Indiana Pacers

Diallo Drawing Interest As Deadline To Withdraw Nears

Hamidou Diallo hasn’t played organized basketball in nearly five months, but he’s drawing interest around the league, sources tell Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog (Twitter link). The Nets, Bulls, Bucks, Heat, Pacers and Jazz have all expressed interest in the athletic shooting guard.

Diallo is currently ranked as the 42nd best prospect in the draft, according to Jonathan Givony of Draft Express. Some believe he has a chance to move into the first round, as Zagoria writes in a full-length piece for The New York Times. “I would not be surprised if his combination of athleticism and skills opens some eyes, and then he’ll have a tough decision,” ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla said. ” Do you want to be the 25th pick in this year’s draft or do you want to have a chance to maybe be a top 10 pick [next year].”

The Queens native hasn’t yet made a decision yet on whether he will remain in the draft or play at Kentucky, Zagoria passes along in a full-length piece on his website. Diallo enrolled at the school to play for John Calipari in January but opted not to join the basketball team. He, like all prospects, has until tonight to make a decision.

George Package May Not Yield Lottery Pick

  • The Pacers will work out Bryce Alford, Ike Anigbogu, Trevon Bluiett, Vince Edwards, Davon Reed and Trevor Thompson on Monday, the team announced on its official website.
  • The Lakers aren’t likely to give up a lottery pick for a one-year Paul George rental, says Sam Smith of the Bulls official website, but the Pacers could potentially net Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell and a matching salary should they decide to pull the trigger. Smith adds that Larry Bird‘s exit indicates that the franchise is eager to fully embrace a rebuild.

Lottery Implications For Pacers; Thornwell A Draft Target?

  • This week’s draft lottery didn’t include the Pacers, but it might have interesting ramifications for the team, writes Nate Taylor of The Indianapolis Star. Taylor notes that the top three teams in the 2017 NBA draft – the Celtics, Lakers, and Sixers – all made inquiries on Paul George prior to February’s trade deadline and could check in again on the star forward this summer.
  • In the wake of his workout this week with the Pacers, Sindarius Thornwell spoke to Nate Taylor, who suggests in a separate piece for The Star that the South Carolina combo guard could be a second-round target for Indiana.

Hawks Made Strong Push For Paul George At Trade Deadline

The Hawks presented the Pacers with an offer that included four first-round picks in exchange for Paul George at this season’s trade deadline, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reports. The scribe adds that multiple teams reached out to Indiana in an attempt to add the four-time All-Star.

Earlier today, the NBA announced it All-NBA teams and since George did not earn the honor of being named to one, he will not be eligible to sign a designated player extension this summer. He has two seasons left on his current deal, though he can opt to become a free agent next offseason.

The Lakers are confident they can sign George next summer, though the chances of him coming to L.A. could decrease if he’s dealt to a winning team. George told Indiana’s new team president Kevin Pritchard that he could see himself having a long-term future with the Pacers, but only if they are contenders. A team like Atlanta is arguably closer to contending than Indiana is.

The Hawks have all their future draft picks and they own Cleveland’s 2019 first-round selection as a result of the Kyle Korver deal and Minnesota’s 2018 selection via the Adreian Payne trade. With those extra picks in hand, Atlanta could’ve offered various combinations while still adhering to the Ted Stepien rule, which prevents teams from shedding consecutive future first-round picks.

Lakers Confident They Can Sign Paul George?

The Lakers landed the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s lottery and it brought speculation that the team could send it to Indiana for Paul George. However, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (video link) hears that George would prefer the Lakers to keep their assets since it would allow them to be a better team come next summer when George can be a free agent.

Wojnarowski added that the Lakers are confident that they can sign George and the team is being encouraged not to make a trade for him. It’s unclear exactly who is feeding Los Angeles this information, but it sounds as if someone from George’s camp reached out to the team.

George did not make an All-NBA team this season, meaning he is not eligible for the new designated player extension. He could earn that super max deal with the Pacers should he make an All-NBA team next year, something that would give Indiana an advantage in keeping him on the squad. The awards aren’t announced until after the season, which would leave the team with less than two months to negotiate a new deal since George is likely to opt out of his current deal next July.

