Indiana Pacers

Central Rumors: George, Jackson, Cavs

Paul George has voiced some displeasure with the Pacers’ plan to move him to power forward, though he says he’s willing to stick with it, Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star reports.  George felt overmatched trying to guard Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis in the team’s first preseason game but after meeting with coach Frank Vogel and president of basketball operations Larry Bird, George said on Monday afternoon that he would remain in that role, Buckner continues. “We’re going to still stick with it, see how it works,” he told Buckner. That fact that George lobbied to scrap the team’s entire offseason plan after one game is “lunacy,” Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel opines. But Vogel told Doyel that he’s not worried about George’s reluctance to play there. “Well, he’s going to buy in, so I’m not really sure how to answer that,” Vogel said. “We’re going to work together to figure out the best combination of all these things.”

In other news around the Central Division:

  • Reggie Jackson can produce John Wall-type numbers because he has a top-notch pick-and-roll partner in Andre Drummond and plays in a system suited to his skills, according to Jonathan Tjarks of Wall complained when the Pistons gave Jackson a five-year, $80MM contract this summer but Jackson doesn’t have to be as talented as Wall to put up gaudy statistics because the Pistons will surround him and Drummond with shooters, Tjarks continues. In contrast, Wall often plays with Nene Hilario and Marcin Gortat up front, which gives Wall less room to drive than Jackson will enjoy in Detroit, Tjarks points out. Even when the Wizards go small, they don’t have a roll man with Drummond’s talent, Tjarks adds, which means Jackson can live up to the contract just by the nature of Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy’s offensive system.
  • Cavaliers center Sasha Kaun has no plans to play in Europe again, according to Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal. Kaun joined the Cavs this summer as a backup to Timofey Mozgov on a two-year, $2.5MM deal after his contact with CSKA Moscow expired. “When I said I was done in Europe, I was definitely done in Europe,” Kaun told Lloyd. “Seven years was long enough. My wife [a Kansas native] made an amazing sacrifice in moving over there.” Kaun wanted to join the Cavs three years ago, Lloyd adds, but they only offered him the league mininum.

Pacers Sign Kadeem Jack To Camp Deal

MONDAY, 2:39pm: Jack has put pen to paper with the Pacers, Bass shows via Instagram.

FRIDAY, 9:50am: The Pacers will sign power forward Kadeem Jack and add him to their training camp roster, a league source tells Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops (Twitter link). Agent Brian J. Bass confirms the move via Twitter. Jack, who turns 23 later this month, went undrafted out of Rutgers this year. He’ll become the 18th player on the Pacers, who were tied with the Clippers and Trail Blazers for the most open spots beneath the 20-man preseason roster limit.

Jack was a largely unheralded draft prospect, though his numbers at Rutgers weren’t shabby, as he put up 13.0 points and 6.4 rebounds in 31.0 minutes per game as a senior this past season. Those were nonetheless declines in his production from his junior year, when he’d done more in fewer minutes, with 14.3 PPG and 6.9 RPG in 29.3 MPG. He altered his shot selection, taking 48 total three-pointers and connecting on 15 of them in 2014/15 after attempting just a trio of three-pointers as a junior.

Indiana already has 15 players on fully guaranteed contracts, as our roster count shows, plus a partial guarantee for Toney Douglas and a non-guaranteed pact with C.J. Fair. The level of guarantee Jack is receiving isn’t clear, but it doesn’t appear as though he has much chance to stick for opening night. The Pacers can retain the D-League rights to as many as four players they waive, so the odds would seem better that Jack ends up with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, who became Indiana’s one-to-one D-League affiliate this year.

Central Notes: George, Robinson, Hoiberg, Rose

Paul George still doesn’t sound like a fan of his new position or the Pacers‘ new lineup, tweets Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star. Indiana is experimenting with George as its starting power forward, a move brought on by David West signing with San Antonio and Luis Scola going to Toronto. “I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot,” George said tonight after Indiana’s preseason opener. “I don’t know if this is my position.” George also implied that he’s not the only Pacer unhappy with the strategy. “It’s not just myself,” he said. “The four other guys out there, it’s an adjustment for them. We’re all talking (Twitter link). … A couple other guys are uncomfortable with how we’re going to run it. It’s new to everyone (Twitter link).”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Pacers president Larry Bird says he tried for a year to acquire Glenn Robinson III, according to Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star. The 21-year-old caught Bird’s eye during a preseason game last year as a member of the Timberwolves. Robinson played just 21 games in Minnesota before being cut in March, but the Sixers claimed him on waivers before the Pacers could grab him. He signed with Indiana this summer. “He sees something he likes in me, and it makes you feel good,” Robinson said. “I mean, he’s Larry Bird.”
  • Veteran guard Kirk Hinrich tells Mike McGraw of The Daily Herald that new coach Fred Hoiberg is bringing a faster pace and more relaxed atmosphere to the Bulls. It’s a drastic change from Tom Thibodeau, who was known for his intensity and his grind-it-out style. “Fred’s really calm,” Hinrich said. “He teaches. He’s a very good teacher, makes his points, but he’s calm.”
  • Derrick Rose will learn the Bulls‘ new offense from home while he recovers from a facial injury, McGraw writes in a separate story. Rose had surgery this week after fracturing an orbital bone below his left eye during Tuesday’s practice. He is not expected to resume basketball activities until October 14th. “We’re going to actually get over there and watch some film with him today, because again, we’ve added new sets, new things,” Hoiberg said Saturday. “So we’ll get him caught up by a couple of coaches going over and seeing him at his house.”

