Pacers Rumors

Central Notes: Turner, Stewart, Williams, Bulls

Pacers center Myles Turner is the longest-tenured player on the team, having played in Indiana since being drafted in 2015. Fresh off winning the Skills Challenge at All-Star weekend as part of a Pacers trio that also featured Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin, Turner sat down with HoopsHype’s Sam Yip to discuss his career, team and philanthropic efforts.

Honestly, it’s all been a blur,” Turner said of being Indy’s longest-tenured player. “Like for real. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend my entire career here in Indianapolis, and when I see young guys coming in, I just don’t see them lasting more than two or three years. They come in with a lot of hype and whatnot, but then it just dies down.

Turner is averaging 17.2 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in his ninth season with the team, helping the Pacers to a 31-25 record at the break. With Haliburton and Turner as fixtures, the Pacers have transformed into a playoff contender, virtually removing the big man from trade rumors that have followed him throughout his career.

Honestly, I still got PTSD from that, so I really didn’t even feel super secure at that,” Turner said of those rumors. “I was kinda expecting at least a rumor or something here and there (at this season’s deadline), but I’m just very fortunate to be in the same position. A little bit… I guess you can say that. I think it was just more of that we had a more clear-cut idea of the direction we were going with so it made it easier for me.

Clippers forward Paul George has expressed a desire to remain in Los Angeles but has yet to reach an extension agreement with his current team, and rumors have started to circulate about the possibility of George and Indiana reuniting this offseason. Turner and George played together from 2015-17.

PG was my favorite teammate, personally,” Turner said. “When I first got here to the league, he’s someone who took me under his wing, and obviously he’s one of the most dynamic players that’s out there right now. And I’ve always enjoyed and appreciated his approach to the game, so he’s definitely someone I rock with.

I recommend checking out the rest of Turner and Yip’s conversation here.

We have more notes from the Central Division:

  • Phoenix Municipal Court set a Feb. 23 court date for Pistons center Isaiah Stewart on a misdemeanor assault charge, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania (Twitter link). Stewart was arrested and issued a citation on Thursday after punching Suns center Drew Eubanks in the face.
  • Even though the Pistons have been improved as of late, the season as a whole has been hard to stomach. Shawn Windsor of Detroit Free Press (subscriber link) argues that Monty Williams‘ rotations are stunting the team’s ability to develop. Windsor asserts that playing all five reserves at a time is a mistake and – despite recent moves – all-bench lineups continue to bleed points. Another questionable decision was to play Killian Hayes, whom the Pistons released at the deadline, over Jaden Ivey, who looks like a long-term fixture, according to Windsor.
  • The Bulls know what they have to do to secure a play-in and potential playoff spot, and DeMar DeRozan expressed confidence in the team’s ability to make a postseason push, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. “Now we can kind of just breathe a little and gather our minds and emotions,” DeRozan said. “Get some bodies back and get rejuvenated for the next 27 games. We’re going to need to put everything and more into those.

And-Ones: Olympic Qualifiers, Rubio, R. Miller, All-Star Weekend

FIBA has officially announced the schedule for this summer’s Olympic qualifying tournaments, which will determine the final four men’s basketball teams who will compete for gold in Paris. Each of the four tournaments will tip off on July 2, with the finals taking place on July 7.

The four qualifying tournaments are being played in Spain, Puerto Rico, Latvia, and Greece, with 24 teams vying to advance to the 2024 Olympics. The results of those tournaments will determine whether we get the opportunity to see a handful of notable NBA stars – such as Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece) and Luka Doncic (Slovenia) – playing in Paris.

A total of 12 men’s basketball teams will compete at the Olympics and eight of those spots have already been claimed. Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Serbia, South Sudan, and the U.S. have punched their tickets to Paris. Details on the other 24 teams competing in the qualifying tournaments – and how they’ve been split up – can be found right here.

