Jalen Smith

Pacers Notes: Offseason, Haliburton, Turner, J. Smith

After a disappointing 25-win season for the Pacers, Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star contends that the team should continue to reshape its roster this offseason, with a focus on building around a core duo of Tyrese Haliburton and Myles Turner. Doyel thinks that 2021 first-round picks Isaiah Jackson and Chris Duarte should be in the conversation for the starting lineup next season, but shouldn’t be considered locks by any means.

Doyel would also like to see Indiana part with Malcolm Brogdon and Buddy Hield, and not bring back free agent T.J. Warren, who only played four games over the past two seasons (zero in 2021/22) while recovering from consecutive stress fractures in his left foot.

The draft will be key, Doyel notes. The Pacers have a 42.1% chance of landing a top-four pick, and will own the Cavs’ first-round pick if Cleveland beats Atlanta and advances as the No. 8 seed (the Cavs keep the pick otherwise). Indiana also owns a couple of second-round picks from Houston (No. 31) and Phoenix (No. 58).

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • Haliburton said he had a humbling experience as a teenager when he faced off against another future NBA player, according to James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. “I think my biggest one would be Tre Jones from the Spurs,” Haliburton said. “I don’t know if he knows this, but we played each other when I was like 16. He killed me. Oh my God, he killed me. I left that day like, ‘Oh my God, I’m not cut for this. I’m just probably not that good.’ So being able to play against him in the NBA, it’s crazy how it comes full circle.”
  • The offseason will be a big one for Jalen Smith, who will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time, writes Joel Lorenzi of The Indianapolis Star. “This is a huge offseason, and a scary offseason,” Smith said. “Obviously, as a young player, you don’t want to make the wrong decision. … This offseason is gonna come down to a lot of thinking. A lot of late night conversations with my agency, my family, just trying to figure out the right path for me.” The Pacers will be prohibited from offering Smith a starting salary higher than $4.67MM, the amount of his 2022/23 option that was turned down last fall.
  • Boyd and Nat Newell explore the team’s offseason on the “Pacing the Pacers podcast,” per Clark Wade of The Indianapolis Star.

Central Notes: Turner, Pacers, Stephenson, Holiday, Beilein

Considered a prime trade candidate earlier in the season, Pacers center Myles Turner ultimately stayed put after he injured his foot and Indiana opted to move Domantas Sabonis instead. Appearing on the HoopsHype podcast with Michael Scotto, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files said he believes Indiana should either trade or extend Turner this offseason rather than having him enter 2022/23 on an expiring contract with a retooling team.

Agness believes the Pacers are more likely to bring back Turner than to move him, but notes that the Mavericks would be one team of interest to Turner if he’s shopped, since he was born and raised in the Dallas area. Scotto spoke to four NBA executives who believe the Pacers could get at least a protected first-round pick for Turner if he’s traded this offseason.

Within the same podcast, Agness acknowledged that the Pacers could gauge the trade market for Malcolm Brogdon and Buddy Hield, but he doesn’t view either player as a lock to be dealt. Agness also expressed skepticism that Indiana will be able to re-sign big man Jalen Smith, since he expects other teams to exceed a $4.67MM starting salary, which is the most the Pacers can offer.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Veteran wing Lance Stephenson is interested in re-signing with the Pacers this offseason, regardless of whether the team attempts to reload for another playoff push or leans further into rebuilding mode, according to Scotto. Stephenson would like to spend the rest of his career in Indiana, Scotto adds.
  • Having logged 2,075 minutes this season, Jrue Holiday has earned a $306K bonus in his contract with the Bucks, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Holiday is also on track to receive a bonus based on his games played and rebounds per game, Marks adds (via Twitter).
  • John Beilein‘s brief head coaching stint in Cleveland was a disaster, but he has embraced a new role out of the spotlight with the Pistons, as Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press details. Detroit’s senior advisor of player development, Beilein is a “meticulous note-taker,” Sankofa writes. “There’s some guys that, with one approach, shoot 45%,” Beilein said. “With another approach, shoot 20%. I keep this. Or left-hand dribble versus right-hand dribble, they shoot drastically different percentages. I’m keeping that stuff that they probably don’t have in the NBA databook, whether a guy shoots a hang dribble or a quick dribble. That’s not in the computer, but I can compute it.”

