When the Pacers attempted to recruit Deandre Ayton in free agency this past offseason, Tyrese Haliburton traveled to Santa Barbara, California with president Kevin Pritchard, general manager Chad Buchanan, and head coach Rick Carlisle to be part of the team’s pitch to the Suns center.
Indiana’s four-year, maximum-salary offer sheet for Ayton was ultimately matched by Phoenix, but Haliburton said it “meant a lot” that the club included him in its recruitment of the former No. 1 pick, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. As Fischer details, it’s part of the Pacers’ plan to give the third-year guard the reins during the team’s rebuilding process.
“He is the franchise guy, very, very openly,” one rival executive told Fischer, referring to Haliburton. “They have handed him the keys, and they’re betting he can be their alpha guy.”
Here’s more from around the Central:
- After sharing his thoughts on a possible trade to the Lakers, Pacers center Myles Turner wanted to make clear during a conversation with Michael Scotto of HoopsHype that he’s still committed to his current team. “I’m excited about what we have here in Indiana,” Turner said. “I understand that some of the things I might’ve said in that podcast (with Adrian Wojnarowski) could’ve gotten misconstrued answering hypothetical questions. This isn’t a hypothetical. I’m here in Indiana. I’ve got real estate in Indiana. I’ve got a fan section in our own arena. I’m a Pacer. I’ve been a Pacer my entire career. I can’t tell the future, but where I’m at right now, I’m very happy.”
- Given how much projected 2023 cap room they had, the Pistons essentially did some offseason shopping early by extending Bojan Bogdanovic, writes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (subscription required). Sankofa likes the decision to lock up Bogdanovic, noting that he’s exactly the type of player Detroit’s roster needed.
- Bucks rookie guard A.J. Green is expected to be sidelined for about three weeks due to a nasal fracture, the team announced today in a press release. Green, who underwent surgery to repair the fracture, is on a two-way contract with Milwaukee and has just appeared briefly in one game so far this season.