New team president Kevin Pritchard may not want to wait and risk losing the organization’s best player for nothing, so a trade with the Lakers or another team remains a possibility. The franchise still has the ability to offer George more years and money than any rival team, though the advantage isn’t as significant as it would be with the designated player extension as an option.

No Paul George, Gordon Hayward On All-NBA Teams

The NBA has officially announced its All-NBA teams for the 2016/17 season, and neither Paul George nor Gordon Hayward is among the 15 players honored. That’s big news for both players and their teams, since they’ll be ineligible for the Designated Veteran Extension, reducing the amount of money the Pacers and Jazz – respectively – could offer their star forwards in contract extensions this offseason.

Here are this year’s All-NBA teams:

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Based on this year’s All-NBA voting results, Wall is now eligible to sign a Designated Veteran Extension this summer, while Leonard is eligible to sign one next summer. Harden, Westbrook, and Curry are also eligible to sign DVEs this summer, as Bobby Marks of The Vertical notes (via Twitter).

Those Designated Veteran Extensions – which are dependent on a player making an All-NBA team in the year before he signs an extension, or in two of the previous three years – apply to players finishing up their rookie scale extensions. They allow a player re-signing with his own team to earn up to 35% of the salary cap, rather than just 30%. So, if we assume a $101MM salary cap for 2017/18, a player like Curry could sign a new Warriors contract with a starting salary of $35.35MM, instead of $30.3MM.

The Pacers and Jazz will still be able to offer George and Hayward larger and longer contracts than any other team, but the advantage won’t be as significant as it would have been if those players had earned All-NBA spots. Teams can offer their own Bird-rights free agents up to five years (instead of four) and 8% raises (instead of 5%).

Hayward figures to opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer, while George is expected to reach free agency in 2018. George could still become eligible for the DVE in ’18 if the Pacers hang onto him through next season and he earns All-NBA honors a year from now. However, there’s no guarantee that Indiana will be willing to take that risk.

As for the rest of the All-NBA votes, there weren’t any major surprises, particularly on the first two teams. Perhaps the biggest surprise, in a year which was dominated by four clear-cut MVP candidates, is that Harden was the only player who received 100 out of 100 possible First Team votes. Westbrook and James received 99 apiece, while Leonard received 96.

Note: Hoops Rumors readers voted last month on All-NBA teams, and our squads looked awfully close to the official ones, with a couple notable exceptions. You can check out the results of our voting right here.

Celtics Notes: Grousbeck, George, Butler, Ainge

The Celtics are getting plenty of advice after landing the top pick in this year’s draft, but managing partner Wyc Grousbeck sounds like his decision is already made. Speaking with Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti in a video on CSNNE, Grousbeck said Boston will hold onto the selection “unless someone blows us away with an offer.”

“I think these picks are very, very valuable,” he said. “If you’re going to trade these picks for an established star making max, you’ve got to send max money out the door as well, so you’ve got to send more guys along, so this guy coming back had better be the second coming. What’s more, he’s going to be halfway through his career, whoever he is, and he’s going to be paid a lot of money, which restricts you in other ways.

“So if you can get a really good guy with this pick, you’ve got him, you can build with him, you can coach him up. You get to max money eventually, five to six years down the road, but it’s a totally different thing.”

There’s more out of Boston as the city prepares for the Eastern Conference finals and the No. 1 pick:

  • Winning the lottery gives the Celtics more leverage if they decide to reopen trade talks with the Pacers or Bulls, writes Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders. When Boston inquired about Paul George before the trade deadline, the Pacers were asking for a package that included the pick, along with Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown. According to Greene, the Celtics refused to part with Crowder in any deal, which shut down the pursuit of George. Boston also had interest in Jimmy Butler, and there have been reports that those talks will resume this summer.
  • President of basketball operations Danny Ainge is enjoying the rewards of his patience, according to Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com. Ainge started the rebuilding process in 2013 by trading Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets for a package of draft picks that produced the No. 3 selection last year [Brown], the No. 1 this season and Brooklyn’s unprotected first-rounder in 2018. Ainge has resisted the temptation to part with those picks and is in the process of building a group of talented young players around his veteran core.
  • Ainge plans to keep his options open between now and the draft, but he understands that his assets increased significantly Tuesday night, relays Kurt Helin of NBC Sports“At the trade deadline we were trading away the possibility of the No. 1 pick, a 25 percent chance of the No. 1 pick, but that’s a 75 percent chance of not having that pick, and that’s how teams look at it, which is probably why we didn’t get a deal done,” Ainge said. “Now we have the No. 1 pick and we will explore the value of it.”

