Memphis Grizzlies season preview: Player projections

So far in this Memphis Grizzlies three-part season preview, we’ve taken a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Grizzlies’ roster [Memphis Grizzlies season preview: Roster analysis] and how the team could fare in the Southeast Division and the Western Conference this season [Memphis Grizzlies season preview: Team projections]. In this article, we’ll take a look at key individual players on the team and project what kind of numbers they might put up this season.
Starting Five
PG: Mike Conley, Jr.
2013-14: 17.2 PPG (career-high), 6.0 APG & 1.5 SPG
2014-15 projections: 16.5 PPG, 8.0 APG, 2.0 SPG
Conley saw his role on the offense increase last season, having to shoulder some of the scoring load due to the lack of a solid perimeter scorer on the roster. As a result, he averaged career highs in points per game and field goal percentage (45%) last season. Expect Conley to continue to be a leading scorer on the team, although his points per game average will be reduced slightly due to the additio

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NBA Depth Chart Projections for All 30 Teams Going into 2014-15 Season

Just because the results don’t count in the standings doesn’t mean the NBA preseason is completely pointless or meaningless. There are still plenty of roster spots to be fought over and position battles to be won, with the performances put forth in the exhibitions contributing to those causes.

And while the games may be phony, the league’s stars and scrubs alike are dropping like flies for real. Just ask Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal and Victor Oladipo among the injured or any one of the fringe types who’ve either been cut from training camp or left of their own volition.

Truth be told, most hoops heads are simply counting down the days until they can actually put stock in what they’re seeing. For now, the best anyone can do is put forth educated guesses when it comes to projecting starting lineups and rotations from team to team.

Which, as it happens, is exactly what we’re about to do here.


Note: Asterisks denotes players who are expected to miss the start of the 2014-15 season due to injury and/or suspension.

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Breaking Down Brooklyn Nets Small Forward Position for 2014-15 Season

The small forward spot is becoming an increasingly perplexing position in today’s NBA, especially when it pertains to the Brooklyn Nets.

Some small forwards bring the ball up. Others play in the paint. Then there are the three-point launchers who eat and sleep out on the perimeter.

The 3 has really become a wild card in terms of lineup configurations.

Last season, the Nets played small ball after starting center Brook Lopez went out for the year with a broken foot 17 games in.

After that, Kevin Garnett shared center duties with Mason Plumlee, Paul Pierce jumped to power forward, Joe Johnson slid down to small forward and Shaun Livingston joined Deron Williams in the backcourt.

But that was under Jason Kidd, who fled Brooklyn for the Milwaukee Bucks after just one year. Things will be different under new coach Lionel Hollins, who talked to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News about what he expects from his team:

I wasn’t trying to watch what they did because it’s really not the same team and what I want to do is different from what they did in the past. So, it wasn’t like I was trying to figure out what they did (last season). And I had a vision of what this team could look like with the personnel we have.

We’re trying to develop a foundation of what we’re going to be defensively, and what we’re trying to be offensively. It’s all the same. It’s not like I have some special magic that I’m trying to get them to do. You create a mentality, you create a culture of being aggressive and being tough.

Bondy noted back on September 27th that Hollins had already locked in on four starters: Williams, Johnson, Garnett and Lopez.

Johnson, who had played shooting guard for 12 years before last season, could see minutes at both the 2 and the 3 under Hollins.

Outside of Iso Joe, the Nets are looking at a SF rotation that could include rookie Bojan Bogdanovic, Andrei Kirilenko, Alan Anderson, Mirza Teletovic and Sergey Karasev.

Now, all those guys aren’t going to play (we’re looking at you, Sergey). And the ones that do aren’t going to exclusively line up at the 3—for example, AK-47 and Teletovic are likely to see a good chunk of minutes at power forward.

Let’s put the Nets’ small forward position under a microscope and really dig in, shall we?


Grading Last Year’s SF Performance listed Johnson as a shooting guard last year. So did ESPN.

Well…he was, wasn’t he? Yes and no.

As mentioned before, Johnson took Pierce’s place at forward, but still handled the ball a fair amount and took the most shots on the team by a large margin—the next closest was D-Will, who was 302 shots behind JJ’s 1,018 attempts.

