Trey Lyles

Pistons Notes: Cunningham, Rotation, Jackson, Pickett

Top pick Cade Cunningham is dealing with an ankle sprain and has missed some practice time, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press tweets. The medical staff is being very cautious with the Pistons’ prized rookie so that the injury doesn’t linger.

Cunningham has been doing some light shooting drills, Rod Beard of The Detroit News tweets. It appears unlikely that the rookie guard will play in the team’s preseason opener on Wednesday.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Head coach Dwane Casey will serve youth, mainly in the starting lineup, and rely on veterans on the second unit, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. “I think we’re going to have probably two different units – one a younger unit that’s going to bring energy and the second unit will probably have more experience,” Casey said. Cunningham will likely be joined by second-year players Saddiq Bey and Killian Hayes in the starting unit, as well as possibly Isaiah Stewart. Casey is still mulling whether to go with Stewart or free agent signee Kelly Olynyk as the starting center. Cory Joseph will likely be the second-unit floor leader with Hamidou Diallo, Josh Jackson, Frank Jackson and Trey Lyles fighting for playing time.
  • Frank Jackson, like Cunningham, is dealing with an ankle injury, Sankofa adds in a separate tweet. He was re-signed as a restricted free agent on a two-year, $6.2MM deal that includes a team option next summer.
  • Jamorko Pickett continues to earn the admiration of the coaching staff, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets. “I’m really impressed with Jamorko Pickett, as far as his game, approach, maturity and communication,” Casey said. An undrafted forward out of Georgetown, Pickett recently had his non-guaranteed camp deal upgraded to a two-way contract.

Central Notes: Pistons Contracts, McConnell, Allen, Bulls

The Pistons‘ three-year deal with Kelly Olynyk has a partial guarantee in year three, with only $3MM of the big man’s $12.2MM salary assured in 2023/24, according to Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). Detroit also gave Trey Lyles a two-year, $5.125MM deal that includes a second-year team option, Smith adds (Twitter link).

While those contract details are similar to what was reported earlier in free agency, the specifics on the Pistons’ deals for Saben Lee and second-round pick Isaiah Livers didn’t surface until today.

According to Smith (Twitter link), the Pistons used cap space to give Lee a three-year, minimum-salary contract that includes two fully guaranteed years followed by a third-year team option. As for Livers, his new deal with Detroit is also for three years with a third-year team option, tweets Smith. The No. 42 pick got slightly more than the rookie minimum in his first year, followed by the veteran’s minimum in years two and three.

Here’s more from around the Central:

Trey Lyles Signs Two-Year Deal With Pistons

AUGUST 6: Lyles’ deal is now official, according to NBA.com’s transactions log.


AUGUST 2: Free agent forward Trey Lyles has reached a two-year agreement with the Pistons worth approximately $5MM, agent Rich Paul told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

A two-year, minimum-salary deal for Lyles would work out to about $4.44MM, so it sounds like he may get something a little higher than the minimum.

Lyles has spent the last two seasons with the Spurs. He also had two-year stints in Utah and Denver. Lyles saw his playing time diminish last season, as he appeared in just 23 games. His representatives were eager to find a new home for their client, who was looking for a fresh start. He started 53 of 63 games in his first year with San Antonio.

Lyles has averaged 7.3 PPG and 4.2 RPG in 15.6 MPG through 374 career games. He’s a 34.1% 3-point shooter.

He’ll provide insurance at the power forward spot behind Jerami Grant and Sekou Doumbouya.

Rosters Announced For Olympic Qualifying Tournaments

Four qualifying tournaments to determine the final four teams in the men’s basketball pool at the Tokyo Olympics are set to tip off on Tuesday. In advance of the Olympic qualifiers, the 24 teams involved have officially set their 12-man rosters, according to a press release from FIBA.

More than two dozen current NBA players are participating in the tournament, and 11 of the 24 teams competing for Olympic spots have at least one current NBA players on their respective rosters. Of those clubs, Team Canada has the biggest contingent of NBA players — eight of the 12 players on Nick Nurse‘s squad finished the season on an NBA roster. Turkey is next with four NBA players.

The four qualifying tournaments will take place in Serbia, Lithuania, Croatia, and Canada. Only the winner of each six-team group will advance to Tokyo. Those four winners will join Japan, Nigeria, Argentina, Iran, France, Spain, Australia, and the U.S. in the 12-team Olympic tournament.

