 2022; 1-10 and 25-30 in 2023; and 1-8 in 2024. If still not conveyed by then, it converts to two second-rounders in 2025.

Hill is making $19MM this season but his $18MM salary for next season doesn’t become fully guaranteed until July 1. Only $1MM is guaranteed, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Milwaukee will almost assuredly cut him loose before then, eating his $1MM partial guarantee. However, Hill can be a contributor this season on a playoff contender.

He joins a guard rotation that includes Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon and Tony Snell. The addition of Hill would seemingly reduce Donte DiVincenzo‘s minutes.

Henson is making $11.3MM this season and has a $10.5MM guarantee for next season in the final year of his deal. He recently underwent wrist surgery and could miss the rest of the season.

Dellavedova, who will begin his second stint in Cleveland, is making $9.6MM this season and the same amount next season.

Dekker is making $2.76MM and Milwaukee would have to extend a $3.9MM qualifying offer after the season to make him a restricted free agent.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Central Notes: Stephenson, Parker, Stefanski, Griffin

Lance Stephenson has left the Pacers again, but just like last time it may not be forever, writes Dana Benbow for The Indianapolis Star. Stephenson, who signed a one-year deal with the Lakers this summer, was asked about a possible return during a party he threw Wednesday to say goodbye to Indianapolis.

“Oh, of course. This is home. Of course,” he responded. “I would always want to come back here.”

Stephenson was among Indiana’s most productive reserves last season, appearing in all 82 games and posting a 9.2/5.2/2.9 line. His previous stints with other teams — the Hornets, Clippers, Grizzlies, Pelicans and Timberwolves — produced mostly disappointing results.

“We stayed in constant communication with him,” team president Kevin Pritchard said. “At the end of the day, Lance gave us some great years. We love Lance. We love Lance on the court, we love Lance off the court.” 

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Mike Budenholzer may be having “buyer’s remorse” over taking the Bucks‘ head coaching job after the loss of free agent Jabari Parker, suggests Gery Woelfel of WoelfelsPressBox in his latest podcast. He adds that the entire organization was counting on Parker to stay and never expected him to get an offer in the $20MM range like the Bulls gave him.
  • The Bucks are still hoping to make a deal before the season starts, Woelfel adds in the same discussion. He names John Henson, Malcolm Brogdon and Tony Snell as the players most likely to go, but says Eric Bledsoe has also been mentioned as a trade candidate.
  • Ed Stefanski has made a lot of progress in his first 100 days as a senior advisor to the Pistons, notes Chris Schwegler of NBA.com. The most significant moves were the hiring of reigning Coach of the Year Dwane Casey, adding Khyri Thomas and Bruce Brown through the draft and signing free agents Glenn Robinson III, Jose Calderon and Zaza Pachulia.
  • Blake Griffin is looking healthy during his summer workouts at UCLA, relays Kurt Helin of NBC Sports. A knee injury limited Griffin to 58 games last year between the Clippers and Pistons, and he hasn’t played more than 67 in a season since 2013/14.