Andrew Nembhard

Central Notes: G. Hill, McGruder, Pacers, Cavs, Bulls

Pacers guard George Hill was told when he was traded from Milwaukee to Indiana at last month’s deadline that he wouldn’t play much for his new team and that he’d be mostly counted on as a veteran leader, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. That was fine by Hill, who referred to himself as a “team-first guy” and is happy to be playing for his hometown club.

“(Pacers coach) Rick (Carlisle) has done a great job of being open and honest,” Hill said. “When I first got here, he said, you know, ‘We’re developing right now and we want our young guys to get some meaningful minutes, but it doesn’t mean you’re not going to play at all. I want you to still be a leader on and off the court. Show these guys what hard work and a good teammate is and just stay ready at all times.'”

Hill’s 15 years of NBA experience have made him an ideal mentor for All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton, who says the 36-year-old holds him accountable “every day.” Hill describes Haliburton as a “shining star” and has expressed a desire to continue backing him up beyond this season, if possible.

“Like I tell everybody, I don’t want to be here as a rental,” said Hill, who was born and raised in Indianapolis. “I would love to be here for a while and watch this thing grow to what I think it could be. I’m on board with whatever they need me to do and I’m all in.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Like Hill in Indiana, Pistons wing Rodney McGruder is on Detroit’s roster more for his locker-room presence than his production on the court. However, due to injuries, he has started the team’s last eight games and is playing a regular rotation role for the first time this season. James L. Edwards III of The Athletic explores McGruder’s on- and off-court contributions and digs into why he’s so respected by the Pistons’ young players.
  • The Pacers made history on Wednesday when they became the first NBA team to have three Canadian-born players (Bennedict Mathurin, Andrew Nembhard, and Oshae Brissett) in their starting lineup. And they did it in Canada, in a road game vs. the Raptors, as Dopirak writes for The Indianapolis Star. “Historic night for Canada basketball,” Carlisle said. “… For it to happen in Toronto, it’s pretty cool.”
  • Jamal Collier of ESPN explores the lessons the Cavaliers learned from last season’s second-half collapse and why the club is more confident in its chances of making some noise in the postseason this spring.
  • Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic identifies the seven members of the Bulls most impacted by Lonzo Ball‘s uncertain future. Mayberry’s picks range from center Nikola Vucevic, whose free agency decision this summer could be influenced by Ball’s long-term absence, to president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas, whose questionable roster decisions are increasingly under the microscope.

Central Notes: Pacers, R. Lopez, Merrill, Livers, Omoruyi

The Pacers‘ decision to hold Tyrese Haliburton (left knee bruise), Myles Turner (sore lower back), and T.J. McConnell (sore back) out of games on Saturday and Monday signaled that the team isn’t exactly going all-out for a spot in the play-in tournament, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star.

While Bennedict Mathurin‘s ankle sprain would have sidelined him in any situation, the other Pacers regulars who sat out those two contests in Detroit likely would’ve been active if Indiana was in win-now mode instead of focusing on player development. As Dopirak notes, the absences of the team’s regulars resulted in big minutes for young players like Andrew Nembhard, Aaron Nesmith, Oshae Brissett, Jalen Smith, Isaiah Jackson, and Jordan Nwora.

“It’s just valuable for our young guys to get this kind of experience,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. “Drew Nembhard needs this kind of work at the point position. He needs to play 35 minutes a game a few games playing the point position. He played 36 (on Monday). He did a lot of good things in both games. There’s a different rhythm to that position, a different flow.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Robin Lopez hasn’t had much of a role this season after signing with the Cavaliers as a free agent last summer, but his nine minutes in Sunday’s win over Charlotte with Jarrett Allen out were the most he has played in a game since January. Just trying to put some size out there,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff explained (Twitter link via Chris Fedor of “With Jarrett being out, we are limited with size. I thought RoLo was good, played hard. Everybody is going to be called upon.”
  • Within his story on the Cavaliers‘ new multiyear deal for Sam Merrill, Fedor notes that the club views the swingman as more than just a “one-dimensional” sharpshooter. “I think he was leading or near the top of the G League in taking charges, so he’s got a willingness to scrap, a willingness to help on the defensive end of the floor,” Bickerstaff said. “Can create shots and make shots.”
  • After being limited to 19 games as a rookie for health reasons, Pistons forward Isaiah Livers is trying to establish himself as part of the team’s future plans with his play this season. James L. Edwards III of The Athletic takes a look at how those efforts are going and explores the strides Livers is making in his second NBA season.
  • Eugene Omoruyi, who signed a second 10-day contract with the Pistons on Monday, is making a strong case to earn a rest-of-season deal once those 10 days are up, Edwards writes in another story for The Athletic. “I always say, a guy who has his Ph.D. — poor, hungry, driven — they’re going to make it in this league,” head coach Dwane Casey said. “He’s hungry.”

