- Adding free agent Carmelo Anthony to the mix never made any sense for the Pistons, as Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press explains in his latest mailbag. Anthony’s game is predicated on isolation plays and that doesn’t fit the Pistons’ system. He’s also spent most of his time at power forward in recent seasons and the Pistons already signed Markieff Morris, a better defender, to back up Blake Griffin. They also added another veteran forward, Michael Beasley, to compete for a roster spot, Ellis adds.
Unlike the free agent frenzy this summer, next year’s open market will produce precious little drama.
Unless Anthony Davis is serious about testing the waters after the Lakers expended many assets to acquire him, there will be no marquee names on the unrestricted free agent list.
Pistons center Andre Drummond might be the most intriguing and polarizing player on the market.
He can become an unrestricted free agent if he declines his player option of $28.75MM. It might be the ideal time for Drummond to test the waters, considering the lack of star power in next year’s free agent class.
He’s the league premier rebounder, particularly at the offensive end. Despite not developing a 3-point shot — though coach Dwane Casey is willing to give him some chances in the future — Drummond averaged a career-best 17.3 PPG last season.
His free throw shooting is still poor but he’s improved enough to stay on the court in crunch time, going from below 40 percent to around 60 the past two seasons.
He’s adept in pick-and-roll situations and led his team in blocks and steals last season. However, his overall defense often leaves something to be desired.
The Pistons have a dilemma on their hands. They could try to work out an extension with Drummond, who is still only 26 and in the prime of his career.
They could also opt to play things out and perhaps trade him before the deadline if their season goes sour. However, if Drummond has a big year and they hold onto him, they could lose him for nothing next summer and face another long rebuild.
Since Drummond didn’t make an All-NBA team last season, he’s not eligible for the super max. If he wanted a maximum extension, he’d have to decline his player option, then receive a 20 percent raise on his $27MM salary for the upcoming season.
With 8% raises during the ensuing three seasons, Drummond could receive a four-year, $145.65MM extension beginning in 2020/21.
The Pistons have been handcuffed by a bad salary cap situation but beyond Blake Griffin‘s contract, they have few salary commitments after this season and will be in pretty good position to make moves next summer.
That leads us to our question of the day: Should the Pistons offer Andre Drummond an extension? If so, would it be in Drummond’s best interests to accept the offer or should he shop his services in a weak free agent market next summer?
Please take to the comments section to weigh in on this topic. We look forward to your input.
- Veteran forward Michael Beasley turned down a guaranteed $2.5MM contract in China to sign a non-guaranteed training camp deal with the Pistons, according to James Edwards and Shams Charania of The Athletic. Beasley is set to enter his 12th NBA season, with the 30-year-old appearing in 26 games on the Lakers last year.
- Michael Beasley‘s agreement with the Pistons is expected to be non-guaranteed, according to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. Beasley will battle Christian Wood, who was claimed off waivers last month, for the final roster spot. With the signing of Derrick Rose, Detroit has added the top two picks in the 2008 draft this summer.
Free agent forward Michael Beasley has reached an agreement with the Pistons, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. His contract will cover one season and will likely be for the veteran’s minimum. He will be given a “legitimate opportunity” to make the roster in training camp, sources tell Charania.
Beasley appeared in 26 games for the Lakers last season, averaging 7.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 10.7 minutes per night. He was traded in February to the Clippers, who promptly waived him. He finished the season with the Guangdong Southern Tigers, and there was speculation that he might return to China if he didn’t get an NBA offer.
If he earns a roster spot, Beasley won’t be eligible for Detroit’s first five games because of a suspension that was handed down this week for violating the league’s anti-drug policy.
The 30-year-old was the second player picked in the 2008 draft. He spent time with the Heat, Timberwolves, Suns, Rockets, Bucks and Knicks before coming to L.A.
Beasley’s signing will bring the Pistons to the 20-player limit heading into camp next month. They already have 17 players under contract (14 fully guaranteed), along with a pair of two-way deals.
