- One of the reasons why the Pacers agreed to an extension with Malcolm Brogdon is the way he embraces his leadership role, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files notes. “Malcolm Brogdon is a special player and a special person, and he’s our leader,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “And one of the reasons I feel so great about this extension is that he really wants to be here. He wants to be in a position of high responsibility and leadership. He’s stepped those things up to a very high level.” Brogdon signed a two-year, $45MM extension.
- Pacers wing Kelan Martin, who pushed his guarantee date back twice this offseason in the hopes of making the team, did so again after earning a 15-man roster spot, according to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link). Although Martin’s $1.7MM still isn’t fully guaranteed, he did receive a partial guarantee this week, says Agness.
“I’m authentic with everything,” Davis said. “For these guys, I’m not in competition. I’m not trying to beat out (starting center Jarrett Allen) for his minutes or take the rookie (Evan Mobley)’s minutes. Anything that is coming from me is coming from an honest place. I know my role. I know why I’m here.”
The 32-year-old big man inked a non-guaranteed deal with the club last week. He averaged just 2.1 PPG and 5.0 RPG over 23 games as a back-up for the lottery-bound Timberwolves during the 2020/21 season.
There’s more out of the Central Division:
- Pacers small forward T.J. Warren continues to recover from a stress fracture in the navicular bone in his left foot, per Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (via Twitter). Agness reports that Warren remains in a walking boot, and appears to still be weeks away from returning to practices with Indiana. Warren missed all but four games during the 2020/21 season with the injury. A valuable two-way contributor when healthy, the 28-year-old will reach free agency in 2022.
- Pistons head coach Dwane Casey has indicated that wing Josh Jackson earned a spot in the club’s rotation, per Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). “He’s definitely in the rotation the way he’s played and played with confidence, defending without fouling,” Casey said. “His growth has been fantastic.” Jackson, selected with the fourth pick in the 2017 draft out of Kansas, has bounced around during his NBA tenure so far.
- New Bulls starting point guard Lonzo Ball will be looked on to help open up the floor as another high-level passer for a suddenly ball handler-heavy Chicago team, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “Lonzo instinctively on made baskets does a really good job of getting high outlets,” raved head coach Billy Donovan. “There are times where the ball gets inbounded and he’s looping and there are guys already down the floor and we can do that. There’s a balance there for him.”
5:53pm: The Pacers and Brogdon have officially completed their new deal, according to the transactions log at NBA.com.
Brogdon’s current contract covers the next two years, so his new deal will begin in 2023/24 and will lock him up through 2025. The 28-year-old is earning $21.7MM in ’21/22 and $22.6MM in ’22/23, for a total of $44.3MM over the next two seasons, so his new two-year extension figures to look pretty similar to the remainder of his current deal.
Brogdon, who will turn 29 in December, has spent the last two seasons in Indiana and enjoyed perhaps the best statistical season of his career in 2020/21. He averaged a career-high 21.2 PPG to go along with 5.9 APG and 5.3 RPG in 56 games (34.5 MPG), posting a shooting line of .453/.388/.864.
There had been some whispers throughout the offseason that Brogdon could be a trade candidate, and his name – as well as Caris LeVert‘s – surfaced in rumors related to the Ben Simmons trade talks between the Sixers and Pacers. However, subsequent reports suggested that Philadelphia wasn’t that enamored by the idea of a package centered around Brogdon and/or LeVert.
Now that he’s signing an extension, Brogdon won’t be a trade option for the Sixers or any other team this season. As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, Brogdon’s new deal exceeds the extend-and-trade limits in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, meaning he won’t become trade-eligible for six months. This season’s trade deadline is on February 10.
As we noted this morning, if Brogdon hadn’t finalized an extension today, he wouldn’t have been eligible to sign one until the 2022 offseason, since he still has multiple years left on his current deal.
The expectation is that all three players will join the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in the G League. Last month, Fort Wayne acquired the G League returning rights for Anderson (from the Long Island Nets) and Boatwright (from the Memphis Hustle). Indiana can make Culver an affiliate player, since no G League team holds his rights.
Barring more last-minute tweaks, the Pacers’ roster looks relatively set for the regular season. The team has 12 players on guaranteed contracts, with non-guaranteed players Kelan Martin, Oshae Brissett, and Brad Wanamaker still sticking around for now to fill out the standard 15-man roster. DeJon Jarreau and Duane Washington occupy Indiana’s two-way slots.
