Buddy Hield

NBA Fines Pacers’ Buddy Hield $25K

Pacers swingman Buddy Hield has been fined $25K by the NBA, the league announced in a press release (Twitter link).

The 6’4″ small forward was penalized for “making an obscene [hand] gesture on the playing court,” early in the second quarter of an eventual 115-109 March 20 loss to the Hornets, the press release states. Tony East of Sports Illustrated (Twitter video link) pinpointed the moment of the incident, which occurred while Hield was taking a breather on Indiana’s bench.

Fines aside, Hield has been enjoying another solid year for an Indiana team that remains very much in the thick of the play-in tournament race as of this writing. Despite that loss to a lowly Charlotte team Monday, the 33-40 Pacers are currently 1.5 games behind the Bulls for the East’s No. 10 seed.

Through 73 starts this year, Hield is averaging 17.1 PPG on .459/.424/.819 shooting splits for Indiana. He’s also contributing 5.0 RPG, 2.7 APG and 1.2 APG. The 30-year-old sharpshooter is currently in the third season of a four-year contract he signed with the Kings in 2020.

Central Notes: Mathurin, G. Allen, J. Allen, Caruso

The Pacers have yet to supply a concrete timeline for rookie guard Bennedict Mathurin‘s return from his right ankle, per Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Indiana head coach Rick Carlisle did reveal that Mathurin will not suit up for the team in Thursday’s game against the mighty Bucks.

“He may travel, but he’s not going to play in the next game,” Carlisle said on Wednesday. “I’m not going to give you a timetable, but he’s not going to play in Milwaukee. He is doing better.”

Dopirak adds in another tweet that both Mathurin and second-year swingman Chris Duarte will be sidelined for today’s game. Starters Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, plus reserve point guard T.J. McConnell, are all questionable to suit up. Haliburton is dealing with a right ankle sprain.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Bucks wing Grayson Allen will also miss Thursday’s bout against the Pacers, his second straight absence, due to right plantar fascia soreness, per Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link).
  • Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen will remain out the team’s next game, Friday against the Wizards, due to a right eye contusion, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link).
  • Bulls wing Alex Caruso was held out of a recent team practice due to an unspecified illness, but is currently somewhat on the mend, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link). That said, he is questionable to play on Friday for Chicago, when they will square off against the Timberwolves. Should Caruso sit, it is likely that reserve forward Patrick Williams would returning to the club’s starting five.

Jayson Tatum, Damian Lillard Headline 3-Point Contest Field

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen, and Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton will participate in this weekend’s 3-point contest in addition to the All-Star Game, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The eight-man field will be filled out by four non-All-Stars, according to Charania: Lillard’s Blazers teammate Anfernee Simons, Haliburton’s Pacers teammate Buddy Hield, Heat guard Tyler Herro, and Kings wing Kevin Huerter.

Some of those names had been previously reported, but Charania is the first to reveal all eight participants.

The eight-man field includes just one player who has previously won the event. Hield was the 3-point champion back in 2020 when he was still a member of the Kings. He also has the highest 3PT% of any of this season’s participants at 42.3% — that ranks 11th in the NBA among qualified players in 2022/23, so none of the league’s top 10 shooters are participating.

Last year’s winner, Karl-Anthony Towns, remains sidelined for the Timberwolves due to a calf strain, so he won’t get the chance to defend his title.

Markkanen will be the hometown favorite, with the event scheduled to take place this coming Saturday in Salt Lake City.

Pacers, Myles Turner Discussing Possible Extension

The Pacers and center Myles Turner have opened up discussions about a possible contract extension, league sources with knowledge of the situation tell Shams Charania of The Athletic. Those talks are believed to be in the initial stages, Charania adds.

Turner is earning $18MM in the final year of his current contract and will become an unrestricted free agent in the summer if he doesn’t sign a new deal before then.

