Pistons sign forward Tyler Cook to multi-year contract

The Detroit Pistons have signed forward Tyler Cook to a multi-year contract.

Per the Detroit Free Press, “his stint with the Pistons will now last until the end of the season, at least, as the franchise signed him to a standard NBA contract with an option for 2021-22. The contract is non-guaranteed for next season, but will become guaranteed five days after the yet-to-be-announced free agency moratorium period, a league source told the Detroit Free Press.”

Cook, 6-8, 255, signed a 10-day contract with the Pistons on March 18, followed by a second 10-day deal on March 28. He has appeared in 11 games with the Pistons averaging 4.0 points (63% FG), and 2.8 rebounds in 13.8 minutes per game. Overall, Cook has seen action in 28 career NBA games with Detroit, Cleveland, Denver and Brooklyn and averaged 2.5 points and 1.7 rebounds.

Cook, 23, averaged 20.8 points (60% FG), 9.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists this season in eight games with the Iowa Wolves of the NBA’s G League. Overall, he’s averaged 14.6 points and 6.5 rebounds in 37 career G League games (18 starts).

The St. Louis, MO native played collegiately at the University of Iowa where he averaged 14.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists in three seasons with the Hawkeyes.

On the rebuilding Pistons

The Pistons aren’t going to win the NBA championship this year. Beyond that, there are plenty of unknowns going forward. Via the Detroit News:

The Pistons are 13-33 and the rebuilding season keeps slogging on. There are questions about where the team is going, but for the first time in a long time, there’s a very clear path forward, and several young players to be excited about.

Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart and Saben Lee all look to be keepers, and the only remaining question about last year’s draft was the No. 7 pick, Killian Hayes. While there have been plenty of questions about the rest of the roster, the most interesting position has been point guard, because Delon Wright had been the starter for most of the season and he was traded to the Sacramento Kings last week.

It begs the question about what the Pistons’ future will be with a draft that many experts consider to be deep on talent, especially in the top five, where the Pistons appear to be headed. What does that mean for the core that they’ve already established?

The best Pistons player this season has been new addition Jerami Grant, who in 35.1 minutes per game is averaging 22.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists, shooting 42.4%. He’s a talented player, but not a superstar, and shouldn’t be expected to carry a squad by himself. The question is, who he’ll be playing alongside in Detroit next season and beyond.

Pistons trade Delon Wright to Kings for Cory Joseph and draft picks

The Sacramento Kings today acquired guard Delon Wright in a trade with the Detroit Pistons for guard Cory Joseph, a 2021 second-round draft selection and a 2024 second-round draft selection.

“We are excited to welcome Delon to the Kings family and to add his experience, defensive length, ability to create opportunities in the lane and capacity to finish strong to our backcourt,” said Kings General Manager Monte McNair. “At the same time, we thank Cory for his contributions to the team, veteran leadership and remarkable durability. A consummate professional and respected mentor, we wish Cory and his family all the best moving forward.”

During the 2020-21 season, Wright has averaged 10.4 points (.464 FG%, .348 3pt%, .789 FT%), 4.6 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 29.2 minutes per game in 36 games (31 starts).

Over six NBA seasons, the University of Utah product has garnered career averages of 7.6 points (.452 FG%, .343 3pt%, .790 FT%), 3.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 20.9 minutes per game in 307 games (54 starts) with the Toronto Raptors (2015-19), Memphis Grizzlies (2018-19), Dallas Mavericks (2019-20) and Detroit (2020-21).

Pistons sign forward Tyler Cook to 10-day contract

The Detroit Pistons have signed forward Tyler Cook to a 10-day contract.

Cook, 6-8, 255, averaged 20.8 points (60% FG), 9.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists this season in eight games with the Iowa Wolves of the NBA’s G League. Overall, he’s averaged 14.6 points and 6.5 rebounds in 37 career G League games (18 starts).

Cook has seen action in 17 career NBA games with Cleveland, Denver and Brooklyn and averaged 1.5 points and 0.9 rebounds while shooting 60% from the field and 87.5% from the free throw line.

The St. Louis, MO native played collegiately at the University of Iowa where he averaged 14.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists in three seasons with the Hawkeyes.

