Pacers Rumors

Brandon Rush Working Out For Sixers?

12:08pm: Spears has since deleted his tweet about Rush’s Sixers workout, so it’s unclear whether or not that audition is on the team’s schedule for next week. Either way, it’s safe to say that Philadelphia will explore all its options when it comes to adding shooting to its roster.

12:03pm: Veteran NBA sharpshooter Brandon Rush has a workout lined up with the Sixers next week, a source tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). According to Spears, Rush suffered a broken thumb on September 10, but has since recovered from that injury.

A previous report had suggested that Rush was among a group of players who worked out for the Timberwolves on September 10, so the injury may have occurred during that session. Before breaking his thumb, the 33-year-old also drew some interest from the Pacers and Warriors, Spears reports.

Rush, the 13th overall pick back in 2008, has appeared in 481 career regular season games for the Pacers, Warriors, Jazz, and Timberwolves. While his overall career numbers – 6.8 PPG and 2.9 RPG in 22.0 MPG) – are modest, Rush has always been a reliable outside shooter, with a career .402 3PT%. He signed a 10-day contract with the Trail Blazers last season, but didn’t see the court and hasn’t played in an NBA game since the end of the 2016/17 campaign.

Having traded two of their strongest long-distance marksmen to Minnesota in their blockbuster deal for Jimmy Butler, the 76ers are in the market for shooting help and have an open roster spot. General manager Elton Brand said on Tuesday that Philadelphia will be patient and evaluate all its options for that roster opening, so I wouldn’t expect the club to immediately lock up Rush to a contract.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Central Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if those players’ stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Central Division:

Justin Holiday, Bulls 29, SG (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $9MM deal in 2017
Holiday is playing heavy minutes for the injury-riddled Bulls. His scoring average (12.0 PPG) is modest, given the amount of playing time he’s receiving, but he’s been solid from long range (38.9%) and rarely turns the ball over. His OBPM (Offensive Box Plus/Minus) is a career-best 1.7, according to Basketball Reference. Defensively, he leads the club in steals (1.6). Holiday probably won’t find a starting gig on the open market, but he’d be a solid second unit option on a playoff contender.

Rodney Hood, Cavaliers, 26, SG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $3.47MM deal in 2018
Hood accepted the Cavaliers’ qualifying offer as a restricted free agent over the summer with the aim of landing a lucrative mult-year pact as an unrestricted FA next summer. Thus far, Hood hasn’t really stood out from the pack on a struggling team. With Kevin Love sidelined by a foot injury, Hood had an opportunity to be a bigger offensive force. Instead, his numbers have declined. He averaged 14.0 PPG in 27.7 MPG last month but has posted a 9.3 PPG average in 26.0 MPG through four November outings.

Stanley Johnson, Pistons, 22, SF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $12.85MM deal in 2015
Johnson didn’t receive a rookie scale extension and he’ll be a restricted free agent if the Pistons extend a $5.3MM qualifying offer after the season. Right now, that’s a big if. Johnson lost his starting job to Glenn Robinson III after shooting 35.2% overall and 25.0% from deep while committing 16 turnovers in seven starts. The Pistons are currently looking at Johnson as a small ball power forward off the bench. He’s looked comfortable in that role, posting back-to-back double-digit games while shooting with more confidence.

Tyreke Evans, Pacers, 29, SG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $12MM deal in 2018
Coming off a career year with the Grizzlies in which he averaged 19.3 PPG, Evans was expected to be one of the league’s premier sixth men. He’s still finding his way with a much more talented team, averaging 10.9 PPG, though he’s been fine beyond the arc (41.7%). In his last six games, Evans is averaging 10.0 PPG while shooting 38.2% from the field. Evans’ numbers should spike up but for now, he hasn’t done anything to make him more attractive on the open market than he was this summer.

