Indiana Pacers Rumors

And-Ones: Silver, Carter, D-League

January 30 at 9:50pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Mark Cuban had his run-ins with former commissioner David Stern, but the Mavs owner has no shortage of praise for Adam Silver, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com relays from Cuban. Still, there are challenges ahead for Silver as his first year atop the league comes to a close, and union executive director Michele Roberts has left many around the league believing she’s “looking for a fight.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Lakers have assigned Ryan Kelly to their D-League affiliate, the L.A. D-Fenders, the team has announced. This will be Kelly’s first jaunt to the D-League of the season.
  • An MRI performed on Vince Carter has revealed that the Grizzlies veteran has suffered damage to a tendon in his left foot, the team has announced. The 38-year-old is out indefinitely and will be re-evaluated in a week’s time.
  • The Pacers have recalled Shayne Whittington from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the team has announced. This was Whittington’s first trip to the D-League of the season, and in one appearance he notched five points and four rebounds for the Mad Ants.
  • Milos Milisavljevic, who plays for the Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden State’s D-League affiliate, is working toward hearing his name called in this June’s NBA draft, Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com writes. The Serbian had passed on offers from a number of Euroleague teams so that he could come to the United States and play for Santa Cruz. Milisavljevic chose the less lucrative D-League path in order to demonstrate to NBA executives his high level of commitment to making it into the league, Howard-Cooper notes.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Wolves Try To Honor Budinger’s Trade Request

January 30 at 10:27am CST By Chuck Myron

Chase Budinger‘s representatives have let the Timberwolves know that he’d like to play elsewhere, and the Wolves have been trying to trade him to teams around the league, reports Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Budinger isn’t demanding a trade, sources caution to Deveney, but in any case, there’s “almost zero chance” the Wolves find a taker for Budinger or any other players before the deadline, a source tells Deveney. That’s because of the financial commitments that extend beyond the season for Budinger, Kevin Martin and Thaddeus Young, Deveney writes, adding that it’s nonetheless likely that the Wolves will trade Budinger after the season, when his contract will be easier to swallow.

Timberwolves coach/executive Flip Saunders denied that the team was shopping Budinger in October amid a flurry of rumors. There were conflicting reports about whether the Rockets had interest at that point, but regardless, Houston’s acquisition of Corey Brewer from the Wolves last month eliminated the team’s need for Budinger, according to Deveney. The Sporting News scribe reported in October that the Blazers had some interest, but Deveney says now that no substantive talks ever took place with Portland. The Pacers also apparently had interest before the season, and the Pistons reportedly inquired about the sixth-year small forward around that same time, with Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities pegging Detroit as the “team to watch” regarding Budinger in October.

Budinger, 26, is averaging career lows in points per game, minutes per game and shooting percentage. The BDA Sports Management client is making $5MM this season with an identical $5MM player option for next season. Young, about whom the Wolves and Nets have reportedly spoken, has a salary of almost $9.411MM this year and a player option of close to $9.972MM for 2015/16. Martin is making nearly $6.793MM this year, and his contract runs through 2016/17, which is a player option year.

Eastern Notes: Whiteside, Roberts, Russell

January 28 at 4:48pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Hassan Whiteside is finally getting an opportunity to prove that he is an NBA-caliber player after toiling away overseas and in the D-League, Steve Aschburner of NBA.com writes. When asked how he feels about getting his chance to play for the Heat, Whiteside said, “It’s a blessing, you know. I told my teammates, man, you won’t believe how things work out in life. Three months ago, you can ask anybody in Charlotte at the downtown [YMCA], I was just there. At the downtown Y, just chillin’. Workin’ on my game. I couldn’t even get a team to pick up the phone.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • With starting point guard Kemba Walker expected to miss a minimum of six weeks due to a a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, Brian Roberts is the player who will be called upon to contribute more for the Hornets, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes. “Here’s another opportunity for me to step up and help this team win games,” Roberts said. “It’s a challenge and everybody has to step up and take a little bit more ownership. Filling that void will be a group effort.
  • The Pacers are high on Ohio State combo guard D’Angelo Russell, but even as Indiana’s lottery chances improve, Russell’s improvement will make it tough for a team without a top-five pick to nab him, as Chad Ford of ESPN.com writes amid a chat with readers.
  • The Pacers have assigned rookie big man Shayne Whittington to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the team has announced. This will be Indiana’s first utilization of the D-League this season. In 13 appearances for the Pacers this season,Whittington has averaged 2.0 points and 1.2 rebounds in 4.5 minutes per game.

