Troy Weaver

Eastern Notes: Hampton, Hart, Thomas, Brown

The Pistons were interested in R.J. Hampton leading up to the 2020 draft and even held an in-person interview with him, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press reports in a subscriber-only story.

Hampton, the 24th pick of that draft, wound up in a Pistons uniform this month after getting waived by Orlando. He played five scoreless minutes in his Detroit debut on Saturday but is glad to join GM Troy Weaver’s club.

“Troy’s a great dude,” the Pistons’ newcomer said. “Somebody that’s real, somebody that expects a lot from his players but also knows what it means to develop young guys. That’s something I look forward to, being in an organization that takes the time with players, takes the time to figure out the areas that they’re really good in and weaknesses and coming together and making it all fit. I think he’s great in that aspect and I’m excited about it.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Josh Hart admits he had some trepidation about being traded by Portland to the Knicks, wondering how he’d mesh with coach Tom Thibodeau. Hart has been pleasantly surprised, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes. “Coming here I didn’t exactly know how Thibs’ system was. But it worked out,” Hart said. He’s averaging 14.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists with his new team. Hart holds a $12.96MM option on his contract for next season, which he’s expected to turn down.
  • Cam Thomas scored 22 points off the bench for the Nets on Sunday in a loss to the Hawks. Thomas is averaging 26.1 points per game this month but coach Jacque Vaughn says he’ll continue to use Thomas as an instant offense reserve, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets.
  • The Knicks won’t have to deal with the Celtics’ second-leading scorer when the teams square off on Monday. Jaylen Brown is taking the night off for personal reasons, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston tweets.

Central Notes: Wiseman, Nwora, Hill, Crowder

Pistons general manager Troy Weaver said newly acquired center James Wiseman will get plenty of playing time, even though the team seemingly has an overload of bigs, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets.

“He needs to play,” the Pistons’ top executive said. “With your talent, if you don’t use it, you lose it. We need him to get back out there to use his talent and be confident as a player.”

Weaver also indicated the Pistons needed another quality big man to combat the top teams in the Eastern Conference, who have regularly pushed them around, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press tweets. “You don’t have a chance (without size). Point blank period. We need some men and some size,” he said. “We haven’t beaten those teams yet. If you look at those games, we’ve usually struggled on the glass.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said Jordan Nwora, acquired from the Bucks on Thursday, will get an expanded look with Indiana, according to Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter links). “He got limited opportunities because of their veterans and guys who were in front of him just didn’t get injured that much. … This will be a great opportunity for him here,” Carlisle said. Nwora, who is expected to make his Pacers debut on Monday, is a player Indiana has coveted for a while. “Nwora is a guy we’ve had interest in the last couple of years. … We were somewhere close to acquiring him but could never quite get there,” Carlisle said.
  • George Hill, who was also part of the giant four-team swap that sent Kevin Durant to Phoenix, doesn’t want to be waived by the Pacers, Dopirak adds in another tweet. President of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard gave Hill the option of being on the 15-man roster or being waived and the veteran guard chose to stay with his hometown team.
  • Forward Jae Crowder wound up with the Bucks after the Suns-Nets blockbuster was expanded to include Milwaukee and Indiana. The Bucks have been trying to acquire him for months and GM Jon Horst called the trade talks challenging, The Athletic’s Eric Nehm writes. “It was something we’ve been working on for a long time,” he said. “It was one of the most incredible, kind of challenging, pursuits of a player I’ve ever been a part of, to be honest with you. Different iterations and different things that happened. The Phoenix situation, and then all of a sudden he goes to a different team, and then it’s kind of back to the market.” Next, Milwaukee will have to figure out how to incorporate Crowder into the rotation. “We feel like we made a great add,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We’ll have to figure out how it all fits together.”

Eastern Notes: Pistons, Caruso, Thybulle, Knicks, Porzingis

Even though the Pistons are floundering with franchise player Cade Cunningham sidelined, general manager Troy Weaver remains confident that the franchise will soon become a perennial contender, he told James Edwards III of The Athletic.

“A lot of teams go through rebuilds, retooling, whatever you want to call it, and they can’t make it out of it because of what they have in the locker room,” the Pistons’ top exec said. “We take tremendous pride in having the right guys and having a great locker room so that we can fight through this thing. Trust me, the dam is going to break, and when it breaks, it’s going to have a great flow to it. We just have to stay patient, stay in the boat and keep working.”