Khris Middleton, Bucks, 27, SF (Up) – Signed to a five-year, $70MM deal in 2015
Middleton has a $13MM option on his contract for next season and it’s a foregone conclusion he’ll test the open market. His value continues to rise with his early-season performances. He’s the second-best player on a very good team, averaging 19.3 PPG and shooting a whopping 45.5% from long range. Throw in career bests in rebounding (5.2 per game) and assists (4.3) along with his solid defense and Middleton will be highly coveted in July.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sabonis' Play Presents Pleasant Dilemma

  • Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis is off to a hot start and that presents a tricky dilemma for the front office, Zach Lowe of ESPN notes. Myles Turner signed a four-year, $72MM extension last month but Sabonis has thus far outplayed him. Statistics bear out that Indiana’s offense suffers when both are on the court, though Turner has a higher ceiling because of his 3-point shooting and rim protection, Lowe continues. Sabonis is eligible for an extension prior to the start of next season but it’s tough to pay big bucks for two players at the same position, Lowe adds.

Central Notes: Turner, Hill, Bucks, Sabonis

Pacers center Myles Turner has struggled since signing his contract extension with the team, averaging 11.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in 12 starts this season. He faced criticism after Wednesday’s game against Joel Embiid and the Sixers, only to have a teammate immediately jump to his defense.

“I think he shouldn’t concern himself with what people are saying or thinking,” Victor Oladipo said of Turner, according to Jim Ayello of the Indianapolis Star. “He’s just got to play within himself. He’ll figure it out. He’s still young. I’m not making no more excuses for him, but the truth of the matter is he’s just got to find it within himself.

“He’s perfectly fine,” Oladipo continued. “He’s going to find his groove, and then everybody’s going to be like, ‘Whoa, he’s playing great. So what do you think about him playing great?’

“Everybody’s so quick to judge someone when they don’t play well. But everybody’s not in here. Nobody is in his shoes. Nobody’s putting on the jersey he’s putting on. Nobody’s out there playing the game he’s playing. So you can’t really judge him. We have no right to. But people are going to anyway. Me, personally, I really don’t care what people think about him. I love him to death. His upside is huge, and he’s just going to continue to keep getting better. And when he figures it out, watch out.”

Turner is well-liked in the Pacers organization and is in his fourth season with the team. Despite struggling to effectively rebound, he remains an intriguing two-way player with plenty of room to grow in his NBA career.

Here are some other notes from the Northwest:

  • Cavaliers guard George Hill will miss approximately one to two weeks with a shoulder sprain, the team confirmed. Hill was evaluated at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health on Thursday, where he underwent an MRI that revealed the sprain. He will now undergo a period of treatment and rehabilitation.
  • Stephen Curry believes this season’s Bucks are similar to the Warriors in their first season without Mark Jackson. “They’re very similar to four years ago here,” Curry said, according to Mark Medina of the The Mercury News (Twitter link). “A change of scenery sometimes helps. You get a little boost of energy, a little shift in focus and perspective. And that little bit (of a) difference can unlock something. It’s still early. They’re taking care of business like they should. It’s important when you have that much potential to get off to a good start.”
  • Domantas Sabonis‘ solid play could shift the Pacers‘ rotation this season, Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star contends. Sabonis could work his way into the starting center position, which would force Myles Turner to either play off the bench or share the frontcourt with him.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/7/18

Here are Wednesday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Pistons have sent forward Henry Ellenson and guard Khyri Thomas to their Grand Rapids affiliate, the team announced in an email. Both have played two games for the Drive this season.
  • The Grizzlies have recalled rookie guard Jevon Carter from their Memphis Hustle affiliate, according to a tweet from the team.
  • The Pacers announced that guard Edmond Sumner and forward Alize Johnson have been assigned to their affiliate in Fort Wayne. Both have seen action for Indiana this season, with Sumner appearing in five games and Johnson playing three.

Central Notes: Oladipo, Moore, J.R. Smith, G. Robinson III

A week-long delay in completing the Victor Oladipo trade last summer could cost him a significant amount of money down the line and may affect whether he remains with the Pacers, according to Danny Leroux of The Athletic. The deal that sent Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to Indiana in exchange for Paul George was agreed to on June 30, 2017, but couldn’t be completed right away due to the poison pill provision impacting Oladipo’s contract.

