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Pistons add Jameer Nelson, James Ennis before trade deadline

Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Basketball

The Detroit Pistons didn't see long-term fits with recent acquisitions Willie Reed and Brice Johnson

General manager Jeff Bower went to work, and a flurry of trade-deadline activity will allow Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy to reunite with his old point guard.

The Pistons acquired veteran point guard Jameer Nelson from the Chicago Bulls for Reed, a person with firsthand knowledge of the process told the Free Press on Thursday morning.

The move was first reported by Yahoo! Sports and came hours before the 3 p.m. trade deadline.

Minutes later, the Pistons agreed to add small forward James Ennis from the Memphis Grizzlies for Brice Johnson, the same person told the Free Press.

ESPN.com was first to report the Ennis deal.

As part of the Nelson-Reed swap, the Bulls get the right to swap second-round picks in 2022, according to multiple published reports.

The Grizzlies get a future second-round pick from the Pistons.

Nelson, 35, reached the 2009 NBA All-Star game with the Orlando Magic when Van Gundy was the coach. The season ended with a loss in the NBA Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Pistons now have four pure point guards on the roster with Reggie Jackson, Ish Smith and Dwight Buycks. Combo guard Langston Galloway also plays point guard and is the current backup behind Smith. Jackson is out until at least after the All-Star break later this month with a severe right ankle sprain.

The plan is to keep Galloway as the current backup with Nelson more of an insurance policy for if Smith were to go down with an injury.

Nelson will bring veteran leadership.

Smith played with Nelson with the Magic during the 2011-12 season.

"He was super helpful," Smith said in a text to the Free Press.

In 43 games with the New Orleans Pelicans this season, Nelson averaged 5.1 points and 3.6 assists per game. He shot 36.4 percent from 3-point range.

Nelson is under a one-year, $2.2 million deal and will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.

Multiple reports said the Pistons targeted Pelicans swingman Dante Cunningham with Brice Johnson as the trade bait.

But they pivoted to Ennis, 27. He is a career 37 percent 3-point shooter.

 

Ennis is in the final year of a two-year, $5.9 million deal. He will be an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

It would appear Ennis faces a tough path to consistent playing time.

Third-year forward Stanley Johnson is surging and swingman Reggie Bullock is averaging 11.6 points per game and shooting nearly 50 percent from 3-point range since Dec. 1.

The front office is ecstatic over the progress of rookie guard Luke Kennard, who is shooting 41.6 percent from 3-point range.

Reed and Brice Johnson were acquired from the Clippers as part of the Blake Griffin trade on Jan. 29.

Reed, 27, appeared in three games with the Pistons, before beginning a six-game suspension without pay for a domestic violence incident involving his wife.

The NBA announced Reed's suspension Tuesday and the Pistons were made aware of the possibility during the Jan. 29 trade call with the NBA.

Reed was arrested in Miami and charged with a misdemeanor offense on Aug. 5, and he entered into a pretrial diversion program to resolve the criminal charge Oct. 16.

He played with the Miami Heat last season.

With Andre Drummond, Griffin, Jon Leuer (out for season) and Eric Moreland under contract for 2018-19, the Pistons didn't have any interest in trying to re-sign Reed this offseason.

It was the same for Brice Johnson, who played for the Grand Rapids Drive, the Pistons' Gatorade League affiliate, He scored 16 points in the Drive's victory at the Windy City Bulls in Chicago on Wednesday.

The Pistons have Griffin, Leuer, Henry Ellenson and hope to bring back unrestricted free agent Anthony Tolliver next season, leaving no spot for Brice Johnson, who plays power forward.

The Pistons are 5-0 since acquiring Griffin.

(c)2018 Detroit Free Press

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