The Detroit Pistons are allowed to have an expanded roster for training camp and they have one spot left. Things have been quiet involving summer league standout Jules Bernard. Are they waiting for Kemba Walker to free up a spot?
Although not quite as big as NFL training camps (which get to have 37 extra players), the NBA also has expanded rosters in the off-season, and they are given more leeway of when to make cuts.
The Pistons are currently allowed to have up to 20-players on their roster. It is not until the day before its October 19 opener with Orlando that they have to get down to 15 players (plus two two-way). These extra bodies obviously help in running drills in training camp, allows those with injuries not to be rushed and for the team to take a look at interesting prospects.
RIght now, the Pistons have one spot on their 20-man roster left to fill (sort of, kind of):
We say ‘sorta, kind of’ because, counting Kemba Walker, Detroit is at the 20-man roster limit.
The roster breakdown goes like this:
Players with fully guaranteed NBA contracts: 17
Two-way players: 2
Exhibit 10 contracts: 1
Although not official, summer league standout Stanley Umude has reportedly agreed to an Exhibit 10 deal with the Pistons. That means he automatically gets an invitation to training camp.
What about the other Detroit Pistons ‘Stars of Summer League’?
In the Las Vegas Summer League, three undrafted players stood out on the Pistons team: point guard Charlie Moore and shooting guards Umude and Jules Bernard.
Moore has signed with a team in Belgium, so he is out of the picture (also out of the country). Umude is apparently set to show up at the Henry Ford Performance Center for camp, which leaves Bernard as the big unknown.
Bernard played well for Detroit in summer league, showing assertiveness on offense and fine passing ability, even more than when he was at UCLA. Besides the two-way players, Bernard was the only one to play in all five summer league games, so Detroit has obvious interest in him.
The 6-foot-7 guard averaged 9.2 points (in just 13 minutes a game), along with 3.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists. Bernard left Las Vegas on a positive note, scoring 22 points in a 102-86 thrashing of the Orlando Magic, in their final game.
After the NBA roster players stopped playing, a lot of Detroit’s offense was basically: give Bernard the ball and hope something good happened.
Since the Magic game, it has been crickets on the Bernard front. Now, there is no reason the Pistons have to rush into anything. Training camp is not until late September, that is when they have to have the 20 players they want.
Two years ago, Wayne Ellington, who ended up being a starter, was not signed until the day before training camp started, so things are fluid until the moment coach Dwane Casey blows his whistle to start the first day of camp.
So when would Jules Bernard or anybody, get signed to fill the open roster spot?
Detroit probably will want to announce the Umude and Bernard (or whomever) signings at the same time, which means the Kemba Walker buyout first has to officially go through.
There has already been a lot of discussion about why Walker is still on the roster. One of them was maybe his contract getting used as part of a multi-team deal involving Kevin Durant, although that is now off the table.
As stated before, there is no major rush at this point. Walker knows he is getting bought out and if Bernard knows he is coming to Detroit, that is the important thing. Looking at the tea leaves, one could surmise that is the case.
After playing so well in Las Vegas, Bernard certainly would have gotten an offer from another team if the Pistons were not interested (which we would have heard about).
One thing we know, general manager Troy Weaver likes to play things close to the vest. We may not know the Pistons 20-man roster until Casey actually does blow that whistle to start things. There is also a much better chance of Jules Bernard being in camp than Kemba Walker.