Pacers Notes: Haliburton, Title Contention, Siakam

If Tyrese Haliburton was given the choice of playing in Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, he would have suited up. However, the Pacers star isn’t upset with the team over its decision to hold him out as the Celtics completed a sweep, according to Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star.

Haliburton suffered a hamstring injury in Game 2. He could barely walk after the contest.

“There was obviously an organization-wide meeting with our front office, with agents, with everybody,” he said. “They did what their job is, to protect me from myself and wouldn’t allow me play Game 3. I understand the long-term implications of the chances of re-hurting my hamstring. I’m just very thankful for this organization from protecting me from myself.”

Haliburton said this hamstring strain was different from the one he suffered during the winter, which caused him to miss 10 games.

“It’s a whole new thing,” Haliburton said. “Same hamstring. Just a different spot. It’s definitely frustrating. Anyone who watched me play understood that I was never really 100% after the first time dealing with that. But I wanted to be on the floor. I wanted to play. The 65-game rule (to qualify for postseason awards) was obviously a thing, but I wanted to play. I wanted to play basketball.”

We have more on the Pacers:

  • Haliburton says he’ll hang around Indianapolis and rehab the injury to get ready for the Paris Olympics, Dopirak adds. “I have no concern,” Haliburton said of the injury potentially affecting his Olympic status. “Basically, I have six weeks until I have to report to camp. I’ll be in Indy for the majority of my treatment and rehab. Six weeks is a pretty long time. I didn’t have that ever during the year with the previous injury, so there’s no concern. The organization will be sending medical staff with me the whole time. I don’t really have concern.”
  • Despite getting swept, they are closer to being championship contenders than some experts may believe, according to Seerat Sohi of The Ringer. They will have the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception to acquire another impact rotation player, plus plenty of draft capital along with a relatively young roster than will continue to develop. The Athletic’s Eric Nehm expresses a similar view, noting the Pacers were without Bennedict Mathurin during the postseason due to shoulder surgery and that seven of their top eight players in minutes played could be back next season.
  • The Pacers’ biggest priority this offseason will be re-signing Pascal Siakam and coach Rick Carlisle says it’s essential that the franchise retains the veteran power forward, Dopirak relays. “The first very important step is to begin recruiting Pascal Siakam in earnest,” Carlisle said. “That will start today with exit meetings. He’s a great player. He was tremendous for us. The acquisition of him in late January really was a key enabler for us to not only make the playoffs but be able to advance in the playoffs. That’s something you simply cannot take for granted.” The Athletic’s Shams Charania stated on FanDuel’s Run It Back program (video link) that the Pacers are prepared to offer Siakam a max contract and “there’s mutual interest in getting a deal done.”
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