And-Ones: Smith, Pelicans, Hornets

January 27 at 10:18pm CST By Eddie Scarito

J.R. Smith believes that being away from the nightlife of New York will help improve his game and focus, TNT’s David Aldridge, writing in his Morning Tip column for NBA.com reports. The Cavs guard said, “I think this is the best situation for me, ’cause there’s nothing but basketball. There’s nothing you expect but basketball. There’s nothing, there’s no going out, there’s no late nights. There’s video games, basketball and basketball. So it’s a great thing, ’cause I go back to where I came from. When I grew up, I never, I wasn’t allowed to go out.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Smith also intimated that he wished things would have worked out with the Knicks, and wanted to become successful in the triangle offense, Aldridge adds. “I wanted to be one of the players that understood it, that got it,” Smith said. “The two greatest players in the world at my position played in it [Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant], and thrived in it, got all the accolades and championships and whatever else came with it. I wanted to be a part of that significant group. Not that I think I’m like those two guys in any way, but to be a part of the building process that that’s the base of, and go from there.”
  • Pelicans and Saints owner Tom Benson is asking a judge to dismiss the lawsuit that his heirs have filed regarding the control of the two franchises, Brett Martel of The Associated Press writes. Benson’s legal stance is that he made a “deliberate, reasoned and difficult decision” to change his succession plan so that Gayle Benson, his wife of 10 years, inherits control of the team, Martel notes.
  • The Pacers have assigned Shayne Whittington to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star reports (Twitter link). This will be Whittington’s initial D-League assignment of the season.
  • Hornets GM Rich Cho isn’t willing to sacrifice any long-term assets in his search for a backup point guard, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes.  “I think one of the worst things you can do is lose [draft] picks and flexibility and then get caught in a corner,” Cho said. “That’s one of the challenges of this job: You’ve got to balance winning now with winning in the future.”

Central Notes: Allen, Mozgov, Whittington

January 22 at 9:59am CST By Chuck Myron

LeBron James paid a visit to Ray Allen recently to try to recruit the free agent sharpshooter to the Cavs, sources tell Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. Fellow Cavs James Jones and Mike Miller, as well as Cavs assistant coach Tyronn Lue, have also remained in contact with Allen, who this week hinted that he’ll play this season. The Cavs have plenty of competition for the NBA’s all-time leading three-point shot maker, though the Warriors are no longer mulling a run at him amid the emergence of Justin Holiday, tweets Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group. While we wait to see if Cleveland winds up with yet another of its targets, here’s more from the Central Division:

  • Timofey Mozgov has had a tangible positive effect on the Cavs, and LeBron is quite pleased with the big man, as USA Today’s Sam Amick and Chris Fedor of the Northeast Ohio Media Group detail. “When we made the trade, everything that he brings us is what we needed and wanted,” James said about Mozgov. “He’s going to be huge for our team. Very, very skilled offensively and understands defensively. Just a smart basketball player and great playing with him.”
  • Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird and coach Frank Vogel have spoken about giving more playing time to rookie Shayne Whittington, notes Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star. Whittington is set for restricted free agency at season’s end.
  • Pistons owner Tom Gores insists he never second-guessed his decision to hire Stan Van Gundy, even as the team stumbled to a 5-23 start before its recent turnaround, MLive’s Brendan Savage observes. “Never,” Gores said. “Never. You got that on the record? Never. We have an amazing guy. I’m so, so proud that we got him here to Detroit.”

And-Ones: Onuaku, Jackson, LeVert

January 19 at 7:26pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Six NBA teams have shown interest in power forward Arinze Onuaku, reports Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Onuaku, who was briefly with the Pelicans and Cavs last season and spent camp this past fall with the Pacers, recently turned down an offer to play in the Philippines as he continues his dialogue with NBA clubs, Kennedy adds (Twitter links).

