Troy Weaver

Draft Rumors: Pistons, Duren, Dieng, Mavericks, Raptors, Anunoby

The Pistons, who already made news this week with their impending trade of Jerami Grant to Portland, could make another significant move this evening. They are holding ongoing conversations to acquire another lottery pick, with Memphis center Jalen Duren believed to be the target, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report tweets.

Detroit already holds the No. 5 selection in the draft. A report earlier today indicated Pistons GM Troy Weaver is a big fan of Duren.

  • Ousmane Dieng seems destined to be chosen higher than any other international prospect. The French big man, who played for the New Zealand Breakers, has been surging up draft boards and could go as high as No. 8, where the Pelicans are picking, Marc Stein tweets.
  • The Mavericks are covering all their bases, even though their first-round pick is headed to Houston and their second-rounder is headed to Washington, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News tweets. GM Nico Harrison says they’re are not actively calling teams to trade into the draft, but have done the prep work needed in case they end up with a draft pick in either round.
  • The Raptors are unlikely to move into the lottery and trade forward OG Anunoby, Michael Grange of Sportsnet tweets. Most of the chatter surrounding Anunoby has come from the Trail Blazers, who are trying to add veterans around Damian Lillard, Grange adds, while Toronto remains in a ‘be patient and grow’ mode.

Central Notes: Grant, Weaver, Pacers, Sexton

Veteran Pistons forward Jerami Grant could be one of the NBA’s most intriguing trade candidates this summer. The 28-year-old Grant may not fit the timeline of the rebuilding Pistons, who will be looking to add another blue-chip prospect with the No. 5 pick in the 2022 draft alongside 2021 No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham.

Grant, who has one year remaining on his current contract, is extension-eligible this offseason, but figures to be a trade chip if the Pistons aren’t prepared to extend him. Sources inform James L. Edwards III and Chris Kirschner of The Athletic that the Hawks were interested in dealing for Grant during the 2021/22 season, and suggest that that remains the case, exploring what a deal between Detroit and Atlanta might look like.

The Hawks have a need for a defensive-oriented player who can guard along the perimeter and handle. Edwards and Kirschner believe Atlanta’s most viable offer for Grant would likely include Bogdan Bogdanovic and the team’s No. 16 pick.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • When it comes to the draft, Pistons general manager Troy Weaver prioritizes hard-working competitors, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Langlois views this year’s draft, which will be Weaver’s third in his lead role for the Detroit front office, as an interesting opportunity to gauge the level of risk Weaver is willing to take. Detroit possesses the fifth pick in the 2022 draft. Langlois notes that the club could draft a 22-year-old with several years of college experience in Iowa forward Keegan Murray, or, on the other end of the spectrum, a 19-year-old who never suited up for his college team in Shaedon Sharpe.
  • The Pacers, owners of the No. 6 pick in the 2022 draft, held a pre-draft workout on Tuesday for several guard prospects, per James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link). Boyd notes that Oral Roberts guard Max Abmas, Kansas shooting guard Christian Braun, Arizona guard Dalen Terry, Purdue shooting guard Sasha Stefanovic, Belmont point guard Grayson Murphy, and Northern Iowa guard AJ Green worked out for Indiana.
  • Following an exciting 2021/22 season, the Cavaliers face an uncertain offseason. Cleveland went 44-38, but did not advance out of the play-in tournament. In a new mailbag, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (subscriber link) addresses the market for restricted free agent guard Collin Sexton, potential trade candidates that could help Cleveland take the next step in the East, and other topics. Fedor hears from sources that the Spurs, in particular, “have some Sexton fans in their front office.”

Central Notes: Williams, Caruso, Pistons Offseason, Hayes

After being sidelined with a wrist injury since October, Bulls power forward Patrick Williams seems happy to be back on the floor for Chicago in any capacity. Though Williams was a starter in his five games pre-injury this season, head coach Billy Donovan has opted to play him off the bench during his first two games back this week. Williams does not mind the switch, according to Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago.

“I’m fine with it, as long as I can contribute to the team,” Williams said ahead of his first game back with the Bulls, an eventual 113-99 win over the Raptors on Monday. “I plan on being in this league for a long time. Sitting out for five months, I may not be able to show everything. But just help the team win in any way (I can)… I think winning takes care of everything. If we win, everybody’s happy. No matter how many points you scored, no matter how many minutes you played, everybody’s happy. If you get a ring, everybody gets a ring.”

Williams proved a key contributor even in limited minutes during that victory against the Raptors, and reiterated his excitement about returning to the floor in his postgame comments, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

“It was amazing,” Williams said. “Just having something taken from you for so long, something that you love and finally being able to get it back and enjoy the game, there’s really nothing like it.”

