The Suns and the Pistons announced the completion of a minor trade on Wednesday, but one that should be at least somewhat beneficial for both sides.
Phoenix sent Anthony Tolliver to Detroit in exchange for Tony Mitchell.
Tolliver was signed by the Suns as a free agent this offseason, with the hope that he could provide some additional shooting for the team in a reserve role off the bench. But he struggled to contribute anything of meaning when he got his opportunities — Tolliver averaged just 3.3 points in 11.3 minutes per contest, and did not play in the Suns’ last four games.
Mitchell, meanwhile, was selected 37th overall by the Pistons in the 2013 NBA Draft, but hadn’t seen any regular season game action this year. In six D-League appearances, he’s averaged 8.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per contest.
Phoenix is expected to waive Mitchell, reports Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. Once that move is complete, the Suns will have increased their available salary cap space to $6.1 million.
The Pistons signed Aaron Gray to a two-year contract this summer, but the center has been out after suffering a heart episode. Detroit also signed Hasheem Thabeet to an unguaranteed contract to provide another option as a center behind Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe.
Someone who can’t play or Hasheem Thabeet?
Rather than choosing between those unappealing options, the Pistons traded Will Bynum for Joel Anthony. Now, they’re cutting Thabeet loose.
Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:
If Thabeet doesn’t catch on somewhere else, he’ll have the shortest NBA career of a top-two pick since Jay Williams, who had a career-ending motorcycle crash after his rookie year. Yes, Darko will have lasted longer in the league than Thabeet.
The Pistons still must waive a player with a guaranteed contract to get under the regular-season roster limit. Tony Mitchell and Gray, if he can’t get healthy, are the most likely candidates.
Detroit’s D-League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive, already have Lorenzo Brown’s D-League rights. The Pistons could assign Thabeet, Brian Cook and/or Josh Bostic to Grand Rapids, as well. If those players sign in the D-League, they could play only for the Drive, but any NBA team could sign them.
Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points more than Pharrell Williams loves the Arby’s hat…
• Roy Hibbert got a new bed. He’s 7’2″ with a 7’9″ wingspan. That is one ginormous bed.
Got my new bed yesterday. 8 x 9 feet #JustRight #Goldilocks. What y’all think?
• LeBron James and Blake Griffin have been named the Eastern and Western conference players of the month for February. Hard to argue with those calls. James averaged 30.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 6.7 assists a game while shooting 57.5 percent. Griffin averaged 30 points and 10.7 rebounds a game last month.
• Dion Waiters is back on the court with the Cavaliers.
• The pick-and-roll is good to the Suns.
• Former NBA player Mookie Blaylock was sentenced to 16 days in jail tied to a DUI near Atlanta where he was injured.
• The development of DeMar DeRozan’s game to All-Star levels.
• Kevin Durant has dropped the federal lawsuit against his accountant. Not sure what the settlement turned out to be in the case.
• This is classic: Watch Jan Vesely jab step and pump fake even when there isn’t a defender within 10 feet of him. Then throw up a brick.
• Victor Oladipo’s “I don’t like that call” dance.
• Charlotte signed Justin Hamilton to a 10-day contract.
• Milwaukee signed Tony Mitchell to a 10-day contract.
• The Pacers’ George Hill tells the story of his childhood horse.
• Kevin Love is now an endorser of BODYARMOR SuperDrink, and by the way he now owns an equity stake in the company.
If Paul George can stump for his desired dunk-contest field – even if he likely has no real intention of participating – the event’s defending champion should have a say, too.
The man who can do this probably knows a little something about dunking:
So, Terrence Ross, who should join you in the dunk contest this season? Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun:
Specifically though, the first name that Ross came up with in terms of guys he would like to see challenge him was Detroit’s Tony Mitchell.Now Mitchell isn’t exactly a household name in the NBA yet, but then again neither was Ross a year ago when he won.“In my opinion, if he gets in it he’ll be in the position I was in last year,” Ross said. “Nobody kind of knows he can dunk, I mean they know he can dunk, but they don’t know what he can do. I know he’s a freak athlete from what I’ve heard.”
Ross also named Detroit’s Andre Drummond and Orlando’s Victor Oladipo as guys he would like to see before running out of ideas.
That would be a pretty fun dunk contest.
Mitchell has played just 37 minutes during his rookie year, but he proved his dunking bona fides before the season even started:
Drummond is more of a, relatively, questionable choice. He’s mostly a no-nonsense dunker in games. His biggest highlight – an off-the-backboard finish on a lob from Brandon Jennings – was more impressive due to Jennings’ pass than Drummond’s finish, and that was before an (unscientific) increase in off-the-backboard lobs this season became apparent. Drummond also dunked on Chris Brown once, so I guess there’s that.
Perhaps lacking slightly in resume, Drummond has incredible size and athleticism. The potential is definitely there for a fantastic dunk-contest showing.
Oladipo is probably the best choice of the bunch.
He’s shown the requisite style:
Rasheed Wallace, now an assistant coach with the Detroit Pistons, decided to show the young fellas at practice that even though his playing days are over and he’s fairly out of shape, he can still throw it down reverse-style with two hands.
OK, just barely.
Pistons big man Andre Drummond posted the hilarious clip to his Vine with the caption that read, “A little dunk contest after practice between sheed and tony mich”. That’s Tony Mitchell dunking it first, who was selected by the Pistons in the early second round of this summer’s draft.
Based on the mugging for the camera at the end of the dunk (and the fact that it’s ‘Sheed), we declare Wallace this contest’s champion.