Indiana Pacers Rumors

Rajon Rondo Rumors: Thursday

December 18 at 2:21pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Celtics appear to have turned up the heat on Rajon Rondo talks, as several reports from Wednesday detailed. We’ll round up today’s latest in this post, with any additional updates throughout the day added to the top:

  • The Celtics are asking too much for Rondo for the Kings to engage in talks about him with Boston as they have in the past, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). A report late Wednesday seemed to indicate that Sacramento had spoken recently with the Celtics regarding the point guard, but it’s unclear just how long ago the teams last discussed the matter.

12:51pm update:

  • The Lakers have offered Steve Nash and multiple picks to the Celtics for Rondo, as Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com hears (Twitter link).

12:36pm update:

  • The Mavs are confident that they can convince Rondo to stay in Dallas for the long term if they convince the Celtics to trade him, sources tell Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link). That falls in line with Berger’s report from earlier that Rondo would be open to re-signing with the Mavs and Rockets if he were dealt to either team.

10:57am update:

  • The Rockets have been pursuing Rondo longer than the Mavs have, but Goran Dragic was more attractive to Houston than Rondo was over this summer, Stein notes (Twitter links). Rondo and Dragic both appear likely to hit free agency in the summer ahead.

8:59am update:

  • The Mavs have advanced to the offer stage and have made a pitch featuring Brandan Wright as the key piece, reports Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. Dallas would have to add others to make the salaries match. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge has begun to move on from the idea of pairing Rondo with another superstar, spurring his apparent interest in gauging deals for Rondo, but the market for Rondo doesn’t appear as strong as Ainge had hoped, the Herald scribe writes. However, Ainge is in no rush to simply accept whatever he can find for Rondo just so the point guard doesn’t leave the C’s empty handed in the coming summer’s free agency, Bulpett adds.
  • Jae Crowder‘s name has also come up in talks, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe.
  • Rondo is open to re-signing with the Mavs and the Rockets if the Celtics trade him to either of those teams, a source tells Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. It’s “certain” that the Rockets will use their nearly $8.375MM trade exception by Friday, Berger writes, as they’ve reportedly been trying to do, and that stands to alter what Houston has to offer for the Celtics point guard.
  • The Lakers are among the teams to have chatted up the Celtics in recent days about a Rondo trade, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com, seconding an earlier report that the Rockets had done the same. The Lakers and the Knicks are on the “periphery” of Rondo talks, and the Lakers are more of a free agency option than a potential trade destination, as Berger adds in his piece.
  • The Pacers have also asked the C’s about Rondo, USA Today’s Sam Amick reports.
  • Rondo reiterated his fondness for Boston late Wednesday to reporters, including Ben Rohrbach of WEEI.com“How many times do you want me to say it?” Rondo asked. “We discussed it on media day. My thoughts and my opinions as far as the organization [haven't] changed, so … I’m enjoying life. You can’t win ‘em all, but these guys are funny, I’m young and I’m doing what I love to do. It’s a dream come true. I can’t be upset about anything, really.
  • Ainge was vague in addressing the latest Rondo chatter in this morning’s radio appearance with Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb on 98.5 The Sports Hub (audio link), as Rohrbach passes along (Twitter link). “I wouldn’t say it’s any different from any year,” Ainge said. “… We’re having a lot of discussions, just like we do every year.” 

Latest On Lance Stephenson

December 18 at 8:13am CST By Zach Links

THURSDAY, 8:10am: Charlotte isn’t making any progress in its talks with Indiana, and the market in general for Stephenson is lean, Wojnarowski tweets.

TUESDAY, 1:04pm: The Heat are among the teams to have called the Hornets about the mercurial shooting guard, but there’s no traction toward a deal, since Miami doesn’t have much that would entice Charlotte, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

MONDAY, 6:28pm: Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer confirms that the Hornets are aggressively looking to move Stephenson, but his sources say that they are nowhere close to a deal.

12:51pm: The Nuggets have recently been in the mix for Stephenson, too, as Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio hears.

