Pacers Notes: Culture, Bitadze, Sabonis, Lemon

Pacers players are eager to praise the culture in Indiana, with Malcolm Brogdon referring to the front office as a “very transparent group,” while Victor Oladipo calls president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard and GM Chad Buchanan “very interactive,” per Jonathan Abrams of Bleacher Report. As Abrams details, the Pacers’ decision-makers believe in open communication with their players and have promised to inform those players if they’re engaged in any serious trade talks involving them.

“There’s a little bit of quid pro quo, because if we do that and then the trade doesn’t go through, guys can check out,” Pritchard said. “When we say it’s at the five-yard line, you’re going to hear it from us. But if it doesn’t work out, you still have to have both feet in on the Pacers.

Pritchard and Buchanan told Abrams that they had conversations with Al Jefferson and Darren Collison in recent years about deals that nearly came to fruition, though neither trade ultimately happened.

“Their agents probably appreciate it as much as the player, [but] there’s downsides to it,” Pritchard said. “There’s no doubt there’s potential downsides. But I think there’s an upside in that if you come here, that you’re going to be told the truth.”

Abrams’ piece is a good read that’s worth checking out in full, particularly for Pacers fans. Here’s more out of Indiana:

  • Speaking to Abrams, Pritchard pushed back against the idea that the Pacers drafted big man Goga Bitadze in June with an eye toward trading him. “A lot of people thought we did that with Goga. I still don’t understand that,” Pritchard said. “… We felt like Goga was the best player on the board. In the draft, you don’t want to hit a single. If you’re hitting a single in the draft and keep hitting singles in the draft, you’re going to be average at best in a low-revenue market. Big-revenue market, it’s still important, but not quite as.”
  • Domantas Sabonis is “known to be in active talks” with the Pacers about a possible rookie scale extension, writes Marc Stein of The New York Times. If the two sides don’t finalize a deal by 5:00pm CT on October 21, Sabonis will become a restricted free agent next summer.
  • After signing Walt Lemon Jr. last week, the Pacers acquired the guard’s G League rights today, according to a press release from the Fort Wayne Ants, Indiana’s NBAGL affiliate. Lemon appears likely to be waived by the Pacers in the next few days and then report to Fort Wayne.

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