Chris Duarte

Pacers Rumors: Power Forward, Duarte, Collins, Turner, Bitadze

The growing sense among rival teams is that the 23-19 Pacers could be a buyer, rather than a seller, at this season’s trade deadline, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

Fischer acknowledges that Indiana’s trade deadline outlook could certainly be altered if Tyrese Haliburton‘s foot injury causes him to miss an extended period. Fischer also adds a caveat to the team’s potential status as a buyer — the Pacers won’t be in the market for short-term veterans like Jae Crowder or Bojan Bogdanovic, but will have an eye out for players who could be long-term fits.

According to Fischer, power forward is the spot the Pacers would most like to upgrade. Indiana was high on Keegan Murray prior to the 2022 draft, and while the club was happy to ultimately land Bennedict Mathurin at No. 6, missing out on Murray means the power forward position remains a priority going forward.

If they want to get aggressive, the Pacers will have a couple extra 2023 first-round picks to dangle in trade talks, having acquired Cleveland’s and Boston’s first-rounders. Additionally, while Indiana viewed Chris Duarte as off limits at one point, multiple front office sources tell Fischer that the team has been more willing to discuss him in recent talks.

Here’s more on the Pacers’ plans:

  • Indiana has had internal discussions about the possibility of pursuing Hawks power forward John Collins, according to Fischer, who notes that Duarte and draft capital might appeal to Atlanta. The Hawks previously pitched the idea of trading Collins to the Pelicans for Trey Murphy and a first-round pick, Fischer explains. The fact that the Pacers could absorb Collins into their cap room without sending out matching salary could also intrigue the Hawks, who are right around the luxury tax line.
  • The Pacers and Myles Turner‘s representatives at CAA continue to discuss a possible renegotiation-and-extension for the veteran center, sources tell Yahoo Sports. Fischer suggests that the four-year, $133MM offer sheet Indiana gave Deandre Ayton in July would be an “obvious benchmark” for Turner’s side to use in contract negotiations.
  • Trade rumors involving Turner have slowed down as of late, Fischer observes. Teams like the Hornets, Pelicans, Mavericks, and Lakers have been viewed as potential suitors in the past, but don’t appear to be targeting Turner at this point. If the 26-year-old ends up back on the trade block, the Knicks, Raptors, and Clippers could be fits, Fischer writes.
  • The most likely Pacers center to be traded is Goga Bitadze, according to Fischer, who hears from sources that the club would be willing to work with Bitadze’s representatives to find him a new team. Daniel Theis is due back from injury soon and Bitadze hasn’t had much of a role even with Theis out. The fourth-year center also hasn’t been interested in accepting an assignment to the Pacers’ G League team in Fort Wayne, says Fischer.

Central Notes: Livers, Bulls, Mitchell, Bucks, Duarte

Pistons forward Isaiah Livers suffered a setback while attempting to return from a shoulder injury, the team announced on Friday in a press release. According to the Pistons, Livers had advanced to the “end stage” of his rehab process, but reaggravated the AC joint in his right shoulder during a workout. Livers will take a step backward in his rehab work and will be reevaluated in approximately two or three weeks by the Pistons’ medical staff, according to the team.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Asked on Friday after the Bulls fell to 11-17 if the front office erred by bringing back nearly the same roster as last season, head coach Billy Donovan said he doesn’t feel that way, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “I think the character in that locker room is really, really good,” Donovan said. “I just think that with the adversity that happens in the game, we have to collectively have more resolve.”
  • The Cavaliers will host the Jazz on Monday and then visit Utah in early January, but Donovan Mitchell will likely make another trip to his former team’s city in February for the 2023 All-Star Game, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, who says no Eastern Conference guard has been better than Mitchell this season. “Donovan’s essentially elevated their entire situation here,” Indiana head coach Rick Carlisle said on Friday after Mitchell scored 41 points to help defeat his team.
  • The Bucks will be without Khris Middleton on Saturday vs. Utah due to right knee soreness, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic (Twitter links). Giannis Antetokounmpo has also been added to the team’s injury report as questionable due to left knee soreness.
  • Pacers wing Chris Duarte, sidelined since November 4 due to ankle sprain, appears to be on the verge of returning to action at the NBA level. Duarte has played two games with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in the G League as part of his rehab and could be back with the Pacers in time for Sunday’s contest vs. New York, tweets Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star.

