Troy Weaver

Central Notes: Grant, DiVincenzo, Garland, Cavs, Bulls

While the opportunity to play a more significant role on offense played a major part in his decision to leave Denver for Detroit in November, Jerami Grant was drawn to the Pistons for another reason, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. The opportunity to play for a Black head coach (Dwane Casey) and for a franchise with a Black general manager (Troy Weaver) appealed to the veteran forward.

“Whether it’s on the court or off, there’s a sense of understanding that you get from — and I’m not going to say all, but a majority — Black people who have gone through and are going through some of the struggles that we do,” Grant said. “I think that gives you a better connection, makes it a little easier and makes you feel better about yourself when you have people that look like you around.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

Central Notes: Markkanen, Weaver, Wu, Pistons G League, Love

Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen feels extra motivation after he couldn’t reach an extension agreement with the organization by Monday’s deadline, Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago writes. “Obviously disappointing, I wanted to get a deal done,” he said. “But that happened, and we’re moving on, and I’m 100 percent committed to this team.”

Markkanen confirmed the sides were never near a deal after he struggled through an injury-marred season. “I don’t think it was very close,” Markkanen said. “I talked to (my agent) obviously a lot last couple days, and (the Bulls’ offer) just wasn’t something I would take, and that’s the end of it.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • As we noted, the Pistons remade their roster more than any team in the league. New GM Troy Weaver promises to continue making changes. “We are going to stay aggressive,” Weaver said, per Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports. Owner Tom Gores is confident that Weaver has the franchise on the right path. “He is concise in how he sees talent. He sees it on a micro-level,” Gores said. “I’ve met a lot of executives who know basketball. Troy is just on a whole different level.”
  • The Pacers have officially hired Ted Wu as VP of Basketball Operations, according to a team press release. Wu worked eight years with the NBA league office, specializing in salary cap management. Wu will be the team’s capologist.
  • The Pistons have a program that includes night sessions and extended practice sessions for players that would ordinarily be on their G League squad, coach Dwane Casey told Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link) and other media members. The Pistons had been affiliated with the Grand Rapids Drive but are switching to the newly-created Motor City Cruise in Detroit next season. They are not expected to participate in the G League bubble season in Atlanta.
  • A strained calf will prevent Kevin Love from playing in the Cavaliers’ opener on Wednesday, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer relays.

Central Notes: Weaver, Bulls Draft, Avdija, J. Holiday

The Pistons hired general manager Troy Weaver because of his reputation for evaluating young talent, so Omar Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press looked into Weaver’s track record with the Thunder to get clues for this year’s draft. Detroit holds the No. 7 pick in a draft that appears unpredictable after the first two or three choices.

Weaver has a history of taking athletic players with long wingspans, Sankofa notes. His standout selection was Russell Westbrook with the fourth pick in 2008, and the pattern extends with first-rounders such as Serge Ibaka, Reggie Jackson, Steven Adams, Andre Roberson, Josh Huestis, Terrance Ferguson and Darius Bazley. Weaver also signed Luguentz Dort, a similar player, after he went undrafted last year.

Sankofa believes former Memphis center James Wiseman and Georgia guard Anthony Edwards are the best fits for Weaver’s philosophy, but both are expected to be taken well before the Pistons’ turn. Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, possibly the draft’s best wing defender, could be an alternative, along with guard RJ Hampton and Florida State forward Patrick Williams.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • With the Bulls holding the No. 4 pick, Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times looks at four potential selections and their possible impact on the organization. LaMelo Ball would challenge Coby White for the starting point guard job right away and could open the door for a Zach LaVine trade that would create cap room to add a free agent next summer. Edwards could be the future shooting guard, which would also make LaVine expendable, while Wiseman would give the team a true center and leave Wendell Carter and Lauri Markkanen battling to become the starting power forward. Deni Avdija fills the greatest need for Chicago and would eventually take over for Otto Porter Jr.
  • At least one draft expert believes Avdija would be a perfect fit for the Bulls, relays Rob Schaffer of NBC Sports Chicago. Appearing on the Bulls Talk podcast, Spencer Pearlman, a former draft consultant with the Suns, says Avdija is versatile enough to handle either forward slot and plays bigger than his 6’9″ size.
  • Although the Knicks have interest in free agent guard Justin Holiday, returning to the Pacers is his first option, tweets J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star. Michael also states that assistant coach Bill Bayno will remain with Indiana under new coach Nate Bjorkgren (Twitter link) and the organization has hired Ted Wu as a capologist (Twitter link).

Pistons Notes: Wood, VanVleet, Rose, Casey

The Pistons‘ offseason decisions will be heavily influenced by what happens with the NBA’s salary cap, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Originally projected at $116MM, there have been rumors that the cap for next season could remain at $109MM. That would limit the flexibility for Detroit, which has just four players under contract beyond this year.

That number will likely grow when Tony Snell exercises his $12.178MM player option, Edwards notes, and second-year guards Bruce Brown and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk are expected to be brought back for $1.6MM each, along with Khyri Thomas. That would leave the Pistons with a seven-man roster at roughly $76MM, giving the team nearly $30MM in cap room.

The top priority will be re-signing Christian Wood, who blossomed as a star after the trade of Andre Drummond. If a depressed market allows Detroit to keep Wood at a reasonable price — Edwards estimates around $12MM per year — the team could have enough left to make a serious run at Toronto guard Fred VanVleet. The downside, Edwards points out, is that the Pistons would have to fill out the roster with just a $4.8MM mid-level exception and minimum contracts.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • Derrick Rose is likely to be moved sometime before next year’s trade deadline, Edwards adds in a mailbag column. It depends on Rose maintaining his health and high level of play after he turns 32 in October, but Edwards notes that the veteran guard is only under contract for one more year and Detroit doesn’t look like a playoff contender next season.
  • There’s little chance the Pistons would consider an early termination of coach Dwane Casey, even though the organization is in a far different position than when he was hired two years ago, observes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. Casey seems to have accepted the challenge of a rebuild, just as he did in Toronto. He was also involved in the interview process that led to the hiring of new general manager Troy Weaver. “Dwane Casey is the rock of the organization,” senior advisor Arn Tellem said in a recent radio interview. “We were lucky to get him a couple of years ago when we went through this search. He’s a true leader of this organization.” 
  • Weaver penned a message to Pistons fans on the team’s website, discussing his decision to leave Oklahoma City and his long relationship with Tellem while acknowledging, “We have work to do to make the roster better.”

Pistons Notes: Brown, Thomas, Draft, Weaver, Casey

The Pistons won’t have to make decisions on three young players with non-guaranteed deals until October, James Edwards III of The Athletic notes.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the Pistons had to decide whether to pick up the contracts of Bruce Brown, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Khyri Thomas during the first two weeks of July with each player scheduled to make approximately $1.66MM next season. That date has been pushed back until after the playoffs are completed in Orlando.

It’s a given that Detroit will exercise its team option on Mykhailiuk and guarantee Brown’s contract, but Thomas’ situation is uncertain. He missed most of the season with a foot injury and returned to action shortly before the stoppage of play. The coaching staff believes Thomas can be a contributor, which helps his chances of getting his deal guaranteed, Edwards adds.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • New GM Troy Weaver has said he’ll be looking for a high-character player in the lottery. That increases the chances that the team will draft Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, USC’s Onyeka Okongwu or Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Though none are currently ranked at the very top of the draft, that trio consistently draws high marks among scouts, college coaches and NBA executives for their personality traits, Langlois adds.
  • The mutual respect between Weaver and coach Dwane Casey bodes well for the franchise’s future, Langlois writes in a separate piece. Casey has proven he can develop talent and he has full confidence that Weaver will acquire the type of talent that can lift the franchise back to prominence, Langlois adds.
  • Assitant GM Pat Garrity is leaving the organization. Get all the details here.

Pistons Notes: Gores, Weaver, Patton, Mykhailiuk

Pistons owner Tom Gores is confident that new general manager Troy Weaver is the right choice to work with coach Dwane Casey, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Ed Stefanski has been running the front office while Detroit has been without a GM for the past two years, and Gores envisions them all operating together.

“There’ll be a nice divide-and-conquer coming in and again that’s why I trust Troy to come in as someone smart enough to leverage resources,” Gores said. “At a high level, we’ll work all this out in the detail. Really, Troy and Ed and Dwane will work on a day-to-day basis with each other, and Troy will have normal — and even higher than normal — GM responsibilities and he’s got a lot to learn. He’s going to get on the ground and know each player well and connect with (Casey) and so on and then as it bubbles up to ownership, (vice chairman) Arn (Tellem) and I — if there’s big decisions that need to be made — we’ll all gather.”

