Central Notes: Pacers, Love, Sexton, LaVine

As we relayed on Thursday, Jake Fischer’s latest story for Bleacher Report features a number of eyebrow-raising details on Nate Bjorkgren‘s stint as the Pacers‘ head coach. However, while much of Fischer’s reporting lines up with what we’ve heard from other outlets, there has been some push-back on some aspects of the story.

For instance, Fischer initially suggested that T.J. Warren – who played under Bjorkgren in Phoenix – wasn’t consulted before Indiana made the hire and that Warren requested a trade after Bjorkgren came aboard. Fischer has since cited a source close to the situation who says Warren never formally requested a trade, and the story has been updated to say that there’s “a belief among several members of the Pacers organization” that Warren asked to be dealt.

J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star, meanwhile, tweets that the front office did ask Warren about Bjorkgren before hiring him and notes that Warren agreed to take a bigger leadership role with the team heading into the season.

Fischer also reported in his story that Bjorkgren’s acted like “a politician’s chief of staff” in Toronto when he was a Raptors assistant under Nick Nurse, sometimes preventing players and other coaches from holding conversations with Nurse if they didn’t go through him first. Asked on Thursday night about that, Nurse vehemently denied it and questioned the reporting, as Blake Murphy of The Athletic tweets.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Attaching an asset to trade Kevin Love isn’t something the Cavaliers want to do, and buying him out with two years and $60MM left on his contract would be difficult and pricey, but Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com contends the team should attempt this offseason to find the least painful way to move on from Love. Sources tell Fedor that the two sides have yet to discuss a potential buyout.
  • While Jason Lloyd of The Athletic believes the Cavaliers did well to nab Collin Sexton with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 draft, he doesn’t believe the third-year guard is worth a maximum-salary contract and suggests the team would be making a big mistake if it goes that high this offseason when Sexton becomes extension-eligible for the first time.
  • Zach LaVine, who returned to the Bulls‘ lineup on Thursday night after missing 11 games due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, told reporters this week that he had taken one of his two vaccine shots when he was diagnosed with COVID-19, and didn’t experience any major symptoms (Twitter link via K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago).
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