Pacers Work Out Dillon Brooks, Semi Ojeleye, Others

Jimmy Kimmel Tries To Recruit George To L.A.

Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel tried to serve as a Lakers recruiter with guest Paul George Monday night, relays Scott Horner of The Indianapolis Star. George can opt out of his contract next summer and is rumored to have strong interest in playing in his hometown of Los Angeles. “We would really like him to become a Laker,” Kimmel said in his introduction, then asked George several questions about joining the team. George talked about his plans to work out with Kobe Bryant this summer and said the former Lakers star is “the biggest person in my house. Not even me.” He made sure to tell Kimmel, “I love Indy, though,” leaving some doubt about how his free agency might play out next year.

There’s more news from the Pacific Division:

  • Serbian star Bogdan Bogdanovic turned aside the latest question about whether he will join the Kings next season, according to Noel Harris of The Sacramento Bee. The inquiry came in an interview Monday with Turkish television. “I don’t like to talk about that during the season,” he said. “I have my goals here.” Bogdanovic has led his Fenerbahce Istanbul team to the Euroleague Final Four, earning all-league honors in the process. The Kings acquired his draft rights from the Suns in a trade last summer. “My interest is not only money,” he added. “I want to prove that I can play in the NBA. I don’t want to go there to sit on a bench.”
  • After being blasted by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich for his role in injuring Kawhi Leonard, Warriors center Zaza Pachulia received some support from a former employer, writes Monte Poole of CSNBayArea. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban came to Pachulia’s defense, saying, “That’s not how Zaza plays.”
  • Clippers assistant Mike Woodson, who coached Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks, would be in favor of acquiring him this summer, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN.com. “I love Carmelo Anthony, that’s all I’m gonna say,” Woodson said in an interview with TMZ“… He was great for me.” Woodson took over the Knicks midway through the 2011/12 season and served as head coach through 2013/14.

NBA Confirms Lottery Reps, Will Announce All-NBA Teams On Thursday

The NBA confirmed each team’s representatives today for this year’s draft lottery, which will take place on Tuesday night. As confirmed by the league (via Twitter), here are this year’s reps for lottery teams:

  1. Boston Celtics: Wyc Grousbeck (owner)
  2. Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker
  3. Los Angeles Lakers: Magic Johnson (president of basketball operations)
  4. Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid
  5. Orlando Magic: Frank Vogel (head coach)
  6. Minnesota Timberwolves: Andrew Wiggins
  7. New York Knicks: Walt Frazier (MSG Network broadcaster)
  8. Sacramento Kings: Dave Joerger (head coach)
  9. Dallas Mavericks: Michael Finley (assistant VP of basketball operations)
  10. New Orleans Pelicans: Alvin Gentry (head coach)
  11. Charlotte Hornets: Rich Cho (GM)
  12. Detroit Pistons: Jeff Bower (GM)
  13. Denver Nuggets: Gary Harris
  14. Miami Heat: Alonzo Mourning (VP of player programs)

Additionally, the NBA also announced that it will reveal several award winners and award finalists later this week. The league will unveil its three All-NBA teams on Thursday. Then, prior to the Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday, the NBA will name its three finalists for each major award: MVP, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Most Improved Player, and Coach of the Year.

Those individual awards won’t be officially announced until June 26, during the NBA’s inaugural awards broadcast on TNT. However, the All-NBA announcement on Thursday will be an intriguing one. A team’s ability to offer a player a more lucrative Designated Veteran Extension hinges on whether or not he earns an All-NBA nod. So teams like the Pacers and Jazz will be watching very closely to see if Paul George and Gordon Hayward earn All-NBA spots and become eligible for those super-max extensions.

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