Because the NBA calendar starts on July 1, Oladipo was considered to be traded during his fifth year in the league. That’s significant because the Designated Veteran extension outlined in the latest collective bargaining agreement excludes players who have been dealt after their first four seasons. Designated Veteran extensions allow players to receive a starting salary worth up to 35% of the cap, rather than the standard 30%, provided they were recently named MVP, Defensive Player of the Year or made an All-NBA team.

Oladipo will be eligible for a 20% raise on his $21MM salary in 2020/21 or a new deal in 2021/22 that begins at 30% of that year’s cap. Although the situation saves money for the Pacers, it also lessens their financial advantage once Oladipo becomes a free agent. Leroux notes that Oladipo will become eligible for an extension of his current deal on October 31 of next year. Indiana may try to work out a new contract then and avoid the free agency experience.

There’s more news from the Central Division:

  • After being waived by the Pacers on Saturday, Ben Moore has joined the team’s G League affiliate in Fort Wayne, tweets Scott Agness of The Athletic. Moore hadn’t played this season and got into a pair of games as a two-way player last year.
  • Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith, who has been told twice this season that he was being removed from the rotation, will make his first start of the year tonight, coach Larry Drew says in a video tweeted by Cleveland.com. Injuries to Kevin Love and Sam Dekker have forced the Cavs to adjust their lineup, with Smith getting the starting nod at small forward and Cedi Osman moving to power forward.
  • The Pistons are also making a lineup change, with offseason addition Glenn Robinson III taking Stanley Johnson‘s spot in the starting five, relays Rod Beard of The Detroit News. The move is being made to add more shooting to a unit that has been frequently misfiring, adds Ansar Khan of MLive.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/5/18

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

  • The Suns assigned rookie guard De’Anthony Melton to the Northern Arizona Suns, according to a team press release. Melton has already played a game for Northern Arizona this season, posting 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists in 45 minutes. The second-round pick has appeared in two games with Phoenix.
  • The Knicks assigned big man Luke Kornet to the Westchester Knicks, the NBA team tweets. Kornet has appeared in four games with the Knicks this season, going scoreless in 13 minutes.
  • The Wizards recalled guard Chasson Randle from the Capital City Go-Go, according to a team press release. Randle will travel with the team on its upcoming road trip to Dallas, Orlando and Miami. Randle led all scorers in the Go-Go’s home opener on Saturday with 37 points.
  • The Pacers assigned center Ike Anigbogu to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, according to a team press release. The 2017 second-rounder has made one brief appearance with Indiana this season.
  • The Clippers recalled guard Jerome Robinson and guard Sindarius Thornwell from the Agua Caliente Clippers, the team tweets. Robinson, the No. 13 overall pick in this year’s draft, has made five appearances with the Clippers this season, averaging 2.4 PPG in 4.2 MPG. Thornwell, a 2017 second-round selection, has yet to make his season debut with the Clippers after appearing in 73 games last season.

And-Ones: Wizards, 2019 Draft, Williamson, NBAGL

The Wizards recently became the 28th NBA team to reach a jersey patch agreement with a corporate sponsor, teaming with GEICO on a multiyear deal, as the club announced in a press release. GEICO’s logo will now appear on the uniforms of multiple D.C.-area organizations, with the Wizards, the Washington Mystics (WNBA), and the Capital City Go-Go (G League) all getting the advertisement patch.

The Pacers and Thunder are now the only two NBA teams without ads on their uniforms, as we outline here. The NBA’s jersey sponsorship pilot program is set to run through the 2019/20 season, but the league seems likely to extend it beyond that, given its success so far.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • ESPN’s draft gurus, including Jonathan Givony, recently revealed their complete prospect rankings for the 2019 draft, with Duke players nabbing three of the top four spots. R.J. Barrett leads the way, followed by Zion Williamson at No. 3 and Cameron Reddish at No. 4. The Blue Devils’ trio sandwiches North Carolina small forward Nassir Little at No. 2.
  • Speaking of Williamson, Chris Stone of The Sporting News took an in-depth look at the 285-pound youngster, writing that the Duke forward represents a “truly one-of-a-kind prospect.”
  • The NBA G League has reached a multiyear deal with ESPN that will allow ESPN+ subscribers to watch more than 200 games per season, the league announced today in a press release. This season’s broadcast schedule begins with three games on Tuesday.
  • The Timberwolves could still end up trading Jimmy Butler for valuable long-term pieces, and Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine could become long-term core pieces for the Bulls. However, in the view of Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports, the 2017 trade between Minnesota and Chicago is at risk of becoming the sort of blockbuster deal that doesn’t turn out perfectly for either side.

Pacific Notes: Chandler, Holmes, Cousins, Gortat

The Sunsbuyout with Tyson Chandler would have helped the team much more if it had occurred during the preseason, tweets salary cap expert Albert Nahmad. The parties have reportedly had a standing deal on a buyout in place for some time, but Chandler was reluctant to commit until he was confident that another organization would pick him up. The consensus is the Lakers will be his next team.

The money saved through Chandler’s buyout could have benefited the Suns in a number of ways, Nahmad notes. De’Anthony Melton, a second-round pick acquired in a trade with the Rockets, was limited to a two-year, minimum-salary deal because Phoenix didn’t have money available for a three- or four-year offer (Twitter link). Nahmad is assuming Chandler will give back about $452K in his buyout, and notes that the Suns waited until just before the start of training camp to sign Melton in the hopes that they could free up more cash.

Unloading Chandler earlier would have also opened a roster spot and would have eliminated the need to waive Davon Reed when Jamal Crawford was signed (Twitter link). Reed, who is now on a two-way deal with the Pacers, is still owed his entire $1.4MM salary from the Suns.

There’s more news from the Pacific Division:

  • The news about Chandler explains why Richaun Holmes was the Suns‘ first choice at backup center in Friday’s game, tweets Gina Mizell of The Athletic. Holmes, who was acquired from the Sixers in an offseason trade, played a season-high 13 minutes.
  • DeMarcus Cousins is expected to have a one-year stay with the Warriors, but GM Bob Myers isn’t giving up on the idea of extending their arrangement, relays Chelsea Howard of The Sporting News. During a recent appearance on the team’s pre-game show, Myers said “options are open” when it comes to keeping the All-Star center. “These type of predictions — good or bad — are pretty fruitless because you just don’t know,” he said. “You don’t know what’s going to be going on on July 1, 2019. You don’t know if it’s going to be better than you think … but it’s not going to be what you think. So, with a guy like DeMarcus, who knows? If he wants to come back, let’s bring him back.” If Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson both re-sign, Golden State would be well above the cap and would be limited to offering Cousins its mid-level exception again.
  • Clippers center Marcin Gortat re-tweeted a message bemoaning the end of his consecutive games streak. L.A. traded for Gortat in June to help offset the expected loss of DeAndre Jordan, but he has averaged just 3.6 PPG and 3.9 RPG and is losing minutes to Montrezl Harrell and Boban Marjanovic.

Pacers Waive Ben Moore

The Pacers have waived forward Ben Moore, the team announced in a press release on Saturday. Indiana also recalled center Ike Anigbogu from their G League affiliate.

Moore, 23, in his second year out of SMU, re-signed with Indiana on a one-year, partially guaranteed deal in September. The forward went undrafted last summer and later joined the Pacers’ G League affiliate Fort Wayne Mad Ants. He averaged 11.7 PPG and 6.4 RPG in 43 G League contests last season.

Moore appeared in two games with the Pacers last season after his deal was converted to a two-way pact.

With Moore waived, Indiana’s roster total drops to 14, not including two-way players Davon Reed and Edmond Sumner.