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Reggie Jackson is open to signing his qualifying offer this summer in an attempt to align his unrestricted free agency with the summer of 2016, USA Today’s Sam Amick reports. Most league executives reportedly assume the salary cap will surge to around $90MM. Jackson is on pace to invoke the starter criteria, which would lift the value of his qualifying offer from to nearly $3.223MM to almost $4.434MM.
  • Michigan’s Caris LeVert will miss the remainder of the season after injuring his foot during Saturday’s contest against Northwestern, the university has announced. The junior is scheduled to undergo surgery this week to repair the damage. This will be the second such procedure on LeVert’s left foot, as he had a similar injury last May. LeVert is currently the No. 14 ranked prospect by DraftExpress.
  • ESPN’s Chad Ford (Twitter link), who has LeVert slotted No. 30 in his draft rankings, still projects the guard to be a late first round to early second round pick come this June, provided LeVert is healthy in time for his pre-draft workouts.
  • Former Kings coach Michael Malone isn’t expected to remain with the Wolves past Wednesday’s game against Dallas, Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune reports (Twitter link). Malone has been acting as a special observer with the Wolves, but Flip Saunders, Minnesota’s president of basketball operations, doesn’t see Malone having a role with the team past this stint, Zgoda notes.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Kings Sign Quincy Miller To 10-Day Deal

January 17 at 10:30pm CST By Eddie Scarito

10:30pm: The signing is official, according to the team’s twitter feed.

SATURDAY, 1:42pm: The Kings will sign Quincy Miller to a 10-day contract, Shams Charania of RealGM reports (Twitter link). With Sacramento’s current roster count sitting at 14 players, no corresponding roster move will be needed to add Miller. Multiple teams were reportedly interested in signing Miller, including the Clippers, Pacers, Hawks, Thunder, and Spurs.

Miller had been playing with the Reno Bighorns, Sacramento’s D-League affiliate. In 14 D-League appearances this season Miller had averaged an impressive 26.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. He was shooting 52.2% from the field, and a solid 35.6% from three-point range.

The 22-year-old Miller was selected No. 38 overall in the 2012 NBA draft, and then spent two seasons with the Nuggets. Miller attended training camp with Denver this season, but was waived back in October. His career NBA averages are 4.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 0.5 assists. His slash line is .366/.316/.702.

The Kings have reportedly been seeking to add a stretch four as well as a wing defender, and have recently made rookie Nik Stauskas available in trade discussions. It’s unclear if signing Miller is related to this talk, seeing as he’s not necessarily known as a shut-down defender, and despite being 6’9″, Miller isn’t strong enough to guard most NBA power forwards.

Multiple Teams Eyeing Quincy Miller

January 17 at 12:49pm CST By Chuck Myron

SATURDAY, 12:49pm: The Clippers are also interested in Miller, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). Los Angeles has a meeting with the player scheduled for Sunday morning, Spears notes. The Clippers currently have two open roster spots.

FRIDAY, 3:25pm: Former Nuggets small forward Quincy Miller is meeting with the Pacers, Hawks, Thunder and Spurs at this weekend’s D-League showcase, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). Miller has been playing for Sacramento’s D-League affiliate for the past month after the Nuggets waived him before opening night.

The 22-year-old is averaging 25.6 points in 29.0 minutes per game with the D-League’s Reno Bighorns, though the team’s lightning-fast pace no doubt benefits his scoring. He possesses plenty of talent, having been the fifth-rated prospect coming out of high school, according to the Recruiting Services Consensus Index, but he’s been slow to recover his form after tearing his left ACL as a high school senior. The Lakers were reportedly chief among several teams interested in him shortly after his release from the Nuggets, a group that also apparently included the Rockets and Pacers, but he went without a deal before joining the D-League in early December.

Indiana appears to have the most persistent interest, having been linked to the Dwon Clifton client earlier in the season, but the Pacers, like Atlanta, Oklahoma City and San Antonio, would have to clear a roster spot, since they’re carrying 15 players who are signed for the rest of the season. The Pacers have the most financial flexibility thanks to their $5.305MM disabled player exception for Paul George, but it seems unlikely that Miller would receive any more than the minimum salary this season.

Larry Sanders Contemplating Retirement?

January 5 at 7:24pm CST By Eddie Scarito

7:24pm: Kidd told WTMJ’s Sports Central that he expects Sanders will return soon, possibly Tuesday, Gardner tweets.

6:27pm: Agent Happy Walters told HoopsHype that his client is not looking to retire.  “I saw that tweet. It is not accurate at all. Rumor unsubstantiated,” Walters said.