Central Notes: Thompson, Rose, Gansey

Tristan Thompson has become a virtual outsider for the Cavaliers as his training camp holdout continues, Dave McMenamin of writes. “Right now, my thoughts are just about the guys that are here and how hard and how well they are working and no specific expectation otherwise,” said coach David Blatt when asked for his reaction to Thompson not signing the team’s qualifying offer. “Just happy to see our guys working as well as they are.” The coach noted that he isn’t losing any sleep over the situation literally, with Blatt admitting that he was fast asleep when Thursday night’s deadline for Thompson to accept the qualifying offer passed, McMenamin adds. “I was liking the dream I was having,” Blatt said. “Usually I don’t go to sleep that early, but [that] night I was tired. We’re just back at it. We’ve got to focus on the now and here and that’s what we’re doing.

Here’s what else is happening around the Central Division:

  • The city of Chicago’s love for hometown star Derrick Rose is waning rapidly, and the story between him and the Bulls may not have a happy ending, Scoop Jackson of writes. Outside of his numerous injuries the past few seasons, Rose didn’t help public perception of himself with his comments saying that he was looking forward to becoming a free agent in 2017, Jackson notes. “What is interesting about Derrick Rose’s career is the public has seen him grow as a man and a spokesperson for himself and the team. For someone who has played in so little games, he is still the face of the team. He has gone from a shy introvert to an aggressively vocal [player] on the court and defender of himself and team to the media,” communications strategist Micaeh Johnson of Carte Blanche LTD, a Chicago-based public relations firm, told Jackson. When asked what Rose could do to help the public’s perception of him, Johnson said, “In short: Recover, stay away from the media, don’t respond to the sport of media and fan [expletive] talking, speak to his fans with humility and confidence when he returns and play ball.
  • The Pacers have officially named Steve Gansey as the head coach of their new D-League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the team announced. Gansey spent the 2014/15 season as associate head coach for Cleveland’s affiliate, the Canton Charge.
  • The Pistons have been hit by the injury bug at the point guard spot early on in training camp, which will give 2014 second-rounder Spencer Dinwiddie a chance to show what he can do, and potentially earn himself a slot in the team’s regular season rotation, Aaron McMann of writes.

Central Notes: Bucks, Jackson, Turner

The Bucks signed Greg Monroe to a max contract this summer, but he’s probably not the best player on Milwaukee’s roster, Shaun Powell of posits as he examines the team’s offseason. Still, bringing him aboard did much to enhance the franchise’s image, and while the Bucks don’t have a realistic shot at Kevin Durant next summer, their standing with top free agents around the league has improved, Powell believes. It worked out well enough for GM John Hammond to receive an extension this week, so while we wait to see if Milwaukee can keep it up, see more from the Central Division:

Pacers Sign C.J. Fair For Camp

SEPTEMBER 16TH, 2:18pm: The signing has taken place, though the team has made no official announcement, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). It’s non-guaranteed with limited injury protection, Pincus adds, so it’s an Exhibit 9 contract.

SEPTEMBER 10TH, 5:56pm: The Pacers have agreed to a deal with unrestricted free agent small forward C.J. Fair, agent Joel Bell tells Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter). It is a one year, minimum salary arrangement notes Charania.

Fair, 23, went undrafted out of Syracuse in 2014, after averaging 16.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 37.8 minutes per contest as a Senior. His career collegiate numbers were 11.6 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 0.8 assists to accompany a slash line of .462/.343/.723. The forward attended training camp with Indiana last season, though he was unable to secure a spot on the team’s regular season roster. Fair spent the remainder of the 2014/15 season with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA D-League.

The forward is a longshot to make the team’s opening night roster, with the Pacers currently having 15 players possessing fully guaranteed deals. He will compete with Glenn Robinson III, Solomon Hill, Chase Budinger, and C.J. Miles, who are all in the mix at small forward behind Paul George, who is also expected to see minutes at the four this season.

Pacers Owner In Legal Fight With Family Over Team

Pacers owner Herb Simon is pursuing legal means to keep the estate of his late brother and his brother’s widow from claiming part ownership of the team, reports Mark Alesia of the Indianapolis Star. Simon and his brother, Melvin, who died in 2009, were once co-owners of the team. Herb Simon has asked a court to declare that neither Melvin’s estate nor Bren Simon, his widow, has any financial state in the team, Alesia writes.

