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Report: Pistons open to trading No. 12 draft pick for win-now veteran


Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy suffered through a miserable season.

Detroit finished a disappointing 37-45, fading from the playoff race down the stretch. Reggie Jackson began the season injured and never found his footing. Franchise player Andre Drummond, seemingly grating Van Gundy in particular, regressed in the first year of his max contract. Most players between struggled with shooting, defense or both. Van Gundy shuffled lineups to avail.

But after dealing with all that day after day, the Pistons coach can at least turn to Pistons president Stan Van Gundy for a solution.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

A drawback of a president/coach is him thinking too short-term. Is that the case here? Perhaps, but we don’t know whom the Pistons are targeting. They might not trade the No. 12 pick for someone less valuable just to get an immediate upgrade.

A deal would be tricky, too. If they retain restricted free agent Kentavious Caldwell-Popewhich appears likely – the Pistons would be near the luxury-tax line. Most veterans with the value of a mid-first-rounder make more money than the No. 12 pick, which would put even more stress on Detroit’s finances.

We also don’t know which players will be available at No. 12. The draft could drop off before then unless you’re enamored with someone like Donovan Mitchell or Luke Kennard.

It’s easy to slam the Pistons for this strategy, and maybe they deserve it. But for a president/coach, Van Gundy has been relatively patient so far. He deserves a little leeway to explore trades without inducing panic.

Friday afternoon fun: Watch James Harden’s 10 best plays from last season

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James Harden had a historic season in Houston.

Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

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Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.

That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.

Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.

Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.

Marc Gasol: If Grizzlies don’t share my goal of continued growth, we might have to revisit things

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The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.

Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.

Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:

I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.

Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.

But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.

Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction

On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.