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

  • Ricky Rubio may make his season debut with Barcelona on March 1 when the team faces AS Monaco in EuroLeague play, as Kevin Martorano of Sportando relays. Rubio announced his retirement from the NBA in January, but remains on track to make a comeback in his home country, having signed with Barcelona earlier this month. Teammate Alex Abrines mentioned March 1 as a possible target date for the veteran point guard.
  • TNT Sports and analyst Reggie Miller have reached an agreement on a multiyear contract extension, according to a press release from the company. Miller is in his 19th season with TNT Sports and will continue to be part of NBA broadcasts for the network for the foreseeable future.
  • A current Pacer and a former Pacer earned honors at the secondary events at All-Star weekend in Indianapolis. Pacers guard Bennedict Mathurin was named the Rising Stars MVP on Friday while Magic two-way guard Trevelin Queen earned MVP honors in Sunday’s G League Up Next game (Twitter links via the NBA). Queen spent most of the 2022/23 season on a two-way contract with Indiana.

Tyrese Haliburton Will Keep Trying Until He Gets A Three-Point Contest Win

  • Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton plans to keep trying for a three-point title after a close call on his home court, per Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Haliburton was in a four-way deadlock for the best score after the first round, but he lost in a tie-breaker and failed to reach the finals. “I think I’m going to just keep coming back until they don’t allow me to, and eventually I’m going to win one,” he said.

And-Ones: 2024 Olympics, NBPA Leadership, G. Hill, Driesell

Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton and Lakers center Anthony Davis are willing to be part of the U.S. Olympic team in Paris if they receive invitations, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Reynolds talked to both players at today’s All-Star media event, and they’re excited about participating.

“My goal is to play for USA until the wheels fall off,” Haliburton said. “If I get that call to go, I’ll be there.”

Haliburton was one of the top players for Team USA at last summer’s FIBA World Cup, leading the team with 5.6 assists and 1.5 steals per game across eight contests. He also played for the U.S. in the Under-19 World Cup in 2019.

Davis won gold medals in the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 World Cup.

There’s more news from around the basketball world:

  • Harrison Barnes and Garrett Temple have been reelected to their positions as secretary-treasurer and vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, the union announced in a press release. Their new terms will last for three years. “I’m thrilled to have Harrison and Garrett return as members of the NBPA Executive Committee,” NBPA president CJ McCollum said. “Harrison and Garrett have a wealth of knowledge and insight on our players’ experiences, and their leadership has been an invaluable resource during critical periods in our union’s history. I am excited to continue working with them in their respective roles to shape the direction of the NBPA and better serve the collective group of players.”
  • George Hill talks to Marc J. Spears of Andscape about finding peace at his Texas ranch as he waits for another NBA opportunity. Hill, who spent time with the Bucks and Pacers last season, is away from the NBA for the first time after a 15-year career. “I just had a baby boy, so it’s good being here,” he said. “But at the same time, you miss basketball and going to camp every year. So, to not finally do it this year, it’s a big crack on the head. But I’m going to just keep control of what I can control. Stay positive and have fun. You know this journey. There are opportunities to get back there. If it doesn’t, I’m OK with myself. I never beat myself up. … I don’t think I’m ever going to stop working out. I hope to get back in, God willing. And I’ll be ready when opportunity comes for sure.”
  • Long-time Maryland basketball coach Charles “Lefty” Driesell died this morning at age 92, the university announced. He ranks 15th among NCAA Division I coaches with 786 career victories and was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018. Our deepest condolences go out to Driesell’s family and friends.

Vince Carter, Chauncey Billups Among Hall Of Fame Finalists

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame announced its 14 finalists for 2024 on Friday evening (via Twitter), with former NBA stars Vince Carter and Chauncey Billups among the nominees. Billups is currently head coach of the Trail Blazers.

Here’s the full list of finalists:

  • Chauncey Billups — Five-time All-Star, three-time All-NBA, two-time All-Defense, one-time champion, 2003/04 Finals MVP (Pistons)
  • Vince Carter — NBA-record 22 seasons, 25,728 career points (23rd in NBA/ABA history), eight-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA, 1998/99 Rookie of the Year
  • Michael Cooper — Five-time NBA champion, eight-time All-Defense, 1986/87 Defensive Player of the Year (all with the Lakers)
  • Walter Davis — Six-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA, 1977/78 Rookie of the Year, Suns‘ all-time leading scorer
  • Bo Ryan — Former head coach of Wisconsin, four-time Big Ten Coach of the Year
  • Charles Smith — Winningest high school head coach in Louisiana history
  • Seimone Augustus — Four-time WNBA champion, eight-time All-Star, 2006 Rookie of the Year
  • Marian Washington — Longtime former head coach of Kansas (women’s)
  • Dick Barnett — Two-time NBA champion, one-time All-Star, three-time NAIA champion at Tennessee A&I
  • Harley Redin — Former men’s and women’s coach of Wayland Baptist University (Texas)
  • Michele Timms — One-time WNBA All-Star, Olympic bronze and silver medals with Australian national team
  • Doug Collins — Former NBA player, coach and broadcaster *
  • Herb Simon Pacers owner *
  • Jerry West — Four NBA championships as an executive with the Lakers (he’s already in the Hall of Fame as a player) *