Eastern Notes: Horford, Young, Heat, Duarte, Brown

Celtics veteran big man Al Horford will rejoin the team on Friday, Jared Weiss of The Athletic tweets. Horford has been away from the C’s for personal reasons following a stint in the league’s health and safety protocols. Horford, who signed a two-year extension at the beginning of the month, hasn’t played since Dec. 4.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Hawks star guard Trae Young has been fined $25K for throwing the game ball into the spectator stands, Adam Zagoria of NJ.com tweets. The incident occurred at the end of the Hawks’ 123-122 overtime win over the Bulls on Sunday. Young was inactive against Memphis on Monday.
  • The struggles of Max Strus, Gabe Vincent and Duncan Robinson have taken some of the shine off the Heat’s vaunted development program but all is not lost, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. Caleb Martin has developed from a two-way prospect to a steady rotation player and the development program has other potential success stories in Omer Yurtseven, Nikola Jovic and Jamal Cain.
  • Pacers wing Chris Duarte joined the G League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants for practice on Monday and he’ll play for Fort Wayne against the Wisconsin Herd on Wednesday and Friday, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files tweets. Duarte is working his way back from a Grade 2 ankle sprain suffered in early November.
  • Pacers rookie forward Kendall Brown is out indefinitely with a stress reaction in his right tibia, according to Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star. Brown will be reevaluated by the team in two weeks. Brown, a second-round pick, is one of the team’s two-way players. He’s appeared in six games with the Pacers.

Injury Updates: Magic, Bulls, Celtics, Raptors, Heat, Hayward, More

The Magic will be getting some reinforcements for Friday’s game in Chicago, according to Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Veteran guard Gary Harris has been cleared to make his regular season debut following offseason arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, Price reports. Additionally, starting center Wendell Carter Jr. will be back in the lineup after missing Wednesday’s game due to a strained right plantar fascia.

Orlando’s opponents also got some good injury-related news on Friday. As Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago writes, Bulls guard Coby White (left quad contusion) and forward Patrick Williams (right ankle sprain) both said at Friday’s shootaround that they’ll be able to play against the Magic. White has missed the last eight games as a result of his injury; Williams sprained his ankle on Wednesday, but it appears the injury won’t cost him any games.

Here are several more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • As expected, Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon will be available on Friday vs. New Orleans after missing four games with a hamstring injury. However, the team announced that Marcus Smart (right ankle inflammation) will miss a second straight game (Twitter link).
  • The already shorthanded Raptors will be missing Gary Trent Jr. and Chris Boucher on Saturday vs. Atlanta due to non-COVID illnesses, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. However, Eric Koreen of The Athletic tweets that Dalano Banton‘s ankle sprain isn’t as serious as initially feared and Pascal Siakam (adductor strain) has resumed on-court activity. Another update on Siakam is expected in a week or so, Koreen adds.
  • Heat star Jimmy Butler (knee soreness) has been ruled out for Friday’s game against Washington and it’s possible that Bam Adebayo (knee contusion) won’t be available either, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Adebayo is currently listed as questionable.
  • Hornets forward Gordon Hayward, who has been on the shelf since November 2 due to a left shoulder contusion, has been upgraded from doubtful to questionable for Friday’s game vs. Cleveland, according to the team (Twitter link).
  • Pacers sharpshooter Chris Duarte isn’t expected to be available during the team’s upcoming four-game home stand, but could return from his ankle sprain at some point in the subsequent seven-game road trip, tweets Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. That trip begins on November 27 and runs through December 7.
  • Sixers guard Jaden Springer, currently assigned to the Delaware Blue Coats in the G League, will miss at least one week due to a right quadriceps strain, tweets Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com.

Pacers’ Chris Duarte Out 4-6 Weeks With Grade 2 Ankle Sprain

Pacers wing Chris Duarte sustained a Grade 2 ankle sprain in Friday’s victory over Miami and is expected to miss four-to-six weeks of action, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

According to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter links), it’s Duarte’s left ankle, and he suffered the injury early on, playing less than five minutes. Duarte was spotted using crutches after the game, which is always an ominous sign.

As Jeff Stotts of InStreetClothes.com tweets, Grade 2 sprains are considered partial tears, which is why Duarte will be sidelined for a pretty significant amount of time. It’s the same injury that LaMelo Ball has been dealing with since preseason. Ball has yet to make his regular season debut in 2022/23, though he’s said to be “extremely close” to returning.

The 13th pick of last year’s draft, Duarte was productive as a rookie for the Pacers in ’21/22, earning a spot on the All-Rookie Second Team after averaging 13.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.1 APG and 1.0 SPG on .432/.369/.804 shooting in 55 games (39 starts, 28.0 MPG). He’d gotten off to a slower start this season, averaging 10.0 PPG and 2.4 RPG on .406/.351/.917 shooting in eight games (four starts, 21.5 MPG) prior to the injury.