Herb Simon states in court documents that he has been trying to resolve a dispute between Bren Simon and Melvin Simon’s children since Melvin’s death, as Alesia details. Bren Simon is also involved in a suit in which she’s seeking to recover more than $21MM in taxes she paid to the IRS in protest, according to Alesia. The IRS contends that money that Melvin Simon received in a reorganization of Pacers ownership shortly before his death was a gift, Alesia writes. The brothers had agreed at that point that Melvin Simon would not have to fund the team’s losses and was “released from personal guarantees,” as Alesia recounts.

The Pacers are worth $830MM, according to annual valuations that Forbes magazine released in January. Forbes pegged the franchise value at just $281MM in December 2009, a few months after Melvin Simon’s death.

Family fights for control of NBA franchises are nothing new. Pelicans owner Tom Benson retains control of the team after part of his family reportedly ordered him to undergo psychological competency testing. A judge ruled the other way in the battle for the Clippers, upholding Shelly Sterling’s right to sell the team to Steve Ballmer.

Eastern Notes: Bullock, Pistons, Pacers

Reggie Bullock, a solid shooter who was traded to the Pistons during the summer, believes it will be his defense that helps him stick with Detroit, Keith Langlois of writes. Bullock is one of 17 players with a fully guaranteed deal with the Pistons, as our roster count shows. In a crowded wing field, Langlois adds, Bullock is likely the best shooter of those on the bubble for the last spot or two.

Here’s more news from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Speaking of Detroit, the Pistons, after some decisions during the summer, now resemble the team coach/executive Stan Van Gundy wanted to create when he took over two years ago, Shaun Powell writes in his 30 teams in 30 days series for By subtracting Greg Monroe and, perhaps, overspending on Reggie Jackson, the Pistons have a very athletic and young core. With that, Powell believes the Pistons are in position to make a decent playoff run this season.
  • Continuing his series with a look at the Pacers, Powell writes that Indiana is likely in what’s considered no-man’s land in the league: in between good and really bad. While the Pacers’ addition of Monta Ellis should help, Powell writes that Ellis is only a temporary solution. That’s because, as Powell points out, Ellis is not the most efficient shooter and he’s with his third team in four years.

Pacers Notes: George, D-League, Ellis

Owning the D-League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants gives the Pacers a notable advantage because the affiliate is only about two hours away, Scott Agness of writes. The Pacers want uniformity, Agness adds, and by now owning the team, they’ll be in charge of decisions and be able to have a coaching staff that runs a similar scheme. The Pacers made the purchase official earlier this week.

Here’s more out of Indiana:

  • The success of the Pacers‘ upcoming season largely hinges on whether or not Paul George can be the player he was before he broke his leg, Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders writes. Monta Ellis, who signed a four-year deal with the Pacers, is likely more talented than anyone who George previously played with , Hamilton adds. Therefore, the addition of Ellis should help George have a big season and the pairing of the two will likely lead the Pacers back to the playoffs, Hamilton writes.
  • The problem with the Pacers, however, as the New York Post’s Tim Bontemps points out on Facebook, is a lack of depth up front. The Pacers face a gaping hole in the frontcourt without Roy Hibbert, who is now with the Lakers, and veteran leader David West, who turned down a $12.6MM player option to sign with the Spurs for the minimum, Bontemps adds.

Eastern Notes: Pacers, Knicks, Kaun

One of the main reasons that the Pacers decided to forge ahead with the purchase of the D-League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants was the rising salaries of NBA players, Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star relays (Twitter links). Team owner Herb Simon said that the Pacers will need young players to go along with the higher paid players on the roster, and that those young players would need development, which purchasing the Mad Ants would help facilitate, Buckner adds.

Here’s more out of the Eastern Conference:

  • The Knicks are unquestionably a better team than a season ago, but just about every other team at the bottom of the Eastern Conference also improved this offseason, opines Tim Bontemps of the New York Post (Facebook link). Bontemps also noted that he expects New York to struggle to compete for the final playoff spot in the East, which would result in the possibility that the team would look to deal small forward Carmelo Anthony to a contender at the trade deadline.
  • The majority of the Pistons‘ roster is now comprised of players acquired by executive/coach Stan Van Gundy, and this season’s focus will be in determining which of those players will have long-term futures with the team, writes Shaun Powell of in his 30 Teams, 30 Days series.
  • Sasha Kaun‘s two-year deal with the Cavaliers will see him earn $1,276,000 in 2015/16 and $1,333,240 during the final season, notes Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Both seasons are fully guaranteed, Pincus adds. Reports initially conflicted on whether the contract would include a player option, and Pincus confirms that it does not.
  • Kendall Marshall will earn approximately $2.1MM this season courtesy of his deal with the Sixers, and his salary is fully guaranteed, Pincus tweets.

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