SUNDAY, 6:10pm: The Hornets are targeting the Pacers and Nets as destinations for Stephenson, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.  Wojnarowski also hears that, so far, Charlotte has shown no inclination to package a future draft pick to move Stephenson.

Stephenson’s inability to co-exist on the floor with point guard Kemba Walker is among the main reasons for the franchise’s desire to move him, according to sources who spoke with Wojnarowski.  The Pacers, meanwhile, are all too familiar with Stephenson’s troubles and are acting with little urgency in the talks.

When it comes to talks with the Nets, the Hornets have been willing to consider center Brook Lopez, whom they nearly signed to an offer sheet in 2012, league sources told the Yahoo scribe.  Charlotte has been open to discussing the high-priced Lopez and Joe Johnson as part of a broader Stephenson package.  However, they’re not interested in Deron Williams, thanks to his sizable contract and the emergence of Walker.

4:50pm: The Nets and Clippers are researching Stephenson’s time in Charlotte but they’ve yet to show serious interest, sources tell Wojnarowski (on Twitter).

Meanwhile, the Kings are not among the teams with interest due to concerns about Stephenson, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today.  It’s not hard to imagine other teams having worries about the guard.

4:38pm: The Hornets will be allowed to trade Lance Stephenson starting Monday and they’re exploring their options to move him, league sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Stephenson has been the subject of trade rumors for weeks now and if the Hornets can find a trade partner, their union could be coming to an end within the next couple of months.

Meanwhile, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter) hears that the Hornets and Pacers have had preliminary talks to facilitate a possible Indiana return for Stephenson, but those discussions haven’t gone far.  So far, the Hornets have been unwilling to attach a first-round pick to unload Stephenson, Wojnarowski tweets.  That could have enticed the Pacers to make a move, he adds.

The Hornets are only 23 games into the Stephenson era, but a disappointing 6-17 start has them antsy to make moves.  They’re not in move-him-at-all-costs mode, Stein writes, but they’re ready to bail out on their gamble if the right deal presents itself.  So far, Stephenson appears to be a poor fit alongside Charlotte’s established core of Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker, shooting 38.9% from the floor and going 8 for 48 from downtown.  The Brooklyn native has a 10.5 PER this season, his worst since becoming a starter in 2012/13.

Late last week it was reported that four or five teams have let the Hornets know they have strong interest in acquiring the shooting guard.  For his part, Stephenson wouldn’t mind returning home to join the Nets, but it remains to be seen if there’s a match there.

Alexey Shved Eyes Return To Europe

December 17 at 1:16pm CST By Chuck Myron

Sixers guard Alexey Shved is dissatisfied with his playing time and plans to give strong consideration to signing with a European team when his contract expires after the season, reports Shams Charania of RealGM. European club officials have already made it clear that they’d be willing to make multimillion-dollar offers to the 26-year-old native of Russia if he were to return to Europe, according to Charania. Still, there was healthy NBA interest this summer when the Timberwolves were looking for teams willing to take him on, and the Pacers were among the interested parties before he went to Philadelphia in the three-team Kevin Love trade, Charania writes.

The Sixers would have the right to match offers from any NBA team for Shved this coming summer if they make a qualifying offer worth more than $4.103MM, but they’d be powerless to bring him back to Philadelphia if he inked with a club from overseas. Shved is putting up a career high 9.9 points per game this season for the Sixers, and he’s seeing 16.8 minutes per contest. That’s significantly more burn than the 10.5 MPG he received last year in Minnesota but less playing time than in his rookie season, when he averaged 23.9 MPG and started 16 games.

Agent Obrad Fimic, who represents Shved, is with the Warsaw, Poland-based Alti Sport agency, so Shved has maintained European ties. He averaged 21.8 MPG and made 30 starts in 62 appearances for CSKA Moscow in 2011/12, his final season before coming to the NBA.