* Nominated as contributors

The Class of 2024 will be unveiled on Saturday, April 6 during the NCAA’s Final Four. The enshrinement ceremony for 2024’s Hall of Fame inductees will take place on Saturday, August 17.

Unbelievable,” Carter said of being a finalist, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. “You look in the crowd, you see Hall of Famers, and the opportunity … I mean, you can’t beat that. You can’t beat that. It’s a proud moment.”

Everybody that enters the NBA … it’s their dream. It’s basically basketball heaven to be in the Hall of Fame,” Billups told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin (Twitter links). “That was never my goal when I was playing. I just wanted to try to win and be the best teammate I could be. … I’m just humbled by today. Just being close to it is an honor. I know I’m not there, but I’m closer. It’s a straight honor.”

According to Reynolds, four others were honored by the Hall of Fame as well. JoAn Scott, the NCAA’s vice president of men’s basketball, received the John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award. J.A. Adande and Debbie Antonelli received the Curt Gowdy Awards for print and electronic journalism, respectively, while Slam Magazine and the television show “NBA Inside Stuff” received the award for transformative media.

Haliburton: We Can Reach Conference Finals

  • Tyrese Haliburton believes the Pacers can reach the Eastern Conference Finals, and perhaps even represent the conference in the NBA Finals. “I have no doubt in my mind that we can be a conference finals team, no doubt in my mind that we have that capability,” he told Marc J. Spears in an Andscape interview. “And again, I don’t even want to say that because I don’t want to put a limit on it. I think that teams already know when they see us it’s not a walk in the park. That was established last [season] with the way we played. And now add another guy like Pascal (Siakam)  and with the success that I’m having and the success that everybody on our team is really having this year, it ain’t a walk in the park at all.”

Pacers Notes: Siakam, Raptors, Haliburton, Meeting, McDermott

Pascal Siakam made an emotional return to Toronto on Wednesday evening, including converting a bank shot that sealed the Pacers‘ victory with 25 seconds remaining, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca.

I tried to stay focused on the game as much as I could, but it [was] just hard, just coming in here and seeing so many familiar faces and reflecting on everything,” Siakam said. “Coming back here after eight years, just to see the reception and people being so genuinely happy for me, I think for me that was the most important thing. … I couldn’t really ever dream of that. It means a lot, so I appreciate everyone for everything. I’m humbled.”

As Lewenberg writes, Siakam seems truly happy to be playing for Indiana, which is a contrast to the “unfortunate end” of his tenure with the Raptors, who traded him to the Pacers last month.

It feels amazing,” Siakam said before the game. “[From the moment I got to Indiana] it’s just been so much love, so much appreciation and just like overly supportive in everything. It feels good to be in a place like that. I’m just looking forward to continuing to be there and just have an opportunity to do something special with that team.”

A source tells Lewenberg the Raptors reached out to Siakam’s camp to see if he’d be interested in a three-year, maximum-salary extension before the 2023/24 season began, though Lewenberg cautions that the offer was “informal, at best.” Siakam, meanwhile, wanted a fourth year added, and talks broke down after that.

Lewenberg believes the Raptors took Siakam for granted, but the two-time All-NBA member is “excited to have the opportunity” to play for the Pacers. The 29-year-old is set to hit free agency this summer and is widely expected to sign a long-term deal with Indiana, which holds his Bird rights.

