Adrian Wojnarowski: Pistons are finalizing a trade to s…

More on Stanley Johnson Trade

Hey James, in your eyes what is the most realistic move this team makes? Trading somebody like bullock or Ish? Or is it more realistic to think something more like a mike Conley deal before Thursday? James Edwards: Most realistic is moving Bullock, Ish or Stanley Johnson, yes. I think Conley could happen. I think Conley goes to Utah or Detroit.
There are nights when Johnson looks like he can be a starter in the NBA, and others when you forget he’s on the floor. It’s been a roller-coaster ride in Detroit that looks to be coming to an end soon; he’ll be a restricted free agent this summer. Should the Pistons deal him before then to try and ensure that the 2015 No. 8 pick doesn’t leave for nothing? It’s a slippery slope. “With Detroit trying to make the playoffs, Johnson’s defense is valuable to have,” a league source said. “Also, I’m not sure he brings back a nice return — maybe a second-round pick, depending on a contending team’s needs.”
The question becomes: If the Spurs are seriously considering a deal to acquire Johnson, what will it take? According to league sources, the Pistons are not looking to rid themselves of Johnson too fast as there are hopes of making the playoffs. If a postseason berth is possible, Johnson could help.
And Stanley Johnson? He will likely be a restricted free agent, but it’s safe to assume the Pistons wouldn’t mind moving him, though his trade value is low. Other teams scout games and know his struggles through four seasons. Would the Pistons move Johnson? Yes. Are there any takers? The Pistons are looking for some sort of clarity over the next nine games before the deadline, the team source said.
League sources have told The Athletic the Spurs have inquired about a wing player over the last few months. The Spurs were interested in adding Trevor Ariza, but no package could work. The Phoenix Suns shipped Ariza to the Washington Wizards for Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers. If the Spurs are still searching for a wing, a name that could surface is Detroit’s Stanley Johnson. The connection here: Spurs assistant GM Brian Wright was with the Pistons back in 2015 when the team drafted Johnson. Around the league, executives mentioned that Wright is still a big supporter of Johnson.
According to league sources, behind the scenes, the concern with Johnson is his focus. The work ethic is there, but some feel Johnson is working on the wrong things with the coaches who aren’t employed by Pistons in the offseason. “The tools are there,” one Eastern Conference scout said. “But whatever he wants to do doesn’t fit in with what they want him to do.”
But Detroit’s options are limited. Executives across the league value Johnson vastly differently. Ask one executive, and he’s considered a potential low-cost steal ready to be poached from the playoff-thirsty Pistons. Ask another, and he’s viewed similarly to P.J. Tucker, a fine player but one without significant trade value. Point guard Reggie Jackson isn’t treasured. Rookie Luke Kennard was drafted no. 12, but not all teams considered him anything close to a lottery pick. Van Gundy needs to do something, but whatever it is might end with the same unfortunate result.
The Pistons have dangled Stanley Johnson in trade conversations, including for Hood. Johnson has resembled a bust with the Pistons. But he’s only 21, already a strong multipositional defender, and only a jump shot away from being a capable two-way player.
Forward Stanley Johnson is one name that has come up in the Pistons’ conversations with other teams, per ESPN sources. Opposing teams have come away with the impression that Johnson is available for the right return.
Several teams, including San Antonio, tried to steal Johnson on the cheap after Van Gundy, in late November, suspended Johnson and questioned his practice habits, per league sources. The Pistons were almost deadlocked between Johnson and Devin Booker in the draft room in 2015, sources say, and they grew more frustrated with every Booker 30-point eruption.
"That's what I'm saying - this stuff is crazy," Van Gundy said of media reports. "And I'm not going to be the guy to step up and say, 'No, no, no. None of these guys are available.' Because I'm not lying to anybody. "Here's the thing: who do you think people call about? Are interested in? Your best players? Yeah. That's who people call about. Yes, there's always discussions about Reggie and Andre (Drummond) and Marcus (Morris) and Tobias (Harris) and Stanley (Johnson) and Jon Leuer. Always, yes. People call about them. There's discussions about those guys on a daily basis. That's who people call about. They are interested in those guys. So yes, those discussions take place all the time."
Sources have told the Pistons have resisted overtures for Johnson but with the recent developments, expect executives for rival teams to be more aggressive. No one can deny what Johnson can physically bring to the table and if teams view him as an undervalued commodity by the Pistons, things can get interesting with the trade season kicking off December 15.
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Draymond Green and Damian Lillard to play for Team USA

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green are among the initial commitments to Team USA for the Tokyo Olympics this summer, sources tell The Athletic. Lillard, who turns 31 on July 15, will be playing in his first Olympics after dropping out of consideration for the 2016 Rio Games, where the U.S. men’s team won its third consecutive gold medal. Green, 31, was a part of the 2016 team, which finished the tournament 8-0.
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Stevens interviewed Celtics assistants Jay Larranaga, Scott Morrison and Jerome Allen and plans to broaden the search to include Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham and Billups, a person with knowledge of the process told USA TODAY Sports. ESPN reported the Celtics wanted to interview Nets assistant Ime Udoka, Dallas assistant Jamahl Mosley and Bucks assistant Charles Lee. Coaching insiders indicate the Celtics will hire externally rather than promoting from within.