Indiana Pacers

Pacers To Sign Jarrod Uthoff

The Pacers have reached an agreement on a deal with free agent forward Jarrod Uthoff, reports Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). When Indiana finalizes the signing of Uthoff, it will bring the team’s roster count to 20 players, the offseason maximum.

Uthoff, 24, played his college ball at Iowa before going undrafted in 2016. After spending some time in the G League, Uthoff signed a 10-day contract with the Mavs in March, then stuck around for another 10-day contract and a rest-of-season deal. He was traded to the Rockets after the season when Houston was collecting non-guaranteed contracts, and was subsequently waived before his 2017/18 salary became guaranteed.

Although Uthoff played sparingly during his end-of-season run with the Mavs, he put up excellent shooting numbers in the G League. In 37 games for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Raptors 905, and Texas Legends, the 6’9″ forward made an impressive 46.2% of his attempts from three-point range, averaging 11.1 PPG.

The Pacers only have 13 players on fully guaranteed contracts, so it’s possible Uthoff will get an opportunity to earn one of the club’s final two roster spots. He’ll compete with the likes of DeQuan Jones, Trey McKinney-Jones, Ben Moore, and Damien Wilkins.

Pacers Notes: Jefferson, Roster, Stephenson

LeBron James‘ future in Cleveland could be tied to the Brooklyn Nets’ performance this season, writes Harvey Araton of The New York Times. The value of the Nets’ unprotected first-rounder that the Cavaliers received in the Kyrie Irving trade won’t be known until much later in the season. If Brooklyn finishes last in the league again, the Cavs will have a 25% shot at the number one selection and their choice of players such as Michael Porter Jr., Luka Doncic and Marvin Bagley.

Although rumors have been persistent that James will be headed to the Lakers next summer, Araton speculates that scenario might change if the Cavaliers are in position to add another franchise player. If Isaiah Thomas returns to All-Star form after his hip injury, Jae Crowder improves the perimeter defense and James returns to the Finals for the eighth straight year, he might have a difficult time saying good-bye to Cleveland.

There’s more news from the Central Division:

  • Pacers center Al Jefferson lost a significant amount of weight in preparation for his second season in Indiana, relays Scott Agness of VigilantSports. The 32-year-old opted for a vegetarian diet after posting his worst season in more than a decade, averaging 8.1 points and 4.2 rebounds in 66 games. “He looks incredible, man,” said teammate Myles Turner“I think he’s dropped 40 pounds. When you see him you’ll see [how] he’s really trimmed down a lot. He’s moving well, he’s running the floor.”
  • The Pacers are counting on youthful energy to carry them through the season after most of the organization’s veteran presence was lost over the summer, relays Mark Montieth of In addition to Paul George, who was traded to Oklahoma City, Indiana cut ties with Jeff TeagueRodney Stuckey, Monta Ellis, Aaron Brooks and Lavoy Allen. “Everybody wants to talk about the whole Paul thing, but we’ve blocked all that out,” said Glenn Robinson III. “We’re looked at as an underdog team, but we’re coming in very hungry. I’m excited for this team. It seems we all have our minds in a great place and are ready to get better.”
  • Lance Stephenson, who returned to the Pacers in March, will be used as a sixth man, Montieth adds in the same piece.
  • Bulls vice president John Paxson and GM Gar Forman will meet with Dwyane Wade when he returns to Chicago to discuss his future with the team and a possible buyout, according to CSN Chicago. Paxson insists he and Forman were honest about their plans for the offseason during Wade’s exit meeting after the playoffs.

NBA’s Board Of Governors To Examine Revenue Sharing System

ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst have published an expansive and well-researched report on NBA teams’ finances, providing details on the league’s revenue sharing system, the impact from national and local television deals, and how a lack of net income for NBA franchises could push the league toward considering relocation or expansion.

The report is wide-ranging and detailed, so we’re going to tackle it by dividing it up into several sections, but it’s certainly worth reading in full to get a better picture of whether things stand in the NBA. Let’s dive in…

Which teams are losing money?