Eastern Notes: Lance, Nets, Knicks, Aldemir

December 15 at 8:13pm CST By Alex Lee

While Pacers owner Herb Simon indicated tonight that he wouldn’t object to a deal bringing Lance Stephenson back to Indiana, he said the decision would ultimately be up to president of basketball ops Larry Bird and GM Kevin Pritchard, writes Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star. Meanwhile, Gregg Doyel of the Star opines that the Pacers would be foolish to bring back Stephenson, who has worn out his welcome with the Hornets only 23 games into the season.

We’ll just have to wait and see what happens with the former Pacer. Now let’s look at what else is going on in the Eastern Conference:

  • With no control over their 2015 first round draft pick, there’s no argument to be made for the Nets doing anything to their roster that might prevent them from winning, writes Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. The Hawks have the right to swap first round picks with Brooklyn, potentially making a less desirable pick a positive for the Nets. Additionally, Bontemps confirms the Nets are looking at Stephenson, as we’ve already heard, as well as other options that might help to improve the team.
  • News that the Nets are willing to move their highest-salaried players might be an indication that owner Mikhail Prokhorov is ready to sell the team, says Ric Bucher in his latest Bucher Buzz segment. It doesn’t seem that Bucher’s information is coming from the Nets organization, but the Bleacher Report scribe says that his sources around the league are suspicious given the recent rumors coming out of Brooklyn.
  • Knicks coach Derek Fisher attributed some of his team’s early-season struggles to the fact that nine of his players are in the final year of their respective deals with the team, writes Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. “You have a number of guys that are thinking about how they’re going to provide for their families and where their career is going and whether they’re going to be here or on another team and all the ramifications of those decisions,” said Fisher, whose been trying to implement the triangle offense in his first year in New York.
  • The Sixers will pay Furkan Aldemir $6MM over the first two years of his deal, reports Tom Moore of Calkins Media (via Twitter). Philly officially inked the Turkish big man to a four-year, $12MM deal yesterday but only the first two years of the pact are guaranteed.

Central Notes: Stephenson, Josh Smith, Bulls

December 15 at 10:00am CST By Chuck Myron

The Central Division hasn’t been the hub of many roster moves so far this season, aside from A.J. Price‘s Cavs-to-Pacers-to-Cavs odyssey and Will Cherry‘s brief tenure in Cleveland. That figures to change before too long, since today is the first day that most offseason signees are eligible for inclusion in trades. The Cavs apparently have their eyes on a pair of Grizzlies, while the Pacers are reportedly one of multiple teams in talks to trade for Lance Stephenson, though Indiana doesn’t appear to be in any hurry to make such a move. There’s more on Stephenson amid the latest items trickling out of the Central Division:

  • The chance the Pacers have to bring back their old core for another run in 2015/16 and erase the mistakes they and Stephenson made in free agency this summer should lead Indiana to trade for its former shooting guard, opines Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star. Buckner thinks, after having spoken with league sources, that Stephenson would welcome a Pacers reunion.
  • Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press doesn’t foresee a Josh Smith trade happening soon, figuring that teams would want the Pistons to attach a first-rounder to Smith’s contract, worth $40.5MM between this season and its expiration after 2016/17 (Twitter links). Kings management tried to trade for Smith this summer over the objections of soon-to-be former coach Michael Malone, but the Pistons didn’t like what Sacramento was offering.
  • The Bulls‘ decision to deal Luol Deng turned out to be a prudent one, as Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com writes.  In the short term, the cap flexibility that Chicago freed up in the Deng deal took them out of luxury tax territory.  From a broader perspective, the deal (plus the amnestying of Carlos Boozer‘s contract) gave the Bulls enough wiggle room to land Pau Gasol.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Eastern Notes: Payne, Nets, Raptors

December 9 at 8:42pm CST By Eddie Scarito

The Hawks re-assigned Adreian Payne to the D-League on Sunday night, but instead of heading to Fort Wayne, the rookie was sent to the Austin Toros, the Spurs’ affiliate instead, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. This was due to the maximum allowance of four NBA players already being on assignment to the Mad Ants at the time, though three of those players were recalled Monday, Vivlamore notes. In his two previous stints with Fort Wayne, Payne has appeared in a total of six games, averaging 13.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 31.3 minutes per contest.