Weaver plans to remain active before the trade deadline to improve the Pistons’ chances of long-term success: “We’re going to approach this deadline like we approached the previous ones. We’re going to turn over every rock, and if something comes our way that we think can improve our team, we’ll look at it, for sure.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Who’s the most untouchable player on the Bulls’ roster? The answer may be a surprise, if you trust one of Joe Cowley’s Chicago Sun-Times sources. Alex Caruso could be the one untouchable before the trade deadline because of his defense and how he impacts the game, as reflected in the plus/minus category, Cowley writes.
  • Wing Matisse Thybulle is headed to free agency this summer — possibly restricted if he’s extended a qualifying offer — and Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice examines the pros and cons of the Sixers trading him. He could be a defensive factor in the postseason and the Sixers have a 10-0 record in games when he plays 20 or more minutes. However, he remains a major offensive liability.
  • It once seemed unthinkable but it’s not so far-fetched now that the Knicks would consider a reunion with Wizards big Kristaps Porzingis, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes. Porzingis can reject his $36MM player option for 2023/24 in order to become a free agent this summer. The Knicks could also target the shot-blocking, three-point specialist if he becomes available on the trade market.

Pistons Sign GM Troy Weaver To Contract Extension

The Pistons have signed general manager Troy Weaver to a contract extension, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

According to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), Weaver’s extension was agreed to months ago. It’s unclear if the team simply didn’t announce it at the time or if it wasn’t officially finalized until now. Either way, it’s a done deal now.

Charania’s report doesn’t specify how many years the Pistons have added to Weaver’s contract or how long he’ll be under team control going forward. However, when he first joined the franchise in 2020, Weaver reportedly signed a four-year contract — he’d be in the third year of that deal now, which means his current contract was set to expire in 2024. I’d be surprised if his extension doesn’t tack on at least two more years.

Since arriving in Detroit, Weaver has been guiding the Pistons through a rebuilding process and stockpiling young talent. During his first offseason, he added Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart, and Saddiq Bey in the draft and landed Jerami Grant in free agency. He selected Cade Cunningham with the No. 1 overall pick the following year and then drafted Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren in this year’s lottery while trading Grant to Portland and acquiring Bojan Bogdanovic from Utah.

With Cunningham out for the season following surgery on his leg, the Pistons haven’t taken the step forward they’d hoped to this year — they currently rank last in the NBA with an 8-25 record. Still, team owner Tom Gores has expressed optimism about the direction of the organization.

“We’re growing,” Gores said last month. “Right now, we have an amazing core group and a lot of confidence. We’re better than our record is. We’re much better than that and I like the way that this team has a lot of heart. I feel great about it. (head coach) Dwane (Casey)‘s doing good work. Troy continues to think about growth and everything, so I feel great about it.”

Casey received a contract extension in 2021 that runs through the 2023/24 season, so the Pistons will face a decision on his future within the next 18 months or so.

Pistons Owner Optimistic Despite Rough Start

The Pistons have the worst record in the NBA but it doesn’t seem as if owner Tom Gores is looking to make any changes to the coaching staff and front office.

Gores is happy with head coach Dwane Casey and GM Troy Weaver and believes the young core Weaver has built will eventually revitalize the franchise, as he told Mike Curtis of the Detroit News.

“We’re growing,” Gores said. “Right now, we have an amazing core group and a lot of confidence. We’re better than our record is. We’re much better than that and I like the way that this team has a lot of heart. I feel great about it. Dwane’s doing good work. Troy continues to think about growth and everything, so I feel great about it.”

Weaver has drafted six players in the first round in three years, including last year’s top overall selection, Cade Cunningham, who is sidelined with a shin injury that may require surgery. Both of the team’s lottery picks this June, point guard Jaden Ivey and center Jalen Duren, have displayed high promise in the first 18 games but the Pistons have only three wins to show for it.

The Pistons are also currently missing two other players, Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart, both of whom were selected during the first draft with Weaver in charge in 2020. Gores sees a silver lining, as other players get opportunities.

“What’s great is, it’s the next man up,” he said. “Everybody has to do their job. We’re a team, and injuries are a part of the game, so we have to know how to deal with that. Good luck, bad luck, we’ve got to make our luck.”

Gores is especially pleased with the addition of Bojan Bogdanovic, who recently signed a two-year extension. He leads the team in scoring (20.5 points per game) and gives the lineup a veteran presence.

“We’re lucky to have Bojan,” Gores told The News. “I’ll tell you what, he’s a tremendous veteran along with Alec Burks, as well. I think we’re very fortunate. We would be a different team without those veterans. The thing is, veterans bring a lot of experience, but both these guys can play, too. You can’t teach the young men unless you can play, also.”

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 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 (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.