Pistons rookie Saddiq Bey showing development

Pistons rookie Saddiq Bey is turning some heads, for good reasons. Via the Detroit Free Press:

Parts of his 28-point, 12-rebound performance against the Toronto Raptors was routine — or as routine as something can be for a first-year player. Bey hit six of his 10 3-point attempts, the third time this season he has made at least six. He entered the NBA with a reputation as a 3-point marksman, and that has been his best skill so far…

At 6 feet 8 and 215 pounds, he has the size and strength to body defenders while driving to the rim. He has been doing a better job of using his physical gifts to his advantage.

In 23.7 minutes per game, Bey is averaging 10.5 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

The Pistons are 11-29 this season, which is the worst record in the Eastern conference. Other than Jerami Grant at 23.4 points per game, nobody on the roster is scoring even as much as 15 ppg. It’s a complete rebuild in Detroit, with Grant as the cornerstone.

G League: Rob Murphy named President and GM of Motor City Cruise

The Motor City Cruise announced today that Rob Murphy has been named President and General Manager for the Detroit Pistons NBA G League affiliate.

Per the team, “the former collegiate head coach will oversee basketball operations for the team while using his deep connections within the Detroit community and administrative acumen to grow and oversee business operations for the franchise.”

“Rob Murphy is the perfect person to lead the Motor City Cruise and we are pleased to welcome him to the Pistons organization,” said Arn Tellem, Vice Chairman for the Detroit Pistons. “His basketball knowledge is well documented and given that he was born and raised in Detroit, Rob’s relationships throughout the city and region will help drive business and growth opportunities for the future.”

Murphy, 47, joins the Pistons after spending the past 10 seasons as men’s head basketball coach at Eastern Michigan University. Murphy accumulated 166 wins at EMU and is the second all-time winningest coach in the program’s history. He led the Eagles to three 20-win seasons and three postseason appearances while building one of the most stifling defenses in college basketball during his tenure. Eastern Michigan won its first Mid-American Conference West Division Championship during Murphy’s first season (2011-12) and he was named MAC Coach of the Year and NABC District 14 Coach of the Year.

Other highlights of his EMU coaching career included winning the Jamaican Classic Championship, the EMU Tip-Off Classic and defeating Big Ten foes, Michigan and Purdue. Murphy graduated 36 of 38 (95%) student-athletes while at EMU, the best academic showing in the program’s history, and philanthropically, he’s initiated a number of community programs through the Rob Murphy Foundation (The Reading Challenge, Gift of Sharing) tailored for under-served youth in the Ypsilanti and Detroit communities.

Murphy began his collegiate coaching career as an assistant at Kent State University and then spent seven years as an assistant coach under Jim Boeheim at Syracuse University (2004-11). The Orangemen recorded a 180-67 record during his time at the school and made the postseason each year with five NCAA appearances and two NIT berths.

Pistons General Manager Troy Weaver noted that similar basketball philosophies will create great synergy and understanding as they work to build the Pistons and Cruise franchises in unison.

“Rob brings tremendous knowledge, creativity and leadership to our executive team,” said Weaver. “He’ll work collaboratively with both the basketball and business sides of the Pistons organization to ensure we have systems in place that maximize the development potential of the Cruise franchise.”

A graduate of Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, Murphy was a two-year starter on the basketball team and the team’s defensive player of the year as a senior. Following graduation, he returned to Detroit to begin his coaching career at Detroit Central H.S. as the associate head coach in 1996-98. Central won the state Class A championship in 1997-98 after finishing runner-up in 1996-97. Murphy then moved to become the boy’s head basketball coach at Crockett H.S. where they won three consecutive Class B District titles (2000-2002) and captured the state championship in 2000-01. He was named All-Metro Coach of the Year by the Detroit Free Press in the same season. Murphy’s Crockett teams compiled a 64-27 record over a four-year span.

“It’s an honor for me to join the Pistons organization and lead the newest professional sports franchise in Detroit, the Motor City Cruise,” said Murphy. “I thank Tom Gores for providing this opportunity and I’m excited to work with Arn, Troy, Dwane Casey, Mike Zavodsky and the rest of the leadership team in building long-term success on and off the court while fostering a culture that will help us achieve our collective goals.”

Thunder trade Hamidou Diallo to Pistons for Svi Mykhailiuk and draft pick

The Oklahoma City Thunder has acquired guard/forward Svi Mykhailiuk and a 2027 second-round draft pick (via Houston) in a trade with the Detroit Pistons for guard Hamidou Diallo.

