Pacers Rumors

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/14/18

Here are Wednesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

9:00 pm:

  • The Pacers have recalled Alex Poythress from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, according to the team’s website. The Kentucky product has played in seven G League games this season where he averaged 20.0 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.

4:56 pm:

  • For the second consecutive day, the Jazz sent Dante Exum to the G League and then recalled him later in the day, the team announced in a press release. The former fifth overall pick is preparing for his return from a shoulder injury by practicing with the Salt Lake City Stars.
  • The Lakers have assigned rookie big man Thomas Bryant to the G League, according to the club (Twitter link). Bryant, who has averaged 19.2 PPG and 7.5 RPG in 32 G League games this season, is expected to suit up for the South Bay Lakers on Thursday night when they host the Agua Caliente Clippers.
  • Chris McCullough, who had been playing for the Northern Arizona Suns, was recalled today by the Wizards and then re-assigned to the Erie BayHawks, according to the team. Washington doesn’t have a G League affiliate of its own this season, so McCullough is eligible to play for other G League squads via the flexible assignment rule.

Sabonis To Have MRI On Sprained Ankle

  • X-rays were negative on Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis, who left Tuesday’s game in Philadelphia with a sprained left ankle. He will undergo an MRI when the team returns home.

Central Notes: Van Gundy, Turner, Osman

The Pistons have hit a cold spell and now sit five games out of the final seed in the Eastern Conference. Despite the acquisition of Blake Griffin, Detroit has struggled to maintain consistency. This has called into question head coach Stan Van Gundy’s future with the team, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes.

Team owner Tom Gores seemed to give Van Gundy a vote of confidence after the Pistons enjoyed a 99-83 win over the Bulls.

“Stan and I talk every week and we just want to win — that’s it. That’s what we discussed: how we’re going to get this team to win. That’s been really important to us,” Gores said. “We know we’ve disappointed the fans and we haven’t won enough. I can tell you this team works really hard and Stan works hard. He’s been here for four years and has dedicated his whole life.”

While Gores and Van Gundy communicate regularly, a firm decision on the team’s future — and whether or not Van Gundy is part of it — will be discussed after the season, Ansar Khan of writes.

“So, at the end of the season, we’ll sit down and talk and then he’s got to make a decision on the best way to go for the organization. I’ve been in this business a long time and I’ve been around this business even longer – my dad (Bill) coached for 40 years,” Van Gundy said. “So probably as much as anyone I know how this works. Tom’s been fantastic. You couldn’t be better as an owner. The way he wants to go about things is perfect, so we’re in 100 percent agreement on the way everything should be handled.”

Check out more Central Division notes below:

  • For the second time in a week, Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman felt a “pop” in his groin. On Friday, it forced him out of an eventual loss to the Clippers and details on the severity of the injury are scarce,’s Joe Vardon writes. However, Osman reportedly told the Cavs trainer that he could not run; the team is calling the injury a strained left hip.
  • In recent games, Myles Turner has been noticeably more aggressive in trying to score closer to the basket. As’s Mark Monteith writes, Pacers veteran Al Jefferson has been working with Turner to help him develop a post game. “Last year he wouldn’t have even thought about a post; he would have gone with a turnaround jumper or fadeaway,” Jefferson said. “You’ve got a 6’4″, 6’4″, 6’6″ guard or wing on you and you’re taking those type of shots, that’s when it becomes a problem for me. He understands that. He’s getting his feet in the paint and getting good shots.”

NBA Teams With 2017/18 Cap Room Still Available

At this point in the NBA league year, most of the discussion about cap room focuses on how much teams will have in July. While 2018/19 cap space will be extremely valuable for teams looking to make a splash in free agency or on the trade market, there aren’t many reasons teams need ’17/18 cap room at this point — free agency is all but over, the trade deadline is behind us, and even the deadline for renegotiating contracts has passed.