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Donovan has opted to make a change in his starting rotation with Bulls starting point guard Lonzo Ball still shelved and reserve guard Alex Caruso back healthy. Though a good defender, rookie guard Ayo Dosunmu has been demoted to the bench in favor of the more experienced Caruso, per Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “I just felt like since Alex had his legs under him a little bit, starting off with that group defensively could give us a little bit better energy,” Donovan explained. “AC is extremely smart and brings so much with IQ and defense and spacing the floor and shot making,’’ All-Star shooting guard Zach LaVine said regarding the change. “With him moving into the [starting] lineup and Ayo going back [a reserve role], I think it’s going to be a switch up.”
  • The Pistons, the No. 15 seed in the East, have plenty of intriguing decisions facing them in the 2022 offseason. In a new mailbag, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic examines several key summer storylines. Edwards anticipates team president Troy Weaver possibly targeting a player with a handle in the draft or free agency to pair with rookie guard Cade Cunningham. Edwards also discusses his expectations for the future of forward Jerami Grant, as well as that of power forward Marvin Bagley III, the No. 2 pick in the 2018 draft and a restricted free agent this summer.
  • Second-year Pistons guard Killian Hayes has struggled to develop this season amid injuries, per Rod Beard of the Detroit News. Since being shifted to a bench role, Hayes has at least been able to expect a certain amount of guaranteed run when he is available. “I’ve gotten used to coming off the bench at the five- or six-minute mark but starting and just getting back to that rhythm, it’s right into the game,” Hayes said. “You don’t have time to go back to the locker room and see how the game goes, so just be ready. I think I’m ready for both (starting and reserve roles).”

Stein’s Latest: Grant, Simmons, Fox, Millsap, McCollum

Some rival teams believe there’s something of a split within the Pistons organization on the idea of trading Jerami Grant, says Marc Stein in his latest Substack column.

Signing Grant was one of the first major moves made by general manager Troy Weaver when he took the reins in Detroit’s front office in 2020, and he’s had a “longstanding affinity” for the forward, as Stein writes. However, there’s a belief that Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem is more open to the idea of trading Grant before the deadline.

Echoing some previous reporting, Stein suggests the Pistons want a significant return for Grant, who in turn wants a significant offensive role and a contract extension with whatever team acquires him. Finding a trade partner willing to check all those boxes could be a challenge for Detroit, so there’s no guarantee the 27-year-old will be on the move by February 10.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • Teams that have been in touch with the Sixers don’t believe Daryl Morey is bluffing about his willingness to hang onto Ben Simmons through the trade deadline, says Stein. However, clubs are less convinced about reports that De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton are off-limits for the Kings — according to Stein, there’s a sense among rival executives that Fox, in particular, could be had.
  • Paul Millsap is away from the Nets as the team seeks a new home for the veteran big man. Stein hears from sources that Brooklyn would ideally like to upgrade their perimeter shooting in the process of moving Millsap. That could mean either trading Millsap for a shooter or trading him and then signing a shooter using the newly-opener roster spot.
  • Anfernee Simons‘ emergence in Portland has sparked “some of the loudest speculation” that the Trail Blazers are finally prepared to break up their longtime backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, Stein writes. There has been no indication that the team is interested in shopping the injured Lillard, so McCollum will be the trade candidate to watch. A Thursday report stated that he has been linked most frequently to New Orleans.

Pistons Notes: Weaver, Direction, Assets, Bartelstein

The Pistons have undergone a total roster overhaul under second-year general manager Troy Weaver. After the recent trade of 2019 first-round pick Sekou Doumbouya to the Nets, no players remain on the roster that Weaver inherited on June 18, 2020. The Pistons’ GM has been very open about his desire to aggressively upgrade the roster for both the short and long-term.

After a series of trades, two drafts, and some noteworthy free-agent signings, Weaver has certainly fulfilled his promise. Will that make the Pistons a better team in 2021/22? Rod Beard of The Detroit News believes that the team has real direction, but suggests the playoffs appear unlikely. He notes that the team’s future looks brighter than it did when Weaver took over almost 14 months ago, and although they currently lack a proven star player, the Pistons are in a better position to sign, trade for, or develop one going forward.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • James Edwards III of The Athletic ranked the team’s best assets. Unsurprisingly, No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham tops the list, followed by Jerami Grant and a couple of reigning All-Rookie Team members: Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart. Edwards states that a few more players on the roster have value around the league as well, like Kelly Olynyk, whose versatility and shooting on offense is coveted, but others have to show improvement in specific areas to improve their standing.
  • According to Edwards (Twitter link), sources informed him that executive VP of operations Josh Bartelstein‘s title will be adjusted to include basketball operations as well. In a follow-up tweet, Edwards notes that Bartelstein is very close to vice chairman Arn Tellem, and has been instrumental in the team’s move to downtown Detroit as well as the team’s operations as a whole.
  • In case you missed it, the Pistons have reached a deal to sign free agent point guard Derrick Walton Jr. to an Exhibit 10 contract ahead of training camp.