Mykhailiuk [mee-HIGH-luke] (6-8, 205) has appeared in 134 career games (32 starts) with the Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons and averaged 6.6 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 17.5 minutes per game, while shooting 36.9 percent from beyond the arc. This season with the Pistons, he has seen time in 36 games (five starts) and is averaging 6.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 17.6 minutes per game. He has 16 games with two or more three-point makes this season, including a career-high-tying five makes on March 3 at Toronto.

Last season, Mykhailiuk was selected to play in the 2020 Rising Stars game as a member of Team World during All-Star Weekend.

Diallo, 6-5, 202, has played for the Thunder since he was selected 45th overall in the 2018 NBA Draft by the Brooklyn Nets and subsequently involved in two trades to Charlotte and then Oklahoma City following the draft. Through 32 games (five starts) this season, Diallo is averaging career highs in scoring (11.9 ppg), rebounding (5.2 rpg), assists (2.4 apg), steals (1.0 spg) and minutes (23.8 mpg). In 129 career NBA games (11 starts), Diallo has posted clips of 6.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.7 steals in 16.9 minutes.

The Queens, N.Y. native won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest as a rookie at the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte. Diallo played one season collegiately at Kentucky in 2017-18, averaging 10.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.8 steals in 24.8 minutes over 37 games (all starts).

Nets sign Blake Griffin, who recently accepted buyout from Pistons

The Brooklyn Nets have signed free agent forward Blake Griffin.

Per the New York Post, “Griffin officially came to Brooklyn on Monday, after having been bought out by Detroit. The veteran power forward sacrificed $13 million to leave the Pistons, for whom he averaged 12.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in 20 games this season.”

“We’re fortunate to be able to add a player of Blake’s caliber to our roster at this point in the season,” said Nets General Manager Sean Marks. “Blake is a versatile frontcourt player with a long track record of success in our league, and we’re excited about the impact he’ll make for us both on and off the court in Brooklyn.”

Per the Post, “James Harden — who rejected a two-way, $103 million extension from Houston to join the Nets — said that move showed just how serious Griffin is about earning a championship.”

Griffin (6’10”, 250) has appeared in 642 games (all starts) across 11 NBA seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers (2010-18) and Detroit Pistons (2018-21), recording averages of 21.4 points on 49.5 percent shooting from the field, 33.1 percent shooting from 3-point range and 69.5 percent shooting from the free-throw line, 8.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 34.7 minutes per contest. In the 2020-21 season, Griffin has seen action in 20 games with the Pistons, averaging 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 31.3 minutes per game. A six-time NBA All-Star (2011-15, 2019), Griffin has spent the bulk of his NBA career with the Clippers, averaging 21.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.0 steals in 35.1 minutes per game in 504 games with the franchise.

Griffin is also a five-time All-NBA selection, taking home second-team honors three times as a Clipper (2012-14) and third-team honors twice with the Clippers (2015) and Pistons (2019). Since making his debut in the 2010-11 season, Griffin ranks ninth in the league in field goals made (5,130), 10th in points (13,724) and 15th in rebounds (5,605). Griffin has also made seven playoff appearances in his career, including six straight seasons (2011-17) with the Clippers, helping lead the franchise to three Western Conference Semifinals appearances (2012, 2014-15). In 53 career playoff games, Griffin has averaged 21.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.1 steals in 35.3 minutes per contest.

Per the New York Daily News, “Griffin attempted at least three three-pointers in every game he played for the Pistons this season. He has 14 games with at least five attempts from deep, three games with 10 attempts, and one game where he thought he was Stephen Curry and made 8-of-16 treys in an overtime loss to the Cavaliers. Griffin, however, only converted threes at a 31.5% clip this season in Detroit, up from just 24% from deep last season. Those numbers project to increase due to the talent he’ll now play with in Brooklyn.”

The Oklahoma City native was selected with the first overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Clippers and sat out the 2009-10 season due to a knee injury. He made his regular season debut the following season and secured Rookie of the Year honors after posting averages of 22.5 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 37.9 minutes per game. Prior to beginning his NBA career, Griffin spent two years (2007-09) at the University of Oklahoma, earning the Naismith College Player of the Year and Big 12 Player of the Year awards as a sophomore.