The teams that move onto the Olympics may tweak their rosters for Tokyo, depending on the availability of certain players. For instance, if Greece were to win its qualifying tournament, perhaps Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo – who remains active in the playoffs for now – would make an effort to join the team in Tokyo next month.

Here are the NBA players on the OQT rosters:

Belgrade, Serbia

Kaunas, Lithuania

Split, Croatia

Victoria, Canada

There are also many former NBA players among the 24 rosters, including Mario Hezonja (Croatia), Milos Teodosic (Serbia), Jan Vesely (Czech Republic), Timofey Mozgov (Russia), and Anthony Bennett (Canada).

To view the full rosters, be sure to visit FIBA’s official site and click through to each team from there.

14 NBA Players On Canada’s Preliminary Olympic Qualifying Roster

Team Canada has yet to secure a place in the men’s basketball event at the Tokyo Olympics, but the club should have a loaded roster as it looks to lock up a spot in a qualifying tournament next month.

Canada Basketball issued a press release today announcing its 21-player preliminary roster for the Olympic qualifier, and the group includes 14 players who finished the season on NBA contracts. Here’s the full list:

Of the seven players who didn’t play in the NBA this season, one (Bennett) is a former first overall pick, another (Nicholson) was also a first-round selection, and a third (Alexander) has NBA experience. Bell-Haynes has played in the G League, while Doornekamp, Ejim, and Nembhard all have extensive experience representing Canada in past international competitions.

Still, a few noteworthy names are missing from the list. Nuggets guard Jamal Murray is recovering from a torn ACL and won’t be able to participate. Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is also dealing with an injury, announcing on Instagram that rehabbing the plantar fasciitis in his right foot will prevent him from representing Team Canada.

Raptors big man Chris Boucher is a third notable omission. According to Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link), Boucher is focused on rehabbing a knee sprain and wants to make sure he’s 100% healthy heading into 2021/22. He also has a somewhat uncertain contract situation — his $7MM salary for next season is non-guaranteed, though I’d be shocked if he’s not retained.

Even without Murray, Gilgeous-Alexander, and Boucher, Canada Basketball is in position to run out a roster stacked with NBA talent and led by former NBA Coach of the Year Nick Nurse.

While the final roster will depend in part on which players are available, none of the 21 players on the preliminary are on teams expected to still be alive for the conference finals. However, a club like Powell’s Mavericks or Barrett’s Knicks could surprise.

Team Canada will compete against Greece, China, Uruguay, Turkey, and the Czech Republic in a qualifying tournament in Victoria, British Columbia between June 29 and July 4. If the club wins that six-team qualifier, it will be part of the 12-team field in Tokyo and would be a legit contender for a medal.

Pelicans Trade Redick, Melli To Mavs; Lonzo Ball Stays Put

MARCH 26: The trade is now official, according to announcement from thes Mavericks (Twitter link) and Pelicans.


MARCH 25: The Pelicans won’t be trading point guard Lonzo Ball at today’s deadline, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). However, New Orleans has agreed to a deal that will send J.J. Redick to the Mavericks, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The Pelicans will receive James Johnson, Wesley Iwundu, and a 2021 second-round pick in exchange for Redick and Nicolo Melli, a source tells Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter links). New Orleans also received cash from the Mavericks in the deal, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

Charania initially reported that the Redick deal would be a three-team trade that also sent Trey Lyles from the Spurs to Dallas, but has since clarified that it will just be a direct trade between the Pelicans and Mavs.

Redick, who was averaging 8.7 PPG in 31 appearances off the bench, had expressed a desire to be dealt to a team in the Northeast, where his family resides. He’ll have to wait until the offseason to make that happen but he’ll provide the Mavericks with another 3-point threat off the bench. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent.

Melli reportedly wanted out after seeing his playing time decline in his second NBA season. He’s only appeared in 22 games this season. He can be a restricted free agent if Dallas decides to extend a $4.87MM qualifying offer. The Mavs will keep Melli at least through the end of this season, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News tweets.

Johnson has an expiring $16MM contract. He’s averaging 5.7 PPG and 3.0 RPG in 29 games this season and gives the Pelicans another frontcourt option. Iwundu has seen action in 23 games this season but has only averaged 2.1 PPG in 12.5 MPG during those outings. He has another year left on his contract but his 2021/22 salary is just $1.82MM.

