Pistons Rumors

Central Notes: Love, Middleton, Perkins, Pistons

Earlier tonight, we heard talk of the Cavaliers sending Kyle Korver to Philadelphia in exchange for Jerryd Bayless. While we wait to see if anything materializes in Cleveland, let’s take a look at some notes from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers are not shopping Kevin Love, though he could be on the move if the right offer presents itself, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst mentions on the Lowe Post podcast. The scribe adds that Khris Middleton is in the same boat with the Bucks not deeming him untouchable nor looking to deal him.
  • Cleveland waived Kendrick Perkins to “do right” by the big man and allow him to pursue training camp deals, a source tells Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. The Cavaliers signed Perkins on the final day of the 2017/18 regular season back when LeBron James was still on the roster. The team had hoped to use Perkins’ contract as part of an offseason trade.
  • The Pistons have added Tim Grgurich and Micah Nori as assistant coaches to Dwane Casey‘s staff, Ansar Khan of Mlive.com relays.
  • Alex Boeder of NBA.com examines what Brook Lopez will bring to the Bucks. Lopez should be able to help the team stretch the floor with his three-point shot, as over 40% of his shots from the field last came from behind the arc.
  • FIBA has banned Bucks center Thon Maker for three games in international play for his part in a brawl during a game in the Philippines earlier this month, according to an ESPN report. Maker said he disagreed with the decision in a written statement that was released on his Twitter account.

Checking In On 2018’s Unsigned Draft Picks

The 2018 NBA draft took place less than a month ago, but over three quarters over the players selected on the night of June 22 have already signed their first NBA contracts. That includes each of the 30 players picked in the first round, all of whom are now under contract.

The following players have not yet signed contracts with their new NBA teams:

  1. Detroit Pistons: Khyri Thomas, SG (Creighton)
  2. Orlando Magic: Justin Jackson, F (Maryland)
  3. Washington Wizards: Issuf Sanon, G (Olimpija Ljubljana)
  4. Oklahoma City Thunder: Hamidou Diallo, SG (Kentucky)
  5. Houston Rockets: De’Anthony Melton, G (USC)
  6. San Antonio Spurs: Chimezie Metu, F/C (USC)
  7. New Orleans Pelicans: Tony Carr, PG (Penn State)
  8. Oklahoma City Thunder: Devon Hall, SG (Virginia)
  9. Philadelphia 76ers: Shake Milton, G (SMU)
  10. Charlotte Hornets: Arnoldas Kulboka, SF (Capo D’Orlando)
  11. Dallas Mavericks: Ray Spalding, PF (Louisville)
  12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Hervey, SF (Texas-Arlington)
  13. Denver Nuggets: Thomas Welsh, C (UCLA)

Sanon, Carr, and Kulboka will reportedly spend the 2018/19 season overseas, so we can safely remove their names from this list — they won’t be signing NBA contracts this offseason. Welsh, meanwhile, has reportedly agreed to terms on a two-way contract with Denver, though it’s not yet official.

That leaves just nine players from 2018’s draft class who we should still expect to sign at some point. Of those nine players, the higher picks such as Thomas (Pistons), Jackson (Magic), Diallo (Thunder), and Melton (Rockets) are good bets to sign multiyear NBA contracts. Even though some of those teams have luxury-tax concerns, they’ll have to fill out their rosters somehow, and a rookie contract at or near the minimum is the best way to avoid significantly increasing their potential tax penalties.

The players selected in the 50s may be candidates for two-way deals. A year ago, no player selected between Nos. 49-60 received a standard NBA contract, with all of those players signing two-way contracts, agreeing to straight G League contracts, or heading overseas to join an international team.

[RELATED: 2018/19 NBA Two-Way Contract Tracker]

As such, players like Hall (Thunder), Milton (Sixers), Spalding (Mavericks), and Hervey (Thunder) should be considered two-way options. For now though, Dallas doesn’t have a two-way slot open, and Oklahoma City only has one, so it remains to be seen what the future holds for these late second-rounders. We should find out in the coming weeks.

Pistons Sign Keenan Evans To Two-Way Contract

JULY 17: Evans’ two-way contract with the Pistons is now official, per RealGM’s NBA transactions log. Evans and Reggie Hearn now occupy Detroit’s two-way contract slots.

JUNE 27: Texas Tech guard Keenan Evans has agreed to a two-way contract with the Pistons, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

The 6’3” Evans played four seasons with the Red Raiders and posted averages of 17.6 PPG, 3.1 RPG and 3.2 APG in his senior year. He struggled from long range, making 32% of his 3-point attempts after connecting on 43.2% during his junior year.

Evans played the last month of his college career, including the NCAA Tournament, with a broken toe.

The Pistons decided not to extend a qualifying offer to one of their two-way players last season, point guard Kay Felder, according to Tony Paul of The Detroit News.

Felder, a Detroit native, joined the Pistons in January after he was waived by the Bulls in December. He spent most of his time in the G League, playing two games with the Pistons, after seeing action in 14 games with the Bulls. Felder was a second-round draft pick in 2016 and played 42 games for the Cavaliers before he was traded last offseason to the Hawks, who waived him.