The management team will face two chances to set the direction for the future this fall with the draft, where the Pistons have a shot at a high lottery pick, and free agency, where the team could have as much as $30MM in cap space.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • Weaver made his first move with the Pistons this week, signing former first-round pick Justin Patton to a deal that’s non-guaranteed for next season. Weaver also took a chance on Patton last summer when he was in the Thunder’s front office, points out Omar Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. Injuries have limited Patton to just nine NBA games, but he remains an intriguing center prospect at age 23.
  • The Pistons used about half of their remaining non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Patton, tweets John Hollinger of The Athletic. That means they can offer a similar contract to another player before the NBA’s transaction window closes Tuesday night, if they so choose.
  • Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk developed into an important offensive weapon after moving into the starting lineup and appears to be part of the rebuilding process, writes Lauren Williams of MLive“Physically, right away you can see the things that he brings to the table, but I think he grew this year and sort of his mental approach, and also just his confidence that he can impact the game in more ways than just shooting,” Blake Griffin said. “I think next year will be a big year for him. He’s put in a lot of work and I feel like he’s taking that step.”

Pistons Notes: Weaver, Draft, Griffin

Reports during and after the Pistons‘ general manager search suggested that Troy Weaver was the team’s top target throughout the process, with Detroit renewing its pursuit of the former Thunder executive after being rebuffed by him two years ago.

Although Clippers assistant GM Mark Hughes and Nets assistant GM Jeff Peterson were said to receive serious consideration from the Pistons, a report from Marc Stein of The New York Times confirms that Weaver was always the “runaway” frontrunner. According to Stein, Weaver was the only one of Detroit’s candidates who interviewed with team owner Tom Gores.

Here’s more on the Pistons and their new GM:

  • Asked about his draft philosophy and how it might be affected by the fact that the Pistons will be picking in the top 10, Weaver stressed that a player’s character will be a major factor in his evaluations. “More times than not, high picks who don’t pan out the way people see it, you missed on the person,” he said, per James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. “If you get the person right, the basketball will take care of itself. Drafting high, getting the person right, is more important to me. If you draft in the 20s, you might want to take a swing on talent or a certain position, but when you’re where we’re drafting, you want to make sure the person is right.”
  • Keith Langlois of Pistons.com makes a case for why Blake Griffin‘s presence on the rebuilding Pistons is important and why the team shouldn’t be looking to dump his contract at any cost, with two years still left on that deal.
  • For what it’s worth, Weaver said earlier this week that Griffin is “definitely in our plans going forward,” as Edwards relays.

Weaver Will “Run Basketball Side Of Things” For Pistons

Pistons owner Tom Gores defined new general manager Troy Weaver’s role, saying that the former Oklahoma City executive “will run the basketball side of things” for the rebuilding franchise, Keith Langlois of the team’s website reports.

Senior adviser Ed Stefanski had been running the front office but will take a step back with Weaver in place. Gores also encouraged Weaver to receive input from vice chairman Arn Tellem, and coach Dwane Casey. The club is expected to hire at least one assistant GM.

“We want Troy to lead. He’s going to run the basketball side of things,” Gores said. “We have over 100 years of experience between Arn and Ed and Dwane to leverage. The smartest people in the world leverage whatever resources they have. I wanted to make sure he would leverage it.”

Weaver said he was “blown away” by Gores’ energy and enthusiasm in a video conference and was sold on taking the job “in two minutes.”

Weaver, who had been with the Thunder for more than a decade following a stint with the Jazz, most recently held the title of vice president of basketball operations after previously serving as the team’s VP/assistant GM. He was Sam Presti‘s top lieutenant in Oklahoma City and had been a candidate for other top basketball operations jobs around the NBA in recent years.

The Pistons pursued him for a front office role two years ago after Stefanski was hired. He wasn’t ready to leave OKC at that point. When the Pistons came calling this time, Weaver was more willing to make a career move.

“It’s all about timing. When this opportunity presented itself, I thought the timing was right,” he said. “I thought the fit was right and the loyalty that Mr. Gores and Arn and coach Casey and Ed have building made it attractive. My talents fit with those guys there to be collaborative.”