Johnson, as he’s always been, was a stud in 2013-14. The 33-year-old scored a team-high 15.8 points per game on 45.4 percent shooting while earning his seventh career All-Star nod. He also led the team in three-point shooting with an average of 40.1 from beyond the arc.

Playing a different position didn’t faze Johnson. Here’s what he told ESPN’s Mike Mazzeo on September 30: “I’ll never complain. I’m a basketball player, so whatever offense you wanna run, I’m capable of running it or adjusting to it. Whether you want me to be more of a catch-and-shoot guy or you want me to be more off-the-dribble, post-up, whatever you want me to do, I can do it.”

After Johnson came Anderson. If Johnson is a designer clothing brand, Anderson is Old Navy—while Double-A is far from glamorous, the 32-year-old veteran is a gritty defender who can knock down an occasional jumper if left open.

Anderson started 26 games for Brooklyn and contributed 7.2 points and 2.2 boards in about 23 minutes a game last year.

Johnson and Anderson were the team’s primary small forwards, with Teletovic mixing in some time at the 3 while mostly lining up as a power forward. In his second NBA season, the sharp-shooting Teletovic gave the Nets 8.6 points a night while hitting 41.8 percent of his attempts.

Finally, there was Kirilenko, whose decision to come to Brooklyn resulted in an investigation. Last summer, the Russian signed a two-year, $6.5 million deal with owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s Nets after opting out of a $10.2 million deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The NBA cleared the two parties of any wrongdoing, though. Just goes to show you that players will do anything to get out of Minnesota.

AK-47 was hurt for much of the year, dealing with some back spasms that just would not let up. He played just 45 games and averaged the worst scoring, rebounding, steals and block numbers of his 10-year career.

Kirilenko is in for a significantly bigger role with the Nets this season, though. If he can stay healthy, he’ll bounce back into the spark-plug utility player that he’s been his entire career.

Grade: B+


Will Bogdanovic start?

Hollins is presumably going to commit to a fifth starter in the very near future, given that the season is rapidly approaching.

Bogdanovic, Anderson and Kirilenko have run with the starters in the preseason, though AK-47 suffered a back injury that sidelined him after the second day of training camp.

The rookie from Croatia has started the for the Nets the entire preseason, including their most recent game, which was an experimental 44-minute exhibition against the Boston Celtics. He played a team-high 28 minutes on October 19.

All signs point to Bogdanovic earning a starting role.

Johnson is a significantly better ball-handler than the 25-year-old, so Bogdanovic would presumably line up as a small forward.

“I think he’s got great size, he’s also got great speed and quickness,” Hollins said of the overseas star, per Mazzeo. “He can shoot the ball, but also put the ball on the floor. He can post up. I’m looking for players. Players that have multiple skills and are not just one-dimensional.”

There’s certainly expected to be a learning curve, though. Here’s an excerpt from my recent piece that focused on the importance of Kirilenko early in the year:

In addition to the differences in court dimensions and ball texture, the rookie will be thrust into a new world of frequent traveling and a rigorous, physically grueling 82-game season.

In the meantime, Kirilenko’s play will become so much more important. Alan Anderson is the team’s only other legitimate option at the 3.

Kirilenko won’t necessarily fade as Bogdanovic, who will likely play some shooting guard and some small forward, progresses. He’ll still be an important piece of the Nets throughout the whole season.

The strong, 6’8″ Bogdanovic has looked capable of holding his own on the defensive end thus far, which would be the only area in which he’d lose points to Anderson.

If Kirilenko can stay healthy throughout the whole year—and steady the ship when the rookie’s ride gets bumpy—the Nets are going to be pretty deep at small forward, especially with Anderson working his way into the rotation.


Looking Ahead to 2014-15

Hollins is going to have a ton of options in how he handles the small forward rotation this season. If Bogdanovic starts with Johnson at SG, the veteran coach can substitute Kirilenko, Anderson or even Teletovic, depending on the situation.

The coach is determined to establish concrete roles for his players this season, something that Kidd struggled to do in his first year on the sidelines.