The Pistons paid a high price to acquire Sirvydis, the 37th overall pick in the 2019 draft. Detroit sent this year’s No. 45 pick (Isaiah Roby) and two more future second-round selections to Dallas in exchange for Sirvydis’ draft rights.
However, a report last month indicated that the Lithuanian swingman would likely remain overseas for 2019/20 unless he forced Detroit’s hand with an outstanding Summer League performance. Sirvydis ended up logging just 34 total minutes in five games with the Pistons in Las Vegas, and his 1.8 points per game probably didn’t qualify as “outstanding.”
In his conversation with LKL.lt, the 19-year-old said he’ll be returning to Lithuanian club Rytas Vilnius for the ’19/20 campaign.
Barring a last-minute change of direction for Sirvydis and the Pistons, the move may open the door for a player on a non-guaranteed contract to make the club’s regular season roster. Currently, Detroit has 14 players on guaranteed salaries and a pair of players on two-way deals. Christian Wood is among the non-guaranteed players who figures to vie for the Pistons’ 15th roster spot.
The NBA salary cap is somewhat malleable, with various exceptions allowing every team to surpass the $109,140,000 threshold once their room is used up. In some cases, teams blow past not only the cap limit, but the luxury-tax limit of $132,627,000 as well — the Trail Blazers have this season’s highest payroll at the moment, more than $11MM above the tax line.
The NBA doesn’t have a “hard cap” by default, which allows a club like Portland to build a significant payroll without violating CBA rules. However, there are certain scenarios in which teams can be hard-capped.
When a club uses the bi-annual exception, acquires a player via sign-and-trade, or uses more than the taxpayer portion ($5,718,000) of the mid-level exception, that club will face a hard cap for the remainder of the league year.
When a team becomes hard-capped, it cannot exceed the “tax apron” at any point during the rest of the league year. The tax apron was set $6MM above the luxury tax line in 2017/18 (the first year of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement) and creeps up a little higher each season. For the 2019/20 league year, the tax apron – and hard cap for certain clubs – is set at $138,928,000.
More teams than ever this offseason have been willing to hard-cap themselves, and in at least a couple cases, it will significantly impact a team’s ability to add further reinforcements later in the league year. The Warriors and Heat are nearly right up against the hard cap, and won’t be players in free agency during the season unless they can shed salary.
So far this year, half the teams in the NBA have imposed a hard cap on themselves by using the bi-annual exception, using the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, or acquiring a player via sign-and-trade. Listed below are those 15 teams, along with how they created a hard cap.
- Acquired Kemba Walker from the Hornets via sign-and-trade.
- Acquired Kevin Durant from the Warriors via sign-and-trade.
- Acquired Terry Rozier from the Celtics via sign-and-trade.
- Acquired Tomas Satoransky from the Wizards via sign-and-trade.
- Acquired Delon Wright from the Grizzlies via sign-and-trade.
- Used approximately $7.46MM of their mid-level exception to sign Seth Curry.
- Used their bi-annual exception to sign Boban Marjanovic.
- Used approximately $7.32MM of their mid-level exception to sign Derrick Rose.
- Used their bi-annual exception to sign Markieff Morris.
Golden State Warriors
- Acquired D’Angelo Russell from the Nets via sign-and-trade.
- Acquired Malcolm Brogdon from the Bucks via sign-and-trade.
- Used their full mid-level exception ($9,258,000) to sign Tyus Jones.
- Used their bi-annual exception to sign Marko Guduric.
- Acquired Jimmy Butler from the Sixers via sign-and-trade.
- Acquired Jake Layman from the Trail Blazers via sign-and-trade.
- Used their full mid-level exception ($9,258,000) to sign Al-Farouq Aminu.
San Antonio Spurs
- Acquired DeMarre Carroll from the Nets via sign-and-trade.
- Used approximately $8.3MM of their mid-level exception to sign Patrick McCaw, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Matt Thomas, and Dewan Hernandez.