With Duarte sidelined, rookies Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard will likely receive more playing time. Third-year wing Aaron Nesmith could receive a bump in minutes as well once he returns from his own foot injury.

Pacers Exercise 2023/24 Options On Four Players

The Pacers have picked up their team options for the 2023/24 season on four players, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. Those four options are as follows:

Haliburton, Nesmith, Duarte, and Jackson were all already under contract for 2022/23. As a result of today’s moves, all four players now have guaranteed salaries for the ’23/24 season too. Haliburton and Nesmith will be eligible for rookies scale extensions during the 2023 offeason, while Duarte and Jackson have fourth-year options for ’24/25.

[RELATED: Decisions On 2023/24 Rookie Scale Team Options]

Haliburton is considered a cornerstone piece of the Pacers’ rebuild, having been acquired earlier this year in the blockbuster trade that sent Domantas Sabonis to Sacramento. The promising young point guard averaged 17.5 points and 9.6 assists per game in 26 appearances (36.1 MPG) for his new team down the stretch last season.

Nesmith also changed teams via trade earlier this year, arriving from Boston in this summer’s Malcolm Brogdon trade. It’s unclear whether he’ll be a key part of the Pacers’ future, but he should get a chance this season to play a rotation role and make his case to stick around long-term.

Duarte and Jackson had promising rookie seasons for the Pacers in 2021/22, though they only appeared in 55 and 36 games, respectively. Assuming they stay healthy, both should have regular roles going forward.

International Notes: Irving, Adams, Bey, Dominican National Team

Nets guard Kyrie Irving is already thinking about his career beyond the NBA. In response to a fan’s tweet about “gassing up” for the regular season, Irving speculated about his future several years down the road, saying he eventually expects to play overseas.

“I don’t ever have to Gas myself up,” Irving wrote (Twitter link). “I am going on my 12th year in the best league in the world and I am only getting better. When I am 38 years old and have time to reflect on my career truly, I will do so, but until then, I am enjoying every moment.”

“And no I won’t be done playing basketball at 38 years old lol,” he added (Twitter link). “I’ll be in leagues all over the world playing and teaching the youth all that was taught to me.”

Irving just turned 30 in March, so the future he’s talking about is several years away. He’s under contract to Brooklyn for one more season after picking up his $36.9MM option last month.

Here are some more notes related to international basketball:

  • Jaylen Adams, the Most Valuable Player in Australia’s NBL last season, has signed with KK Crvena Zvezda in Serbia, according to Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw (Twitter link). Adams, who appeared in seven games with the Bucks during the 2020/21 season, attended a mini-camp with the Lakers last month.
  • Former NBA small forward Tyler Bey is receiving interest from Ironi Ness Ziona in Israel, tweets Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Bey held a two-way contract with the Rockets in training camp last year, but he was waived before the start of the season and wound up playing for Houston’s G League affiliate. A former star at Colorado, Bey played 18 games with the Mavericks in 2020/21.
  • Al Horford, Karl-Anthony Towns and Chris Duarte are the most prominent names on the Dominican Republic’s preliminary 25-man World Cup roster, according to Cancha Latina. The team has qualifying games next month against Panama and Venezuela. Horford has been a member of the national team since 2008, and Towns has represented the country since 2012.

Central Notes: Duarte, Travers, Smith, Simonovic

The toe injury that marred Chris Duarte‘s rookie season is still lingering, according to James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star. The Pacers guard initially suffered the left toe injury on February 13. He only played in five of the Pacers’ last 24 games.

“I’m just listening to my body right now,” he said. “Whatever my body tells me, if that be to stop, I stop. If not, then I keep going.”

Duarte still plans to play on the Pacers’ Summer League team.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Cavaliers second-round pick Luke Travers will likely remain overseas next season, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. Travers is participating on the Cavs’ summer league team but with Cleveland’s current roster situation, the plan all along has been to stash the 6’7” wing. “At the end of the day, it’s whatever the team wants and that’s what I’m willing to do,” he said. “If that’s to go back and do another year then it is what it is. If that’s to stay, then I will do that as well.”
  • Jalen Smith could have gotten more money in free agency but he chose to re-sign with the Pacers because of his comfort level and the opportunity to be a starter, Boyd writes. “I chose my future over instant gratification,” said Smith, who signed a three-year deal with a player option. “I feel as though that was the biggest part. You don’t want to take on such a big task so early on in your life rather than trying to work towards it and miss out on it in the future, and that was pretty much the main thing that was going through my head the whole entire time.”
  • Improved conditioning could lead to more minutes for the Bulls’ Marko Simonovic, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago“Every day I try to improve my body and put some muscles on. The last two months, I did it,” he said. “And when I came back here, everybody said I’m looking better than I was before. Just keep working.” He appeared in nine games last season.

