Eric Moreland played all of two minutes total across three games for the Kings’ last season before suffering a labral tear in his shoulder that ended his season (he did get paid his full $507,336 salary because of that, though). Then this summer, with a pretty full roster, the Kings waived the undrafted 6’10” forward rather than guarantee his deal.
Free agent Eric Moreland has multiple deals to compete for a roster spot in NBA training camp, with the Detroit Pistons as frontrunners, league sources told RealGM. The Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings are strong under consideration for Moreland, sources said, and their front offices expect the 6-foot-10 forward to settle upon a destination once the final offers are presented.
This would be a camp invite, make-good contract with maybe a little guarantee. Could he make the roster in any of those places? That’s an uphill climb.
Detroit has 17 guaranteed contracts and already is going to have to cut a couple of them. They also have a front line with Ersan Ilyasova and Anthony Tolliver at the four, then three centers in Andre Drummond, Aron Baynes, and Joel Anthony. Not sure where Moreland fits in there.
The Lakers have 12 guaranteed deals but a pretty stacked frontcourt, Mooreland would need to beat out someone like Tarik Black (whom the Lakers like). The Kings have 14 guaranteed contracts and already waived him this summer so he wouldn’t be a guaranteed deal on their books, plus they have Willie Cauley-Stein in his young, shot blocker role.
Mooreland likely chooses whoever gives him the biggest guarantee. It’s about the money.
Steve Blake trys to carve out role as more than just veteran bench presence in Detroit
In Detroit, newly minted max player Reggie Jackson is going to be the starting point guard for Stan Van Gundy. Behind him there is Brandon Jennings, who is coming off a torn Achilles. Jennings may be ready to go when the season tips off, but even if he is Van Gundy may want to go easy on his minutes.
Then there’s veteran Steve Blake.
Van Gundy wanted insurance in case Jennings wasn’t ready to go when the season tips off, plus Van Gundy likes shooters and Blake is a career 38.5 percent from three (35.2 percent last season). So the Pistons traded Quincy Miller for Blake (the trade was with the Nets, who had gotten Blake in a draft night deal with Portland).
“That’s one of the things my brother (Jeff) said when we talked about the trade,” Van Gundy grinned. “He said, ‘If I had to bet, I’d say he finds a way to get on the floor no matter what.’ That’s sort of what he’s always done. He’s found a way to play.”
If Blake is playing a lot at age 35 it’s not ideal, it means Jennings isn’t right. Blake game has started to slip in recent years, but he can be solid. What Van Gundy saw in Blake was a professional, a guy who puts in the work, a smart veteran player —the kind needed in the locker room of a young team. He and Joel Anthony are the veteran voices.
“The last two people we (signed) were Joel and Steve. It’s a young team,” Van Gundy said. “We really didn’t get any older. Our starting lineup will average under 25 years old. I’m not sure having all young guys is the best way to develop all those guys. I think we saw the benefits of Caron (Butler) and Joel and Anthony Tolliver last year. Besides what Steve can do on the floor, I think Steve, Joel and Anthony as our only guys over 30 give us veteran guys who are really, really solid pros and good people for those guys to watch and grow up around.”
There certainly are real questions about them, but I’m higher on Detroit next season than a lot of people. Jackson and Andre Drummond showed some chemistry last season. Ersan Ilyasova is a better fit stylistically at the four in Van Gundy’s system than Greg Monroe. I think players like Marcus Morris and rookie Stanley Johnson can make an impact. They need shooters (expect Jodi Meeks’ role to grow) but there is some potential here.
I think this is a playoff team in the East. So long as Blake can be that veteran voice that helps keep the young players on the right path.
Marcus Morris is ticked Phoenix traded him away from his twin brother Markieff
Last summer, twin brothers Marcus and Markeiff Morris both signed four-year contract extensions with the Phoenix Suns and they were excited to get to play side-by-side in the Valley of the Sun. They got their chance, more than 1,100 minutes together on the court last season — and when they were on the court together the Suns were basically dead even with their opponents (+0.5 per 48 minutes, with both an offensive and defensive rating of 103.8 points per 100 possessions).
That didn’t impress the Suns, who this summer traded Marcus to the Detriot Pistons.
“This gives me a chance to branch out. In my opinion, God works in mysterious ways, and He has plans for certain people. Everybody knew how bad I wanted to play with my brother. Phoenix knew. For them to trade me without consent or telling me was like a slap in the face, because of the contract I took from those guys and the money I took from them. I’m happy to be here. I’m a Piston. I’m a Bad Boy. I’m ready to get started.”
Welcome to the NBA, Marcus. It’s a cold-hearted business at times.
Morris will get his chance to prove the Suns made a mistake, fighting for minutes in Detroit with Anthony Tolliver, likely behind Ersan Ilyasova at the four. Then again, the Suns did keep the better brother in this deal.
But before we can worry about what Marcus does on the court, he’ll have to get past the legal issues he and his brother ran into this summer — both were charged with felony assault in Phoenix. Both have said they are confident they will prevail and that there is nothing to the charges, but will not speak in detail about them.
Reggie Jackson’s best move as Pistons’ starting point guard: Connecting with Andre Drummond
BOSTON – Reggie Jackson, explaining how the Pistons have welcomed him, got interrupted.
“Hey, Reggie,” Andre Drummond said with a friendly tone from a couple lockers away.
