Herb Simon

Central Notes: Grant, Simon, McGee, Bucks

After signing a $60MM deal with the rebuilding Pistons this offseason, forward Jerami Grant is getting the increased offensive role he was hoping for when he left the championship-contending Nuggets, per Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press.

“It’s definitely a bigger role for me, that’s one of the reasons why I came here,” Grant said. Through his first four games for the Motor City, all losses, the versatile wing is tops among the Pistons in minutes played (149), three-point attempts (30), and free-throw attempts (21), as well as shot attempts and makes (66 and 31). He is also averaging a career-high 37.3 MPG.

There’s more out of the NBA’s Central Division:

  • After 79-year-old Pacers executive Donnie Walsh announced he would be vacating his position as team consultant, team owner Herb Simon released a statement praising the longtime Indiana staffer. “Over my thirty-year relationship with Donnie, I have been amazed to watch him help lead this organization to what it has become,” Simon said in part.
  • New veteran Cavaliers reserve center JaVale McGee adds championship pedigree in Cleveland, writes Joe Gabriele of Cavaliers.com“I didn’t realize how good of a passer he was, I didn’t realize the touch he has around the rim with the little floaters and the hooks,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff commented. “I think he’s definitely been a pleasant surprise all the way around.” The 7’1″ big man is averaging 10.5 PPG on 63% shooting from the field during the club’s 3-1 start this season.
  • The Bucks are striving to develop consistency after an offseason roster overhaul, according to Eric Woodyard of ESPN. The club is currently off to a bumpy 2-3 to start their 2020/21 season. “I can speak for my team and for myself: I really feel like us having this different variety of teams and games really helps us,” new starting point guard Jrue Holiday said. “Even just having a back-to-back in a playoff-type atmosphere, early, is very, very good for us.”

Central Notes: Bucks, Lamb, Pistons, Pacers

The Bucks, who had been hoping to lock up Giannis Antetokounmpo to a super-max contract extension this summer, are one of many NBA teams whose future will be complicated by the current hiatus and the potential loss of revenue associated with it, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

As Pincus details, a significant loss of revenue for the NBA would compromise the league’s ability to continue increasing its cap substantially over the next couple years. That would, in turn, create uncertainty about Antetokounmpo’s long-term earning power on a super-max deal that begins in 2021/22, and could have a major impact on Milwaukee’s ability to navigate the cap and the luxury-tax line.

Here’s more from around the NBA’s Central division:

  • It fell through the cracks to some extent last week due to the NBA’s suspension, but Pacers swingman Jeremy Lamb underwent surgery to repair his torn left ACL and torn meniscus. He’ll be out indefinitely, according to the team. Given the serious nature of his injury, it seems safe to assume Lamb won’t return until sometime in 2020/21 no matter when the ’19/20 season resumes.
  • James Edwards III of The Athletic examines how the COVID-19 situation may specifically impact the Pistons, exploring whether Derrick Rose could now return this season (yes), whether Christian Wood‘s free agency value will be impacted at all by his positive test for coronavirus (no), and more.
  • Pacers owner Herb Simon is giving financial add to the part-time workers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse affected by the NBA’s stoppage, tweets Bob Kravitz of The Athletic. Meanwhile, the Bucks announced (via Twitter) that they’ll match the donations their players make to part-time arena workers at the Fiserv Forum.

Pacers Owner Issues Statement On Tampering Case

Shortly after the NBA announced that it had fined the Lakers’ $500K for violating the league’s anti-tampering policy, Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said that his club accepted the NBA’s findings. However, a report over the weekend suggested that Pacers owner Herb Simon may consider separate legal action against the league and the Lakers.

Issuing a formal statement today via the Pacers’ website, Simon insisted that’s not the case, indicating that he and the franchise are content with the league’s decision.

“Contrary to a published report, I would like to emphatically state that neither I nor the Indiana Pacers have ever considered any legal action toward the NBA or the Los Angeles Lakers regarding the recent decision and penalty concerning tampering charges,” Simon said. “We agree with the NBA’s findings and we want to put this issue behind us.

“Even though the Pacers were put in a tough position, we feel extremely fortunate to end up with two exceptional players in Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. Their youth and talent, when coupled with our returning players and other players acquired over the summer, offer tremendous promise for our franchise and our fans.”

As we detailed on Tuesday, Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson has offered to pay the team’s $500K fine out of his own salary, despite the fact that the franchise was technically penalized for GM Rob Pelinka‘s prohibited expression of interest in Paul George to agent Aaron Mintz. Johnson also spoke publicly about George during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, but the NBA only issued the Lakers a warning for Johnson’s comments.