And-Ones: Billups, LeBron, Free Agency, Budinger

ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups wants to run an NBA team in the near future, according to an Associated Press report. Billups turned down the Cavaliers’ GM job last summer, saying then it would tough to rebuild the team if LeBron James bolted. Rumors flew this summer that he’d be a candidate for a Pistons’ front-office post but he wasn’t seriously considered. “My desire is to one day run a team, be in a front office and try to build a champion,” Billups said. “I know that I will and I know I’m going to do a good job. When that opportunity presents itself, and it’s a good opportunity, I’ll be ready to go.”

In other news from around the league and overseas:

  • LeBron James will skip next week’s USA Basketball minicamp, Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes. It will be the first official session for USA Basketball with the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich as the head coach.
  • Dwyane Wade could be a bargain for the Heat or another team still shopping for a free agent guard, according to another AP story. Wade could probably be signed in the $5MM range. Vince Carter, Michael Beasley and restricted free agent Marcus Smart are three other veteran free agents who could offer value at a bargain rate, the story adds.
  • Former NBA forward Chase Budinger is pursuing a career in volleyball, Drew Ruiz of HoopsHype reports. Budinger is chasing an Olympic dream and has become a partner with two-time Olympian Sean Rosenthal on the AVP Beach Volleyball circuit. “That’s been a goal of mine since I was in high school, to be on an Olympic team and playing for the USA,” Budinger told Ruiz. Budinger’s NBA career ended after he played 17 games for the Suns in the second half of the 20015/16 season.
  • Former NBA guard Mike James has signed a lucrative offer sheet with Italy’s Olimpia Milano through the 2021 season, international expert David Pick tweets. James started 10 games for the Suns last season and appeared in 32 games overall, averaging 10.4 PPG and. 3.8 APG. After getting waived, he played four games with the Pelicans before getting waived again. He then had a second stint with Greece’s Panathinaikos Athens and won a championship.

Pistons Guarantee Reggie Bullock’s 2018/19 Salary

The Pistons have opted to keep Reggie Bullock on their roster through his July 15 salary guarantee deadline, ensuring that his contract for 2018/19 will become guaranteed, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News.

While Beard classifies the move as Detroit picking up a “team option” on Bullock, the Pistons didn’t actually have to exercise an option to keep the veteran swingman on their roster. The club simply had to keep Bullock under contract – rather than waiving him by Sunday – to guarantee his $2.5MM salary for next season.

Bullock, 27, enjoyed a breakout year for the Pistons in 2017/18. After averaging just 3.0 PPG in 147 games over his first four NBA seasons, the former first-round pick posted 11.3 PPG on .489/.445/.796 shooting in 62 games (52 starts) last year. His performance made it an easy decision for the club to bring him back at a bargain price of $2.5MM.

Bullock will now be on track for unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2019. As for the Pistons, their team salary will remain at about $122.4MM, per Basketball Insiders, just shy of the $123.7MM tax line. The club still has room to fill out the last spot on its roster by signing second-rounder Khyri Thomas, but no deal is in place yet for the former Creighton standout.

Pistons Notes: Robinson III, Nori, Hearn

The Pistons nabbed former Michigan Wolverine Glenn Robinson III for two years at just north of $8MM. His goal this season, Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press writes, is to contend for a starting gig.

Before joining the Pistons, Robinson III made a name for himself as a sharp-shooting reserve on a Pacers team but an early ankle injury early last season threw a wrench in what could have been a breakout year in 2017/18.

Looming large ahead of Robinson on the Pistons’ depth chart is Stanley Johnson but the new addition could carve out a meaningful role for himself thanks to his long-range shooting regardless.

There’s more out of Detroit this evening:

  • The Pistons will bring Micah Nori aboard to join Dwane Casey‘s coaching staff, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The club will also bring aboard former Warriors analytics ace Sammy Gelfand, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes.
  • The Pistons will return a number of key rotation players this season, while integrating a number of fresh faces eager to compete for minutes. Rod Beard of The Detroit News breaks down what fans can make of each player currently on the roster.
  • The Pistons retain the rights to 2017/18 two-way player Reggie Hearn, Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press tweets and the guard is hopeful to return to the team’s G League affiliate this season.

Pistons Sign Zaza Pachulia

JULY 15, 12:37pm: The signing is official, the Pistons announced in an email.

JULY 8, 3:51pm: The Pistons have officially waived Moreland, according to a team press release.

12:09pm: Free agent center Zaza Pachulia has agreed to a one-year deal with the Pistons, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. Pachulia will receive a veteran’s minimum salary of $2,393,887 with a $1,512,601 cap hit.

Pachulia will bring championship experience to Detroit as the backup for Andre Drummond. The 34-year-old won rings as a member of the Warriors in each of the past two seasons.

A rugged defender and rebounder, Pachulia appeared in 69 games with Golden State during 2017/18, averaging 5.4 PPG and 4.7 RPG. His role decreased in the playoffs as the Warriors opted for smaller, quicker lineups. Pachulia played in just seven postseason games, averaging 3.7 minutes.

The addition of Pachulia means Detroit no longer has a need for Eric Moreland, who will be waived, according to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). Today was the deadline to make a decision on a $750K guarantee for Moreland’s $1,826,300 salary.

Calderon Excited To Join Pistons

  • Because he signed a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract, Jose Calderon likely could have chosen to play wherever he wanted to this upcoming season, opines Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. But he ended up picking the Pistons simply because he believes they can be a good team. And although he’ll likely slot in behind Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith on the depth chart, it’s possible new coach Dwane Casey could play two point guards at the same time, thereby opening up playing time for Calderon.

Contract Details For Bruce Brown