Here’s Newsday’s Roderick Boone with more:

In dealing with rookie coach Jason Kidd last season, some players clearly were frustrated by the lack of clarity regarding their role, which became more apparent during these first few days of training camp with Kevin Garnett and Andrei Kirilenko mentioning how they were unsure where they fit in Kidd’s scheme.

That doesn’t appear to be an issue under Hollins, who continues to lay the groundwork, getting a feel for his team so he can deliver an edict on precisely what he wants from each of them.

“I think that’s something coach talked about today,” Deron Williams said, “was kind of we haven’t talked about roles specifically this year. But they’ll be defined at some point during the preseason. I think that’s what this time is about, is finding out chemistry and what team we’re going to be like, what guys like to do.”

Obstacles are going to emerge throughout the year. It’s inevitable. Injuries, slumps, controversies, transactions—it’s going to happen.

But that’s out of Hollins’ control. Each player will have a role in Brooklyn, a niche carved out specifically for his own self. And that will provide the team with stability through the turmoil.

For Johnson, it’s likely to be scoring isolation. For Bogdanovic, it’ll be knocking down shots from the outside and providing instant offense. Kirilenko will be a spark plug and a safety net, a guy who’s reliable and can defend. Anderson will serve as a hard-nosed, scrappy defender.

All of Brooklyn’s options are versatile guys who can play different positions and bring a unique ability to the court.

The Nets are going to be just fine at small forward.


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Part Two: Brooklyn Nets season preview: Team projections

Previously I broke down the Nets Roster and analyzed their strengths and weaknesses. This is a continuation of that, previewing the upcoming season and what to expect from this team. This is part two of a three part analysis of the Brooklyn Nets’ upcoming season. You can read part one of the Nets’ season preview here: Brooklyn Nets season preview: Roster analysis
The Nets’ place in the Atlantic Division
Being in the Atlantic division, the Brooklyn Nets do not have much competition around them. The Boston Celtics are in rebuilding mode and are not much of a threat. They have some young guys who can definitely play, but they have not proven themselves in the NBA just yet. They are currently the 26th ranked team according to ESPN’s team rankings and will probably not make the playoffs. The New York Knicks were not a playoff team last year (a big disappointment for Knicks fans) and I honestly expect the same from them this year. Knicks fans like to think that their team is going to the Finals every year,

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Predicting the Biggest Changes We’ll See from the Chicago Bulls This Season

After a summer full of clever roster moves, the Chicago Bulls will undergo a few changes this season.

The team picked up free agents Pau Gasol and Aaron Brooks, as well as highly touted rookies Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic. This quartet—along with Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and others—clearly make the Bulls a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference.

Rose, who has missed a bunch of games due to knee injuries, is healthy and could return to his 2011 MVP form. Reigning Defensive Player of the Year Noah is primed for another amazing campaign, and Gasol serves as Chicago’s best low-post threat in years.

This is head coach Tom Thibodeau’s fifth season with the Bulls. Ever since his arrival, the team has played top-notch, stifling defense on a daily basis. And that won’t change this year. What are some changes we’ll see from Thibodeau’s troops in 2014-15?


Place More Emphasis on Three-Point Shooting 

Last season, outside shooting was basically nonexistent for the Bulls. They attempted just 17.8 threes per game, which ranked 28th in the league. And they hit only 34.8 percent of those attempts (ranked 24th).    

Things will be different this time around, though. With Rose and Gasol drawing double-teams, shooters like Mike Dunleavy, McDermott and Mirotic will get a bunch of open looks all year long.

McDermott could emerge as the Bulls’ best three-point shooter, even in his first year. The Creighton University product hit 44.4 percent of his attempts in the summer league and is shooting 35.3 percent in the preseason, which is respectable for a rookie.

He’ll have a field day from beyond the arc as Rose drives and kicks it to him, or when he receives a pinpoint pass from Noah or Gasol.

Rose can also be an outside threat, although you wouldn’t have noticed watching him during the FIBA World Cup. He hit only one of his 19 attempts.

However, he is shooting 40 percent from downtown this preseason. The three-time All-Star went 3-of-4 vs. the Milwaukee Bucks.   

Expect the Bulls to go from one of the league’s worst three-point shooting teams last season to somewhere in the middle of the pack this year.