Central Notes: Cunningham, Nembhard, Beverley, Love

Pistons guard Cade Cunningham has been sidelined since November 9 due to a leg injury and won’t return this season, but he has remained very involved on the sidelines and is evolving as a leader, even if he can’t actually take the court, according to James L. Edwards III of The Athletic.

“He’s using his voice more than ever, during games and talking before and after,” veteran Pistons guard Cory Joseph said. “Not only is he encouraging guys, but he’s also letting us know his thoughts, what he sees out there. It’s always different — and, of course, unfortunate — when you’re forced to take a step back and not play the game you love, but it is a different point of view. He’s keeping his mind engaged.”

“He’s the leader of this team, so anytime he has something to say, guys are all ears,” Pistons swingman Rodney McGruder said. “He brings us in all the time after huddles, before the game, talking on the bench, halftime. He’s pulling guys aside when he sees there’s a problem that needs to be fixed on the floor.”

As Edwards details, the Pistons’ coaching staff has made an effort to make sure that Cunningham feels connected to the team — his rehab and shooting work generally takes place right before or after practice, allowing the former No. 1 pick to observe his teammates’ work in those practice sessions. Despite his lost sophomore season, Cunningham is still considered the cornerstone of Detroit’s long-term future.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • In a Q&A with Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, rookie guard Andrew Nembhard admits he felt as if he was a first-round talent in last year’s draft class, but says he wasn’t upset to land with the Pacers at No. 31. “It was a perfect situation in Indiana I fell into,” Nembhard said. “I don’t really feel no ill way towards it.”
  • While it remains to be seen what sort of impact new Bulls guard Patrick Beverley will have on the court or in the standings, he should bring a much-needed spark to an “increasingly listless” team that’s in “dire need” of veteran leadership, contends Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Beverley officially signed with Chicago on Tuesday.
  • It’s unfortunate that Kevin Love‘s tenure with the Cavaliers ended so unceremoniously, following a series of DNP-CDs, writes Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. As Lloyd details, the good far outweighed the bad during Love’s time with the franchise, and the five-time All-Star were always be revered in Cleveland for the role he played on the 2016 title team.

NBA Announces Player Pool For Rising Stars Event

The NBA officially unveiled the 28-player pool for this year’s Rising Stars event on Tuesday, making the announcement via the NBA App. The following players made the cut:



G League players:

As was the case last season, the Rising Stars event will consist of four teams and three games. The seven G League players will comprise one team, coached by longtime NBA guard Jason Terry. The other 21 players will be drafted to three squads coached by former NBA stars Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, and Deron Williams.

The four teams will be split into two first-round matchups and the winners of those two games will face one another for the Rising Stars championship. The two semifinals will be played to a target score of 40 points, while the final will be played to a target score of 25 points.

All three contests will take place on Friday, February 17 as part of All-Star weekend in Salt Lake City. The NBA’s full press release with more information on the event can be found right here.

Central Notes: Pistons, Bey, Turner, Nembhard, Allen

The Pistons have started big men Isaiah Stewart and Marvin Bagley III alongside one another in the frontcourt in each of their last five games, with longtime starting forward Saddiq Bey moving to the bench as Bojan Bogdanovic holds onto his starting spot.

James L. Edwards III of The Athletic believes the two-big lineup will be one that the Pistons use for the foreseeable future, since it fits how they want to play — “bigger and more physically imposing,” as Edwards puts it. Detroit also envisions Stewart and rookie Jalen Duren as its long-term frontcourt of the future, Edwards adds, so it makes sense to get Stewart accustomed to playing next to another big man.

Bey had started 142 consecutive games for the Pistons before being demoted to the bench in the 15th game of the 2022/23 season. The third-year forward’s numbers have dipped this season – his 28.8% mark on three-pointers is by far a career worst – but he’s accepting his new role in stride, as Mike Curtis of The Detroit News (subscriber link) writes.

“It’s an opportunity to try and help the team win as much as possible,” Bey said. “Whatever role the team needs me to do, I’m ready to do. It’s me walking the walk. This is the role (head coach Dwane Casey) needs me to do to help us win and I’m just going to try and contribute as much as I can and just play hard.”