The Pacers will be without guard Caris LeVert for at least the season’s first week, according to head coach Rick Carlisle, who announced today that LeVert’s back injury will sideline him for Indiana’s first four games (Twitter link).
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported at the start of training camp that LeVert was dealing with a stress fracture in his back, describing it as a “minor” setback and adding that the team hoped the former Net would be ready to return around the start of the season. However, it appears LeVert will require at least a little more recovery time.
Carlisle said today that LeVert will be re-evaluated on October 25. That means he’ll miss games against Charlotte (October 20), Washington (Oct. 22), Miami (Oct. 23), and Milwaukee (Oct. 25) to open the year.
LeVert has dealt with multiple serious health issues since entering the NBA in 2016. He broke his leg in gruesome fashion near the start of the 2018/19 season, then had surgery earlier this year to treat renal cell carcinoma of his left kidney. When he got healthy and debuted for the Pacers last season, the former first-round pick made a strong first impression, averaging 20.7 PPG and 4.9 APG in 35 games (32.9 MPG).
The Pacers will also be without forward T.J. Warren (foot) to start the season.
The Pacers are doing some last-minute roster shuffling ahead of the regular season deadline, announcing on Friday night that they’ve waived three players and signed three more to fill their roster spots.
It’s unlikely that any of the six players will actually make the Pacers’ 15-man regular season roster — Anderson, Boatwright, and Culver will probably be released shortly.
They are, however, all good bets to play for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Indiana’s G League team. They’re receiving Exhibit 10 deals in order to secure their G League rights and/or ensure that they’re eligible for bonuses of up to $50K if they spend at least 60 days with the Mad Ants.
Teams are only eligible to carry up to four “affiliate players” on their G League rosters, but some of the six players involved in this series of transactions will qualify as returning-rights players, rather than affiliate players. Last month, Fort Wayne acquired the G League returning rights for Anderson (from the Long Island Nets) and Boatwright (from the Memphis Hustle).
As for the Pacers’ NBA roster, it appears mostly set, with 12 players on guaranteed contracts, a pair on two-way deals, and non-guaranteed players Kelan Martin, Oshae Brissett, and Brad Wanamaker still sticking around for now. Indiana could carry all three into the regular season, or waive one and begin the season with 14 players on standard contracts.
Although Ben Simmons has reported to the Sixers and head coach Doc Rivers has said he assumes the three-time All-Star plans to suit up and play for the team, we still don’t know when that will happen or what version of Simmons the club will get, writes Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com.
One source who spoke to Neubeck described Simmons as “going through the motions” during his individual workouts this week, though that source said things have improved each day since the 25-year-old’s return. The expectation is that Simmons will clear the health and safety protocols soon, but he’s considered “doubtful” to play in Friday’s preseason finale.
Within Neubeck’s report, he notes that the Sixers have shown little interest in a Pacers trade package that includes Malcolm Brogdon and/or Caris LeVert. The 76ers have been focused on acquiring a star, since trading Simmons for multiple “good” players isn’t something they believe will improve their title odds or increase their chances of acquiring another impact player down the road, Neubeck explains.
Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:
- Wizards forward Rui Hachimura remains in the health and safety protocols after recently reporting to the team, and he may miss some time at the beginning of the regular season as he gets back up to speed and adjusts to a new playbook and coaching staff, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “I don’t think (him catching up) is way down the line,” head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “We already have some edits that we’ll send to him. Obviously, when he’s ready we’ll spend some time away from the court to try to help him get back up to speed. That in itself is going to take some time.”
- Nets forward Kevin Durant admitted to reporters on Thursday that Kyrie Irving‘s absence is not an “ideal” situation and said he’d rather be playing alongside his friend this season. However, Durant added that he’s confident “things will work out the best for both parties” and said he’s not upset about the situation. “What is being mad going to do?” Durant said, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “We are not going to change his mind, know what I’m saying? We’ll let him figure out what he needs to do and the team figure out what they need to do.”
- Nets head coach Steve Nash plans to lean on the team’s depth to replace Kyrie Irving, rather than putting that responsibility on one player, writes Greg Joyce of The New York Post. Bruce Brown and Patty Mills are among the obvious candidates for increased roles.
- John Hollinger of The Athletic liked the Hawks‘ offseason moves and is optimistic about the club’s chances of avoiding regression in 2021/22, projecting them to win 50 games and a playoff series. Predictably, Hollinger is far less bullish on the Magic, forecasting a 21-win season and a last-place finish in the East for Orlando.
Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2021 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s offseason moves, examine what still needs to be done before opening night, and look ahead to what the 2021/22 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Indiana Pacers.
Free agent signings:
Note: Exhibit 9 and 10 deals aren’t included here.
- T.J. McConnell: Four years, $33.6MM. Fourth year partially guaranteed. Re-signed using Early Bird rights.
- Torrey Craig: Two years, $10MM. Signed using mid-level exception.
- DeJon Jarreau: Two-way contract.
- Duane Washington: Two-way contract.
- Acquired the draft rights to Isaiah Todd (No. 31 pick) from the Bucks in exchange for the draft rights to Sandro Mamukelashvili (No. 54 pick), the draft rights to Georgios Kalaitzakis (No. 60 pick), either the Pacers’, Cavaliers, or Jazz’s 2024 second-round pick (whichever is most favorable), and either the Pacers’ or the Heat’s 2026 second-round pick (whichever is most favorable).
- Note: If the Cavaliers’ and Jazz’s 2024 second-round picks are the two most favorable of the three, the Bucks would acquire the least favorable of those two picks.
- Acquired the draft rights to Isaiah Jackson (No. 22 pick; from Lakers) in a five-team trade in exchange for Aaron Holiday, the draft rights to Isaiah Todd (No. 31 pick), and cash ($1MM).
- Note: All of the Pacers’ outgoing assets were sent to the Wizards.
- Acquired the Spurs’ 2023 second-round pick (top-55 protected) in exchange for Doug McDermott (sign-and-trade), the Pacers’ 2023 second-round pick (top-55 protected), and the right to swap their own 2026 second-round pick for either the Pacers’ or the Heat’s 2026 second-round pick (whichever is least favorable).
- Note: The Pacers created a $7,333,333 trade exception in the deal.
- Acquired the draft rights to Juan Pablo Vaulet from the Nets in exchange for Edmond Sumner and the Heat’s 2025 second-round pick (top-37 protected).
- 1-13: Chris Duarte
- Signed to rookie scale contract (four years, $17,704,528).
- 1-22: Isaiah Jackson
- Signed to rookie scale contract (four years, $12,156,661).
Other offseason news:
- Hired Rick Carlisle as head coach to replace Nate Bjorkgren.
- Hired Lloyd Pierce, Ronald Nored, Mike Weinar, Jenny Boucek, and Jannero Pargo as assistant coaches; lost assistant coaches Kaleb Canales and Greg Foster.
- T.J. Warren remains sidelined indefinitely while recovering from his left foot injury and is expected to miss the start of the season.
- Caris LeVert is dealing with a stress fracture in his back and is expected to miss the start of the season.
Salary cap situation:
- Remained over the cap and below the tax line.
- Carrying approximately $133.5MM in salary.
- $4,657,951 of non-taxpayer mid-level exception still available ($4,878,049 used on Torrey Craig).
- Full bi-annual exception ($3,732,000) still available.
- Four traded player exceptions available, including one worth $7.3MM.
Lingering preseason issues:
- The Pacers have 12 players on guaranteed contracts, with six – including Kelan Martin, Oshae Brissett, and Brad Wanamaker – on non-guaranteed deals. The Pacers could retain three of those non-guaranteed players or just two if they want to keep their 15th roster spot open.
- Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert, and Myles Turner are eligible for veteran contract extensions until October 18.
- T.J. Warren and Jeremy Lamb are eligible for veteran contract extensions all season.
The Pacers’ offseason:
It was a disastrous 2020/21 season in Indiana, where the Pacers – who cited former head coach Nate McMillan‘s lack of postseason success when they let him go – underperformed to such an extent that they didn’t even make the playoffs under new coach Nate Bjorkgren, losing a play-in game to Washington to end their season.
Injuries could be blamed at least in part for the Pacers’ letdown of a year. Key players like Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis, and Malcolm Brogdon all missed double-digit games. T.J. Warren was sidelined for nearly the entire season. And Caris LeVert, acquired in the four-team trade that sent Victor Oladipo to Houston, was forced out of action when he was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma of his left kidney following what was supposed to be a routine physical.
Still, Bjorkgren, a veteran assistant coach, didn’t adjust well to the top job, rubbing those in the organization the wrong way with an abrasive approach to leadership. The Pacers parted ways with him after just one year, with president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard acknowledging he made the wrong call in last year’s head coaching search.
