Despite signing a fully guaranteed 2-year contract for the veteran's minimum this summer, Aaron Gray will likely be waived before playing a single minute for the Detroit Pistons, according to a report from Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. Gray suffered a "cardiac episode" in August soon after signing his contract and was unable to participate in any training camp activities or preseason games. He's suffered similar episodes early in his career, and it's not yet clear when (or if) he'll be able to resume his career.
The writing has been on the wall for Gray for nearly two weeks. With Gray's availability in doubt, the Pistons acquired a new backup center by trading Will Bynum to the Celtics for Joel Anthony on Oct. 17. Anthony is entering his eighth season in the NBA, having split last year with the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. He's averaged 2.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in 16 minutes.
The Pistons could save money by releasing second-year forward Tony Mitchell instead of Gray, but it appears Van Gundy is still intrigued by Mitchell's potential. It's possible the Pistons try to accelerate Mitchell's development this year with extended minutes with their new D-League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive. This is the first time the Pistons have their own D-League affiliate. Drive head coach Otis Smith, who worked with Van Gundy in Orlando, will presumably run Van Gundy's system, helping make the transition easier.
Van Gundy spoke about roster decision Sunday without tipping his hand. From David Mayo of MLive:
"Decision, yes -- notification no," was Van Gundy's response today when asked if there were a final decision on the Pistons' last roster cut. The Pistons must reduce from 16 to 15 by 5 p.m. Monday and probably will delay final announcement until then, Van Gundy said.
Update: It's official. Here's the team's official announcement:
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – The Detroit Pistons announced today the club has requested waivers on Aaron Gray. The 7-0, 270-pound center missed training camp while rehabbing from a cardiac episode suffered following a voluntary workout in late August.
Gray signed with the Pistons as a free agent on July 10, 2014 and holds career NBA averages of 3.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 12.1 minutes in 318 games with Chicago, New Orleans, Toronto and Sacramento.