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • Speaking to JJ Redick on his Old Man and the Three podcast (Twitter link), All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton admitted he might’ve taken another game or two off following his hamstring injury if he didn’t have significant financial considerations at stake. Haliburton’s rookie scale extension features Rose rule language, which means he’s eligible to make 30% of next season’s salary cap instead of 25% if he makes an All-NBA team. However, he needs to play at least 65 games to qualify for major postseason awards due to a rule change in the new CBA.
  • Indiana held a brief players-only meeting following Monday’s loss to Charlotte, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. “Some things were addressed after the game,” center Myles Turner said. “We all got together and we spoke without the coaches and just talked it out and I think we’re headed in the right direction.” However, Turner was miffed by the team’s performance, starting with his own. “There’s no excuses, man,” Turner said. “This isn’t the first time this has happened this season. It starts with me as a leader of this team. Our defense just wasn’t there tonight. I wasn’t very good defensively tonight. I think as a whole going into All-Star break, these games matter. I don’t think we had the right mindset tonight.” As Dopirak notes, while the Pacers are currently 31-25, the No. 6 seed in the East, they have several losses to teams at the bottom of the standings, including the Hornets (twice) Trail Blazers (twice), Wizards, Grizzlies and Raptors.
  • Veteran sharpshooter Doug McDermott is “thrilled” to be back with the Pacers, who traded for him prior to last week’s deadline, according to Dopirak. “It feels good to be a part of winning basketball,” McDermott said. “I haven’t really been a part of that in a couple years. Just to be a part of the Pacer organization, I’m super excited but very thankful for my time in San Antonio. I’ve always felt like this place is home for me. It’s kind of the place where I revamped my career.” The Midwest native previously played three seasons with Indiana, from 2018-21.

NBA Teams With Open Roster Spots

A number of free agent signings have been finalized in the days since last Thursday’s trade deadline, but there are still many teams around the NBA with one or more open spots on their respective rosters.

For clubs with just a single standard or two-way opening, there’s not necessarily any urgency to fill those spots, especially ahead of the All-Star break. But the clock is ticking for teams who have two or more openings on their standard rosters to make a move, since clubs are only permitted to carry fewer than 14 players on standard contracts for up to two weeks at a time.

With the help of our roster count tracker, here’s where things stand for all 30 teams around the NBA as of Tuesday afternoon. As a reminder, teams are typically permitted to carry up to 15 players on standard contracts and three on two-way deals.

(Note: Teams marked with an asterisk have a player on a 10-day contract.)


Teams with multiple open roster spots

  • Brooklyn Nets
    • Note: One of the Nets’ roster openings is a two-way slot.
  • Golden State Warriors
  • Milwaukee Bucks
    • Note: Both of the Bucks’ roster openings are two-way slots.
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • New Orleans Pelicans
  • New York Knicks *
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Phoenix Suns

The Warriors, Timberwolves, and Pelicans are all currently carrying 13 players on standard, full-season contracts, with all three of their two-way slots filled. That means they’ll have to add a 14th man at some point in the not-too-distant future to adhere to the NBA’s minimum roster requirements.

Golden State and Minnesota made trades on February 8 that dropped them below 14 players, so those two teams have until Feb. 22 to add a player. New Orleans’ deadline is coming a little earlier, since the club dipped to 13 when Malcolm Hill‘s 10-day contract expired on Feb. 6.

No roster moves are required for the Nets and Bucks, as both teams have at least 14 players on standard contracts, with one or more two-way openings. I’d expect Brooklyn and Milwaukee to fill those two-way slots before the two-way signing deadline in early March, though they don’t necessarily have to.

The Knicks and Sixers currently only have 12 players on standard, full-season contracts. New York also has Taj Gibson on a 10-day deal, while Philadelphia is poised to sign Kyle Lowry to a rest-of-season contract. Both teams will need to make at least one more roster move by Feb. 22 after dipping down to 12 players on trade deadline day last Thursday.

As for the Suns, they’re currently carrying just 13 players on standard contracts, but it sounds like they’ve already lined up a deal with a 14th man — a report earlier today indicated that they’re preparing to sign Thaddeus Young.

Teams with one open roster spot

  • Boston Celtics
  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Chicago Bulls
  • Cleveland Cavaliers *
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Miami Heat
  • Utah Jazz
  • Washington Wizards

One of the 14 players on the Cavaliers‘ standard roster is Zhaire Smith, who is on a 10-day deal. Once his contract expires next week, the Cavs will have to either re-sign him or add another 14th man — and they’ll have to do it right away.