This time around, the coaching search was far narrower in its scope, as the Pacers zeroed in quickly on a familiar face. Rick Carlisle, who coached the team from 2003-07, has returned to Indiana and will try to get a team that had five consecutive playoff appearances prior to 2021 back on track.
The Pacers appear to be betting heavily on Carlisle’s ability to get more out of the team’s core players than Bjorkgren did last season. Despite some rumblings that the front office would consider trading Turner, Brogdon, or another one of Indiana’s other starters, the club actually had a fairly quiet offseason in terms of player movement.
The biggest name to be traded was Aaron Holiday, who never gained the sort of role he wanted in Indiana and had been the subject of trade rumors for a while. The Pacers sent him to Washington in a deal for the No. 22 pick, which was used on Kentucky center Isaiah Jackson.
Unlike No. 13 overall pick Chris Duarte, Jackson probably isn’t ready for regular minutes as a rookie. While the Pacers raved about the big man’s energy and athleticism during training camp, he’s still just 19 years old, nearly five full years younger than Duarte, who was viewed as one of the most NBA-ready players in the 2021 draft class. There’s no reason the former Oregon sharpshooter can’t become a fixture in Indiana’s rotation immediately, and he should provide a boost to a team that ranked in the middle of the pack in three-point attempts and percentage last season.
Duarte’s ability to hit outside shots and space the floor will be crucial, since Indiana lost Doug McDermott, one of the NBA’s top marksmen. McDermott had a career year in 2020/21, but entering the free agent period, there was a sense that his price tag would be too high for the Pacers, who were expected to prioritize re-signing point guard T.J. McConnell. That turned out to be the case — while Indiana got McConnell back on a deal that pays him $8.4MM annually, McDermott signed for nearly $14MM per year in San Antonio.
The Pacers will miss McDermott’s shooting, but if Duarte proves he’s ready to contribute immediately, the drop-off shouldn’t be too significant, and the team was able to re-sign McConnell and add free agent wing Torrey Craig for a lesser combined cap hit than McDermott’s. McConnell and Craig are tough veterans who will help stabilize a defensive unit that experienced a dip in production last season after back-to-back top-six finishes.
The Pacers’ upcoming season:
Indiana is counting on Carlisle’s influence and some better injury luck to fuel a bounce-back year in 2021/22. Even if they’re right about Carlisle’s potential impact, there are early signs that the injury bug that plagued the Pacers a year ago isn’t done with the team yet.
LeVert and T.J. Warren aren’t expected to be ready for the start of the season, Brogdon is banged up, and underrated wing Edmond Sumner sustained an Achilles tear that prompted the club to trade him in a salary-dump deal in order to create some extra breathing room below the tax line.
There’s enough talent on the Pacers’ roster that a return to the postseason in 2022 is a very realistic goal, especially if Carlisle can get more out of the Turner/Domantas Sabonis frontcourt pairing than his predecessors did. But Indiana’s offensive upside is limited if Warren and/or LeVert aren’t at 100%, and it’s hard to shake the feeling that some personnel changes may be required to unlock the full potential of the roster.
OCTOBER 13: Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle downplayed the severity of Brogdon’s injury, referring to it as a “day-to-day” issue and confirming that the guard participated in non-contact work on Wednesday (Twitter link via Agness).
This is a shoulder separation, typically low-grade enough to not require surgical intervention, and can take a few weeks to fully heal, though the Pacers haven’t confirmed a recovery timeline for Brogdon. Agness says the veteran is a scratch for tonight’s preseason contest against the Grizzlies. The Pacers are set to play their first game of the 2021/22 regular season against the Hornets on October 20.
Brogdon’s name has been a popular one on the trade market this summer, as the Sixers have apparently had conversations with Indiana about including him and/or promising swingman Caris LeVert in a package for Philadelphia’s disgruntled All-Defensive First Teamer Ben Simmons.
Though Brogdon has yet to be named to an All-Star team, he is an above-average starter with two-way ability at one of the most valuable positions in the NBA on a reasonable contract, which makes him a key attribute in a lot of trade chatter. The 28-year-old has one year and $21.7MM left on his current deal. In 56 games last season, Brogdon averaged 21.2 PPG, 5.9 APG and 5.3 RPG, while logging a stellar shooting line of .453/.388/.864.