10-Man Rotation

The words “10-Man Rotation” and “Tom Thibodeau” look really weird in the same sentence. As everybody knows, Thibs has been known for giving his starters a boatload of minutes instead of using the bench.

For example, Jimmy Butler played a franchise-record 60 minutes against the Orlando Magic last January. Yes, you read that right. It would be understandable if it was Game 7 of the NBA Finals. But it was a regular-season contest against a lowly, rebuilding team.

Per Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago, Thibodeau prefers a nine-man rotation:

“Usually most teams are around nine,” he said. “And then as the playoffs get closer, you’re going to pare that down some more. We’ll see. My first two years we played nine, sometimes 10. Ten is hard, most likely nine.”

While Thibodeau said going 10-deep is difficult, he didn’t say it was impossible. Look for him to utilize his much-improved bench this season. There’s way too much talent not to.

So which 10 players will crack the rotation? Well, we know Rose, Noah, Gasol, Butler, Taj Gibson, Dunleavy and Kirk Hinrich are locks. Expect Brooks to also make the cut, replacing D.J. Augustin as a scoring backup point guard.

McDermott and Mirotic will be everyday players as well. Thibodeau isn’t a fan of playing one rookie, let alone two. Yet, when you have two rookies who can shoot the lights out like these guys, you have to play them both.

That means Tony Snell, E’Twaun Moore, Nazr Mohammed and Cameron Bairstow are left in the cold, unless a key player suffers an injury (knock on wood).


Doug McDermott Will Start at Small Forward       

Not only is McDermott a rotational player, but he’ll also be a rookie starter. Dunleavy, of course, will begin the year as Chicago’s starting small forward. But McDermott will supplant the veteran at some point this season.

He’s just too good to sit on the bench, and Thibodeau will eventually realize that.

One of college basketball’s greatest scorers ever, McDermott averaged 26.7 points during his senior year. And as Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley points out, he can score in a variety of ways:

He has an underrated knack for creating his own shots, which will be a valuable tool when he isn’t logging minutes beside Rose, Gasol or Noah. McDermott is capable of taking defenders off the dribble, comfortable banging with them on the low block and crafty getting himself to the free-throw line, where he was an 87.0 percent shooter his final two seasons at Creighton.

Putting the ball in the hoop isn’t the only thing McDermott can do. He rebounds, moves well without the ball and is an underrated passer. And although he isn’t a lockdown defender by any means, he does show effort on that end of the floor.

McDermott has started twice this preseason with Dunleavy sitting out due to knee soreness.

Per Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Thibodeau hasn’t ruled out starting him on a more permanent basis:

I don’t want to overlook what Mike’s done either. Mike has shot the ball extremely well, so I think he helps that first unit function well, so I’m not locked into it, but I don’t want to … Mike’s team defense is outstanding. I don’t want to overlook that. You have to think about you’re guarding a starter now, so that does make a difference.  

McDermott will ultimately win his coach over and replace Dunleavy in the starting lineup by Christmas.

Bulls fans, get used to hearing this before games: “A 6’8″ forward from Creighton…No. 3…Doug McDermott!”


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Duke Basketball: Ranking Jahlil Okafor’s Toughest Matchups in the 2014-15 Season

The accolades continue to pour in for Duke center Jahlil Okafor before he’s even suited up in his first collegiate game. The National Player of the Year is preparing to embark on what should be a very short collegiate career, 35 or so games between him and a date with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.

During that span, there will be nights when Okafor resembles a father posterizing his kids in the driveway. In other games, however, Duke will face teams featuring burly, athletic big men who can deliver the Chicago product a stern test.

The five well-known bigs listed hereas well as five lesser-heralded sleeper pickswill make the Blue Devils’ rookie star put in work during their dates this season. They may not be Okafor’s fellow McDonald’s All-Americans Karl Towns, Myles Turner or Cliff Alexander, but they are veteran college players anxious to teach the newbie a couple of tricks.

