Central Notes: Griffin, Drummond, Oppenheimer, Harrison

Hoops Rumors

The Pistons may be rebuilding, but they don’t expect it to be a long process, writes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. There’s optimism throughout the organization that Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose will both be healthy when training camp opens, giving the team a veteran foundation to guide its young players.

Griffin underwent knee surgery in January, but there have been “glowing” reports about his progress over the summer, according to Langlois. The veteran forward has regained confidence in his knee and remains in top condition. Langlois adds that Rose has also benefited from the extra long offseason.

Sekou Doumbouya, Luke Kennard, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Bruce Brown were all impressive at the team’s mini-camp, and the Pistons have the chance to add to the mix with $30MM in cap space and the seventh pick in next month’s draft. The hiring of general manager Troy Weaver, who has a track record of identifying young talent, adds to the optimism in Detroit.

There’s more on the Central Division:

  • The Knicks may be the best option for the Cavaliers if they decide to trade Andre Drummond, according to Chris Sheridan of Basketball News. New York has enough cap space to facilitate the deal and could offer role players on expiring contracts – Reggie Bullock, Wayne Ellington, Taj Gibson and Elfrid Payton – if Cleveland wants any of them. Sheridan mentions the Hornets, Pistons, Hawks, Heat and Suns as other possibilities.
  • Josh Oppenheimer will return to the Bucks as an assistant coach, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Most recently an assistant at James Madison, Oppenheimer worked for Milwaukee from 2013-16, serving on the staffs of Larry Drew and Jason Kidd. He was also an assistant for the Rockets and the Long Island Nets of the G League. Oppenheimer is known as the “shot doctor” and worked extensively with Giannis Antetokounmpo early in his career, notes Matt Velasquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link).
  • K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago ranks the Bulls who are least likely to return next season. He puts guard Shaquille Harrison at the top of the list, believing the potential restricted free agent would be “redundant” if Chicago makes a qualifying offer to Kris Dunn. Veteran forward Thaddeus Young, who has just a partial guarantee beyond next season, is second, followed by guard Denzel Valentine, another potential restricted free agent who couldn’t get regular playing time under former coach Jim Boylen, but displayed strong leadership skills during mini-camp.

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