Indiana Pacers Rumors

Indiana Pacers trade, free agent, and draft rumors, updated constantly by the NBA experts at HoopsRumors.com.

Central Notes: George, Van Gundy, Monroe

March 29 at 11:32am CDT By Arthur Hill

The PacersPaul George feels ready to play, reports Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star. Now it’s just a matter of convincing the medical team. “I feel good but it’s not just me that has to feel good, everyone has to feel good about it,” George said. “That’s what we’re waiting on. It could be close, it could be not but everybody’s got to be on the same page with this.” George hasn’t played since breaking his leg with the U.S. Men’s Basketball Team last summer. He has been ruled out for today’s game and there is no schedule for his return.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Stan Van Gundy got used to winning with the Magic, but Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel writes that getting used to losing with the Pistons is more difficult. Van Gundy’s first season as coach and president of basketball operations in Detroit has been a series of ups and downs — mostly downs — on the way to a 28-44 record. “It’s a lot of losses and it’s tough,” Van Gundy said. “But you walk in every day, and you’ve got a group of guys that are working hard and everything else. So you owe them your best every single day.”
  • If Greg Monroe returns from his knee injury soon, as expected, it will present a new challenge for the Pistons, writes David Mayo of Mlive. Detroit has won five of its last six games and is on the outskirts of the Eastern Conference playoff race, but Monroe’s return will bring changes. “I think to be good, you’ve got to be able to play more than one style,” Van Gundy said. “You’ve got to be able to get down and grind a game out, which I think we can do when we have Greg, and you’ve got to be able to open the floor up, which we can do with this lineup.”
  • The PistonsReggie Jackson will be a restricted free agent this summer, but Mayo writes in a separate story that he sounds like he want to stay in Detroit and play beside Kentavious Caldwell-Pope“We want to be one of the best backcourts in the league,” Jackson said. “We know we’ve got a long way to go. But we are young and we’ve got a chance to do so.” Jackson is 24; Caldwell-Pope is 22 and on the second year of his rookie contract.

2015/16 Salary Commitments: Pacers

March 25 at 8:30pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

With the NBA trade deadline passed, teams are focusing on locking down playoff spots or vying for a better chance in the draft lottery. Outside of the players who are added on 10-day deals, or those lucky enough to turn those auditions into long-term contracts, teams’ rosters are relatively set for the remainder of the season.

We at Hoops Rumors are in the process of taking a look ahead at each franchise’s salary cap situation heading into the summer, and the free agent frenzy that occurs every offseason. While the exact amount of the 2015/16 salary cap won’t be announced until July, the cap is projected to come in somewhere around $67.4MM, with the luxury tax threshold projected at approximately $81MM. This year’s $63.065MM cap represented  an increase of 7.7% over 2013/14, which was well above the league’s projected annual increase of 4.5%.

We’ll continue onward by taking a look at the Pacers’ cap outlook for 2015/16…

Here are the players with guaranteed contracts:

Here are the players with non-guaranteed contracts:

  • None

Players with options:

The Pacers’ Cap Summary for 2015/16:

  • Guaranteed Salary: $36,022,711
  • Options/Non-Guaranteed Salary: $28,114,031
  • Total: $64,136,742

The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

Larry Bird On Tanking, Draft, Roster

March 25 at 6:34pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Despite losing star forward Paul George prior to the season to a serious leg injury the Pacers have still been competitive this season, and team president Larry Bird expects his team to make the playoffs, Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com relays. Bird spoke with Mazzeo on a number of subjects, and here are some of the highlights of their chat:

Discussing the concept of tanking and what comes to mind when it is mentioned, Bird said…

It makes me sick to my stomach. For somebody that’s been in this league for over 30 years, I don’t think that’s the way you do things, but that’s my opinion. Everybody else has got their opinion. I’ve read in the past here where people thought we should lose on purpose. I don’t believe in that. I’ve never believed in that. If I ever get that way, I’ll be out of the game.

When asked if the team prefers to draft players who have stayed in college for multiple seasons, Bird said…

I don’t think it’s a direction. I do like four-year guys, though. They’re low maintenance. They already know what the league’s all about. We’ve taken some young guys — Paul George, Lance Stephenson, and both of them are very good players. I don’t think every draft we go in and say we’ve got to get a four-year guy or a three-year guy. It’s really who’s there. I know in Danny’s [Granger] situation, we followed Danny’s career pretty closely. And I know when he came in here to work out for us, it was more of a favor to come in here than it was that we had an opportunity to draft him. I think we were at [pick No. 17] that year [2005], and we thought he was gonna be taken in the top six. But he slid to us and we knew about his knee injury and everything. It was pretty easy. If you saw the way Roy [Hibbert] played his freshman year, you would’ve never dreamed he’d be on an NBA court. But the improvement, the work ethic he displayed, showed us that he’d be the best player he possibly could be by sheer work and force. Then, you take a lot of the other guys on our team — David West was a four-year guy. It’s just so much easier.”