  • Nine teams reportedly lost money last season, even after revenue sharing. Those clubs were the Hawks, Nets, Pistons, Grizzlies, Magic, Wizards, Bucks, Cavaliers, and Spurs. The latter two teams – Cleveland and San Antonio – initially came out ahead, but paid into the league’s revenue sharing program, pushing them into the red.
  • Meanwhile, the Hornets, Kings, Pacers, Pelicans, Suns, Timberwolves, and Trail Blazers also would have lost money based on net income if not for revenue sharing, according to Lowe and Windhorst.
  • As a league, the NBA is still doing very well — the overall net income for the 30 teams combined was $530MM, per ESPN. That number also only takes into account basketball income, and doesn’t include income generated via non-basketball events for teams that own their arenas.
  • The players’ union and its economists have long been skeptical of NBA teams’ bookkeeping, alleging that clubs are using techniques to make themselves appear less profitable than they actually are, Windhorst and Lowe note. The union has the power to conduct its own audit of several teams per season, and it has begun to take advantage of that power — according to ESPN, the union audited five teams last season, and the new CBA will allow up to 10 teams to be audited going forward.

How does the gap between large and small market teams impact income?

  • Even after paying $49MM in revenue sharing, the Lakers finished the 2016/17 with a $115MM profit in terms of net income, per ESPN. That was the highest profit in the NBA, ahead of the second-place Warriors, and could be attributed in large part to the $149MM the Lakers received from their huge local media rights deals.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, the Grizzlies earned a league-low $9.4MM in local media rights, which significantly affected their bottom line — even after receiving $32MM in revenue sharing, Memphis lost money for the season. The Grizzlies will start a new TV deal this year that should help boost their revenue, but it still won’t come anywhere close to matching deals like the Lakers‘.
  • The biggest local TV deals help drive up the NBA’s salary cap, with teams like the Lakers and Knicks earning in excess of $100MM from their media agreements. According to the ESPN report, the Knicks made $10MM more on their TV deal than the six lowest-earning teams combined.
  • As one owner explained to ESPN, “National revenues drive up the cap, but local revenues are needed to keep up with player salaries. If a team can’t generate enough local revenues, they lose money.”
  • Playoff revenue from a big-market team like the Warriors also helps push up the salary cap. Sources tell Lowe and Windhorst that Golden State made about $44.3MM in net income from just nine home playoff games last season, more than doubling the playoff revenue of the next-best team (the Cavaliers at about $20MM).

How is revenue sharing affecting teams’ earnings?

  • Ten teams paid into the NBA’s revenue sharing system in 2016/17, with 15 teams receiving that money. The Sixers, Raptors, Nets, Heat, and Mavericks neither paid nor received any revenue sharing money. Four teams – the Warriors, Lakers, Bulls, and Knicks – accounted for $144MM of the total $201MM paid in revenue sharing.
  • While there’s general agreement throughout the NBA that revenue sharing is working as intended, some teams have “bristled about the current scale of monetary redistribution,” according to ESPN. “The need for revenue sharing was supposed to be for special circumstances, not permanent subsidies,” one large-market team owner said.
  • The Grizzlies, Hornets, Pacers, Bucks, and Jazz have each received at least $15MM apiece in each of the last four years via revenue sharing.
  • However, not all small-market teams receive revenue-sharing money — if a team outperforms its expectations based on market size, it forfeits its right to that money. For instance, the Thunder and Spurs have each paid into revenue sharing for the last six years.

Why might league-wide income issues lead to relocation or expansion?

  • At least one team owner has raised the idea of expansion, since an expansion fee for a new franchise could exceed $1 billion and it wouldn’t be subject to splitting 50/50 with players. A $1 billion expansion fee split 30 ways would work out to $33MM+ per team.
  • Meanwhile, larger-market teams who aren’t thrilled about their revenue-sharing fees have suggested that small-market clubs losing money every year should consider relocating to bigger markets, sources tell ESPN.
  • As Lowe and Windhorst observe, the Pistons – who lost more money than any other team last season – are undergoing a relocation of sorts, moving from the suburbs to downtown Detroit, in the hopes that the move will help boost revenue.