“What up, big fella?” Jackson responded.
Jackson, acquired from the Thunder just before the trade deadline, has been up-and-down in 15 games with the Pistons. He’s averaging 15.3 points, 8.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game with Detroit, but also 3.2 turnovers and shooting just 38.9 percent from the field and 27.5 percent on 3-pointers.
But if there’s one thing Jackson has clearly done right, it’s bond with Drummond.
Drummond is the franchise player, and there’s a decent case the Pistons hired Stan Van Gundy in part because he helped mold a similar player in Dwight Howard. Everything revolves around Drummond.
And Jackson seems like a good fit with the budding star.
Detroit’s new point guard, despite playing fewer than half as many with Drummond this season as Brandon Jennings, has already thrown Drummond more alley-oop dunks than Jennings did. You can watch all 15:
Jackson said spending time off the court with Drummond has been key.
“The majority of time that we’ve spent hanging out has allowed us to both feel a little more comfortable opening up to each other,” Jackson said. “If there’s something he likes to do on the court, he relays it to me. If there’s a way I like to play in the pick-and-roll, I relay it to him. I think just two open-minded individuals who are just trying to find ways to be better players, be better teammates and trying to lead this organization in the right direction.”
There have been questions whether Jackson is the right guy to lead the Pistons, or any organization, forward.
“Whenever I got my shot is when I was going to get my shot. I was just vocal about what I wanted my shot to be,” Jackson said. “Some people were mad about that. Some people understood where I was coming from. But it didn’t matter where I was going to be at. I was always going to go out there and compete and do my best.”
Nobody has questioned Jackson’s effort in Detroit.
Jackson said he put too much pressure on himself to play like “an ideal point guard, which I don’t think anybody in the world knows what that is.”
“I think you can assign it to all the naysayers,” Jackson said. “So, I had to stop worrying about what everybody else thinks, pretend not to care too much about what’s out there.
“One thing I definitely learned from Russell is, don’t listen. Don’t listen. Don’t pay attention to them. Who cares? Just go out there and be yourself, and they’ll find a way to try to build around you.”
Jackson settled down from there, though he’s still adjusting to playing starter’s minutes. He’s also adapting to new teammates without the benefit of training camp or numerous practices.
Tayshaun Prince – who has given Jackson tips on how Mike Conley handled playing with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph in Memphis – said Jackson has benefitted lately from improved spacing with Greg Monroe out a few games due to injury. That has often left Jackson to work with Drummond and three shooters. Prince said Jackson can still make it worth both interior-focused bigs, even if playing with only one comes easier right now, and Van Gundy still says he hopes Monroe returns.
11 points, 10 assists and 11 rebounds in a loss to the 76ers
22 points and 11 assists in a win over the Bulls
17 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds in a win over the Celtics
“He’s playing very, very well now,” Van Gundy said. “The last four games, he’s been outstanding, making plays and creating shots for us. So, you’ve to be very, very happy with that.”
Jackson will become a restricted free agent this summer, and he deflects any question about his offseason without giving even a hint of his plans.
He’ll likely wind up back in Detroit, though. The Pistons traded for him for a reason, and Van Gundy (perhaps foolishly) said the rest of this season wasn’t a tryout for Jackson. Besides, even if it were a tryout, Van Gundy said he hasn’t learned anything about Jackson since acquiring him that he didn’t already know. A point-guard hungry team with cap space like the Knicks or Lakers could test the Pistons’ resolve by signing Jackson to a large offer sheet, but that seems unlikely.
No matter where Jackson signs, it’ll likely be somewhere he has a clear path starting at point guard. He’s living that dream now and happily says things like, “We know we’re the head of the snake. I think all 30 starting point guards in the league know that.”
But this transition to starting point guard hasn’t been ideal.
“Nah, if it worked out the way I wanted it to, we’d probably be in the fifth spot in the playoffs,” said Jackson, who despite leading the Pistons to wins in three of their last four, has a 4-11 record with Detroit.
But Jackson is looking toward the future, and for him, that starts with teammates like Drummond.
“I want to be the most-winningest and just one of the best point guards to ever do it,” Jackson said. “I don’t know about the world necessarily, but I want my teammates, when it’s all said and done, I want them to be like, ‘He was a great point guard for our team, a great teammate, a great leader for our team.’ So, if I can leave that mark, I’ll be happy.
Reggie Jackson dishes 20 assists (scores 23 too) in Pistons’ win
Reggie Jackson has not exactly been the model of efficiency and team leadership since being traded to the Pistons. To put it kindly. He’s shooting 38.8 percent, and the Pistons had dropped 10 straight.
But he looked like a leader on Tuesday, scoring 23 points and more importantly dishing 20 assists in the Pistons’ win over the Grizzlies. He looked good doing it.
Veteran Tayshaun Prince had an interesting theory as to why Jackson broke out, and it tied to Greg Monroe being out for the night, replaced by Anthony Tolliver. From the Detroit Free Press:
“When you play in Oklahoma City where there’s four shooters around him, that lane open up like the ocean,” Prince said. “You can wine and dine all night long.
“When you playing with Greg and ‘Dre, it’s going to be tight quarters in there and it’s taken him awhile to read that. As you saw tonight with only one big in there, it was kind of Oklahoma City all over again. He could get in there and make those plays that he usually makes.”