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Los Angeles Clippers season preview: Player projections

We have hit the middle of our three part preview of the 2014-2015 Los Angeles Clippers, check out the Part 1 if you have not already. The question we are faced with now is how much better can this year’s Clippers team be in this incredibly deep Western Conference. The answer to that question is going to be the function of two things. How much better did this Clippers team get over the offseason? And how much better, if any, did the top tier of the Western Conference get this offseason?
DeAndre jordan and Blake Griffin during the national anthem previous to the Clippers preseason opener vs the Warriors.(photi credit Getty Images)
Okay, so part 1 of our preview handled the personal changes the Clippers made, but from a logistical and tactical standpoint the Clippers have to do a few things differently this season if they hope to crack the top two in the West and truly contend for a championship.
Offensive projections:
Nothing is changing, expect a lot of dunks, a lot of Blake Griffin and DeAndre in the post,

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Houston Rockets Highlights to Get You Pumped Up for 2014-15 Season

A lot has gone wrong for the Houston Rockets lately. Ever since Damian Lillard sent them packing earlier than expected in the 2013-14 postseason, the Rockets have had the bad news pile on.

General manager Daryl Morey took a big swing this offseason and came up empty. He lost Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik and Chandler Parsons in a bold attempt to bring in Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh. This whiff has left the Rockets reeling, and now the bench consists of young, unproven talent.

But it’s not all bad for Houston fans.

The Rockets still have two All-Stars in James Harden and Dwight Howard. They also have some promising players looking to burst on the scene in their new roles this upcoming year. And, with a new mindset on defense combined with the team’s impeccable offensive efficiency, there could be a lot to look forward to in Houston.

Here are some videos to pump you up for the Rockets’ 2014-15 campaign.

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Why James Ennis Could Be Miami Heat’s Biggest Surprise During 2014-15 Season

James Ennis wasn’t exactly a heralded prospect.

The Long Beach State product fell to the Atlanta Hawks late in the second round of the 2013 NBA draft. The Miami Heat ultimately traded for Ennis on draft night, but the California native did not make an NBA impact during the 2013-14 season. After salary-cap restrictions prevented Miami from sending him to the D-League, Ennis spent the past year playing in Australia and Puerto Rico.

Yet, despite being a late draft pick and a non-factor during his first potential NBA season, Ennis has the chance to play key minutes for Miami in 2014-15.

Ennis was a flat-out stud during the 2014 summer league sessions in Orlando and Vegas. Ennis was by far Miami’s best player, displaying the athleticism, length and shooting ability that made him successful at the collegiate level. 

In six games (four in Orlando, two in Las Vegas), Ennis averaged 15.5 points (51.7% FG, 48.1% 3PT), 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.

A result of his Summer League play and the Heat’s lack of wing options, Ennis entered this preseason as a player to watch.

The 24-year-old has not disappointed. 

Through five games, he’s averaging 13.2 points (54.2% FG, 45.5% 3P), 4.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.5 steals.

Ennis has had a few monster games, including a 14-point, 10-rebound, five-assist performance against the Orlando Magic.

However, even in games when Ennis hasn’t stuffed the stat-sheet, he’s been able to make a difference for Miami. Ennis took just one shot against the Golden State Warriors in Miami’s fifth preseason game, yet still finished with the game with a team-best +/- of +15, as pointed out by Couper Moorhead of 

Ennis isn’t a finished product. His handles in particular need work. But he’s already showing that he has many of the tools to be a successful NBA wing player, as Chris Bosh told Shandel Richardson of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

“We needed an injection of young talent,” center Chris Bosh said. “I think with James we’ve found a diamond in the rough. His athletic ability, his shooting and his playmaking ability is second to none. He has a tremendous upside. He’s going to help us a lot as long as he continues to develop.”

Even with the support of Bosh, Ennis’ role on Miami is far from set. Spoelstra was unwilling to guarantee a rotation role for Ennis when speaking about the wing player to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel after the Heat’s second preseason game.

He’s still just 24 years old and the Heat haven’t really shown a desire to rely on many young players in recent years.

But there’s a strong argument to be made that Ennis is simply showing too much at this point for to leave him out of the rotation to start the season. His ability to defend, do damage in transition and knock down open jumpers would surely be welcome on this team. 

If given the opportunity, Ennis has the chance to be a true difference-maker for Miami as a reserve playing behind Luol Deng at the 3.

The question is: Does Spoelstra give him the opportunity?

