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Report: Pistons call up Walker Russell Jr. from D-League

Scott Schroeder of Ridiculous Upside:

The NBA Development League likes to tout that it’s the fastest way to get to the NBA and, on Thursday night, that motto proved true. The Detroit Pistons decided to make their first first foray into the D-League, according to a source close to the situation, when they decided to call-up Walker Russell from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants …

It’s unknown exactly why the Pistons decided to call up Russell at this juncture since it sounds like Will Bynum will be able to return from his three game absence due to injury this weekend, but he should have a few weeks to prove himself. Russell will be signed to a non-guaranteed deal, meaning he’ll likely have until at least Feb. 10 — the league’s cutoff date to guarantee contracts — to show he belongs in the big show.

Schroeder is the man on all things D-League, so I trust his sources, but I haven’t seen this reported elsewhere yet (see update below). Russell was with the Pistons in the preseason, but barely played. Schroeder points out that he did, however, show out at the recent D-League Showcase in front of NBA scouts, including a 19-point/19-assist performance in one game.

Russell is very well thought of in the D-League and seems to be deserving of this opportunity, but unless the team is unsure of Will Bynum‘s status or unless they want to get some rest for Rodney Stuckey either re-aggravated his groin injury or needs to rest it, I’m not sure how they’re going to find minutes for another point guard. Another possibility could be a trade (commence getting crazy with ideas in the comments), although that seems unlikely since Stuckey can’t be traded until March 1 and it would be odd for a team to trade for Bynum considering he’s missed games with an injury and hasn’t returned yet. We’ll update if either a confirmation or denial of the report comes out.

UPDATE (that was quick): Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

#Pistons source confirm they’re calling up Walker D. Russell Jr from Ft Wayne…probably a sign Will Bynum isn’t very healthy

12 Comments

  • Jan 20, 201212:31 am
    by Mark

    Reply

    I’d rather watch this Russell kid play than Bynum. Hopefully Bynum is being traded. Joe said he’d do a move for financial reasons. There’s no sense in carrying almost $4 mil/yr for a backup PG who rarely plays. If they can move Bynum’s contract for a 2nd rounder like Philly/OKC did with Speights/Mullins clearing cap space, we’ll be just fine with Russell as our 3rd PG.

    lol, I just saw the words “Russell, 5-year max contract ext” in the Glove Compartment and for a split second thought Joe lost his mind and gave Walker Russell a max deal. But it was just the Westbrook deal, lol. 

    It would be wise though to clear that Bynum cap space now, if possible, as it might be needed later to take back salary in any trades available in March.

    • Jan 20, 20129:08 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Bynum’s deal is really modest and he’s an expiring contract. There’s no real incentive to move him now, especially since he’s hurt. Hopefully, he comes back healthy and a team in need of PG help will be interested in him closer to the deadline.

      • Jan 20, 20122:00 pm
        by Laser

        Reply

        @Mark: “Hopefully Bynum is being traded.” New rule as of today. The next time somebody hypothesizes that a trade is in the works based on a player missing a game, I’m going to stop reading the post and ignore anything that commenter has to say forever because that commenter is incapable of paying attention and can’t add anything to the conversation. No trades are ever in the works for this fucking team ever.

        Also, Hayes is right that the guy. like him or not, is a contributor who at worst would be an asset to any team in the league in some capacity, and he’s on a modest deal. He has his flaws, but he’s a hard worker with a lot to offer, and he has his own strengths over any of our other guards. I’d love to have him as our backup point guard and have most of the $20 million we have committed annually to other guards committed to the front court.

        @Hayes: Bynum does not have an expiring contract.

        • Jan 21, 201210:14 am
          by apa8ren9

          Reply

          I know that I am new here but I didnt get the memo that changed the site’s name from Piston Powered to Laser Powered.  LOL

  • Jan 20, 20122:19 am
    by ryan

    Reply

    Not sure what the point of this move is the dude is 29 and tiny so I don’t think he’s got a lot of upside. I guess if he’s going to go hard in practice that might help us a bit also if Will Bynum or Rodney Stuckey is hurt worse than we thought.
     
    Wait I just had an idea. Maybe they can’t send Austin Daye down anymore so they’re bringing Walker Russell Jr. up and they’ll make Daye carry his bags around as if Daye was a D-League rookie. That makes the most sense of any of the possible explanations.

    • Jan 20, 20129:12 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “Not sure what the point of this move is the dude is 29 and tiny”

      It’s most likely a sign that Bynum is going to be out longer than expected, so they need an extra guard for depth purposes. Russell was with the team in camp, so he’s familiar with the team some and it won’t be as big an adjustment for him as it would be another D League guard.

      Like the post says, it’s probably a short term audition for Russell.

      As for Daye, they can actually send him to the D-League if they want to, according to the new CBA. Previously, I think teams could only send down guys who had been in the league fewer than two seasons.

  • Jan 20, 20126:55 am
    by Victor Fontana

    Reply

    Here is the trade, according to my reliable sources:

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=6se4b2j

    Then we’ll amnesty Jason Maxiell.

    • Jan 20, 20128:46 am
      by apa8ren9

      Reply

      LOL, that’s hilarious.   We can only dream!

    • Jan 20, 20121:12 pm
      by Ant

      Reply

      According to that trade it increases detroit wins by 13-15 games that I dont want! lol Exspecially for a guy that wont re-sign with us! Just keep loosing and aim high (for picks 1-3 in the draft) That way in 2 years when we can compete for a title maybe well be on sombodies radar like James, Anthony, Wade, Paul looking to finally get a Championship and provide veteran leadership to a young team going forward… Now theres wishfull thinking my friend! 

  • Jan 20, 20128:22 am
    by ryan

    Reply

    That’s a decent deal for both squads but our depth will be gone. I guess it’s a gamble I can live with.

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