Pacers Rumors

Pacers Eyeing Ricky Rubio, Have Discussed No. 4 Pick

The Pacers have their eye on Ricky Rubio with free agency around the corner, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who hears from multiple league sources that the veteran point guard will be one of Indiana’s top targets.

Rubio, 28, is headed for the open market this summer after averaging 12.9 PPG, 5.7 APG, and 4.1 RPG on .412/.332/.861 shooting in two seasons with the Jazz. The Spaniard hinted earlier this month that a return to Utah may not be in the cards, as the Jazz are considering other point guard options.

The Pacers may have bigger-name point guards on their offseason wish list as well, having been linked to trade candidate Mike Conley and restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell, among others. But O’Connor suggests that Indiana views Rubio as a good potential fit, since his play-making abilities would complement Victor Oladipo‘s score-first playing style. Rubio would also be a defensive upgrade on point guards Darren Collison and Cory Joseph, both of whom will be free agents this summer.

League sources tell O’Connor that the Pacers have also explored the possibility of making a trade with the Pelicans for the No. 4 overall pick. New Orleans is reportedly open to either a pick-based or player-based package in exchange for that selection, O’Connor notes.

While O’Connor doesn’t provide any additional details on what picks or players the Pelicans and Pacers might have discussed, it wouldn’t surprise me if New Orleans has kicked the tires on one or both of Indiana’s promising young bigs, Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis.

It remains to be seen whether the Pacers are fully committed to having Turner and Sabonis share the frontcourt in the long term. The Pelicans, meanwhile, could be on the lookout for a center to complement presumed No. 1 pick Zion Williamson. Again though, that’s just my speculation.

Lakers Notes: Davis, Kuzma, LeBron, Free Agents

The Lakers would have benefited by waiting longer, but it appears their deal with the Pelicans for Anthony Davis will be completed when the moratorium ends July 6, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He adds that there’s still a chance it won’t be finalized until July 30, which would enable L.A. to operate over the cap and count its No. 4 pick, which is headed to New Orleans, as salary. As Wojnarowski explains in a full story, the Lakers would have $32.5MM in cap room to chase free agents under that scenario, but only $27.8MM if the trade becomes official earlier.

That figure would be reduced even further if Davis insists on a $4MM trade kicker, which he has the option to waive. Accepting it would leave L.A. with just $23.8MM, not nearly enough to compete for an elite free agent. Wojnarowski notes that delaying the deal wouldn’t benefit the Pelicans, who would have $19MM in cap space if the trade becomes official July 6, but only $15MM if they have to wait until July 30.

There’s more Lakers news to pass along:

  • The Pelicans wanted Kyle Kuzma to be included in the deal, but the Lakers opted to part with future first-round picks so they could keep him, according to Tania Ganguli and Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Kuzma, who posted an 18.7/5.5/2.5 line in his second NBA season, was among the players rumored to be on the table when the teams negotiated in February.
  • Lakers GM Rob Pelinka had to make four phone calls yesterday before Pelicans executive David Griffin responded, Turner tweets. Pelinka’s willingness to include three first-round picks turned out to be too enticing for New Orleans to pass up.
  • The Lakers’ last attempt to combine two stars failed because of a personality conflict between Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard, but Ben Golliver of The Washington Post doesn’t believe that will happen this time. Davis already has a good relationship with LeBron James, appearing on his HBO show “The Shop,” and James has an added incentive to make the partnership work because they share the same agent in Rich Paul.
  • The Lakers will be seeking low-cost veterans to round out their roster, which might be good news for Reggie Bullock, observes Kevin Pelton of ESPN. Bullock, who was acquired from the Pistons at the trade deadline, has a cap hold of just $4.8MM. L.A. holds his full Bird rights and can exceed the cap to re-sign him.
  • If the Lakers don’t land a third star in free agency, they will likely pursue another shooter such as J.J. Redick, Seth Curry or Bojan Bogdanovic, suggests Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

Virginia Tech Duo Coming In For Workout

Russell Unlikely To Stay If Irving Signs With Nets

D’Angelo Russell is highly unlikely to remain with the Nets if Kyrie Irving signs with Brooklyn, sources told Ian Begley of SNY TV.

The Nets are considered the favorites to land the Celtics’ point guard, though there’s no indication that other potential suitors have been ruled out, Begley continues.

The Nets can open up as much as $66MM of cap space to sign two major free agents if they renounce Russell’s rights. They can make him a restricted free agent by extending a $9.16MM qualifying offer but renouncing him would clear his $21MM cap hold.