With Domantas Sabonis no longer sharing minutes at the five in Indiana, Turner is enjoying the best season of his eight-year NBA career, averaging a career-high 16.7 points in his first 26 games (29.5 MPG). His 7.8 rebounds per game are also a career high, as are his .541 FG% and .417 3PT%. The 26-year-old has provided his usual rim protection too, blocking 2.1 shots per night.

As we explained last month, the Pacers would be limited to giving Turner a 20% starting raise (to $21.6MM) if they offered a standard contract extension. Such an offer would max out at about $97MM over four years.

However, because they’re still well below the salary cap – not to mention the salary floor – the Pacers could complete a renegotiation-and-extension, which would allow them to more than double Turner’s $18MM salary this season (to his maximum of about $37MM) and would give them the flexibility to discuss a much wider range of salary numbers in future years (including a decrease of up to 40% from his renegotiated salary).

According to Charania, Pacers officials have indeed discussed the renegotiation-and-extension framework with Turner’s agent, Austin Brown.

Although Charania says that there’s a March 1 deadline for the two sides to reach an extension, Turner will technically remain eligible to sign a new deal all the way up until June 30. However, teams aren’t permitted to renegotiate players’ current-year salaries after the last day in February. If Turner and his camp are viewing the start of March as the deadline to work something out, that presumably means they won’t entertain a new deal without a 2022/23 salary bump.

Even as they explore an extension for Turner, the Pacers are expected to keep all their options open, including a possible trade before the February 9 deadline. The Lakers and Raptors are among the teams that have shown interest in the big man in recent months, league sources tell Charania.

Turner and Buddy Hield – who has also drawn interest from rival teams this season, per Charania – are considered Indiana’s most obvious veteran trade candidates, though there’s no guarantee that either will go anywhere this season.

Central Notes: Cunningham, Caruso, Green, Terry, Hield, Haliburton

Pistons general manager Troy Weaver said that Cade Cunningham was resistant to having season-ending surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left shin, according to Mike Curtis of the Detroit News (subscription required). Cunningham hoped that a few weeks of rest would allow him to get back on the court, but he ultimately chose to undergo the procedure this week.

“No player wants to sit out,” the Pistons GM said. “He’s a highly-competitive young player and he wants to play and he wants to be a part of the group. Of course, this is a tough deal for him to have to sit down and get this taken care of.”

The Pistons’ rebuilding timeline won’t be affected by Cunningham’s injury, Weaver insists: “Injuries are a part of it, but it doesn’t change anything. It changes for Cade, but not for what we are trying to accomplish. We’re trying to continue to grow the program and compete every night. … We’re still going full blast ahead.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Alex Caruso and Javonte Green were inserted into the Bulls‘ starting lineup in place of Ayo Dosunmu and Patrick Williams a couple of weeks ago. That lineup only lasted one game before minor injuries to Caruso and Green led to more adjustments. Caruso and Green could be back in the lineup again when the Bulls host the Knicks on Wednesday, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • Bulls rookie Dalen Terry isn’t ready to be a rotation piece, coach Billy Donovan told Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Terry has spent a majority of the last two months with the G League Windy City Bulls. “If you’re throwing him in the rotation you’re having to sit somebody else,” Donovan said of the 18th overall pick. “And right now, clearly, I don’t think he’s at the level of some of our guys. “
  • Pacers guards Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield have formed a strong bond and are constantly putting each other down in joking fashion. Their relationship has helped bring the entire team closer, Oshae Brissett told Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star. “All the time,” Brissett said. “Practice, on the plane, lunch, dinner, they’re always like that. But it’s all love. Brotherly love. If those two are like that, it brings the team together and everyone else has to follow.”

Pacific Notes: Green, J. Jones, Lee, Sabonis, Kings

Draymond Green is on a potential expiring contract, so his NBA future beyond this season remains up in the air. However, he made it clear in a conversation with Marc J. Spears of Andscape that he doesn’t take his lengthy tenure with the Warriors for granted and appreciates that he has gotten to play alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson since entering the league.