Still, 2017/18 cap room isn’t entirely useless, even this late in the season. The current league year runs through June 30, so if a team wants to complete a trade before, during, or right after this year’s draft, having cap room available to accommodate a salary could come in handy.

Additionally, teams with cap room have fewer restrictions when it comes to signing free agents — if a club wants to take a flier on a prospect during the final few weeks of the ’17/18 regular season, it could use cap space to sign that player to a lightly-guaranteed contract that stretches across three or four seasons.

Here are the teams that still have cap space available for the 2017/18 season, along with their estimated total room:

  • Dallas Mavericks: $14,240,776
  • Chicago Bulls: $11,325,670
    • Note: The Bulls are technically operating an over-the-cap team, but could use this cap room if they renounce their exceptions.
  • Phoenix Suns: $6,749,365
  • Indiana Pacers: $5,423,615
  • Orlando Magic: $3,669,889
  • Sacramento Kings: $3,465,472
  • Brooklyn Nets: $3,128,440
    • Note: The Nets are technically operating an over-the-cap team, but could use this cap room if they renounce their exceptions.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders, along with our own data, was used in the creation of this post.

Darren Collison To Return Friday For Pacers?

  • Darren Collison, who last played on February 3, has a chance to return to the Pacers‘ lineup on Friday night after recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, says Clifton Brown of The Indianapolis Star. “I had a chance to get up and down with the guys the past few days,” Collison said. “A lot of hard work trying to get back in shape. I feel really good about (Friday).” The veteran figures to come off the bench behind Cory Joseph until head coach Nate McMillan is ready to reinsert him into the starting lineup.

Central Notes: Nance, Parker, Booker

Larry Nance Jr. has never been a prolific three-pointer shooter, evidenced by his 12 career treys, but he is not scared to shoot the ball from the perimeter, Chris Fedor of writes. Nance has made just one triple in seven attempts this season but he has impressed the Cavaliers in practice with his range.

Primarily known for his athleticism and defense, Nance did not bring a known mid-range game to Cleveland. Head coach Tyronn Lue admitted that he was not aware that Nance could shoot threes. With Tristan Thompson out for a while, Nance will see time at center and he is comfortable shooting from beyond the arc if he is given space.

“If they sag off me I will shoot it,” Nance told this past Monday. “Obviously I’m not going to be K-Love with it or anything. But if they sag off me and don’t respect me as a shooter I feel completely comfortable (making them pay) and shooting it now.”

In a separate story, Joe Vardon of writes that Nance will start until Thompson is healthy. Lue was encouraged by Nance’s contributions off the bench after he traded from the Lakers.

“I was just letting (Nance) get a chance to figure out our offense, our defense and what we want to do,” Lue said. “I liked what he did off the bench because we need that spark and that energy.”

Check out other Central Division notes below:

  • Jabari Parker‘s career has hit two major snags, both of them being torn ACLs that cost him significant playing time. He was reportedly close to an extension with the Bucks that would have paid him $18MM annually — while recovering from the second ACL injury — but it didn’t happen. As he approaches free agency, Parker’s future with the Bucks remains a dilemma in the short- and long-term, NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman writes.
  • Trevor Booker was waived by the Sixers and while he had other options, he chose to sign with the Pacers. Booker’s defense and rebounding is something the Pacers have been looking to add, Clifton Brown of the Indianapolis Star writes. “I had a few other choices,” Booker said. “I factored in everything. I thought I could come to this team and bring something positive.”
  • The Pistons have been hampered by injuries all season, primarily in the backcourt. Those injuries have impacted the team’s perimeter shooting, but head coach Stan Van Gundy does not want to use injuries as an excuse, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes.  “I’m not going to make an excuse on that. We’ve got good players and we should be playing better. We’re capable of playing better and I think we will play better,” Van Gundy said. “Nobody wants to be without guys for long periods of time, but injuries are a fact of life in the NBA and you have to play through them.”

