Detroit The Bull Bull era with the Pistons ended before it even began.
Pistons fans were looking forward to Paul’s debut after this week’s trade that brought the 7-foot-2 to Detroit from the Denver Nuggets.
Not so fast.
The team said in a statement that the Pistons canceled the deal on Thursday “because no medical clearance was received for all players involved.”
A league source familiar with the situation confirmed to the Detroit News that Paul had physical problems with the team. The Denver Post was the first to report the news.
Paul was one of the top prospects in the 2019 draft, but his stock fell after he fractured a nondisplaced foot and played just nine games in his only season in Oregon. A predictable first-round pick, Paul was relegated to the second round, being picked by the Nuggets at 44th.
A team canceling a deal after it was announced is rare, but not unprecedented. Paul will return to the Nuggets and veteran goalkeeper Rodney McGruder will return with the Pistons, who will retain the 2022 second-round pick via the Brooklyn Nets that were part of the original deal.
“I’ve been around (cancelled deals) before and can’t comment on the medical report with Paul Powell, but I’ve been around, and it’s happening,” said coach Duane Casey. “Things happen when they appear in the physical, or appear information that (trade) can change. This is not unusual.”
One of the unique parts of the Cancellation Trade is that players return to their original team. There might be some animosity or hurt feelings around trying a deal, and that player back in the locker room.
In McGruder’s case, the Pistons don’t see a potential embarrassing situation as a concern. General Manager Troy Weaver has a good relationship with McGruder, which should help mitigate any potential issues.
Casey said, “Rodney is a great professional and I had a great chat with him after the deal was done. He loves it here in Detroit, and he wants to be here in Detroit. He understands the basketball business and I don’t see any problem with Rodney coming back. I know his teammates will be.” Excited to get him back in. I know we (to be) as a coaching crew and I’m really excited…
“With Rodney, for me, it’s personal, but we owe it to the organization to give it a look like a Bull Pool, and Troy made the right decision and did it. I don’t see any problem with Rodney coming back and fitting right in – I think it’s going to be smooth.”
McGruder, 30, is recognized for his veteran leadership and ability to connect with the younger players on the roster. That connection has helped in the past two seasons rebuild the Pistons, and he has earned the respect of his teammates in the process.
“(McGruder’s comeback) is great. Obviously the trade faltered and everything but[it was tough]when Rudd was first traded, because that’s someone I talk to every day,” said Isaiah Stewart, sophomore center. “He’s my vet. I can feel him being here on the team every day. To bring him back, and to be around, that would definitely be a good thing.”
Although McGruder has played sparingly this season, scoring 2.5 points and 1.6 rebounds in 17 games, he has spanned long distances of strong play between his sporadic appearances.
The embarrassing part might be at the end of the nuggets. Mike Singer of the Denver Post reported that after the Nuggets signed James Ennis III to a 10-day contract, they gave him the No. 10 jersey – the same number Paul was wearing.
Deals are based on all players making a physical pass, to the satisfaction of the receiving team. The Pistons also participated in a three-team trade with the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers that was canceled. The deal was going to bring the big guy Donatas Motijonas and guarding Marcus Thornton to Detroit in 2016, but there were concerns about the return of Motijonas.
Motiejunas took to Twitter on Thursday to express his displeasure with the Pistons, and to hear about his failed trade.
Motiejunas wrote, “I failed my physical exams and the Detroit doctors told me I would never play basketball again… 6 years later (sic) I’m still here and I have many years to go.” “They’re ruining young players’ names and their future contracts in the NBA by doing that.”
Motijonas struggled with back problems during that season, but continued to play professionally abroad. In additional tweets, he said his medical exam was done in a hospital and that he believed they were the same doctors, and that the Pistons followed what the doctors told them.
Motijonas said he hasn’t missed a match since his back injury.
Jackson is out of protocol
Frank Jackson He’s out of health and safety protocols and is on his way back to the squad. He was designated as a “Return to Competition Renewal” on the team’s injury report, meaning he has cleared COVID protocols and is able to work with the team.
Jackson likely won’t be able to play in Friday’s game against the Toronto Raptors, but could be sent off in time to play in Sunday’s home game against the Phoenix Suns.
Raptors in pistons
► warning: 7 p.m. Friday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit
► TV/Radio: BSD / 97.1 FM
► prospects: The Pistons (9-31) have won four of their last seven games, their best period of the season. They have won four straight games against the Raptors (20-18).