On why he decided to keep the Pacers’ core intact at the trade deadline this year…

I wanted to keep our group together because in the summer, if David and Roy opt out, we’re back to zero, really. We don’t have that much, so you leave your options open. If we did make a trade, I didn’t want to take on a lot of contracts — because that’s what usually happens. Plus, I liked my guys. They’re playing well. If we keep the core together and Paul comes back healthy, we’ll be right back to where we were.

On which Pacers player has been the biggest surprise this season…

I’ve been watching Rodney Stuckey for eight years now, and when you watch players from other teams you know how good they are, but you see them every day and you know they’re really good. And I think C.J. Miles has had problems with injuries throughout his career, but our training staff is getting him pretty healthy and he’s going to be here all summer, so I look forward and I look out for the big picture. We are going to have a good draft pick — whether we’re in the playoffs or not, we’re gonna get somebody that can help us. And we’ll just go forward with that, and we think we’re gonna be pretty good next year.

Central Notes: George, Bucks, Thibodeau

March 23 at 7:21pm CDT By Dana Gauruder

Pacers coach Frank Vogel insists that Paul George is not ready to play, Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star tweets. ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst reported on Friday that George could return within a week but Vogel told Buckner that’s not the case. “There’s a lot of layers to it,” Vogel said. “He’s not ready. He hasn’t reached our level of what we feel he’s ready to play.” In a separate tweet from Buckner, Vogel added that while George is cleared to practice, he’s not cleared to play, though that refuted what president of basketball operations Larry Bird indicated to ESPN.com’s Mike Mazzeo.

In other news around the Central Division:

  • Trading Brandon Knight to the Suns has led to the Bucks’ recent struggles, according to Steve Aschburner of NBA.com. The deadline deal had an emotional impact on the team and hindered the team’s offense because replacement Michael Carter-Williams isn’t as proficient as Knight, in Aschburner’s assessment. Coach Jason Kidd did not view Knight as his long-term solution at the point and Knight’s status as a restricted free agent after the season contributed to the decision to deal him, Aschburner adds.
  • Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg could be a candidate for the Bulls head coaching job if they part ways with Tom Thibodeau after the season, Chad Ford of ESPN.com speculates. Thibodeau reportedly has a strained relationship with the team’s management and Ford considers Hoiberg the hottest college coach on the market. Hoiberg played in the league, worked in an NBA front office, and has a more laid-back demeanor than Thibodeau, Ford points out.
  • The Cavs turned their season around by making trades for Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith and Timofey Mozgov, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer opines. Cleveland started out 19-20 and GM David Griffin fixed its problems by shaking up the roster, which dramatically improved the team’s defense, Pluto adds.

Central Notes: Middleton, George, Jackson

March 23 at 10:59am CDT By Chuck Myron

Khris Middleton refuses to bring up the subject of his impending restricted free agency even with his agent, as he tells Grantland’s Zach Lowe. “It’s a little awkward” to share an agent with Bucks coach Jason Kidd, Middleton also admits. The forward’s agent is Mike Lindeman of Excel Sports Management, while Kidd’s relationship with Excel founder Jeff Schwartz has been a flashpoint for controversy. Union executive director Michele Roberts indicated in November that she would take a tougher stance on a rarely enforced rule that bars agents from representing both coaches and players. Kidd also has a significant measure of player personnel control for the Bucks. There’s more on Middleton amid the latest from the Central Division:

  • Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird tells Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com that he expects George will play for the Pacers at some point this season, adding that he believes George has received medical clearance to do so (Twitlonger link).