For what it’s worth, Casey said that he still looks at Bey “as a starter” even though he’s currently asking him to be the primary scoring option for that second unit.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • It’s still unclear whether or not Myles Turner has a future in Indiana beyond this season, but the Pacers center seems to be enjoying himself and is more consistently engaged than he ever has been in the past, according to Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star (subscription required). “I’m having a great time,” Turner said. “My main focus is to come out and help this team win. I can sit and talk (about my future) in general all I want to, but that’s not what’s going to help this team win.”
  • In a separate article for The Indianapolis Star, Dopirak writes that Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard “desperately wanted” Andrew Nembhard in the 2022 draft despite his modest college numbers. Nembhard is making Pritchard look good so far, enjoying the best game of his young career on Monday when he racked up 31 points, 13 assists, and eight rebounds in a road win at Golden State. Head coach Rick Carlisle recently expressed a belief that the No. 31 pick will end up being a top-12 or top-15 player in this year’s draft class.
  • Spencer Davies of makes the case that center Jarrett Allen is the most crucial part of the Cavaliers‘ success, breaking down his impact on both ends of the court.

Central Notes: Diakite, Dosunmu, Williams, LaVine, Nembhard

With Dean Wade out three or four weeks with a shoulder injury, the Cavaliers started Mamadi Diakite against the Knicks on Sunday, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets. Diakite made one previous start this season as a fill-in for Jarrett Allen. The third-year big man out of Virginia, who went scoreless in 11 minutes, is on a two-way deal.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Bulls coach Billy Donovan moved Patrick Williams and Ayo Dosunmu to the second unit and Donovan believes it could facilitate their development, particularly the young power forward, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. “This may actually help his development, putting him in some situations where he can be a little more aggressive. I still think the development part for him is in place,” Donovan said.
  • Despite the lineup changes, the Bulls aren’t going anywhere unless Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic do a better job of blending their talents, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes. LaVine concurs with that assessment. “Coach got to make his decisions, but you know the best players on the team, we got to be the ones that make the plays,” LaVine said. “On bad days, take the criticism. Good days, make sure to help us win. Play defense. Make the shot. That’s what you do. That’s why you’re in position to do this. It’s a player-driven league. I think it always starts from top to bottom.”
  • Andrew Nembhard has been a solid presence at both ends for the Pacers during his rookie campaign, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files notes. The Pacers signed the first pick of the second round to a four-year deal that is fully guaranteed for three full seasons and $6.4MM, a record amount for a second-rounder coming out of college. Nembhard, who hit a game-winning 3-pointer against the Lakers, is averaging 7.4 PPG and 3.4 APG in 21.9 MPG.
  • Pacers star guard Tyrese Haliburton missed Sunday’s game due to a sore groin, Agness tweets. It’s the first game he missed since being acquired from Sacramento last season.

Pacers Notes: Turner, Hield, Nembhard, Haliburton

Lakers fans offered loud cheers Monday night for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield, two Pacers veterans who have been rumored as L.A. trade targets for several months, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. The Lakers rejected the potential swap because of Indiana’s insistence on getting unprotected first-round picks in 2027 and 2029, but the rumors haven’t died down.

Both players made an impression on Monday as the Pacers pulled out a win on a last-second shot. Turner, whose upcoming free agency both makes him a trade candidate and complicates his value, had 15 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots. Hield, who has one year left on his contract at $18.6MM, also had 15 points, although he was just 1-of-6 from three-point range.

“It’s been great to be with those guys,” coach Rick Carlisle told reporters on Monday. “I can see where people would have interest in them. I have a lot of interest in not trading them, you know?”

If the Lakers revisit the deal with Indiana, it may not happen for a while, Goon adds. L.A. has several players who can’t be moved until December 15, and a Monday report from ESPN indicated that the type of trade the Lakers are hoping to make may not be available until January.

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • Carlisle believes the franchise got a draft steal in Andrew Nembhard, who hit the game-winning shot on Monday. Nembhard, who was taken with the first pick in the second round, has earned a rotation role and is averaging 7.1 PPG in 20.7 minutes per night. “He’ll go down as a top-12 or (top-)15 pick in this draft when it’s all said and done,” Carlisle said (Twitter video link from Alex Golden). “It’s where he should have been taken.”
  • In a discussion for The Athletic, Anthony Slater and Sam Amick revisit the Tyrese Haliburton/Domantas Sabonis deal from last season’s trade deadline. While Slater and Amick acknowledge that there’s some nuance involved when reevaluating the trade, they point to the Kings‘ and Pacers’ success so far this season and suggest it could end up as a win-win. Haliburton has been playing some of the best basketball of his career as of late, having become the first player since the NBA began tracking turnovers in 1977 to record at least 40 assists without a turnover over a three-game span (Twitter link).
  • Within that same Athletic story, Amick writes that a number of people around the NBA believe the Pacers’ desire to continue tearing down their roster “just isn’t as strong as advertised.” Team owner Herb Simon has long been averse to tanking, so if Indiana stays competitive, the odds of the team trading away key veteran contributors before the deadline seem likely to decline.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Contract Details: K. Williams, J. Green, Nembhard, Minott, Rivers