Central Notes: Craig, Pacers, Pistons, Motor City Cruise

Further contract details have emerged for new Pacers swingman Torrey Craig, reports Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). As expected, Craig’s fully-guaranteed two-year deal will come out of a portion of Indiana’s non-taxpayer mid-level exception. It will pay him $4,878,049 during the 2021/22 season and $5,121,951 during the 2022/23 season.

The reserve wing suited up for both of the teams that qualified for the 2021 NBA Finals, starting out the season with the Bucks before concluding it with the Suns. Craig could prove to be a valuable, defensive-oriented contributor for a revamped Pacers team hoping to return to the playoffs.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Pacers would prefer to leave an open spot on their 15-man regular season roster, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star reports (via Twitter). This could enable the team to make further moves during the season.
  • Now that the Pistons are bringing back forward Hamidou Diallo on a two-year deal with a team option for the second season, Detroit’s offseason transactions appear to be wrapping up, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Langlois notes that Detroit has addressed its need for long-range shooting in adding jump-shooting big man Kelly Olynyk as a free agent. Rookies Cade Cunningham, Isaiah Livers and Luka Garza were all above-average long-range snipers in college and could also fortify the team’s three-point shooting. Langlois adds that the Pistons appear to be prioritizing size and length on the wing under GM Troy Weaver.
  • The Pistons’ new NBA G League affiliate, the Motor City Cruise, are set to hold open tryouts for players next month, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit Free Press. Interested players will have to pony up a non-refundable $200 for the opportunity to audition for the club.

Pistons Notes: Draft, Roster, Casey, Diallo, Veterans

The Pistons finished with the second worst record in the league, meaning they’ll slide no lower than sixth in the draft lottery. While the top five prospects in this year’s draft have been highly touted, GM Troy Weaver doesn’t want fans to automatically assume they’ll get a franchise player, Rod Beard of the Detroit News tweets.

“There’s definitely big potential in the top five. Franchise-changing? I don’t know,” Weaver said on Monday. “There’s no Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal) in this class…I’m not looking for someone in the top five to step in and change the franchise.”

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Weaver blew up the roster in his first season with the franchise but he won’t be doing much wheeling and dealing this summer, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Beyond the lottery pick, the roster will have plenty of continuity. Weaver said the focus this offseason will be on internal growth. “I don’t anticipate having too many roster spots available,” Weaver said. “We like our group and we’re excited about the guys under contract and even our own free agents. I don’t anticipate much turnover at all.”
  • In tune with that theme, Casey said his players won’t get much time off this summer, Langlois writes in a separate story. “Give the guys a couple of weeks off and get right back at it,” he said. “Like I told the team, this is probably one of the most important summers of their basketball-playing careers.”
  • An essential part of the rebuild was retaining Casey to nurture the team’s growth, Beard writes.  The extension runs he signed last week runs through the 2023/24 season. “It was extremely important that we extend Coach,” Weaver said. “It was an important part of everything we’re doing, we wanted him to be lined up with this restoration. He’s leading the cause on the floor.”
  • When the Pistons traded with the Thunder for restricted free agent Hamidou Diallo, the expectation was that Detroit intended to hold onto the young wing. That remains the plan, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press tweets. “It’s a young group that he fits and we need his talents,” Weaver said of Diallo. “If he can continue to buy into Coach Casey’s system, which he did … I think he can have a very bright future here in Detroit.”
  • The Pistons sat out many of their veteran players to gave their rookies plenty of experience in the second half of the season. However, Weaver wants some seasoned players to round out the roster, James Edwards of The Athletic tweets. “Our roster construction is always going to have veterans,” he said.

Central Notes: Bulls Starters, Healthy Cavs, Diallo, Weaver

Bulls head coach Billy Donovan is rumored to be making significant changes to the club’s starting lineup, a source informs Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Veteran Tomáš Satoranský could replace second-year point guard Coby White, and veteran forward Thaddeus Young could be moved in to start ahead of third-year center Wendell Carter Jr. as soon as tonight, in time for the team’s game against the Raptors.