Trevor Booker Signs With Pacers

9:13pm: The signing of Booker is official, the Pacers announced on their website“As we head into this final stretch of the season Trevor will add to the depth of our roster,” said president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard. “Not only is he a solid player and a solid team player, his character fits with our team and what we are trying to accomplish.”

MARCH 3, 2:52pm: The Pacers will not sign Trey McKinney-Jones to a second 10-day contract after his first deal expired last night, reports Michael Scotto of The Athletic. The roster spot now open will almost assuredly go to Booker, who has cleared waivers, per RealGM’s official transactions log.

FEBRUARY 28: The Sixers have yet to officially announce Trevor Booker‘s release, but it sounds like Booker’s camp has already lined up the veteran forward’s next deal. According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (Twitter link), Booker is expected to sign with the Pacers once he clears waivers. He’ll get a minimum salary contract with Indiana, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

As we relayed earlier this afternoon, Booker was the odd man out in Philadelphia, where the Sixers had a full 15-man roster and needed to create room to sign Ersan Ilyasova. Assuming Booker is formally waived by the 76ers today, he’ll clear waivers on Friday, and will hang onto his playoff eligibility for his new team in Indiana.

Booker, 30, had been averaging a career-low 15.0 minutes per game with the Sixers, but played well for the Nets in 89 total games in 2016 and 2017. In 24.1 MPG with Brooklyn, Booker posted 10.0 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 2.0 APG, shooting 51.6% from the field.

Thaddeus Young is currently the Pacers’ primary power forward, with Bojan Bogdanovic occasionally seeing time at the four in small lineups and Domantas Sabonis playing there in some bigger lineups. Indiana’s other backups at the position are youngsters like T.J. Leaf and Alex Poythress, so Booker will provide some veteran depth.

As we noted earlier today, the Pacers are one of seven teams that doesn’t technically have an open roster spot, but has a player on a 10-day contract filling their 15th slot. That player – Trey McKinney-Jones – will see his 10-day deal expire Friday night, creating an open roster spot on Saturday for Indiana.

The Pacers’ cap charge for Booker will depend on what day his deal is finalized, but if he’s signed on Saturday, it will be worth approximately $333K. The Sixers, meanwhile, will continue to carry Booker’s old $9.125MM cap hit, minus whatever amount he gave up as part of his buyout.

Poll: Who Will Make The Eastern Conference Playoffs?

The Raptors and Celtics are eight and seven games ahead, respectively, of the third-place Cavaliers, making it unlikely either team will fall below the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with only about 20 games remaining in the regular season.

Along with the top two teams in the East, the aforementioned Cavs and the Wizards and 76ers also have a 99% chance or higher of making the postseason, per FiveThirtyEight, with the remaining Eastern Conference teams’ chance of making the playoffs as follows:

  • Indiana Pacers (94%)
  • Miami Heat (89%)
  • Milwaukee Bucks (88%)
  • Charlotte Hornets (20%)
  • Detroit Pistons (12%)

And despite the discrepancy in percentage between the Pacers, Heat and Bucks as compared to the Hornets and Pistons, only 7.5 games separate the five teams, with the eighth-place Heat and ninth-place Pistons only separated by three games.

Moreover, Charlotte and Detroit have the 29th and 25th hardest schedules remaining, while Indiana, Milwaukee and Miami have the 2nd, 18th and 26th hardest remaining schedules, per

For their part, the Pacers still have to face the Warriors and Raptors twice each (home and away for both), in addition to one more game in Boston, while the Hornets’ toughest remaining game is in Toronto. Accordingly, the race could come down to the final days of the regular season, where the Hornets and Pacers finish off their schedules with a home-and-home on April 8 and 10.

So what do you think? Which three teams will join the other five likely contenders from the Eastern Conference? Will the Pacers, Heat, and Bucks hold on to their playoff spots or will the Hornets and/or Pistons bump one of them from the postseason? Vote below in our poll for three teams and then jump into the comment section to share your thoughts!

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