Pistons' Kemba Walker not with team; three have injuries heading into training camp – Detroit News

  • September 27, 2022

Detroit — The Pistons officially start preparations for the 2022-23 season this week, and it began with the franchise announcing the roster for training camp on Monday morning.
There were no real surprises, with the additions of Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel and Kevin Knox — all from deals with the Knicks — joining the roster. Kemba Walker, whom the Pistons also acquired in a trade with the Knicks during the offseason, is listed on the roster but is not with the team.
It was previously reported that Walker and the Pistons were expected to reach a buyout agreement, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent.
A couple of additions include Jules Bernard and Stanley Umude, who both signed Exhibit 10 contracts to join the training-camp roster.
With the acquisition of Burks and Noel, the Pistons added veteran leadership to their young core, and some depth with Knox.
However, all three players are dealing with the injuries ahead of training camp. Burks is expected to miss the start of camp to rehab a navicular fracture, a foot injury. He will be re-evaluated in three weeks.
Knox (right gastroc strain) and Noel (reconditioning/plantar fasciitis) will see limited participation at the beginning of training camp as they recover.
Bojan Bogdanovic, acquired in a trade last week with the Utah Jazz, is not listed on the initial roster, as the trade has not been officially announced. Kelly Olynyk and Saben Lee, who were in the deal and slated to go to the Jazz, also are not listed on the roster.
The Pistons also announced decisions to exercise their fourth-year team option on the contracts of Saddiq Bey, Killian Hayes and Isaiah Stewart for the 2023-24 season. Detroit also exercised its third-year team option on the contract of Cade Cunningham for 2023-24.
The Pistons debuted two new additions to their traditional Association (white) jerseys during Monday’s media day. In addition to the No. 6 on the left shoulder to pay tribute to Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, the franchise will also honor the late Bob Lanier with a black “16” stripe on the right section of their jerseys.
Lanier, who was selected by Detroit with the first pick of the 1970 NBA Draft, spent the first nine seasons of his NBA career with the Pistons and quickly established himself as one of the greatest big men to ever play the game. He ranks as the team’s all-time leader in scoring average (22.7 ppg) and double-doubles (442). He ranks among the career leaders in franchise history in several total categories, including third in points (15,488) and rebounds (8,063), second in field goals (6,276), fourth in blocks (859) and seventh in games played (681).
The team will also honor the legendary Pistons center with a “Bob Lanier tribute night” when the Milwaukee Bucks visits Little Caesars Arena.
Hamidou Diallo will be the final Piston to ever wear the No. 6 as a result of the league’s announcement to retire the number leaguewide, a decision that went into effect shortly after Bill Russell passed away on July 31.
The number can never be worn again, but players who wore the number last season can continue to do so. Diallo said he thought about changing his number, but he feels the number has more meaning because of his interactions with Russell during the 2019 All-Star Weekend.
“God rest his soul. He was a great person. Definitely a motivator,” Diallo said. “When I was in Charlotte during All-Star weekend, I got to sit down and eat dinner with him. So, that’s a blessing within itself for me, being able to have that interaction with him. I feel like this number 6 holds more value because I actually got to interact with him and I actually got to get to know him and talk to him.
“Being the last person to ever wear it as a Piston, it’s an honor. I’m trying to make sure that in the same way that’s an honor, my performance is as well. I’m clearly aware of that and I’m just trying to stay ready so I don’t gotta get ready.”
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