Slow starts have impeded the Bulls lately, losers of four of their last five contests. Mayberry notes that Chicago’s traditional starters have been struggling. The team’s starting five of White, Carter, All-Star Zach LaVine, Patrick Williams, and Lauri Markkanen is averaging a lackluster minus-17.6 net rating. K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago details what the changes – should they transpire – mean for the Bulls.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The 14-23 Cavaliers have not had been able to field a fully healthy roster for most of the season, but with Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. back in the lineup, the team has some rotation decisions to make, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes. “I don’t know the last time we had a full, available roster,” Cleveland head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “Been frustrating for us as coaches because it’s been different positions as we’ve moved through it.” Before they returned Friday, Love had been unavailable for 33 games, while Nance had missed the preceding 12.
  • Athletic Pistons swingman Hamidou Diallo, arriving fresh from the Thunder after a deal yesterday, will serve as an exciting addition to Detroit, thanks in large part to his exceptional defensive upside, writes Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Pistons general manager Troy Weaver may not be done reshaping Detroit’s roster, according to Rod Beard of the Detroit News. After adding Diallo this weekend and waiving Blake Griffin earlier this month, it’s become clear that Weaver is prioritizing a younger, more athletic future.

Pistons Notes: Diallo, Mykhailiuk, Smith, Plumlee

The Pistons agreed to a trade with the Thunder on Friday in which they’ll acquire guard Hamidou Diallo in exchange for swingman Svi Mykhailiuk and a 2027 second-round pick. According to James Edwards III of The Athletic, the Pistons have pursued Diallo since Troy Weaver, a longtime Oklahoma City executive, was named GM. They currently can’t extend Diallo’s contract at a reasonable price for six months after acquiring him in a trade, but they intend to re-sign him in restricted free agency.

We have more from the Pistons:

  • Weaver essentially chose to make Diallo a long-term priority over Mykhailiuk — also a restricted free agent after the season — because of Diallo’s superior athleticism and length, according to Rod Beard of the Detroit News. Diallo better fits the mold of players that Weaver has added to the roster, Beard notes.
  • Guard Dennis Smith Jr. won’t play against Brooklyn on Saturday due to the league’s health and safety protocols, Edwards tweets. Smith, an unrestricted free agent after the season unless he receives a $7MM+ qualifying offer, filled in as the starting point guard with Delon Wright sidelined for a few games prior to the All-Star break. He returned to the bench as Wright’s backup in the first game after the break against Charlotte.
  • Many eyebrows were raised when the Pistons signed Mason Plumlee to a three-year, $25MM contract in free agency, despite the fact that he was a backup in Denver. Plumlee has validated Detroit’s decision while averaging 10.4 PPG, 9.1 RPG and 3.8 APG as a starter. Coach Dwane Casey lobbied Weaver to sign Plumlee, as Keith Langlois of the team’s website writes. “Coach Casey, this was his No. 1 guy he really wanted for our ballclub because of the different skills he brings, the experience, the locker-room presence,” Weaver said.

Pistons GM Weaver Talks Deadline, Casey, Hayes, More

Speaking today to reporters, including James Edwards III of The Athletic and Keith Langlois of Pistons.com, Pistons general manager Troy Weaver said that he plans to remain aggressive at the trade deadline, but doesn’t anticipate it being nearly as eventful as the 2020 offseason, when the front office overhauled nearly Detroit’s entire roster.

“I wouldn’t expect a bunch of fireworks, but we’re going to be aggressive and comb the league and look at things to see if we can get better,” Weaver said. “But I don’t anticipate as much activity as we had in November. It would be kind of hard to top that.”

Weaver addressed a series of other topics during his media session, praising head coach Dwane Casey for the player-development work he has done this season and stating that there will be an update on injured point guard Killian Hayes (hip) next week. The Pistons’ GM added that the team intends to take a “long, long look” at Dennis Smith Jr. and that he likes what he has seen so far.

Here are a few more of the most notable quotes from Weaver’s presser, via Edwards and Langlois:

On whether anyone on the roster is off-limits via trade:

“No. Nobody is untouchable. … I learned, ‘Never say never,’ but there are some guys who are here to stay, so we’ll see. … I’ll say this guy is untouchable and then someone calls and offers four first-round picks. Strange things have happened.”

On whether Mason Plumlee might be traded at the deadline:

“Mason has been tremendous. Coach Casey … this was his No. 1 guy that he really wanted for our ball club because of the different skills he brings, experience and locker room presence, and Casey was dead on. This guy has been tremendous for us. He’s really helped the young guys, really stepped his game up.

“… As far as the trade deadline, I’m not sure what’s going to come our way with Mason. We’re extremely happy with him right now.”

On why Weaver uses the team “restore” rather than the more-common “rebuild”:

“My dad, he used to collect older cars, and he had a 1966 Monte Carlo that he was restoring. Before he passed, I would go out there and talk with him. He said, ‘You can only restore something that is great.’ That stuck with me.

“There’s been greatness in Detroit. Three championships. That’s why I wanted to use it. No slight to what I’m about to say, but the Timberwolves can’t restore. They don’t have three championships. They don’t have the greatness. The Atlanta Hawks can’t restore. The Detroit Pistons can restore. We want to restore greatness back in the franchise.”