Central Notes: Warren, Smith, Wade, Bulls

Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle expressed disappointment that T.J. Warren (foot) won’t be playing this season, James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star writes. Warren has been rehabbing from a stress fracture and recently started playing five-on-five in practice.

The 28-year-old hasn’t played at all in 2021/22 and only appeared in four games last season, but he did average 19.8 points and 4.2 rebounds in 67 games in ’19/20. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

“He had one of the most challenging years of rehab and trying to bring himself back that I’ve ever seen a player have,” Carlisle said. “He stayed positive. He stayed in the fight the entire time, and he is close. We obviously wish him the very, very best, and we’ll see where it goes from here in terms of when he’ll be back.”

There’s more from the Central Division tonight:

  • Pacers center Jalen Smith suffered a head contusion in the team’s win over the Rockets on Friday, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files tweets. Smith, who exited the game with roughly four minutes left in the third quarter, finished with an impressive 17 points and 10 rebounds in just 13 minutes off the bench.
  • Cavaliers forward Dean Wade will undergo further testing on his sore right knee, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes. Wade will miss his fourth straight game on Saturday and underwent tests that came back inconclusive. According to Fedor, there’s growing concern about a possible meniscus injury.
  • The Bulls have now lost eight of their last 10 games, dropping a 129-102 decision to the Suns on Friday, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic writes. Chicago (41-29) ranks fifth in the Eastern Conference with 12 games left in the season. “It’s just snowballing downhill,” star guard DeMar DeRozan said. The Bulls were first in the conference standings just three weeks ago.

Eastern Notes: Harden, Sixers, J. Smith, Oladipo, Bucks

James Harden‘s effort level came under scrutiny during his final games in Brooklyn, but he appears more motivated to keep his foot on the gas pedal for his new team. As Tim Bontemps of ESPN writes, Harden raved about the environment in Wells Fargo Center on Thursday after making his home debut with the Sixers, calling it “exciting” to play in front of the Philadelphia fans.

“The love, the fans, it feels like home. Just the love, the support, man, from looking around, hearing, ‘We love you, James,'” Harden said. “That right there makes me go out and play harder, and I just wanted to do whatever it takes to get the win.”

While the Sixers have looked great since Harden made his debut last Friday, two of their three wins have come against a reeling Knicks team. With matchups against Cleveland, Miami, Chicago, and Brooklyn up next on the schedule, the 76ers will face a tougher test as they look to continue developing chemistry and push for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

“Every game for us is gonna be tough,” Harden said, per Bontemps. “We’re new, we’re fairly new, we’re still learning each other. Every game is going to be a learning experience for us, and we’ve got to just find ways to continue to chip away, continue to get better, win or lose. Obviously it’s better when you win to figure it out, but it’s going to be great tests for us and we’re really looking forward to it.”

Here’s more from around the East:

  • Pacers center Jalen Smith was fined $20K by the NBA for “directing profane language toward a game official,” the league announced on Wednesday. Smith was ejected from the game as a result of the incident, which took place during the third quarter of Indiana’s loss to Orlando on Monday.
  • Heat guard Victor Oladipo has returned to the team after taking part in three practices this week with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s G League affiliate, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. The Heat still haven’t provided an update on Oladipo’s potential season debut, but Chiang confirms that the club is hoping he’ll be able to play within the next couple weeks, as ESPN reported over the weekend.
  • After coming out of the trade deadline with three open roster spots, the Bucks filled two of them with former Nets, and both DeAndre’ Bembry and Jevon Carter have given Milwaukee a boost with their intensity and versatility on defense, says Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “It’s fun, man,” Carter said after Monday’s game. “I was telling the guys … I haven’t played this hard in I don’t know how long. … Just being out there playing with a team that’s locked in defensively is just, for me, it’s just fun to be a part of, honestly. That’s really all I can say, I’m just having fun.”