“It’s incredible when you look at the amount of guys who’ve played for only one team,” Green said. “You can look around the NBA right now. There are five guys that’s been on a team for 11 years-plus. We have three of them. It’s a very rare thing. There’s 470, 480 players in the NBA? There are five guys that’s been with his team for 11 years plus. That’s amazing. So, you don’t just give that away.”

Green went on to say that, while he recognizes the NBA is business, he’d “absolutely” be interested in spending the rest of his career in Golden State. The four-time All-Star, who has a player option for 2023/24, said he’d let agent Rich Paul handle his contract situation, but added that he’d like to play for four or five more seasons before calling it a career.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Having been promoted to president of basketball operations by the Suns, James Jones expects to step away from some of the day-to-day aspects of running the team and delegate more of those tasks as he focuses on bigger-picture goals, per Gerald Bourguet of GoPhnx.com. Jones said this week that there are no plans to hire a general manager to work under him in the front office hierarchy, but he also didn’t rule out that possibility down the road.
  • In a separate story for GoPhnx.com, Bourguet examines how offseason signee Damion Lee became such an important part of the Suns‘ second unit. Lee, who is making a career-best 49.4% of his three-point attempts so far this season, is only on a one-year contract, so he’ll return to the open market next summer.
  • Speaking to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, Kings center Domantas Sabonis said that he and point guard De’Aaron Fox are on the same page on and off the court, with the two stars determined to snap Sacramento’s 16-year playoff drought. “Fox is unselfish, I’m unselfish. I love to play in the pick-and-roll, he loves to play in the pick-and-roll. We want to show people that we can win, and win consistently, apart from everything that goes on in the NBA,” Sabonis said. “I think that’s the most important thing, is to show that we can turn this franchise around.”
  • Returning to Sacramento for the first time since being traded from the Kings to the Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield got wildly different receptions on Wednesday, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Haliburton, who was caught off guard and upset when he was traded last season, received a standing ovation; Hield, who made it clear before being traded that he’d welcome a change of scenery, was met with boos. Hield was unfazed by the crowd’s reaction, as Dopirak relays. “I didn’t give a (expletive),” he said. “I go to sleep happy and I make a lot of money.”

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.

Locker Room Leaders Believe Lakers Are “Couple Of Players Away” From Contention

Sources tell ESPN’s Dave McMenamin that there’s a “shared belief by leaders in the Lakers‘ locker room that the team is only a couple of players away” from contention. He doesn’t list them by name, but presumably McMenamin is referring to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

McMenamin mostly focuses on the pros and cons of the potential Russell Westbrook for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner deal with the Pacers that fell apart before the season when the Lakers refused to include both of their movable first-round picks (2027 and 2029). L.A. faces Indiana on Monday night.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski previously reported that the Lakers were going to wait until around Thanksgiving to evaluate the team before making any changes. McMenamin reports that the timeline has been adjusted to December 15, when most free agents signed in the offseason become trade-eligible.

However, as McMenamin notes, December trades are pretty rare because “league business slows down around the holidays,” so he views mid-January as a more likely timeframe for potential trades. If the 11-8 Pacers keep winning, the Lakers believe Pacers owner Herb Simon might be unwilling to trade Hield and Turner for a deal focused on draft capital, preferring to field a more competitive club.

The Lakers have played better of late, winning five of their past six games, and currently sit with a 7-11 record. But their schedule was pretty soft during that stretch (three wins over the Spurs, one over the Pistons), and they’re about to play 15 of their next 23 games on the road, per McMenamin.

McMenamin suggests the Lakers might be better off making a couple of trades instead of going all-in on the Pacers deal — one involving Westbrook and one first-rounder, and another involving Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and the other first-round pick — to get impact players. That’s assuming the front office decides the team has a legitimate shot at title contention, of course.

Whichever path they take, whether it be minor or major trades, the Lakers are focused on upgrading their perimeter shooting and size, sources tell Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

Lakers Rumors: Trades, Beal, Davis, Westbrook, LeBron, FAs

With the Lakers off to a 2-9 start this season and no signs that a turnaround is imminent, VP of basketball operations Rob Pelinka and the team’s front office face a difficult decision, according to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report.