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NBA Rumors: Rounding Up Latest Buzz as Regular Season Approaches

Most of the focus remains between the lines for all 30 NBA teams with the 2014-15 regular season fast approaching, but rumors never cease in this quick-moving league.

Some of the most notable names in the Association continue to see their name in the rumor mill, with contract negotiations moving along and trade discussions being made. You probably won’t see a superstar dealt just before the season, but many teams are working the market to shore up the back ends of their rosters.

Here’s a rundown of the latest news trickling out of the NBA.


Klay Thompson

The Golden State Warriors are working to lock down Klay Thompson for the long term, but that effort may take years to come to fruition.

With the league’s new TV deal opening up the floodgates for more lucrative player contracts on the horizon, Thompson looks like one of many who is gearing himself to be in the mix for a big payday in the summer of 2015.

ESPN’s Marc Stein has the latest:

And now I’d argue that Thompson is even more of a lock to attract a four-year max in the summer of 2015 if he winds up in the RFA Club. Worse yet for Golden State: One real option, I’m told, is Thompson pursuing an offer sheet from a new team modeled after the loaded three-year contract structure Chandler Parsons scored from Dallas this past summer. 

Which is to say that Thompson, were he to pull a Parsons and sign a three-year deal with a player option to return to free agency in Year 2, would be setting himself up to hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent in 2017…at the exact same time as Splash Brothers sidekick Steph Curry. 

Don’t think the Warriors want that. 

It may not be time to cue the emergency sirens, but keeping Steph Curry’s sidekick and the second Splash Brother might prove to be tougher than once envisioned.

The Warriors showed their loyalty to Thompson by refusing to include him in a deal for Kevin Love, an obvious deal-breaker in their talks with Minnesota, but the market has opened up for players at his position. Chandler Parsons commanded a huge three-year, $36 million contract that began to redefine how young guards like Thompson are valued. 

Golden State’s regular season begins on Oct. 29 with a trip to Sacramento, and it’s safe to say that the most serious negotiations will come before that date. Should nothing happen before then, don’t be surprised if this storyline lingers long into the future.


Chase Budinger

Few were surprised when Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday that Chase Budinger was on the trade block for the rebuilding Timberwolves, and likely even fewer are surprised that other teams are reluctant to take on his sizable contract.

Wojnarowski reported that the Detroit Pistons and Houston Rockets are teams interested in pursuing the forward, with the Pistons taking the closer look between the two. And the latest from Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle also indicates that the Rockets aren’t quite serious suitors:

Don’t count the Pistons, then, as the only team interested. As Sean Deveney of Sporting News reported, the Portland Trailblazers could dangle Thomas Robinson in a possible deal:

It’s easy to see where Budinger would fit in with the Pistons. Josh Smith is more of a frontcourt player at the small forward position, so Budinger‘s shooting prowess could help to stretch the court and open things up for big men Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.

He would have a considerably smaller role in Portland, since Nicolas Batum plays so well on the wing, but depth will be needed if the Trailblazers want to continue last year’s postseason success.

Either way, don’t be surprised if Budinger has a new home before the season. Minnesota is very obviously committed to developing a young roster around Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine and Anthony Bennett, and dealing the 26-year-old Budinger would help build more draft assets along with freeing up the cap.


Joel Anthony and Will Bynum

While the Pistons might be in for a Budinger deal, they weren’t keen on waiting to get in the trade market. 

Detroit traded Will Bynum to the Boston Celtics on Friday, securing center Joel Anthony in the process, according to’s Chris Forsberg. Forsberg added more on Twitter:

As told by Forsberg, this deal may not be more than a bit of deep-roster tweaking and salary-cap adjusting. It looked to work out magnificently for the C’s, who got rid of a highly expendable player not expected to see much of the court this season.

With that in mind, don’t expect Boston to hold onto Bynum for long. Despite Bynum producing throughout his tenure in Detroit, the Celtics already have Evan Turner, Marcus Smart and James Young to dole out playing time to—and there’s the matter of Rajon Rondo’s imminent return.

On the other hand, it could be a great move for Anthony. Stuck behind young talent in Boston, he now has a chance to play a central bench role as there’s little depth behind Monroe and Drummond in Detroit. 

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