What are the next steps? Are changes coming?

  • The gap between the most and least profitable NBA teams is expected to be addressed at the NBA’s Board of Governors meeting next week, per Lowe and Windhorst. Team owners have scheduled a half-day review of the league’s revenue sharing system.
  • Obviously, large- and small-market teams view the issue differently. While some large-market teams have complained about the revenue sharing system, they’re outnumbered, with smaller-market teams pushing those more successful clubs to share more of their profits, according to ESPN.
  • Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen is one of the loudest voices pushing for more “robust” revenue sharing, sources tell ESPN. Some team owners have argued that the system should ensure all teams make a profit, while one even suggested every team should be guaranteed a $20MM profit. There will be “pushback” on those ideas, Lowe and Windhorst note. “This is a club where everyone knows the rules when they buy in,” one owner said.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, some teams have floated the idea of limiting the amount of revenue sharing money a team can receive if it has been taking payments for several consecutive years.
  • Any change to the revenue sharing system that is formally proposed at the NBA’s Board of Governors meeting would require a simple majority (16 votes to 14) to pass.

Central Notes: Thomas, Lue, Walters, Pacers

There is still little to no definitive answer on Isaiah Thomas ailing hip and the new Cavaliers point guard could be dealing with more than just a hip ailment, Jason Lloyd of The Athletic writes. Lloyd referenced general manager Kolby Altman‘s reluctance to address Thomas’ injury and the cloudy aura surrounding his recovery.

Thomas has previously given optimistic comments about his future, stating that he will be the same dynamic scorer he was in Boston upon returning. However, it has not been over four months since Thomas went down with the hip injury and there is no solid update on his future. One person Lloyd spoke to suggested that Thomas is dealing with more than just a torn labrum, adding that a loss of cartilage and some arthritis in the hip are complicating the healing process.

“No one has any idea how quickly this will heal or if it even will heal at all,” the source said to Lloyd about Thomas’ injury. “It’s hard to predict.”

At this point, it’s all but certain that Thomas will not be ready for opening night; one report mentioned the All-Star break in February as a possible timetable.

Read more news around the Central Division:

  • Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue likes the moves his team made this offseason and is entering the 2017/18 season with an optimistic mindset, Joe Vardon of writes.
  • Former NBA player and G-League coach Rex Walters has joined the Pistons‘ coaching staff. As’s Keith Langlois writes, head coach Stan Van Gundy is excited with Walters’ reputation to help players develop their skills after he was frustrated
  • Shaun Powell of previews the Pacers‘ first season in the post-Paul George era.

Pacers Sign DeQuan Jones To Camp Deal

SEPTEMBER 7: The Pacers have officially signed Jones, per RealGM’s log of NBA transactions.

SEPTEMBER 6: DeQuan Jones will sign a training camp deal with the Pacers, tweets Chris Reichert of 2 Ways and 10 Days.

The 27-year-old small forward has previous NBA experience with the Magic in 2012/13. He appeared in 63 games, averaging 3.7 points in 12.7 minutes per night.

Jones has a history with the Pacers, playing for their entry in the Orlando Summer League in 2014. He was with the Hawks for training camp last fall, but was cut before the season started and signed with the Chiba Jets in Japan. He later joined Lille Métropole in France. Jones has also played in Italy and the G League.

Pacers Sign Trey McKinney-Jones

SEPTEMBER 7: The deal is now official, according to RealGM’s NBA transactions log.

SEPTEMBER 6: The Pacers will sign 6’5″ shooting guard Trey McKinney-Jones to a training camp contract, tweets Chris Reichert of 2 Ways and 10 Days. This comes after news just broke that DeQuan Jones will be part of Indiana’s camp.

McKinney-Jones, 27, has never appeared in an NBA regular season game and spent most of his career with the Pacers’ G League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. He has also played overseas in France, Israel and Hungary.