Here’s more from the East:

  • This flexible assignment to Austin for Payne actually works in his and Atlanta’s favor since Austin runs a very similar system to the one the Hawks use, Vivlamore adds. “It’s not the same system that we run here [Atlanta],” Payne said of his previous assignments in Fort Wayne. “It’s different. It’s just like coming from college when you learn a different system.”
  • With the Nets reportedly willing to trade Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson, Bradford Doolittle of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) runs down which teams would be the best fit for each. Doolittle opines that Williams would look good in a Pacers uniform, the Lakers would suit Lopez just fine, and Johnson could fit in with the Pelicans.
  • The Raptors have no intention of utilizing the remaining $4,583,432 of the trade exception they created from the Rudy Gay trade, which expires tonight, Marc Stein of ESPN.com tweets.
  • If the Nets do indeed trade Andrei Kirilenko to the Sixers for a player with a non-guaranteed contract, Brooklyn would be able to create a trade exception worth $3.3MM, Robert Windrem of Nets Daily reports (Twitter link).

Central Notes: Bucks, Knight, Pistons, Pacers

December 9 at 10:00am CST By Chuck Myron

The Bucks made waves at the trade deadline in 2013 when they shipped Tobias Harris out in the swap that brought in J.J. Redick on an expiring contract, but that sort of move is “not who we are today,” GM John Hammond tells Grantland’s Zach Lowe. The team’s new owners have instead focused on building around the club’s youth, particularly Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo, though co-owner Marc Lasry insists to Lowe that the team doesn’t just want to see young players get minutes and that the goal is to make the playoffs this year. Still, it would appear that the days of sending recent first-round picks away in trades for short-term help are over in Milwaukee. Lowe has more on the Bucks in his piece, as we’ll highlight amid the latest from the Central Division:

  • Lasry is confident that the Bucks will secure financing for a new arena and said to Lowe that he and fellow co-owner Wesley Edens won’t think about moving the team to a West Coast city.
  • The Bucks are high on Ersan Ilyasova, John Henson, and Kendall Marshall, and coach Jason Kidd is especially enamored with Ilyasova, Lowe writes. The Grantland scribe nonetheless believes that Ilyasova and Henson still seem like intruguing trade candidates.
  • The Bucks would like to retain Brandon Knight at a “reasonable” price, according to Lowe, who pegs that range at $10-12MM a year. Still, the Bucks aren’t completely sold on the idea of Knight as a point guard, as Lowe explains.
  • Stan Van Gundy has faith that his team can play better, but he acknowledges that it’ll be tough for the Pistons to meet their loftiest of goals this season, and he pointed to a four-day break in the schedule later this month as a point of reckoning, MLive’s David Mayo observes. Van Gundy may use the off days only to make rotation changes, but it wouldn’t be surprising for him to pull off a deal, as Mayo explores.
  • The Pacers treaded water while many of their players were out early this season, but they’re still missing Paul George and George Hill, and their absences combined with the departure of Lance Stephenson continue to haunt the team, writes Mark Montieth of Pacers.com. Offseason signee C.J. Miles, who’s begun to rediscover his outside shot, is a bright spot, Montieth notes.

Eastern Notes: Knicks, Heat, Mahinmi, Murphy

December 8 at 4:30pm CST By Chuck Myron

Phil Jackson maintains that the Knicks aren’t ready to turn their focus to the draft, despite their 4-18 start, notes Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter link). Still, people on the “non-playing side” of the organization believe the team doesn’t have many players who can master the triangle, as TNT’s David Aldridge writes in his Morning Tip column for NBA.com. Carmelo Anthony says he and his teammates must “kind of be comfortable with being uncomfortable” as they learn the triangle, as he told Aldridge last week. Comfort is tough to find on the court or off in New York for now, and we passed along more on the Knicks earlier today. Here’s news from the rest of the Eastern Conference:

