Troy Weaver

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.”

Pistons Notes: Griffin, Youth Movement, Ellington, Wright

It’s hard to imagine a trade scenario for Blake Griffin, according to a number of staff members on The Athletic. Griffin’s max salary and declining play make it nearly impossible to deal him. Griffin, who will reportedly sit until the Pistons can find a trade partner or buy him out, is a shell of his former All-Star self after multiple knee surgeries, as the story points out his inability to dunk and block shots any longer. The Celtics, Trail Blazers, Nets, Warriors, Lakers, Bucks, Kings and Spurs are all mentioned as possible destinations if Griffin is bought out.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • If Griffin is able to pick his next destination, the situation will be a win-win for both him and the Pistons, Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press writes. GM Troy Weaver can continue to chart his own course with his multi-year rebuilding plan and the team’s younger players, like Eastern Conference Player of the Week Saddiq Bey, can get extended playing time.
  • Griffin deserves to be remembered fondly by Detroit fans, James Edwards of The Athletic opines. Griffin led the team to the playoffs two seasons ago and continually played through injuries and pain. He showed the city’s trademark grit, diving for loose balls, barking at opponents and taking charges. Griffin gave everything he could to the team until his body betrayed him, Edwards adds.
  • Given his age and early-season production, Wayne Ellington is the most logical player to be traded, Edwards writes in a separate piece. The Pistons might be able to flip the veteran shooting guard for a second-round pick. Delon Wright‘s versatility to play both guard positions could also make him an attractive trade target. The Sixers are one of the teams reportedly interested in Wright.

Pistons Notes: Smith Jr., Casey, Rose, Weaver

Despite a lack of playing time in New York, Dennis Smith Jr. didn’t ask to be traded, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Smith held his first media session today since the deal, which gives him a chance to revive his career with the Pistons. After suffering a quad injury early in the season and falling out of Tom Thibideau’s rotation, Smith requested a trip to the G League for more playing time and was preparing for the season in Orlando when he heard about the trade.

“I was super excited,’’ he said. “I was down in the ‘G’ getting ready to have our first scrimmage. I heard the news. I was just smiling all day. I couldn’t really sleep that night. I was looking at it as an opportunity and a fresh start and make the most out of it.”

Smith will have a few months to show the Pistons what he can do before they have to make a decision on his future. This is the final year of his rookie contract, and Detroit will have a chance to make him a restricted free agent by submitting a $7MM-plus qualifying offer after the season. Coach Dwane Casey is willing to give him an opportunity.

“Sometimes it just doesn’t work,’’ Casey said.Christian Wood had how many teams (before starring here)? Sometimes a change of scenery is good for everybody. I told him you’re starting out with a clean slate. I don’t care what happened in New York, what happened in Dallas. I don’t care what happened at North Carolina State. It’s what happens here.”

There’s more from Detroit:

  • Smith will make his Pistons debut Thursday night against the Pacers, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News. He has played just 28 total minutes this season and hasn’t gotten into a game since January 17. “He’s a full go and we’ll see how much he can go tomorrow,” Casey said.
  • Derrick Rose left Detroit on good terms, according to Keith Langlois of NBA.com, who adds that Rose and the Pistons recognized that he should be with a team that has a shot at the postseason. Casey complimented the job Rose did as a mentor to the team’s young players and noted that he’s already taking on the same role in New York.
  • General manager Troy Weaver is off to a strong start in his rebuilding project, according to James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Weaver recognized the potential of free agent forward Jerami Grant, who has turned into a star with the Pistons, and he appears to have guessed right on rookie center Isaiah Stewart, the 16th choice in the draft. Weaver also took a chance on former lottery pick Josh Jackson, who is having the best season of his career.

Pistons Notes: Smith, Casey, McGruder, Weaver

Dennis Smith Jr. could follow the path of Josh Jackson on the rebuilding Pistons, Keith Langlois of the team’s website opines. Jackson is reviving his career after signing with the club as a free agent, as evidenced by his 28-point outing against the Lakers on Saturday. Smith, who was officially acquired from the Knicks on Monday, is another lottery pick who could get his career back on track in Detroit.

With lottery pick Killian Hayes out indefinitely, Smith will get playing time and he’s now in an organization invested in the futures of all its young players, Langlois adds. Smith could be a restricted free agent after the season if Detroit extends a $7MM+ qualifying offer.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Since Smith spent time at Orlando’s G League bubble, coach Dwane Casey anticipates the guard will have to quarantine a few days in Detroit, James Edwards of The Athletic tweets. If so, Smith won’t be in uniform on Tuesday against Brooklyn, Detroit’s first game since its 0-4 West Coast trip. He’s officially listed as questionable.
  • Casey didn’t sign up for a rebuilding project when he was hired by owner Tom Gores but he’s on board with the team’s rebuilding effort, Edwards adds in another tweet. The Pistons also acquired a second-round pick from the Knicks in the Derrick Rose deal. “It’s a direction, and it’s one needed for a long time with this organization,” Casey said.
  • Rodney McGruder has known GM Troy Weaver since childhood, as McGruder’s father grew up with Weaver in Washington, D.C., according to Langlois“Troy’s like an uncle to me. Grew up in the same neighborhood,” McGruder said. “I’ve known him all my life. That relationship, he’s family. We both want to see each other succeed.” McGruder’s $5MM for next season in non-guaranteed.

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: