Pacers Rumors

Central Notes: Theis, Wade, Pistons, Bucks

Pacers center Daniel Theis hopes to make his 2022/23 season debut this coming week, according to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (subscription required). Acquired from Boston over the summer, Theis was dealing with recurring right knee soreness entering the season and underwent surgery in November to address the issue.

Although Theis seems unlikely to be part of the Pacers’ long-term plans, he has another guaranteed season on his contract beyond this one, so it would be a challenge for Indiana to extract much – if any – value for him at the February 9 trade deadline.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Cavaliers forward Dean Wade is getting an opportunity to show whether he can help solve the team’s issues on the wing, according to Chris Fedor of, who notes that Wade’s minutes restriction following his return from a shoulder injury has been lifted. Fedor explores what it means for the rest of Cleveland’s rotation if Wade is getting regular playing time and whether there might be an odd man out.
  • It has been an up-and-down week for the Pistons. While Detroit’s impressive road win in Brooklyn on Thursday served as a reminder that the team’s future is worth believing in, per James L. Edwards III of The Athletic, Saturday’s home loss to Houston was the worst of the season and signaled that a trade deadline deal should be welcomed, Edwards contends in another story for The Athletic.
  • Eric Nehm of The Athletic evaluates a series of reader-proposed trades for the Bucks. Nehm considers hypothetical deals involving Cam Reddish, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Josh Hart, among others, but concludes that none of them quite work, with either Milwaukee or its proposed trade partner likely to say no.

Notes On Myles Turner’s New Deal With Pacers

The Pacers‘ ability to use their remaining cap room as part of Myles Turner‘s extension makes the deal extremely team-friendly over the next two seasons, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star.

Turner will receive an extra $17.1MM for the current season as part of a renegotiation that adds two years to his contract. Dopirak notes that he will earn $21MM in 2023/24, which is less than 16% of a projected $134MM salary cap. Turner will take up an even smaller percentage of the cap in 2024/25, when his salary declines to $20MM. As Dopirak points out, that’s significant because 2024/25 will be the first year of Tyrese Haliburton‘s expected extension.

Turner is putting up career numbers this season, which has coincided with his full-time move back to center after Domantas Sabonis was traded to the Kings at last year’s deadline.

“He’s been itching to play the five,” lead assistant coach Lloyd Pierce said. “What that means and what it does is it puts him into the action in terms of setting screens, being in trail, reversing the ball through him. Any player knows when they get to touch the basketball, whether they’re shooting it, passing it or just reversing it, it just engages their mind a little bit.

“We’re seeing him finish at the rim. We’re seeing him get more shots at the rim this year. We’re seeing him make a concerted effort to get offensive rebounds, especially against teams that switch and he’s got a smaller guy on him. But I think he’s embracing the role. I think he’s embracing the physical nature that we need from him.”

Here’s more on Turner’s renegotiation and extension with the Pacers:

  • There are conflicting interpretations on whether the rules related to renegotiations in the Collective Bargaining Agreement would allow Turner to be traded prior to the February 9 deadline. ESPN’s Bobby Marks stated on Saturday that Turner remains trade-eligible, and cap expert Larry Coon agrees with that interpretation (Twitter link), but Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report (Twitter link) isn’t so sure. As Pincus notes (via Twitter), the language in the CBA is vague, indicating that a renegotiation can’t be completed in conjunction with a trade, but not providing any information on whether a player could be traded a week or two after finalizing a renegotiation.
  • The CBA provides specific guidelines for extensions and trades, making players ineligible to be dealt for six months if their new contract exceeds the extend-and-trade limits (Turner’s doesn’t). For now, we’re assuming Turner remains trade-eligible, but the extension seemingly eliminates the Pacers’ motivation for moving him, since they no longer have to worry about losing him for nothing in free agency this summer.
  • Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files hears that Turner’s agent Austin Brown and the Pacers’ front office were engaged in contract negotiations over the last two weeks, with the agreement being finalized during the last 48 hours.
  • The Pacers will still have approximately $10.7MM in cap room after completing their deal with Turner, Marks states in a YouTube video breaking down the renegotiation and extension. Indiana’s team salary is now above this season’s minimum salary floor, Agness notes.

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Myles Turner Agrees To Two-Year Extension With Pacers

The Pacers have reached a two-year extension agreement with Myles Turner, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Turner’s agent, Austin Brown of CAA Sports, tells Woj that the deal includes a $17.1MM renegotiation on the center’s salary for the current season. Turner will have that amount added to the $18MM he’s already receiving in 2022/23. It’s the largest renegotiation deal in NBA history, according to Wojnarowski, and it’s possible because the team had a significant amount of remaining cap space.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), Turner’s yearly salaries will be about $35MM for the current season, approximately $21MM for 2023/24 and $20MM for the following season, giving the deal a total value of approximately $58MM in new money.

Because Turner’s current contract contains $2MM in unlikely bonuses, per Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link), $17.1MM was the maximum amount the Pacers were allowed to add to his $18MM salary this season (Turner’s maximum salary is $37.1MM).

Marks explains that because Turner’s deal came through a renegotiation, the Pacers were permitted to drop his salary by 40% in the first year of the extension, to approximately $21MM in 2023/24. Marks adds that the agreement doesn’t change Turner’s trade status; he’s still eligible to be dealt before the February 9 deadline.

Turner appeared to be headed out of Indiana last summer, as one of the offseason’s hottest rumors was a deal that would have sent him and Buddy Hield to the Lakers in exchange for Russell Westbrook and L.A.’s first-round picks in 2027 and 2029. The Lakers decided against parting with that much draft capital, and Turner is putting up the best numbers of his career with a surprising Pacers team.

He’s averaging career-highs with 17.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game while shooting 54.4% from the field and 39.1% from three-point range. He’s also among the league’s best shot blockers, swatting away 2.4 per game this season.

Assuming Indiana plans to keep Turner, he will be part of a young foundation for the team to build around, along with Tyrese Haliburton and rookie Bennedict Mathurin. Turner is only 26 and should be well positioned to land another large contract two years from now.

Rockets Rumors: Collins, Turner, Gordon, Martin

The Rockets have some interest in Hawks forward John Collins, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Iko suggests that Houston hasn’t put a formal offer on the table for Collins, but that the two teams have talked as Atlanta gauges league-wide interest in the big man.

As Iko details, the Rockets have expressed interest in Collins in the past, including when they traded Clint Capela to Atlanta back at the 2020 deadline. Although they’re intrigued by the possibility of acquiring the 25-year-old, the Rockets would have to consider a number of factors, including Collins’ fit alongside young cornerstones Alperen Sengun and Jabari Smith, as well as his long-term contract.

According to Iko, the Rockets value the cap flexibility they have going forward. Collins’ contract would cut significantly into that flexibility — he’s owed $25.3MM next season and $26.6MM in 2024/25, with a $26.6MM player option for ’25/26. Before talks with the Hawks get serious, Houston would have to decide whether it’s worth sacrificing both current assets and future opportunities for Collins.

Here’s more from Iko on the Rockets:

  • Houston has interest in Pacers center Myles Turner, but he’d likely be a target in free agency rather than via trade, according to Iko. The Rockets would be reluctant to engage in a bidding war and surrender valuable assets for a player on an expiring deal.
  • Veteran shooting guard Eric Gordon remains a strong candidate to be traded before the February 9 deadline (and has privately expressed some frustration with his situation, per Iko), but the Rockets are also open to the idea of adding another veteran or two to their roster. As Iko explains, the team’s rebuild has perhaps left the roster perhaps too young, with 10 Houston players no older than 22. The front office may prefer a little more balance.
  • Team and league sources tell Iko that a few clubs around the league have floated the idea of offering a first-round pick for Kenyon Martin Jr., but the Rockets haven’t received any concrete offers. Houston wouldn’t be interested in trading Martin for a second-round pick, Iko adds.

Kendall Brown Used Layoff Wisely

  • Pacers’ second-round rookie Kendall Brown is back in action with the G League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants after sitting out six weeks due to a stress reaction in his right tibia. He absorbed a lot on information during his recovery, he told Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. “It’s been a lot of rehab, sitting on the bench watching my teammates play,” he said. “Being off, I spent a lot of time with the Pacers — in the film room and courtside just watching everything. It was really good to see everyone play and the speed of the game. I think it helped me a lot.”

Trade Candidate Watch: Impending Free Agent Centers

Leading up to the February 9 trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA. We’re continuing that series today with a closer look at a group of centers who could be on the market.

Jakob Poeltl, Spurs

Salary: $9.4MM

Now in his seventh season, Poeltl has developed into a quality starting center during his tenure with the Spurs. Notably, he has become a more confident and reliable scorer, and a much-improved passer, while cutting back on his fouls and maintaining his typical above-average rebounding and interior defense.

The scoring and passing were really important additions to the Austrian’s game. The scoring allows him to punish switches, and the play-making means he can still have an impact away from the basket — critical for a non-shooter like Poeltl.

The Spurs are reportedly looking for at least one first-round pick – and preferably two – for the 27-year-old. If a team trades for him, it needs to be both reasonably sure it can re-sign him and willing to pay him — he’s expected to command around $20MM per year as a free agent, which is what Jarrett Allen received from the Cavs in 2021.

Myles Turner, Pacers

Salary: $18MM

Turner is having a career year at the perfect time, as he is certainly boosting his stock ahead of free agency. He’s averaging career highs in points (17.0), rebounds (7.8), and free throw attempts (4.3) per game, as well as field goal percentage (55.1%) and three-point percentage (39.6%).

A renowned shot blocker who has led the league in that category twice, Turner’s game has blossomed with the arrival of Tyrese Haliburton. If the Pacers are unable to find common ground with Turner’s representatives on an extension, they would be wise to recoup value for him rather than lose him for nothing.

One potential red flag for would-be suitors: The 26-year-old has had extended injury absences each of the past two seasons, though he has been relatively healthy in 2022/23, having missed nine of 49 games to this point.

Christian Wood, Mavericks

Salary: $14.32MM

Wood’s situation is somewhat similar to Turner’s, as both big men are having strong seasons and are reportedly discussing extensions with their respective teams. A very talented offensive player, Wood has shot at least 50% from the field and 37% from three each of the past four seasons.

The 27-year-old has bounced around, having played for seven teams in as many NBA seasons. Wood was quite skinny entering the league, isn’t a great decision-maker, and has defensive concerns. There were also some question marks about his attitude, though those seem to have gone away as he’s gotten more minutes in recent years.

While Wood theoretically can play both frontcourt spots, he has clearly been more effective as a center, especially on defense. He’s currently dealing with a fractured left thumb, but that shouldn’t impact his value much unless he needs surgery, and there’s been no indication that’s necessary to this point.

Given what happened last year with losing Jalen Brunson for nothing in free agency, and the fact that Dallas is over the cap and can’t easily replace him, you would expect the front office to keep Wood around. Still, if an extension isn’t reached, he could very well be traded.

Serge Ibaka, Bucks

Salary: Veteran’s minimum

Ibaka was a good player for a long time, leading the NBA in blocks per game twice early in his career with Oklahoma City and then transforming into a solid outside shooter. He was a key rotation player for the Raptors when they won the title in 2019.

Unfortunately, Ibaka underwent back surgery in June 2021 while with the Clippers and hasn’t looked the same since. At 33 years old and in his 14th season, he certainly has a wealth of experience, but it’s unclear how much he can contribute at this point in his career.

The Bucks reportedly agreed to seek a trade for the veteran big man, who has only made 16 appearances in ‘22/23. The Nets, Heat and Hawks are among the teams said to have interest in Ibaka.

Mason Plumlee, Hornets

Salary: $9.08MM

An energetic big man, Plumlee is surprisingly having a career year for a 13-35 Hornets team that currently has the third-worst record in the NBA. Considering he turns 33 in a couple months, is an impending free agent, and the Hornets are going nowhere this season, it’s fair to wonder why Plumlee is playing a career-high 28.3 minutes per game, but he has provided solid production.

Through 48 games, all starts, the veteran center is averaging career highs in points (12.0), rebounds (9.8) and FG% (66.8). He’s also tied for a career-high in assists per game with 3.6.

All of those things are positives, but Plumlee is a subpar defensive player who isn’t a threat to shoot, though the right-handed center has busted out a one-handed lefty jump shot on occasion, and it is a sight to behold; he’s actually shooting above his career mark from the free throw line with it. He’s ideally more of a decent backup than a starter, but maybe the Hornets can get a second-round pick or two for him if they take on some money beyond this season.

Naz Reid, Timberwolves

Salary: $1.93MM

The Wolves have reportedly discussed an extension with Reid, with a maximum offer worth about $58MM over four years. I don’t expect him to get that much as a free agent, but considering an extension hasn’t been reached yet, obviously there’s a gap between what the Wolves have offered and what Reid is seeking.

The Clippers, Nuggets and Nets have all reportedly expressed interest in the 23-year-old, who has shown some interesting flashes when given minutes. However, his addition to this list is more cursory than anything, because it’s hard to envision the Wolves trading him unless they’re absolutely certain he will walk in free agency.

Karl-Anthony Towns is still injured, so Reid still has a big pretty spot in the rotation. The Wolves would want to get a player who can contribute right away in return if they moved him.

That’s complicated by the fact that the former undrafted free agent is earning less than $2MM this season – you can’t find many rotation-ready players at that price. If Reid does get traded, it seems more likely that he would be part of a multiplayer trade that sends out – and brings back – more salary than his alone.

Central Notes: Duren, Bucks, Pacers, Mobley

Pistons rookie center Jalen Duren is encouraged by his development through the midway point of the 2022/23 season, writes Mike Curtis of The Detroit News. Duren, who began the year coming off the bench, has emerged as a starter for Detroit.

“I feel like I got a lot better from the first game until now,” Duren reflected. “Honestly, my biggest thing is growth. I feel like I’m going to continue to grow and develop throughout the rest of the season, too.”

Through 40 games this season, the 6’10” big man is averaging 7.8 PPG on 64.1% field goal shooting and 8.6 RPG.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Bucks have had difficulty controlling turnovers all season, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “It’s something we gotta work on,” head coach Mike Budenholzer said. Jrue (Holiday)’s just got the ball in his hands a ton. We’re asking a lot of him, putting him in a lot of stuff, but I think he can be better. And some of the other ones, I think we can clean up. The guys are trying and we have our stretches, we have our moments where it really hurts us, but it’s just an area where we can improve.” Nehm writes that the Bucks lose the rock 15.1% of the time, and rank just 21st in turnover percentage league-wide this year.
  • The Pacers are struggling to win without injured starting point guard Tyrese Haliburton, writes Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Indiana has lost seven games in a row since Haliburton got hurt on January 11 with a left elbow sprain and bone bruise. “I knew he was a great player, but having him unavailable for seven games … and losing seven games is pretty strong [evidence of] how important he is to our franchise,” head coach Rick Carlisle said.
  • Second-year Cavaliers power forward Evan Mobley has stagnated somewhat on offense this season, thanks in part to the arrival of All-Star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell, writes Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. Lloyd thinks getting the ball to Mobley early, and featuring him in the post, would be a strong way to adjust for that. The big man’s 38 points on Saturday vs. Milwaukee represented by far his highest single-game total this season.

McConnell Shining Despite Losing Streak; Haliburton Progressing

  • Including the game he was hurt, the Pacers have now dropped seven straight games since Tyrese Haliburton went down with elbow and knee injuries. While the team is obviously struggling overall, backup point guard T.J. McConnell has been playing his best basketball of the season during the recent stretch, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. The 30-year-old, who is in the second year of a four-year contract, is averaging 15.0 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 8.3 APG and 1.7 SPG on .625/.750/1.000 shooting over his past seven contests, including a triple-double in Saturday’s loss to Phoenix.
  • Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle says Haliburton is making progress in his recovery, tweets Dopirak. The third-year guard’s elbow is evidently bothering him more than his knee at the moment, but he was able to go through the non-contact portions of Monday’s practice. Haliburton said a few days ago that he was targeting a return at the start of February.