The Pacers, who are shopping for a point guard, are keenly interested in Russell, Begley adds. The Magic, Timberwolves and Jazz are also expected to pursue him in free agency.

Begley’s story contradicts a previous report that suggested the Nets were willing to pair up Russell and Irving as their starting backcourt.

Seven Prospects Visit Pacers On Thursday

Five Key Offseason Questions: Indiana Pacers

The Pacers‘ refusal to slide too far down the Eastern Conference standings after Victor Oladipo‘s season-ending quad injury in 2018/19 was representative of the franchise’s history over the last three decades. Throughout multiple management regimes, Indiana has never seriously considered bottoming out and building through the lottery — the team hasn’t won fewer than 32 games in a season since 1988/89.

Even with Oladipo still recovering and six of their eight playoff rotation regulars headed for unrestricted free agency, the Pacers will carry that approach into the 2019 offseason and into the ’19/20 season. As long as Indiana doesn’t have a disastrous offseason, it’s probably safe to assume we’ll see the club back in the playoffs again in 2020.

Here are five key questions facing the franchise this summer:

1. Which of their free agents do the Pacers want to bring back?

Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young, Darren Collison, Cory Joseph, Wesley Matthews, Tyreke Evans, and Kyle O’Quinn are all on track to reach the open market this summer, so it’s possible the Pacers’ roster will look very different next season. Still, I’d expect the team to try to re-sign at least a couple of its free agents.

We can rule out Evans as an option — he has been disqualified from playing in the NBA for the next two seasons for violating the league’s drug policy. I’d also be surprised if O’Quinn returns. He didn’t play a regular role for Indiana after signing for the room exception, and will likely seek a team willing to give him more consistent backup minutes.

The Pacers figure to at least kick the tires on the rest of their free agents though, with Bogdanovic topping the list of priorities. The 30-year-old sharpshooter took on more substantial scoring and play-making responsibilities following Oladipo’s injury, and while he won’t play that same role if the Pacers’ MVP comes back healthy, Bogdanovic proved that he can be a very valuable asset. He’ll be in line for a raise on his $10.5MM salary, and Indiana is in a good position to give it to him.

The Pacers will look to bring back Bogdanovic for his offensive skill set, but for Young, it’s his defensive versatility that makes him a reliable contributor. Although he can chip in on the offense end – even a little as a passer, as his career-high 2.5 APG showed – Young’s value stems from his ability to capably guard both wings and bigs. If Indiana can bring him back at a price similar to – or below – his $13.76MM salary from last season, that’d be a solid investment.

Collison, Joseph, and Matthews are all candidates to return. However, I wouldn’t expect both point guards to re-sign in Indiana, and it’s possible the team won’t aggressively pursue either. Matthews, meanwhile, joined the Pacers on the buyout market because of the team’s promise of a significant role. With Oladipo on his way back, there’s no guarantee that Indiana would be able to offer him that sort of playing time again.

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Woj’s Latest: Durant, Conley, Pacers, Draft Rumors

On Tuesday night, we relayed a pair of rumors from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who said on the network’s televised mock draft special that the Lakers, Mavericks, and Knicks are among the teams interested in pursuing point guard Kemba Walker, but also cautioned that the Lakers aren’t considered frontrunners for any top free agents.

During ESPN’s draft special, Wojnarowski offered up several more tidbits worth passing along, so we’ll round them up in the space below (all links via Sagar Trika unless otherwise indicated):

  • Picking up his 2019/20 player option with the Warriors is probably a “last resort” for Kevin Durant, since he should still receive maximum-salary or near-max offers as a free agent, Wojnarowski said this morning on Get Up (video link via ESPN). We heard on Tuesday that Durant’s Achilles injury isn’t expected to deter suitors, even if it keeps him out for all of next season. Marc Berman of The New York Post confirmed today that the Knicks remain very interested in signing Durant.
  • Wojnarowski identifies the Jazz, Pacers, and Celtics as potential suitors for trade candidate Mike Conley (Twitter link). Of course, Boston would only make sense as a trade partner for the Grizzlies if Kyrie Irving leaves.
  • According to Wojnarowski, the Pacers are interested in bringing back Bojan Bogdanovic and would also like to re-sign Thaddeus Young, assuming the price is right (Twitter link).
  • The Hawks are a team to watch on draft night and may be a candidate to move up to No. 5, in Wojnarowski’s view (Twitter links). Woj expects GM Travis Schlenk to be creative and would be surprised if Atlanta ends up using both the No. 8 and No. 10 overall picks.
  • Even if the Suns and Bulls draft point guards with their first-round picks, they’d each likely try to sign a veteran in free agency, says Wojnarowski (Twitter link).
  • The Thunder are in “absolute win-now mode,” and Wojnarowski believes they’ll be aggressive with the No. 21 pick in trade talks (Twitter link).