- Used their bi-annual exception to sign Stanley Johnson.
- Used approximately $7.9MM of their mid-level exception to sign Ish Smith, Admiral Schofield, and Justin Robinson.
Outside of the Warriors and Heat, no clubs on the list above are really being restricted by the hard cap at this time. A few teams – such as the Pistons and Magic – are near the luxury tax threshold, but that still gives them several million dollars in breathing room below the hard cap.
While it’s possible that trades could push some teams closer to the apron, Golden State and Miami appear to be the only clubs that will be noticeably affected by the hard cap in 2019/20.
- Former Pistons star Chauncey Billups hopes to see the team reach the playoffs again next spring, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press writes. “Continuity can be a good thing, just add some pieces here and there,” Billups said. “I need to see how it all works together, but we’ll see because teams got a lot better. I can’t tell you the Pistons are one of those teams that got a lot better — maybe a little better. Obviously, I’m hoping that the Pistons will jump out there and kick a lot of butt because I’m tired of people talking stuff to me about my Pistons.”
- New players could allow the Pistons to mix up rotations and try different lineups this season, Rod Beard writes for The Detroit News. The Pistons signed Derrick Rose, Markieff Morris and Tim Frazier to contracts in free agency, also acquiring forward Tony Snell from Milwaukee, claiming Christian Wood off waivers and selecting Sekou Doumbouya at No. 15 in June’s NBA Draft.
JULY 30: More than two months after Gupta’s hiring was first reported, the Timberwolves made it official, issuing a press release to announce that Gupta has been named the team’s executive VP of basketball operations.
“Sachin is an extremely talented basketball mind who brings a diverse and unique background to our staff,” Rosas said in a statement. “Known as a pioneer of basketball analytics and one of the leaders in the CBA, I’m thrilled to partner with Sachin as we aim to build the Timberwolves into one of the most modern and dynamic franchises in the NBA.”
MAY 28: The Timberwolves‘ front office makeover will continue with another new hire, as Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that Pistons executive Sachin Gupta will become Minnesota’s executive VP of basketball operations.
Gupta, a veteran NBA executive who is perhaps best known for inventing ESPN’s trade machine, had been serving as an assistant general manager in Detroit. Before spending last season with the Pistons, he was a special advisor to Rockets GM Daryl Morey, who hired him way back in 2006. Between his two stints in Houston, Gupta also spent several years with the Sixers, working as the VP of basketball operations under Sam Hinkie.
According to JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors (via Twitter), Gupta and the Timberwolves had been discussing a potential role for the last several days. Gupta also interviewed with the team in 2017, but the fit makes more sense now, as he’ll be reunited with new Wolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, with whom he worked in Houston.
Gupta is the second notable executive the Wolves have brought in since hiring Rosas, joining new assistant GM Gianluca Pascucci. According to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (via Twitter), Gupta figures to be Minnesota’s new No. 2 under Rosas in the team’s revamped front office.
There has been no word yet on incumbent general manager Scott Layden, but Krawczynski says most people expect him to stay on board in some capacity.
- The mother of former Grand Rapids Drive forward Zeke Upshaw has reached a private settlement in her federal lawsuit with the NBA and Pistons franchise, according to T.J. Quinn of ESPN.com. Upshaw tragically passed away after collapsing near the end of a G League game in 2018, with his mother Jewel filing a wrongful death lawsuit in the months that followed. NBA officials released the following statement on the matter: “Jewel Upshaw, the National Basketball Association, and the Detroit Pistons announced today that they have resolved their prior dispute and the litigation claims against the National Basketball Association and the Detroit Pistons pending in federal district court have been dismissed. The NBA and Pistons express their sympathies to Jewel Upshaw and the rest of Zeke’s family on his tragic passing.”
- The Pistons are expected to name Donnie Tyndall as new head coach of the Grand Rapids Drive, according to Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days. Tyndall has spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach with the Raptors 905, helping win a league championship under Jerry Stackhouse in 2017.