Indiana Pacers

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/15/17

Here are today’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Pacers sent center Ike Anigbogu to their Fort Wayne affiliate, the team announced on its website. A second-round pick in June, Anigbogu has seen limited playing time in Indiana, amassing 17 minutes in six games.
  • The Thunder recalled guard Terrance Ferguson, who was sent to Oklahoma City Blue on Tuesday. Ferguson turned in a 24-point performance for the G League team.
  • The Hawks assigned swingman Nicolas Brussino and center Miles Plumlee to their Erie affiliate. Brussino has appeared in four games for Atlanta, while Plumlee has yet to play because of a strained right quad.

2018 Salary Cap Outlook: Central Division

NBA rosters will undergo some changes over the course of the 2017/18 season, particularly around the trade deadline, and those changes may have an impact on teams’ cap sheets for future seasons. Based on the NBA’s current rosters, however, we can identify which teams are most and least likely to have cap room in the summer of 2018, which will dictate the type of moves those clubs can make in the offseason.

We’re taking a closer look at each of the NBA’s 30 teams by division this week. Today, we’re tackling the Central division. With the help of salary information compiled by Basketball Insiders, here’s how the summer of 2018 is shaping up for the five Central teams:

Milwaukee BucksBledsoe vertical
Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $104,034,259
Projection: Over the cap

The Bucks’ recent acquisition of Eric Bledsoe, which added another $15MM to the team’s books for next season, all but guarantees that Milwaukee won’t have any cap space available in 2018. Moving another contract or two could change that, but if the Bucks intend to re-sign Jabari Parker to a long-term deal, they’ll likely end up much closer to the luxury tax line than to the salary cap threshold.

Detroit Pistons
Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $101,685,313
Projection: Over the cap

The NBA’s most recent salary cap projection estimated a $101MM cap for 2018/19, which would put the Pistons right around the threshold. Don’t expect Detroit to try to sneak below that line and create space though — if they intend to re-sign Avery Bradley, the Pistons figure to remain well over the cap next summer.

Cleveland Cavaliers
Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $75,902,175
Projection: Up to approximately $21MM in cap room

Since LeBron James returned to Cleveland in 2014, the Cavaliers have spent more money than any other NBA team on player salaries and tax payments, so it’s somewhat surprising to see the club with only $76MM in guaranteed commitments for 2018/19.

Of course, the only reason the Cavs’ projected team salary is so modest is because James and his $35MM+ player option aren’t included. Neither is Isaiah Thomas, another free-agent-to-be. And neither is Iman Shumpert, who seems like a good bet to exercise his $11MM player option. If any of those players return to the Cavs, the team’s cap space will disappear quickly. If Cleveland actually ends up with $21MM in available cap room, the squad will look a whole lot different next season.

Chicago Bulls
Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $46,648,020
Projection: Up to approximately $43MM in cap room

The Bulls, who don’t have many pricey long-term commitments on their books, could actually create up to about $52MM in cap room, but we’re adding Zach LaVine‘s cap hold to their team salary, since the club has been adamant about re-signing LaVine, one of the key pieces of this year’s Jimmy Butler trade.

Still, that leaves the Bulls with a ton of flexibility, as Nikola Mirotic‘s $12.5MM team option is the only other salary that could cut into the team’s cap room significantly. Based on recent events in Chicago, it’d very surprising if that Mirotic is still a Bull at that price – or at all – a year from now.

Indiana Pacers
Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $39,913,044
Projection: Up to approximately $54MM in cap room

In order to get up to $54MM in cap room, the Pacers would have to move on from several key players from this year’s squad. Bojan Bogdanovic, Darren Collison, and Al Jefferson all have partially guaranteed salaries. Thaddeus Young and Cory Joseph have player options. Lance Stephenson and Joe Young have team options. The odds that none of those players will be back are incredibly slim.

Even if the Pacers’ available cap room is ultimately much more modest than the maximum figure suggests, the team is in a pretty good spot. The Thaddeus Young and Joseph contracts aren’t toxic, and Indiana is in full control of all the other players with options or without full guarantees. That will give the Pacers the opportunity to retain the deals that are solid values and dump the rest.

Previously:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Indiana In Running To Host 2021 NBA All-Star Game

  • It has been more than three decades since the Pacers last hosted the All-Star Game, but commissioner Adam Silver recently confirmed that Indiana is in the running to host the NBA’s All-Star weekend in 2021, as Jim Ayello of The Indianapolis Star writes. The Pacers’ division rivals in Chicago are hosting 2020’s All-Star Game.

Struggling Pacers Hold Closed-Door Meeting

  • The Pacers have lost four straight contests, the most recent resulting in a closed-door team meeting, Clifton Brown of The Indianapolis Star writes. Per point guard Cory Joseph, the contents of the meeting will stay internal. How the club handles the recent adversity will serve as a test of character for the young franchise.