Draft Notes: Zoosman, Obiesie, Eboua, Holman, Herro

Israeli Yovel Zoosman, a 6’6” small forward, will keep his name in the draft, Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets. Zoosman plays for Maccabi Tel Aviv, which just advanced to the Israeli league playoff finals. Zoosman is ranked No. 53 on Givony’s Top 100 prospects list.

We have more draft decisions and workouts:

  • German point guard Josh Obiesie will stay in the draft, according to another Givony tweet. Givony has Obiesie ranked No. 64 overall and No. 10 among point guard prospects.
  • Forward Paul Eboua, Cameroon native, has withdrawn his name from the draft, according to Givony (Twitter link). He joins 11 other international players — Gytis Masiulis, Abdoulaye N’Doye, Digue Diawara, Aleksandr Balcerowski, Aleix Font, Zoran Paunovic, Dalibor Ilic, Louis Olinde, Jonas Matisseck, Tadas Sedekerskis and Vrenz Bleijenbergh — who have also decided to pull out of the draft. Matas Jogela, a Lithuanian forward, and William McDowell-White, an Australian guard, will remain in the draft, according to Givony (Twitter links).
  • Mississippi State forward Aric Holman worked out for the Raptors on Monday, according to Ian Begley of SNY TV (Twitter link). He visited the Knicks last week and will work out for the Kings, Lakers and Cavaliers this week, Begley adds.
  • First round prospect Tyler Herro (Kentucky) has worked out for the Spurs and will also visit the Pacers and Timberwolves, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Herro is ranked No. 18 overall and No. 4 among shooting guards by Givony.

Pacers Working Out Luka Samanic

  • Croatian forward Luka Samanic, an early entrant who will keep his name in the 2019 NBA draft pool, will have an individual workout on Tuesday with the Pacers, the team announced in a press release.

Team USA Announces 20-Player Camp Roster For World Cup

USA Basketball has officially announced the group of 20 players that will participate in training camp this summer in advance of the 2019 FIBA World Cup. The camp will take place from August 5-9, and will be used to select the 12-man roster for this year’s World Cup in China.

The 20-man training camp roster is as follows:

  1. Harrison Barnes (Kings)
  2. Bradley Beal (Wizards)
  3. Anthony Davis (Pelicans)
  4. Andre Drummond (Pistons)
  5. Eric Gordon (Rockets)
  6. James Harden (Rockets)
  7. Tobias Harris (Sixers / FA)
  8. Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
  9. Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers)
  10. Brook Lopez (Bucks / FA)
  11. Kevin Love (Cavaliers)
  12. Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
  13. CJ McCollum (Trail Blazers)
  14. Khris Middleton (Bucks)
  15. Paul Millsap (Nuggets)
  16. Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
  17. Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  18. Myles Turner (Pacers)
  19. P.J. Tucker (Rockets)
  20. Kemba Walker (Hornets / FA)

“I am excited about getting to training camp in August and working with all of the players that have been selected to attend the USA National Team training camp in Las Vegas,” Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich said in a statement. “We’ve got an excellent cross-section of veteran USA Basketball and NBA players, as well as some exciting younger players who possess amazing versatility.

“I’m appreciative of commitment that our National Team players continue to make, and the eagerness of the new players to become involved,” Popovich continued. “Selecting a 12-man team will be extremely difficult.”

It will be an eventful summer for many of the players on the 20-man Team USA training camp roster. Besides Harris, Lopez, and Walker, who are all headed for unrestricted free agency and could be on new teams by August, players like Barnes, Middleton, and Millsap could reach the open market if their player or team options are declined. Others – including Davis, Gordon, Kuzma, Tatum, and Tucker – have been mentioned in trade rumors.

Kuzma and Mitchell are the only players on the roster who haven’t played internationally for Team USA in the past. Five player on the roster (Barnes, Davis, Harden, Love, and Lowry) have won gold medals for USA Basketball at the 2012 or 2016 Olympics, while two others (Drummond and Gordon) have taken home gold at previous World Cups.

Previous reports indicated that Zion Williamson, John Collins, and Marvin Bagley are expected to be among the players named to a 10-man select team that will scrimmage with Team USA’s 20-man roster at the training camp in August.