It looked like Beno Udrih’s Pistons career was coming to an end two games early and that Lorenzo Brown would get another Pistons jersey. Not quite.
Shams Charania of the Vertical initially reported that the Pistons would release Beno Udrih to sign Lorenzo Brown of the Grand Rapids Drive.
Sources: Pistons signing guard Lorenzo Brown of D-League, releasing Beno Udrih. Udrih had productive season for DET before injury Sunday.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 10, 2017
Udrih suffered a knee injury during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Stan Van Gundy mentioned after the game that it was unlikely that he would play again this season.
Since the Pistons opted to shut down Reggie Jackson for the rest of the season, they needed a point guard to backup Ish Smith for the final two regular season games. Brown was with the team at the end of last season and was in a preseason battle with Ray McCallum for the backup point guard job to start this season due to the injury to Reggie Jackson. Brown is familiar with the system and the players on the team.
However the report was ultimately premature. Charania updated his initial report that the Pistons were unable to pull of the transaction.
Brown was traveling to join Pistons today, but Sunday was deadline to release Udrih per league rules. Sides unable to compete transaction. https://t.co/j41a4ib40O— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 10, 2017
The deadline to waive players was 5 p.m. yesterday, before the Pistons tipped off in Memphis. What a bummer for Brown.
The Pistons claimed Udrih off waivers from the Miami Heat, and he responded with a solid season as the team’s third point guard. Assuming he’s unable to play again this season, he’ll finish with averages of 5.8 points per game and 3.4 assists per game.
Now Stan Van Gundy is left with a pretty serious rotation decision. Ish Smith stands to play heavy minutes for the final two games, with someone like Stanley Johnson with spot minutes at point guard. Michael Gbinije was drafted in the second round in last year’s draft as a multi-position player who would primarily play point guard. He was decent in 16 appearances in Grand Rapids, but has been dealing with an upper respiratory infection as the latest of a series of appearances on the injury report.
There’s no indication as to why the Pistons preferred Brown over Ray McCallum. Both played on the Drive this season and were available, and McCallum is the player the Pistons initially chose after the preseason. But Brown seemed to be the choice if the Pistons were able to waive Udrih in time.