As for Ball, the Bulls, Knicks, Clippers, Nuggets and Sixers had all been linked to the former No. 2 pick to varying degrees in recent weeks, but New Orleans didn’t find a package attractive enough to deal its current floor leader.

The Pelicans will have to decide after the season whether to extend Ball a $14.36MM qualifying offer and make him a restricted free agent, or let him enter the market unrestricted. Assuming they extend that QO, as is expected, they’ll then have to weigh how aggressive they’re willing to be when it comes to a long-term contract offer.

Ball is averaging 14.2 PPG and 5.6 APG for the Pelicans, who are a disappointing five games below .500.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Dana Gauruder contributed to this post.

Spurs Rumors: DeRozan, Lyles, Gay, Aldridge

In addition to putting LaMarcus Aldridge on the trade block, the Spurs have also made it clear that veteran guard DeMar DeRozan is available, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Sources tell Fischer that DeRozan, who is earning $27.7MM in the final season of his five-year contract, has interest in playing elsewhere next season, perhaps returning to the Eastern Conference.

While the Spurs don’t typically make big in-season deals, it sounds like they’re at least gauging what they could get for DeRozan on the trade market. Fischer reports that the Knicks have considered trying to acquire the veteran guard, though some people in their front office don’t want to give up assets for players who could be signed in free agency.

There are people in the Bulls‘ front office that believe adding a player like DeRozan could push the team into the playoffs, sources tell Fischer. Additionally, Fischer says the Magic have discussed the idea of trading Evan Fournier and a pick for DeRozan, with an eye toward re-signing him in the offseason. At least one more Orlando player would need to be included in such a deal for salary-matching purposes.

Here’s more on the Spurs:

  • Trey Lyles and his representatives are interested in finding a new home for the veteran forward, multiple league sources tell Fischer. Lyles’ minutes have been inconsistent this season in a contract year — he was a starter for a short time just before and after the All-Star break, but has been a DNP-CD for the Spurs’ last five games.
  • The Spurs remain open to moving Rudy Gay, another veteran on an expiring contract, writes Fischer.
  • The Celtics and the Heat are the teams that have consistently been linked to Aldridge, though both teams appeared more focused on the possibility of landing him via buyout than trading for him, according to Fischer. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst also said on his latest Hoop Collective podcast that the Heat are widely viewed as the leaders for Aldridge, as RealGM relays.

Charania’s Latest: Wolves, LeVert, Kings, Spurs, More

The Timberwolves continue to explore ways to address their power forward position and have shown interest in the likes of Hawks big man John Collins and Magic forward Aaron Gordon, writes Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Multiple previous reports indicated that Minnesota inquired on Gordon during the offseason, but Charania’s report suggests the Timberwolves and Magic had “substantive discussions” on the power forward before he injured his ankle earlier this season. Those talks are expected to resume as Gordon nears a return to action, per Charania.

The Hawks’ and Magic’s asking prices for Collins and Gordon will be substantial, Charania adds. Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas hasn’t been shy about shaking up the roster since assuming control of the basketball operations department in 2019, but it remains to be seen how aggressive he’ll be at this year’s deadline with Minnesota holding the league’s worst record and at risk of losing its 2021 first-round pick (which is top-three protected).

Here’s more from Charania:

  • Pacers guard Caris LeVert, who underwent surgery for kidney cancer in January after being traded to Indiana, is expected to play at some point in the second half, sources tell Charania. LeVert’s exact return timeline remains up in the air, since the club will be cautious and patient with him.
  • Kings forwards Harrison Barnes and Nemanja Bjelica are both expected to receive interest from potential trade partners, with the Sixers, Heat, Warriors, Bucks, and Celtics among the clubs to display interest in Bjelica, per Charania.
  • The Spurs are receiving and listening to inquiries on their veterans on expiring contracts, including DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Patty Mills, and Trey Lyles, sources tell The Athletic. Still, San Antonio is firmly in the playoff picture in the West and typically doesn’t make big in-season deals, so a deadline blockbuster seems unlikely.
  • Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who will likely miss the rest of the season due to a knee injury, has drawn interest from multiple teams who value his Bird rights, according to Charania. We heard last week that Brooklyn has made Dinwiddie available in trade discussions.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Southwest Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Southwest Division:

Lonzo Ball, Pelicans, 23, PG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $33.5MM deal in 2017

Ball’s status has been a hot topic around the league. He’s a prime trade candidate as New Orleans ponders whether it wants to commit long-term to the second overall pick of the 2017 draft. The Pelicans would have to extend a $14.36MM qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent if they don’t deal him.