  • The Heat wouldn’t have built this season’s roster the way they did if they knew going into July that LeBron James wouldn’t re-sign, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes amid his mailbag column. James announced his decision on July 11th, more than a week into NBA free agency.
  • Ian Mahinmi will be out six to eight weeks with a torn left plantar fascia, the Pacers announced. Mahinmi suffered the injury in the first half of Friday night’s contest against the Kings.
  • Former Bulls big man Erik Murphy, currently with the Spurs affiliate in the D-League, is in talks with Turkish club Galatasaray, according to Orazio Cauchi of Sportando. Murphy, who spent most of last season with Chicago after the Bulls chose him 49th in the 2013 draft, was last on an NBA roster with the Celtics, who let him go at the end of the preseason.

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Will Cherry To Play In Lithuania

December 7 at 2:00pm CST By Eddie Scarito

SUNDAY, 2:00pm: Zalgiris Kaunas confirmed the deal via Twitter.

FRIDAY, 4:55pm: Free agent Will Cherry is finalizing a deal to join the Lithuanian team Zalgiris Kaunas, David Pick of Eurobasket reports (Twitter link). Cherry was waived on November 30th by the Cavs in order to clear a roster spot so that Cleveland could claim A.J. Price off waivers. Gino Pilato of D-League Digest reported earlier today that Cherry was headed overseas rather than intending to rejoin the D-League.

Pick also tweets that the deal isn’t likely to be completed until Monday, which is when Cherry would clear D-League waivers, which he is expected to do. The point guard had signed a D-League deal with the affiliate of the Cavs shortly after the Raptors let him go at the end of the preseason and before Cleveland signed him for the big club in the first week of the regular season. The Cavs affiliate rescinded its rights to Cherry so that he wouldn’t have to pay a buyout to head overseas, according to Pilato (Twitter link).

The 6’1″, 23-year-old Cherry appeared in eight games for the Cavs this year, averaging 1.9 points and logging 8.6 minutes per night. Cherry had notched 12.8 PPG and 4.0 RPG while playing 25.3 minutes per contest in five games for the Cavs Summer League team in Las Vegas. He had also played for the Cavs’ D-League affiliate last season, when he provided 11.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG, and 4.5 APG in 30.4 MPG.

And-Ones: Rondo, Waiters, McMillan

December 4 at 10:32pm CST By Eddie Scarito

With the trade speculation regarding Rajon Rondo heading to Los Angeles swirling again thanks to a seemingly innocent breakfast with Kobe Bryant, Yannis Koutroupis of Basketball Insiders examines the potential trade market for the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent. Koutroupis believes the two most likely teams to acquire Rondo would be the previously mentioned Lakers, or the Kings, whom he believes could offer Boston the best possible combination of assets.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio runs down some of the bigger names whom he believes could be dealt prior to February’s trade deadline. His list includes Arron Afflalo (Nuggets); Dion Waiters (Cavs); Patrick Patterson (Raptors); and Lance Stephenson (Hornets).
  • Waiters has been struggling to find his role on the Cavs this season, and his difficulties led to him getting on the court for just nine minutes Tuesday night against Milwaukee. But the young guard is trying to remain positive, Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com writes. “I think all of us, we know he’s a very, very good basketball player,” teammate LeBron James said. “And when his number is called, I think the best thing is to come in with a lot of energy and effort and you can’t worry about the ball going in. All of us, we all know that. We can’t control it. It’s a make-or-miss league. One thing you can control is how hard you play and how much you give to the team, how much you sacrifice for the team and we’re all trying to do that.”
  • Former head coach and current Pacers assistant Nate McMillan is happy being out of the spotlight that comes with being the man in charge, Jabari Young of CSNNW.com writes. “I’ve enjoyed it,” McMillan said of being an assistant coach. “You learn a lot and really the enjoyment for me is you get to coach and you don’t have to deal with the other stuff. I coach and I get to go home. Frank [Vogel] has to coach and come talk to the press. You’re able to coach and work with the guys and do all of those things, but the other part, you don’t have to do.”