Rick Carlisle planned to coach a contender when he was hired by the Pacers in June, but he’s not having second thoughts now that the franchise is giving serious consideration to rebuilding, writes Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Off to a disappointing start that has them 13th in the East, the Pacers have let it be known that they’re willing to move veterans Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner and Caris LeVert. It’s not what Carlisle was expecting, but he indicated that he’s committed to his job no matter what the front office decides to do.
“Listen, I’m am hour-to-hour, day-to-day guy,” he said. “I like this roster. These guys are wonderful people, damn good players. We’ve had some bad luck with a lot of different things. Now it’s injuries and some other stuff. It’s all about trying to get it a little better each day. One percent better, two percent better and if you look at our season and all the close games, a lot of it comes down to one or two percent. We just got to keep pushing in that direction to keep doing a little better.”
Agness was at practice on Tuesday as all three players were informed of an impending story from The Athletic about them being on the trade market. Meeting with players amid trade rumors is a policy that Kevin Pritchard adopted when he became president of basketball operations in 2018, and Carlisle said honesty is important.
“It’s just communication,” he explained. “Letting those guys know that we’re trying to win games. We want to make this thing work. Beyond that, it’s just basic communication and talking to your top players.”
There’s more from Indiana:
- The Pacers have called the Sixers several times about Ben Simmons, including once before signing Malcolm Brogdon to a two-year extension in October, Agness adds. In a discussion of Indiana’s situation, Athletic writers Seth Partnow, Sam Vecenie and Danny Leroux explore whether a deal can be made involving Simmons and the chances of Sabonis being shipped to a third team in such a trade.
- As a 24-year-old rookie Chris Duarte may attract some attention from contenders, Vecenie suggests in the same piece. Duarte is making $3.749MM on the first year of his rookie contract and will carry an affordable salary for several years.
- The Pacers may find Turner the most in demand of their available veterans, per Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. The 26-year-old center can block shots and make three-pointers and he doesn’t need to handle the ball a lot to be effective. With a $17.5MM salary for both this season and 2022/23, Turner could be a good fit for the Hornets, Pincus states, with Charlotte sending back Mason Plumlee and a prospect such as PJ Washington, James Bouknight, Kai Jones or JT Thor. Pincus sees the Lakers, Warriors, Mavericks and Spurs as other teams that might bid for Turner.