4:15pm: Sanders disputes the notion that he told the Bucks that he no longer wanted to play basketball, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter links). According to Kyler, Sanders has been out with the flu and dealing with some personal issues, and is planning to rejoin the team sometime this week.

3:13pm: Bucks center Larry Sanders has recently told team officials that he no longer wants to play basketball, Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times reports (Twitter links). Sanders’ potential lack of passion for the game has been building for some time, as some friends of Sanders told Woelfel last summer that they were concerned that Sanders wasn’t committed to basketball and wanted to explore other options. The 26-year-old big man is currently in the first year of a four-year, $44MM extension.

Sanders was previously reported to have left the team due to personal reasons, and was said to be out indefinitely by coach Jason Kidd. At the time Kidd was quoted as saying, “That’s a good question so you don’t have to ask me tomorrow or Sunday or Monday, so there’s no timetable. Being sick, away from the team, guys go on as you see. Charlotte, we played without him. The other night we played without him [in Cleveland]. It’s nothing new to this ball club. Injuries happen. The train keeps moving forward. It’s just personal. There’s nothing I can give you more. That’s the way the question will be answered.”

The Bucks were reportedly interested in dealing Sanders last season, and the talk began mere months after the team signed him to the extension. This was due in part to Sanders missing extended time during the 2013/14 campaign courtesy of a broken hand that was suffered during a brawl at a nightclub. According to Woelfel (Twitter link), Milwaukee had offered Sanders and Brandon Knight to the Pacers this summer for Roy Hibbert. With Sanders’ alleged lack of desire to play any longer, finding a taker for his contract at this point would likely be a near impossibility.

If Sanders’ issue is primarily with playing for the Bucks, rather than wanting to simply walk away from the game permanently, then Milwaukee would potentially be able to threaten him with a suspension on the grounds of intentional refusal to render the services required under his contract. The team could withhold his pay, which would likely bring the NBPA into the fray. But if Sanders is simply determined not to play any longer, then he could attempt to negotiate a buyout in which he would forfeit all, or most of his salary.

Sanders has made 27 appearances for the Bucks this season, averaging 7.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in 21.7 minutes per game. His career numbers are 6.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 1.8 BPG. His career slash line is .480/.000/.550.

Eastern Notes: Cavs, Granger, Heat

December 30 2014 at 7:14pm CST By Eddie Scarito

The Cavs‘ big men have left quite a bit to be desired in their performance thus far this season. Cleveland currently ranks 22nd in blocks per game, 26th in rebounds, and 22nd in overall defense. It’s for these reasons that the Cavs have been searching for a rim protecting center all season, and Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders runs down ten possible targets for GM David Griffin to try and bolster his frontcourt with, including Timofey Mozgov (Nuggets), Brandan Wright (Celtics), Jordan Hill (Lakers), and Samuel Dalembert (Knicks).

Here’s more from the East:

  • Danny Granger never expected to retire as a member of the Pacers and he doesn’t harbor any ill feelings toward the franchise despite being dealt to the Sixers last season, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel writes. “I didn’t think I would,” Granger said of eventually retiring with Indiana. “I mean, the time I spent there was very unusual. I didn’t want to get too wrapped up in the fact that I could have possibly been there my whole career. I knew that I wanted to. But I knew that the way the NBA is, and the type of business it is.
  • Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has done his best to juggle Miami’s rotation in light of all the injuries that the team has had to deal with but this season has quickly become humbling for the proud franchise, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes. “We’re 30 some games in. It’s enough talking,” Chris Bosh said. “We’ve talked enough. It’s about getting the job done. We’re not doing it right now. It’s been up and down for the whole season. It’s not going to change until each person makes it change. Coach has a bunch of decisions to make. He has to do his job and figure things out just like we have to do our job and figure things out. He’s going to put the best group he feels needs to be out there. We have to respond as players. We haven’t done a very good job of that.
  • James Anderson signed an extension that includes a raise with Lithuania’s Zalgiris Kaunas, reports David Pick of Eurobasket.com (Twitter link). Anderson, who started 62 games for the Sixers last season, inked a one-year deal with Kaunas over the summer. That deal included an escape clause, but he decided against triggering it to sign the extension, which covers the rest of the season, Pick tells Hoops Rumors.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.