Earlier updates:

  • Middleton told Lowe for the same piece that he loves living in Milwaukee but expressed reservations about the Bucks‘ deadline-day trade that sent out Brandon Knight and Kendall Marshall and netted Michael Carter-Williams, Miles Plumlee and Tyler Ennis. “Yeah. It was tough, man,” Middleton said about learning of the trade. “We had things rolling before the All-Star break. We thought we’d just get back on track rolling after the break, too. But it’s a business. They thought it was a good trade for the team, so, I mean, we’ll see.”
  • The Bucks prevailed upon the Pistons to include Middleton in the 2013 Knight/Brandon Jennings trade, and the experience of getting traded left Middleton with some painful feelings at first, as Lowe also details.
  • Paul George insisted today that there is no timetable for his return as he continues to recover from his broken leg, and he denied a report that the Pacers were targeting this week for his comeback, tweets Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star.
  • Reggie Jackson says Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy is “making it easy” as he’s turned him loose for Detroit, observes Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. Jackson hinted that he would have been OK with staying on the Thunder, who have a better shot at the playoffs, but he’s glad that his duties are more well-defined on the Pistons, notes Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald“It’s good,” Jackson said of knowing his role. “That’s one less monkey on my back. Wherever I got my shot was where I was going to get my shot. I was just vocal about what I wanted my shot to be, and some people were mad about that. Some people understood where I was coming from. But it’s always been about getting out there and competing.”

Western Notes: Howard, Thunder, Nuggets

March 22 at 2:46pm CDT By Arthur Hill

The Rockets expect to have Dwight Howard back on the court soon, tweets Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston. Howard hopes to play on the upcoming road trip, either Monday in Indiana or Wednesday in New Orleans. Howard said, “That’s a big step” when told his status had been updated from out to doubtful for the Pacers game. (Twitter link). Howard said he hasn’t “circled a day” for his return, but told Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, “It’s going to depend on how I feel … after the workout I just had.” (Twitter link). Coach Kevin McHale offered little indication about Howard’s return, saying, “As I said to you, I’ll talk to you about (Howard) when I see him out on the floor with us.” (Twitter link). Howard has been sidelined since January 23rd because of ongoing pain in his right knee.

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • It’s time for the Thunder to shift their focus toward next season, argues Michael Lee of The Washington Post. With fears that Kevin Durant is done for the season and the reigning MVP’s free agency a little more than a year away, Lee contends Oklahoma City’s urgency has already moved to 2015/16. With Serge Ibaka‘s status also uncertain after undergoing knee surgery, Lee’s advice to the Thunder is to avoid rushing Durant back and save him for a run at the title next season.
  • With all the bad news surrounding the Thunder, Dion Waiters is providing some hope, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman. Waiters broke a long shooting slump Friday with 26 points in a win over the Hawks, giving the Thunder the boost they hoped for when they acquired him from Cleveland in a three-team deal in early January. “He’s a good player,” said coach Scott Brooks. “I told him we’re just going to have to keep working with you.” 
  • The Nuggets are making no effort to hide their intentions to tank, charges Brian K. Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel.  Far out of the Western Conference playoff race, Denver has been “resting” healthy starters, Schmitz claims, and has little interest in picking up late-season wins that might harm its draft position. The Nuggets rank eighth in Hoops Rumors’ Reverse Standings.

Central Notes: George, Bucks, MCW

March 20 at 8:34pm CDT By Chris Crouse

Paul George could return to the court within the next week and possibly as early as Saturday against the Nets, multiple sources tell Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com“A lot of guys know I’m pushing to come back,” George said. “It’s a matter of how I’m feeling and [how] the medical staff thinks I look. I definitely want to play still. … But I want to be fully healthy.” The Pacers are currently tied with Boston for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference with a record of 30-37.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • The plan for the arena in Milwaukee is slow moving, yet progressing. A source familiar with the Bucks‘ plan said the team is expected to come up with better cost estimates in the next week or two, which will allow the city of Milwaukee an opportunity to make adjustments to its plan, according to Don Walker of the Journal Sentinel. Walker notes that the franchise is signalling that its owners will not go beyond their $250MM commitment for the project.
  • On the court, the Bucks have struggled since acquiring Michael Carter-Williams, but coach Jason Kidd stresses that success will not be measured by wins this year, writes Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel. “We’re here to build something, not to do something in six months. There’s a bigger picture. We feel we have a core here that will be around for a long time and have success,” Kidd said. Milwaukee is 3-9 since the Syracuse product made his debut, but the team still owns the sixth seed in the conference with a record of 34-34.
  • Reggie Jackson will be a restricted free agent this offseason and about 45% of our readers believe the point guard will land a starting salary of less than $11MM in his next contract, according to latest poll by Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors.

