Pistons waive 3 forwards, roster takes shape

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Auburn Hills — The Pistons are a little closer to finalizing their roster to start the regular season.

The team announced Friday morning that forwards Cartier Martin and Adonis Thomas and center Jordan Bachynski had been waived. The move trims the roster to 16, with one more cut looming to reach the roster limit of 15 before the season begins on Tuesday.

That final roster move could be veteran Danny Granger, who hasn't been with the team as he rehabs in Arizona. Granger was acquired in the offseason trade with the Phoenix Suns that brought Marcus Morris and Reggie Bullock — who nabbed the roster spot over Thomas and Martin because of his stellar play in the preseason.

Pistons' Caldwell-Pope OK, will play in opener

Thomas signed as a free agent after playing most of last season with the Grand Rapids Drive in the NBDL. Though Thomas had struggled with an Achilles injury for much of the preseason, coach Stan Van Gundy lamented having to let Thomas go.

"That was a tough one for me because we really liked him and the way he worked all summer and in summer league," Van Gundy said Friday morning. "If you go back and check the numbers from our scrimmages, he was one of the top four or five guys out here early on.

"He came in in great shape, he was ready, but he just hasn't been able to compete in almost three weeks and really didn't look he was ready to go even yesterday."

Van Gundy hopes that Thomas would return to the Drive this season, but he's eligible to sign with any other NBA team.

"The decision part was really actually easy because of (the injury), but it was a hard one to tell him because we really, really like him," Van Gundy said. "From our standpoint, selfishly, we hope (he goes back to Grand Rapids), but I don't know what he's thinking about."

Granger appears to be the final move, if the Pistons can't find swing a trade, which would seem to be a longshot. And given that he hasn't even worked out with the team in the preseason, all signs are pointing in that direction.

"It's really unlikely," Van Gundy said. "We talked to him last week and he still didn't feel like he was ready to go and come into camp."

Granger's contract is for $2.17 million but with the Pistons still got the better of the trade, with Morris taking a starting role and Bullock shining as a defensive stopper and spark plug off the bench.

In the next few days, an announcement on Granger's status could be forthcoming.

"It is more procedure and everything and talking to (his reps)," Van Gundy said. "He's a veteran guy who has accomplished a lot, so you're going to be a little slower. At the same time, we haven't been able to see him at all."

Martin was signed as a free agent in August 2014 and averaged 1.6 points and 0.9 rebounds in 23 games. He played sparingly and missed 10 games because of right foot injuries. The Pistons will have to absorb Martin's contract of about $1.27 million, just a little more than Bullock's $1.25 million.

With his wrist issues dogging him for most of the preseason, Martin was unable to get on the court and compete for a spot.

""We haven't seen him in practice in three weeks; he was hurt most of last year," Van Gundy said. "It's disappointing to me because I thought when we signed him, he was a guy who could have added a lot of the things we were looking for — in shooting and toughness and everything else — and it didn't work out at all.

Injury bug

While the Pistons have been stung by injuries all preseason, a couple more nagging maladies have hit the starting lineup. Reggie Jackson has sore knees and will sit out tonight's preseason finale against the Hawks at The Palace.

Guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who suffered a foot strain in Wednesday's game, also will sit out, as will forward Ersan Ilyasova, who was injured by a knee in the game.

The Pistons will start Spencer Dinwiddie, Bullock, rookie Stanley Johnson, Morris and Andre Drummond tonight. Van Gundy said the other 11 players (except Granger and Brandon Jennings) will play but the plan is play none more than 24 minutes.