As Haynes outlines, the Lakers must decide whether to continue pushing their chips into the middle of the table by making more win-now trades this season or whether they’d be better off waiting until the 2023 offseason to pursue major moves.

Waiting until next summer would mean Russell Westbrook‘s $47MM+ expiring contract would no longer be on the team’s books. It would also put the Lakers in position to trade an additional draft pick, since they could move their 2023 first-rounder (once the Pelicans exercise their swap rights) after the pick has been made.

However, LeBron James has a finite number of high-level seasons left and doesn’t want to waste a year waiting for reinforcements, sources tell Haynes. Other core players on the roster would also prefer the team to make win-now moves, Haynes adds.

As has been reported repeatedly throughout the offseason and into the season, the Lakers don’t want to move their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in a deal that doesn’t significantly improve their chances of contending for a title. According to Haynes, there’s not a universal belief within the club’s front office that acquiring Myles Turner and Buddy Hield from the Pacers would move the needle to that degree.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • The Lakers are “known to covet” Bradley Beal, according to Haynes. However, the Wizards guard just signed a five-year contract with the team that includes a full no-trade clause, so he’d have to ask out of Washington for L.A. – or any other team – to have a shot at him.
  • As Jovan Buha reported earlier this week, the Lakers aren’t considering trading Anthony Davis, Haynes confirms. However, Haynes hears from sources that the team has received more calls about Russell Westbrook as of late — those talks haven’t advanced beyond the initial stages though.
  • LeBron James, who was diagnosed with a left adductor strain, has been ruled out for Friday’s game vs. Sacramento, and Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter video link via The Rally) hears that James is expected to miss Sunday’s game vs. Brooklyn too. After Sunday, the team is off until next Friday.
  • In the same video clip, Charania also reports that free agent wings Joe Wieskamp and Tony Snell recently worked out for the Lakers, whose .293 3PT% ranks last in the NBA.

Pacers Rumors: Turner, Hield, Theis, Smith

Appearing on the HoopsHype podcast with Michael Scotto, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files said he believes the Pacers originally intended to move Myles Turner rather than Domantas Sabonis at last season’s trade deadline. However, Turner went down with an injury and an opportunity arose to acquire Tyrese Haliburton using Sabonis, so Indiana jumped at it.

Although Turner remains with the Pacers for now, Agness believes it’s more likely than not that he and Buddy Hield finish the 2022/23 season with another team.

The Lakers have been the team most often mentioned as landing spot for the veteran duo, but Agness thinks Indiana will want to hold firm to its reported asking price of two unprotected first-round picks for Turner and Hield. As Agness notes, the small-market Pacers won’t have forgotten that the Lakers previously tampered with Paul George and won’t be eager to give them what they want.

It’s unclear whether the Nets have any interest in Turner, but Scotto says that general manager Sean Marks recently spoke to Pacers executives Kevin Pritchard, Chad Buchanan, and Happy Walters when the two teams faced one another in a back-to-back set in Brooklyn on Saturday and Monday.

Here are a few more highlights from the conversation between Agness and Scotto:

  • Agness and Scotto both believe Turner will be seeking at least $20-25MM annually on his next contract, with Scotto citing Atlanta big man Clint Capela as a point of comparison (Capela’s most recent extension was worth $21.5MM per year). Agness, meanwhile, suggests that Turner would like to get more individual recognition for his play – including leading the NBA in blocks per game multiple times – which could be a factor in his free agency decision next summer.
  • While Turner and Hield are the Pacers veterans most frequently mentioned as trade candidates, Agness says center Daniel Theis should be added to that group too. The veteran center has yet to play for Indiana this season, with the team citing right knee soreness on its injury reports.
  • According to Scotto, Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle has referred to Jalen Smith as an “important part of our future.” As Agness details, Carlisle flew to Maryland during free agency to meet with Smith and have dinner with him and his parents.