Turner Ready to Re-Enter Starting Lineup

  • Myles Turner saw his first action for the Pacers Friday since an opening-night concussion and is now ready to return to the starting lineup, according to Clifton Brown of The Indianapolis Star. Turner will be the starting center Sunday against the Knicks, with Domantas Sabonis returning to the bench. “It”ll take me a few games to get my rhythm back,” Turner said, “but being back out there is what’s important.” Coach Nate McMillan has been impressed by Sabonis’ play during Turner’s absence and plans to give him a steady dose of minutes off the bench.

Myles Turner To Return From Seven-Game Absence

The Pacers will see Myles Turner return to action tonight, Nate McMillan told the media, including the team’s official Twitter account. Turner has missed seven games since suffering a concussion in the team’s season opening victory.

Turner, 21 years old, is the new cornerstone of the Pacers franchise now that Paul George is off with the Thunder. He will, however, be charged with the tough task of sliding into a lineup that has found success playing a faster style of basketball than what he saw over the course of his rookie and sophomore seasons.

Last year Turner averaged 14.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. If he can return to action alongside his new and familiar Pacers teammates without disrupting the 5-3 squad’s flow, Indiana could be even better than they’ve looked thus far. Turner will come off the bench in his debut.

The Pacers Won The Paul George Trade (Too)

The Pacers won the Paul George trade, even if the Thunder happened to win it as well, Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star writes. The scribe, who memorably critiqued Indiana’s handling of the George saga prior to the deal, says that he didn’t initially appreciate Kevin Pritchard‘s haul for their disgruntled star.

While it seems likely that Victor Oladipo won’t end up averaging the 23.8 points per game he’s averaged through eight games so far this season, he’s a more valuable player than what he came across as during his lone season with the Thunder. It’s reasonable to expect the Pacers two-guard to continue to post a scoring average in excess of the 17.9 points per game he posted in his career-high season with the desolate 2014/15 Magic.

Of course the component that makes or breaks the deal will be Domantas Sabonis. Fortunately for the Pacers, the 21-year-old big man has looked excellent averaging 13.1 points, 11.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in just 27.1 minutes.

Doyel compliments Pritchard for winning a trade that seemed unwinnable, considering the lack of leverage the Pacers were left with after George’s agent leaked that George wanted out.

Stephenson's Confidence Remains High

  • Pacers swingman Lance Stephenson hasn’t lost confidence despite a terrible start to the new season, relays Mark Montieth of NBA.com. In a reserve role for the high-scoring Pacers, Stephenson is averaging 6.2 points per game and shooting just 27% from the field, 13% from 3-point range and 38.5% from the free throw line. “I’m going to keep shooting,” said Stephenson, who came back to Indiana late last season after spending time with the Hornets, Clippers, Grizzlies, Pelicans and Timberwolves. “My confidence is never going to go down. In practice I don’t miss, so it’s probably just mental. A lot of rushed shots. Just stay poised and don’t get out of it. Bring it every game. I haven’t lost my confidence at all.”
  • When Myles Turner returns from the concussion that has sidelined him since opening night, Pacers coach Nate McMillan is considering using him together with Domantas Sabonis, Montieth writes in the same story. The move would put the team’s two best rebounders on the court at the same time. “It gives us some size, it gives us some versatility,” McMillan said. “We’re big, but we still have the speed and athleticism to defend and run our sets. “I look forward to getting to that as much as possible.”

Darren Collison's Improvement Enables Fast Pace

The Pacers have jumped out of the gates with one of the league’s fastest-paced and most potent offenses. Much of that is thanks to their newly acquired point guard, Darren CollisonJim Ayello of the Indianapolis Star writes. The guard has taken a substantial leap forward since his last tenure with the franchise.

I’m a much better player than I was in the past,” the Pacers guard said. “I know the game a little better. I’m more mature. I don’t think I’ve lost a step, but I’m not as fast as I used to be. But my basketball IQ is at higher level than it ever has been.

In five games with the Pacers so far this season, Collison has averaged 15.6 points and 8.4 assists per game. Indiana, as a team, has averaged 114.0 points per game, the fourth-highest total in the NBA.

Paul George On Leaving Indy; Victor Oladipo Thrives

While Pacers fans didn’t get a revenge win over Paul George‘s Thunder, they did gain some insight into the All-Star’s decision to force his way out of Indiana. Scott Horner of The Indianapolis Star curated a handful of interviews that George has given since his departure.

In other interviews, George seems to question the promotional strategy the Pacers’ have used regarding his pending return to Indiana in December, while also throwing shade at the team for how they traded Danny Granger to the Sixers back in 2014.

  • The Pacers have been more than satisfied with what they’ve gotten out of Victor Oladipo so far this season, Clifton Brown of The Indianapolis Star writes. “I like his pace,” head coach Nate McMillan said after the team’s loss to Paul George‘s Thunder. “He’s doing a good job of not forcing the issue. His shot selection has been better. He’s knocking down shots and in a pretty good rhythm, and we try to go to him as much as possible, because he was the one guy with the hot hand. He’s just playing with a nice pace.”
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