The two signings will bring the Pacers up to 19 players in camp, one under the league maximum. Only 13 have guaranteed salaries, so there will be opportunities for both Joneses to earn a roster spot.

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.

Rodney Stuckey Will Visit Several NBA Teams

Rodney Stuckey, who was waived by the Pacers in late March, has visits scheduled with several teams after the holiday weekend, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical.

The veteran swingman suffered a left patellar tendon strain that would have sidelined him for the rest of the regular season. Because his contract contained a mutual option, Indiana saved $7MM for the upcoming season by moving him off the roster before April 10.

Stuckey has recovered from the injury and has been “fully healthy” and training throughout the summer, Charania adds.

Stuckey, 31, also battled knee problems last season and was limited to 39 games, averaging 7.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per night in a reserve role. His best seasons came in Detroit, where he spent seven years before signing with the Pacers in 2014.

More Notes On Tampering Investigation

As we discussed yesterday, the Lakers were fined $500K by the NBA for tampering with 2018 free agent Paul George. Sports Illustrated’s Michael McCann quickly explored the penalty in detail, noting that the league in general has a “decidedly low-bar” for the prohibited act.

Considering the wording of the league’s constitution, there is no specific means of contact that’s permissible or not. Teams are, the constitution says, “forbidden from any kind of attempt to persuade” either individuals or team personnel, emphasis mine.

Another troublesome point of ambiguity McMann highlights is the fact that there need not be any proof that the tampering attempt actually swayed the individual, it’s solely the attempt that the league is concerned about.

All told, the Lakers have little choice but to pony up the cash for the fine but McMann doesn’t think that the penalty will dissuade teams from repeating the behavior in the future.

That’s not all we have about tampering this evening:

  • If you’ve heard the Pat Riley Heat/Knicks tampering example offered up as a precedent for the Lakers’ recent situation, note that there is one critical difference. Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets that the $1MM the Heat paid the Knicks in 1995 was a settlement and not a league-enforced penalty.
  • The Lakers may have bought themselves a year of contact with LeBron James‘s agent ahead of the 2018 free agency period, Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes, and all it cost them was the $18MM they committed to another Rich Paul client, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
  • Don’t expect Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard to put up a fuss about the league’s ruling on the tampering investigation. “We accept the league’s findings,” he told Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times.
  • …do expect the Indiana media. Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star suggests that the relatively small fine is but a slap on the wrist for a Lakers franchise worth $3B. The scribe offers alternative penalties that he says would have had more of an impact.

And-Ones: Surprises, EuroBasket, Australia

The Timberwolves haven’t made the postseason in 14 seasons. That could change this year, Shane Rhodes of Basketball Insiders writes, in a feature profiling five teams that could surprise in 2017/18. The Wolves have made no secret their desire to surround their promising young core with as many established veterans as possible and it’s likely to pay off in the form of a playoff appearance.

Another team Rhodes mentions is the Pelicans, who will break camp for the first time with both Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins on the roster. It’s not unreasonable, Rhodes suggests, to call Davis and Cousins the best players in the NBA at their respective positions.

Other teams that the scribe considers on the rise include the Lakers, Hornets and Pacers, the latter perhaps reeling from the loss of its superstar but still boasting plenty of versatile talent on the roster.

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • There are no shortage of past, present and future NBA players on EuroBasket 2017 rosters. Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype recently made a list of them all, broken down by nationality. (We see you, Anthony Randolph).
  • The Australian National Basketball League isn’t a high profile international league like the Spanish ACB, Turkish BSL or Russian VTP leagues but it’s growing in popularity, Chris Reichert of 2 Ways, 10 Days writes.
  • The only restricted free agent to accept a qualifying offer in the NBA this summer is Mavs center Nerlens Noel. In his latest feature, Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders breaks down the unique contract type, what it means for the players who sign them and what, typically, happens next.
  • For those keeping track at home, the NBA has doled out over $2B less this summer than it did last summer. That’s a decrease of 42.6%, tweets Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal.
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