On the plus side, Ball’s recent play has pumped up his value. Prior to his quiet 12-point performance on Friday, he was averaging 17.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 4.3 APG in February while making 51.2% of his 3-point tries. Moreover, he’s kept his turnovers down. The Bulls have been linked to Ball for weeks and perhaps his recent play will convince them he’s the answer to their point guard conundrum.

Trey Lyles, Spurs, 25, PF (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $11MM deal in 2019

Lyles has been a disappointment since the Jazz made him a lottery pick in 2015. This season has been particularly trying for the Kentucky product. After starting regularly last season, Lyles has only seen spot duty in his walk year. With LaMarcus Aldridge out, Lyles scored a season-high 15 points in a blowout loss to Golden State on Tuesday. That was his first double-digit output this season, as he’s only averaging 12.0 MPG. Lyles doesn’t stand out in any one area and he’ll be looking at modest offers this summer.

Tim Hardaway Jr., Mavericks, 28, SG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $70.95MM deal in 2017

The Mavericks have been a disappointment but Hardaway has fulfilled his role, averaging 17.2 PPG in 31.1 MPG. He’s turned into a consistent 40% shooter from long range and that skill will serve him well as he enters unrestricted free agency. It will be interesting to see how much teams value Hardaway’s overall game and if he can get similar money to what the Knicks offered him as a restricted free agent in 2017. But it’s a shooter’s league and Hardaway is a proven starting wing. At 28, he’ll likely receive some quality multi-year offers.

DeMarcus Cousins, Rockets, 30, C (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.33MM deal in 2020

The former perennial All-Star signed a veteran’s minimum deal with Houston to try to rebuild his value. He’ll get ample playing time in the next few weeks with Christian Wood sidelined by an ankle sprain. However, knee and Achilles injuries have robbed Cousins of his explosion. He can still occasionally post some big numbers (28 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists vs. Dallas last month) but he can’t deliver those big stat lines on a consistent basis. He can do better than veteran minimum deals in the future, barring another major injury, but he’s not the force he was early in his career with the Kings.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southwest Notes: Harden, Lyles, Mavs, Ingram

Around the time that Mike D’Antoni and Daryl Morey departed the Rockets this fall, James Harden approached team management and ownership with a mandate to either build a championship team around him or trade him somewhere where he could win a ring, writes Kelly Iko of The Athletic.

As Iko observes, this isn’t the first time that Harden has approached the Rockets with that sort of mandate. Sources tell The Athletic that the former MVP told the front office the same thing last year, which ultimately led to the Chris Paul/Russell Westbrook trade. That aligns with a 2019 report which suggested that Harden issued a “him or me” ultimatum to the club regarding Paul.

While it remains to be seen how the Harden situation will play out this time around, the fact that the Rockets were able to navigate a similar quagmire in 2019 helps explain why the team has confidence that it can once again sell the superstar guard on the outlook in Houston.

For more on the Harden situation, check out our roundup from earlier this morning. Here are a few more items from around the Southwest:

  • Spurs forward Trey Lyles is entering a contract year and will be an unrestricted free agent in 2021, but he can envision himself in San Antonio beyond this season, per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). I am very comfortable here,” Lyles said. “It is the perfect situation for me, perfect situation for the player I am, the player I see myself being and becoming. I would love to be able to stay here long term.”
  • The Texas Legends – the Mavericks‘ G League affiliate – are among the teams expected to opt out of the proposed G League bubble in Atlanta, sources tell JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors (Twitter link).
  • The Mavericks targeted James Johnson this offseason in large part because of his toughness, but he feels as if he can bring more than that to the team, as Dwain Price of Mavs.com writes. “I know what I can bring, I understand why they brought me here,” Johnson said. “I feel it was more than just the toughness and the black belt, but I’m able to play whatever role that’s thrown my way.”
  • The trade kicker on Brandon Ingram‘s new five-year contract with the Pelicans is the maximum allowable 15%, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.