Pacific Notes: Smith, Davis, Wall, Clippers

Jalen Smith holds no ill will against the Suns, the team that picked him in the lottery in 2020, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic reports. Smith was dealt last February to the Pacers after never emerging as a regular rotation player in Phoenix.

“My time here was fun,” Smith said of the Suns. “I had no bad blood here. Obviously, I didn’t play much, but at the end of the day, I was around a great group of guys. Hall of Fame guys. Being able to be a part of that championship run team.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Anthony Davis “looked phenomenal” going through a full contact scrimmage on Saturday, according to Lakers coach Darvin Ham, Lakers sideline reporter Mike Trudell tweets. Davis scrimmaged against the ‘stay ready’ group, which included coaching staffers and low-minute players. Davis has been out since Dec. 16 due to a foot injury.
  • Clippers guard John Wall calls his time with the Rockets organization “beyond trash” after what he experienced there, Alex Kennedy of Basketball News relays. Wall described in detail his two years in Houston on the “Run Your Race” podcast. Wall sat out last season after the Rockets told him he would have a limited role. “The coach (Stephen Silas) was like, ‘Man, you don’t deserve that, you should be a starter, but this is what they want to do,'” Wall said. “Well, I’m not doing that. I said I’ll rehab, I’ll work out every day, I’ll stick around the team, I’ll come to meetings, I’ll fly with ya’ll and I’ll mentor the guys. So, that’s what I’m doing. Then, it got to the point where they were like, ‘Don’t come around.’ They didn’t want me around.”
  • The Clippers have won their last two games and coach Tyronn Lue believes they can go on an extended run if their defense improves, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times writes. “Offensively, we know we’re going to be able to score the basketball,” Lue said. “That’s very encouraging. Just now defensively we have to do a better job of locking in and understanding our principles.”

Central Notes: Smith, Jackson, Bucks, Pistons, Bulls

Young Pacers big men Jalen Smith and Isaiah Jackson are not playing the roles they initially expected to this season, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Smith entered the season as the starting power forward but has since been moved to center as the Pacers deploy smaller lineups.

Both Smith and Jackson had seen a minutes uptick when starter Myles Turner missed a few games recently with back spasms, but now must compete for primary backup honors behind him.

“I brought them together and I said, ‘You guys both need to be ready,'” head coach Rick Carlisle said. “‘Myles is back. He’s starting. My decision on who is going to back him up is going to be a split-second decision based on what I’m seeing and feeling in the game. I’d like to be able to tell you guys which guy for sure is going to be in there first. But I don’t know that.'”

Dopirak notes that Carlisle has alternated between both players as his Turner’s primary backup in the four games the club has played since Turner rejoined the Pacers. Smith has served as the lead reserve in three of those four occasions. Per Dopriak, both players bring different skill sets to the table — Smith is the better shooter and rebounder, while Jackson is speedier and a better player around the rim.

“These are decisions that are not easy decisions,” Carlisle noted. “I think the way the game is now, it’s so dynamic and it can change on a split-second’s notice. You can go into a game and say that one guy for sure is going to play and have some events happen that trigger someone else going into the game.”

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • As the February 9 trade deadline approaches, the Bucks could go in a variety of different directions, Eric Nehm of The Athletic writes in a deadline primer for the team.
  • In the middle of a rebuilding 2022/23 season, Mike Curtis of The Detroit News (subscription required) supplies his grades for a 12-36 Pistons roster. Jalen Duren (A), Isaiah Stewart (A), Bojan Bogdanovic (A-minus), and Alec Burks (A-minus) lead the way, with general manager Troy Weaver also earning an A grade.
  • As they return home from a Thursday game in Paris against the Pistons, the Bulls are hoping to maintain the momentum that has them on a 10-6 stretch, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “We have to show how much we want it,” All-Star Chicago forward DeMar DeRozan said of his team’s ethos. “Every single game from here on out is basically like a do-or-die. And not to look at it like it’s pressure or a bad thing. It’s an exciting thing.”