Pistons waive Blake Griffin as two sides reach buyout agreement

The Detroit Pistons have reached a buyout agreement with Blake Griffin and simultaneously requested waivers on the veteran forward.

Per the Detroit News, “thePistons and Griffin announced last month that he would remain out of the lineup until the two sides could come to an agreement on a trade or buyout. The trade route seemed unlikely, with Griffin’s contract for $36.6 million this season and a player option for $39 million next season.”

“Blake has been a great representative for our franchise and for the city of Detroit,” said Pistons Owner Tom Gores. “His work ethic and his approach to the game contributed a lot to our culture. He has been a consummate pro and we wish him continued success. I’m grateful for everything he did for our team and for our community.”

“As we stated from the beginning of our discussions with Blake and his representatives, our goal has been to facilitate a resolution for the future that maximizes the interests of both Blake and our team,” said Troy Weaver, General Manager for the Detroit Pistons. “We appreciate all of Blake’s efforts on and off the court in Detroit, have great respect for him as a player and a person and we wish him all the best in the future.”

“Blake’s NBA resume speaks for itself,” said Detroit Pistons Head Coach Dwane Casey. “He’s a player I’ve respected for many years from afar and it was great to have the opportunity to coach him here in Detroit. Contending teams will love to have a guy like him in their program, which is an opportunity he deserves at this point of his career, and we wish him the best.”

Per the Detroit Free Press, “Griffin wants to play for a playoff contender while the rebuilding Pistons, 10-26 and last in the conference standings, want to prioritize the development of their young players. On Feb. 15, the two sides agreed Griffin would be away from the team while they worked on a resolution, either via buyout or trade.”

During three-plus years with the Pistons (2018-21), Griffin posted averages of 20.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 33.3 minutes over 138 games (all starts). He earned All-NBA Third Team honors and his sixth NBA All-Star selection while averaging a career-best 24.5 points and leading the Pistons to the NBA Playoffs in 2018-19. Griffin joins Grant Hill as the second player in franchise history to average at least 20 points, six rebounds and five assists during his tenure in Detroit.

“I thank the Pistons organization for working together on an outcome that benefits all involved and I wish the franchise success in the future,” said Griffin.

The Oklahoma City native was acquired via trade from the L.A. Clippers on Jan. 29, 2018. Drafted first overall in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Clippers, Griffin holds averages of 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 34.7 minutes in 642 career NBA games (all starts).

Pistons will soon allow limited fan attendance at home games

The Detroit Pistons announced plans today to place a limited number of tickets on sale beginning when the club plays the Toronto Raptors on March 17 at Little Caesars Arena. Working under direction of state and local government health professionals and guidelines, up to 750 fans will be allowed to attend upcoming games in this initial phase. Tickets will go on sale Thursday morning, March 5 at 10:00 a.m.

“In preparation for hosting a limited number of fans during these challenging times, we are grateful to work closely with state and local health professionals, the NBA and Olympia Entertainment in creating a safe and welcoming environment,” said Mike Zavodsky, Chief Business Officer for the Detroit Pistons. “We thank our fans and the community for their continued support during this time as we worked through all necessary steps and benchmarks required for welcoming you back to Little Caesars Arena safely.”

“We are very excited to gradually expand the number of guests in attendance at Little Caesars Arena for upcoming Pistons games,” said Tim Padgett, Olympia Entertainment’s Vice President of Venue Operations. “We appreciate the extensive coordination with, and guidance from, public health and medical experts, government officials, and the National Basketball Association over the past several months. Safety is our top priority. We have developed and invested in a plan that has allowed us to welcome back fans safely to our venues.”

THE TEAM SAYS THE FOLLOWING

The Pistons have worked closely with public health and medical experts, government officials, the NBA and Little Caesars Arena to implement an extensive set of health and safety measures in preparation for hosting more fans. All seats will be physically distanced. Additional measures include: all fans aged two years and older will be required to wear a mask for the duration of their time inside the venue except when eating or drinking at their seating location; marked physical distancing while navigating the venue; completion of health survey screening for all guests entering the arena no more than 24 hours before the game; installation of mobile ticket scanning pedestals; cashless payments in the parking lot and for food and beverage; and any and all bags will be prohibited for all games.