Givony’s Latest: Sharpe, Magic, Kings, Duarte, Suns, Knicks, More

Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe, perhaps the biggest enigma of the 2022 NBA draft, is the subject of several rumors in Jonathan Givony’s latest mock draft at ESPN.com (Insider link).

Givony has Sharpe coming off the board at No. 7 to Portland, writing that Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard is believed to be a fan of the young guard, despite the fact that Sharpe is 12 years younger than Lillard and is on a “completely different timetable.”

A pair of teams picking later in the lottery may also have their sights set on Sharpe. The Thunder, who hold the No. 12 pick, continue to pursue trade-up opportunities, according to Givony, who says Sharpe and Jaden Ivey are among the players Oklahoma City appears to be targeting.

Meanwhile, Sharpe is also said to intrigue the Hornets if they trade up from No. 13, Givony writes, noting that the Kentucky guard surprised other teams when he opted to work out for Charlotte.

Here are a few more of the most interesting tidbits from Givony’s newest mock:

  • Virtually every NBA team expects the Magic to select Jabari Smith first overall and would be surprised if they go in a different direction.
  • The Kings are considered more likely to stand pat than to trade the No. 4 pick, but they’ve had discussions with almost every team behind them in the lottery and even some outside of the lottery, per Givony. Pacers wing Chris Duarte is among the possible trade targets the Kings have done their homework on, Givony adds.
  • Surprisingly, Givony has heard the Suns are among the clubs exploring trade scenarios involving the Pelicans‘ No. 8 pick. Givony suggests Phoenix could potentially include a player like Cameron Johnson in its offer to help create more long-term cap flexibility to retain Deandre Ayton.
  • There’s a widespread belief that the Knicks won’t end up picking at No. 11, Givony reports. they’re “aggressively” exploring scenarios in which they trade back or trade out of the first round.
  • Rival teams believe the Cavaliers are high on Ousmane Dieng, though he could be off the board by No. 14, says Givony.
  • Echoing multiple recent reports, Givony identifies Hawks big man John Collins as a major draft-day trade candidate. Givony goes a step further, suggesting that Collins could even be packaged with Kevin Huerter in a deal involving the Kings‘ No. 4 overall pick.
  • The Bucks (No. 24) are eyeing older prospects who could help them win right away, such as Andrew Nembhard, Jake LaRavia, Christian Braun and Ismael Kamagate, according to Givony, who has heard from rival teams that Milwaukee has also conveyed some interest in trading up into the teens, possibly for a big man like Mark Williams and Walker Kessler.

Barnes, Cunningham, Mobley Head All-Rookie Team

Scottie Barnes, Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Franz Wagner and Jalen Green comprised this year’s All-Rookie First Team, the NBA announced in a press release.

Barnes, Cunningham and Mobley were all unanimous selections, receiving the maximum total of 200 points each. Wagner received 183 points, followed by Green with 158. Strangely, one media member left Wagner off their ballot completely, as he received 99 of 100 possible votes.

Raptors wing Barnes, who narrowly edged Cavaliers big man Mobley for the Rookie of the Year award, ranked third in points (15.3) and rebounds (7.5) among all rookies, and fifth in assists (3.5). Mobley was fifth in points (15.0) and led all first-year players in rebounds (8.3) and blocks (1.67) per game.

Pistons guard Cunningham, the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft, was first among rookies in points (17.4), second in assists (5.6) and fifth in rebounds (5.5). Magic forward Wagner also had a great year, averaging 15.4 points (fourth among rookies), 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 79 games. Rockets guard Green finished the season strong, scoring 20+ points in 17 of his last 25 games on his way to averaging 17.3 points, second among first-year players.

Pelicans defensive ace Herbert Jones (123 votes) and Thunder floor general Josh Giddey (122 votes) headline the Second Team. Jones averaged 9.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals (first among rookies) and should at least receive votes for an All-Defensive nod, even if he doesn’t end up making one of the two teams.

In addition to averaging 12.5 points, Giddey was second among rookies in rebounds (7.8) and first in assists (6.4), but he only appeared in 54 of 82 games, having missed the final 23 contests with a hip injury, which is likely why he didn’t receive more First Team votes.

Here are both All-Rookie teams in full, with their voting point totals noted in parentheses. Players received two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote.

2021/22 All-Rookie First Team:

2021/22 All-Rookie Second Team:

Ten other rookies received votes — you can view the full voting results right here. Among the group that missed the cut, Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga (47) was just behind Duarte, with Kings guard Davion Mitchell (28) the only other player receiving a significant number of votes.