And-Ones: George, Griffin, Knicks

March 19 at 10:51pm CDT By Chris Crouse

Paul George has been cautious in his timetable to return to the Pacers, but the Fresno State product is fully committed to participating with Team USA again, writes Scott Horner of the Indy Star. “I’m in. Of course,” George said. “The day [the injury] happened, right after, I told them I looked forward to continuing on with USA Basketball.”  George reiterated that he wants to be close to 100% when he returns to the court for the Pacers. “I want to play, but I don’t want to play under any terms of just wanting to get out there. I want to be fully healthy,” George said. “It’s different if this was the beginning of the year, and we were still trying to find our way. But these guys are playing at the top at their game right now and again, the last thing I want to do is slow them down.” Indiana is 30-37 on the season, tied with Boston for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Blake Griffin says his right arm is considerably smaller than his left one because it was in a cast for so long, according to Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Griffin missed 15 games due to a staph infection in his right elbow. The power forward is shooting 50% from the field in 37.7 minutes per game since recovering from the injury.
  • Knicks team Physician Dr. Lisa Callahan has been named the 2014 Physician of the Year, by members of the National Basketball Athletic Trainers Association. Perhaps New York can use her employment to its advantage when luring free agents to the city. Older veterans and players coming off of an injury, such as Wesley Matthews, could look at the rank of a team’s medical staff as a deciding factor in where they sign during the offseason, although that is just my speculation.

Central Notes: George, Kaun, Van Gundy

March 19 at 8:59am CDT By Chuck Myron

Paul George should come back to play if he’s healthy enough to do so before season’s end, but not so he can help the Pacers win more games down the stretch, argues Steve Aschburner of NBA.com. Instead, the focus should be on helping George shake off the rust so he can be ready to go full-speed next season, even if there’s concern that inserting him into the lineup would disrupt the rhythm of this year’s team, Aschburner believes. Here’s more from around the Central Division, which has a strong chance to send the Pacers and three other teams to the playoffs this year:

  • The Cavs are giving thought to signing draft-and-stash prospect Sasha Kaun this summer, according to Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia. The 29-year-old from Kansas is on an expiring contract with Russia’s CSKA Moscow, as Mark Porcaro shows in our Draft Rights Held Players database, and Carchia hears that Kaun has told the Russian club that he won’t be back next season. Cavs coach David Blatt coached Kaun on the Russian national team, Carchia notes.
  • The Pistons are in line for the seventh overall pick pending the lottery, as our Reverse Standings show, but coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy admits that he hasn’t seen an entire Kentucky game all year, MLive’s David Mayo observes. Van Gundy’s coaching duties have kept him from seeing much college basketball at all this season, and breaking down prospects is a task that he’s left to scouts and other staffers, as Mayo details. Still, Van Gundy added that he intends to watch video before the draft of just about every game the top 10 or 15 prospects played this season, according to Mayo.
  • Draft-and-stash signee Nikola Mirotic has raised his game to fill the void of the injured Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson, turning into the sort of shooter the Bulls had hoped fellow rookie Doug McDermott would become, writes Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com.

Atlantic Notes: Noel, Knicks, Young, KG

March 17 at 3:00pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Rookie Nerlens Noel is already essentially the centerpiece of the Sixers, and he has no complaints about the team’s radical rebuilding, as Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com examines. 

“I love the direction that we’re heading in,” Noel said. “I love what [GM] Sam Hinkie is doing with our team: building through the draft, getting young guys and being very particular about the pieces that he brings into this organization. I think this is going to be a very solid team in the next few years and we’re just going to continue to grow together.”

Noel, unlike many other rookies who were drafted in the first round, is set for free agency in 2017, and not 2018, because he signed his rookie scale contract before sitting out the entire 2013/14 season with injury. So, it appears he’ll benefit from a cap surge instead of a potential cap drop like his fellow rookies, as I examined. Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The amount of cash the Knicks sent the Pacers this past June for the rights to 57th overall pick Louis Labeyrie was $1.5MM, a league source told Marc Berman of the New York Post. That counted against New York’s 2013/14 traded cash limit and doesn’t apply toward the $3.3MM the team can send out in trades between the end of the regular season and June 30th this year. Labeyrie recently signed a one-year extension with Paris Levallois in France, so a buyout would have to be paid for him to sign with the Knicks for next season, according to Berman.
  • The Netsacquisition of Thaddeus Young for Kevin Garnett helped the team get younger, but it doesn’t erase the ill-fated trade for Garnett and Paul Pierce from 2013, opines Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Garnett did fill a leadership role, but no one has stepped into that void in his absence, Bondy also argues.
  • Brooklyn owes its first-round pick to Boston in 2016 because of that Garnett-Pierce trade, and Tim Bontemps of the New York Post examines how that dynamic and others makes Young’s decision about his player option for next season a crucial one for the Nets.
  • The Celtics have once more assigned James Young to the D-League, the team announced. It’s the 10th time that Boston has sent 2014’s 17th overall pick on D-League assignment this season, though none of his previous nine trips have covered more than three days.