Though the team is focused on a youth movement, Weaver sees Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose as a big part of Detroit’s plans for next season, according to ESPN’s Eric Woodyard.

“We’re excited to get them healthy and help them move forward,” Weaver said. “We feel like we have a good mixture of young guys with those two staples to be able to start there, but obviously we’ve got a lot of work to do with the draft and free agency.”

Central Notes: Bulls, Weaver, Cavaliers

It’s time that the Bulls make a final decision on who will serve as head coach next season, opines Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Chicago recently hired Arturas Karnisovas as executive vice president of basketball operations. The job security of current head coach Jim Boylen, which is uncertain, the decision will ultimately fall in the hands of Karnisovas and his team.

“Coaching in the league is very difficult,” Karnisovas said in a recent Zoom call, according to Cowley. “To make a decision about coaching is really hard. It’s probably the hardest thing for executives. So I look at a lot of aspects. I’ve had numerous conversations.

“Talking to players and coaches, obviously everyone is disappointed with the results last year. They definitely underperformed. . . . [But] in order for me to keep players and coaches accountable, I have to have personal relationships with them. That’s what I need to cultivate.’’

The Bulls finished with the fifth-worst record in the East at 22-43 this season, failing to secure an invite for the NBA’s restart in Orlando next month.

Boylen has elicited mixed feelings from players, staffers, and fans since succeeding Fred Hoiberg as coach in December of 2018. Chicago has failed to make the playoffs in each of the past three seasons, currently sporting a nucleus of Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and others.

There’s more from the Central Division tonight:

  • Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press looks at how new Pistons general manager Troy Weaver could avoid failure by examining some of the franchise’s past mistakes. Weaver, who most recently served as vice president of basketball operations with the Thunder, was hired by Detroit last week. The Pistons accrued just a 20-46 record on the season and have reached the playoffs just twice in the past ten years.
  • Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com examines some pressing offseason topics for the Cavaliers, including Kevin Love‘s future and the chances of Tristan Thompson returning in free agency. Cleveland hopes to have Thompson return for a 10th consecutive season, but the 29-year-old is set to enter unrestricted free agency with the team also acquiring star center Andre Drummond ($28.7MM player option) last February.

Pistons Notes: Weaver Hiring, Wood, Griffin

The Pistons‘ long pursuit of Troy Weaver finally paid off Thursday when he was hired to be the team’s general manager, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. A league source tells Beard that Detroit had strong interest in Weaver when team president/coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Jeff Bower were dismissed two years ago, but the Thunder wouldn’t grant permission for an interview.

Weaver, 52, spent more than a decade in the Oklahoma City front office and was instrumental in building a team that reached the NBA Finals. He was an advocate for drafting Russell Westbrook with the fourth pick in 2008, even though he wasn’t projected that high. Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem previously worked with Wasserman Media Group, which represented Westbrook.

“We’re rebuilding our roster and Troy brings a tremendous amount of experience. He’s one of those guys who has a knack for talent,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said in an NBA-TV interview. “A lot of the growth and building they did in Oklahoma City Thunder, he was a big part of that. … The next couple of years of developing our roster is a key time in our organization.”

There’s more from Detroit:

  • In addition to Tellem and Casey, Weaver spoke with senior adviser Ed Stefanski, owner Tom Gores and the Pistons’ assistant general managers during the interview process so the organization could get a “fully rounded view,” according to James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Weaver will be given free rein to hire more assistant GMs and support staff. Sources tell Edwards that Nets assistant GM Jeff Peterson and Clippers assistant GM Mark Hughes were both impressive in their interviews and received serious consideration for the job.
  • Re-signing Christian Wood should be Weaver’s top priority, states Ansar Khan of MLive. Wood will be an unrestricted free agent after a breakout performance over the last month of the season, but faces a market limited by financial uncertainty and a shortage of teams with cap space. Detroit owns Wood’s early Bird rights and can start his new deal at a little more than the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, which is expected to be about $9.7MM. The Celtics and Rockets both expressed interest in Wood at the trade deadline, Khan adds.
  • Weaver also faces an important decision on Blake Griffin, who still has two years and approximately $75.6MM left on his contract, writes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit News. Griffin was limited to 18 games this season because of a knee injury and at age 31, he doesn’t fit the team’s rebuilding timeline. Sankofa notes that Weaver was part of two franchise-altering trades last summer involving Paul George and Westbrook.