Kenrich Williams‘ new four-year extension with the Thunder came in at a total value of $27,170,000, Hoops Rumors has learned. Williams will earn $6,175,000 in 2023/24 when the extension goes into effect, then $6,669,000 in ’24/25. His final two years are each worth $7,163,000, with a team option on the ’26/27 season.

In other Thunder cap news, JaMychal Green gave up $2,628,597 in his buyout agreement with the team. As our chart of minimum salaries shows, that’s the exact amount an eight-year veteran like Green would earn on a minimum contract, which is what he’ll reportedly sign with Golden State.

Here are a few more salary notes from around the NBA:

  • The Pacers took advantage of their cap room by giving second-round pick Andrew Nembhard a contract with a declining structure. His four-year deal begins at $2,244,111 this season, then dips to $2,131,905 in 2023/24 and $2,019,699 in ’24/25 before increasing to the ’25/26 minimum of $2,187,451. The first three years are guaranteed, while the fourth is a team option.
  • The Timberwolves used a portion of their mid-level exception to sign second-rounder Josh Minott to a four-year, minimum-salary contract. It’s fully guaranteed for the first two years and non-guaranteed for the last two. Minott’s third-year salary would become guaranteed if he’s not waived by June 28, 2024, and the fourth year is a team option. Minnesota now only has about $692K left on its mid-level exception, which could potentially be used very late in the season to sign a player to a three- or four-year minimum-salary deal.
  • The Timberwolves‘ minimum-salary contract with Austin Rivers is only partially guaranteed for $650K. It would become fully guaranteed if he remains on the roster through the league-wide salary guarantee date in January.

Andrew Nembhard Signs Four-Year Deal With Pacers

JULY 22: The Pacers have officially signed Nembhard, the team announced today in a press release.

“I’m excited to get my career and rookie season started with the Pacers,” Nembhard said in a statement. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a part of such a first-class organization and I can’t wait to play in front of the league’s best fans at Gainbridge Fieldhouse this year!”

JULY 20: The Pacers are signing second-rounder Andrew Nembhard to a four-year, $8.6MM deal, his agents Jaafar Choufani and Todd Ramasar tell ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter link). Nembhard’s deal includes $6.4MM in guaranteed money over the first three years, which is the most ever for a second-round pick who attended college, Givony reports.

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks observes (via Twitter), the 22-year-old will receive more guaranteed money than several first-round picks, whose contracts are only guaranteed for the first two seasons (years three and four being team options), though that is slightly misleading because Nembhard’s guarantee is spread out over three years instead of two.

Indiana has a team option on the fourth year of the deal, the 2025/26 season, sources tell Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. The signing will be completed using a small portion of the Pacers’ cap room.

After a strong showing at the draft combine, Nembhard shot up draft boards, going from a possible late second-rounder to a borderline first-round selection. He was ultimately taken with the first pick of the second round, 31st overall.

The 6’5″ guard spent four years in college, the first two with Florida and then the final two with Gonzaga after transferring before his junior season. In 32 games (32.2 MPG) with the Bulldogs last season, Nembhard averaged 11.8 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 5.8 APG and 1.6 SPG on .452/.383/.873 shooting. He also posted a very solid assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.97-to-1, a strong benchmark for a lead ball-handler.

Once Nembhard’s deal is official, the Pacers will still have one draft pick who is unsignedKendall Brown, the 48th selection. The Pacers have an opening on the 15-man roster and both two-way spots available, so either might be a possibility for the athletic forward out of Baylor.

Central Notes: Pacers Rookies, Stephenson, Cavs’ Targets, Sexton, Garland

The Pacers wound up with three players in the draft — lottery pick Bennedict Mathurin and second-rounders Andrew Nembhard and Kendall Brown. Team president Kevin Pritchard has high hopes for the trio, Bob Kravitz of The Athletic writes.

“One of the things I’m absolutely convinced of, these three young men will be a part of this organization for a long time,” Pritchard said. “We wanted to get more athletic, more dynamic and bring some intelligence. All three demonstrated that athleticism and drive to win. The one common denominator is, they all love to play.”

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