In addition to being prohibited from carrying fewer than 14 players on standard deals for more than two weeks at a time, NBA teams are limited to 28 days of carrying fewer than 14 players over the course of a season. The Cavs have already reached that 28-day limit, having carried just 13 players from January 4-18 and again from January 28 until February 11.

The rest of these teams have 14-man standard rosters with no two-way openings, meaning there’s no urgency for them to make any moves, though they’ll likely fill those open roster slots at some point between now and the end of the season in April.

Teams with no open roster spots

  • Atlanta Hawks
  • Denver Nuggets
  • Detroit Pistons *
  • Houston Rockets
  • Los Angeles Clippers
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Memphis Grizzlies *
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Orlando Magic
  • Portland Trail Blazers *
  • Sacramento Kings
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • Toronto Raptors *

Twelve of these 13 teams have full 18-man rosters, with 15 players signed to standard contracts and three to two-way deals. However, the Pistons, Trail Blazers, and especially the Raptors are worth monitoring here, since they all have players on 10-day contracts and can open up roster spots when those deals expire.

Detroit and Portland are each carrying a single player on a 10-day deal, while Toronto has two, meaning the Raptors will dip down to 13 players on standard contracts during the All-Star break. They’ll have up to two weeks to get back to 14.

The Grizzlies are actually carrying 19 players at the moment, with 16 players on standard contracts (15 full-season deals, plus Jordan Goodwin on a 10-day) because they’ve been granted a hardship exception due to all the injured players they’re missing.

And-Ones: MVP Race, 2024 Draft, Korkmaz, Okafor, More

With Joel Embiid no longer eligible for this season’s MVP award due to the number of games he has missed, the race appears wide open, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN, who conducted another version of his straw poll ahead of the All-Star break.

The 100 media members polled over the weekend by MacMahon selected Nuggets center Nikola Jokic as the current MVP favorite, with Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as the runner-up. Jokic earned 69 first-place votes and was the only player selected by all 100 voters on their five-player ballots, while Gilgeous-Alexander was listed on 99 ballots and was the top choice on 24 of them.

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, and Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard rounded out the top five in Bontemps’ latest poll, with Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, Knicks guard Jalen Brunson, and Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell also appearing on double-digit ballots. Notably, while just four of 100 media members had Anthony Edwards in their top five, one made the Timberwolves guard their MVP choice.

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

  • Although Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo of ESPN (Insider link) still feel as if the 2024 draft class is short on high-end talent, they believe it could end up being a relatively deep draft. Givony and Woo suggest that some teams will be able to find rotation players later in the first round or in the second round, even if there are no sure-fire stars at the top of the class.
  • After being traded from Philadelphia to Indiana and then waived by the Pacers, veteran swingman Furkan Korkmaz has turned down interest from Turkish club Besiktas for now and is hoping to remain in the NBA, according to a report from Eurohoops. Korkmaz didn’t play much for the Sixers the past two seasons, but is still just 26 years old and is a 36.1% three-point shooter over the past five years.
  • Former lottery pick Jahlil Okafor is on the move again, having recently signed with Puerto Rican team Capitanes de Arecibo, as Dario Skerletic of Sportando relays. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 draft, Okafor played in Spain and China earlier this season. He last played in the NBA with Detroit in 2020/21.
  • Grizzlies guard Vince Williams has been chosen to replace injured Pelicans guard Dyson Daniels in this Friday’s Rising Stars game at All-Star weekend, while Indiana Mad Ants guard Kyle Mangas will replace Sixers two-way player Kenneth Lofton Jr. in the G League Next Up game, according to a pair of announcements from the NBA and NBAGL.

Siakam Adjusting To Haliburton's Creativity

  • Pacers forward Pascal Siakam is still getting adjusted to playing with point guard Tyrese Haliburton. Siakam has been dazzled by Haliburton’s creativity, Tim Bontemps of ESPN writes. “I’ve just got to like always be ready and we’ve got to figure out rhythms. Him understanding my rhythms and me understanding also his rhythms,” Siakam said. “I definitely haven’t played with someone like him before, so I’m just learning on the fly and, and I think the more we’re out there we’ll get comfortable.”