Central Notes: LaVine, Thompson, Haliburton, Allen, Williams, Smith

The Bulls officially signed veteran center Tristan Thompson on Saturday, adding a former NBA champion to their rotation. Thompson, who is expected to provide depth behind star center Nikola Vucevic, drew praise from new teammate Zach LaVine this weekend.

“He’s going to bring another championship-level guy where he’s been in these games before,” LaVine said, as relayed by Julia Poe of the Chicago Tribune. “He can help us in these situations.”

Chicago is tied with Miami for the best record in the East at 38-21. The team won its final five games entering the All-Star break and has added Vucevic, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso and others over the last calendar year.

“With AK [Arturas Karnisovas] and Marc [Eversley], obviously, they’re going for it,” LaVine said of the Bulls’ front office. “They trust in me, they trust in DeMar, they trust in this group, and it just means a lot going into the last year of my contract that they’re putting a team around us that can compete.’’

There’s more from the Central Division tonight:

  • Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton finally enjoyed his Rising Stars moment on Friday, Scott Agness of FieldHouse Files examines. The 21-year-old was acquired by Indiana before this season’s trade deadline. In four games, he’s averaged 20.8 points and 11.0 assists per contest.
  • Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen has enjoyed every moment of All-Star Weekend, Kelsey Russo of The Athletic writes. Allen is a major reason why Cleveland owns the fourth-best record in the East at 35-23. This is his first All-Star appearance. “It’s still a lot to take in,” Allen said. “I don’t think I’ve fully grasped the moment that I’m in. I’m part of the top 24 players in the NBA at this All-Star Weekend, so I’m just excited, I’m ready to take it all in and just absorb every moment. It’s been a one-of-a-kind weekend that I wouldn’t trade for anything.”
  • Suns head coach Monty Williams is happy to see Jalen Smith get a new opportunity with the Pacers, as relayed by James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star (Twitter link). Smith was traded from Phoenix to Indiana earlier this month. “I’m happy for him,” Williams said as part of a larger quote. “He’s a guy that worked his tail off every single day with us. He just couldn’t crack the rotation.” Smith has appeared in four games with the Pacers, averaging 12.0 points and 6.3 rebounds in 21 minutes per contest.

Central Notes: Jones Jr., Duarte, Cavaliers, Smith

Bulls wing Derrick Jones Jr. is determined to play through the pain of a fractured right index finger, Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago writes. The Bulls are already playing without Zach LaVine, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, Patrick Williams and Javonte Green due to injuries.

When Jones initially broke his finger in January, he was given a six-to-eight week recovery timeline. However, the Bulls later issued an update saying the forward would be able to return sooner if he was able to play with a splint. That was less than three weeks ago.

Jones returned on Saturday against the Thunder, playing 23 minutes off the bench. In addition to a finger injury, he was also dealing with a knee injury he suffered a couple weeks before breaking his finger, so this was his first action in a month.

“Personally, I love to compete, and me being out since January 12 has been eating me alive on the inside,” Jones said. “I was just waiting for this pain to die down a little bit so I could hop back out there. Soon as it went away a little bit, I was right back out there tonight.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Pacers rookie Chris Duarte will miss the team’s next two games after jamming his toe, Scott Agness of FieldHouse Files tweets. Duarte exited early in Sunday’s game against Minnesota due to the injury. It could impact his availability for the Rising Stars Game, which takes place on Friday, Agness notes.
  • The Cavaliers‘ loss to the Sixers on Saturday was a valuable experience for the team, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes. Cleveland lost the road game 93-103, allowing Joel Embiid to finish with a 40-point triple-double. “The intensity of which you’re going to have to play at in order to compete with teams like this down the stretch,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said after being asked what could be taken from the loss, according to Fedor. “It was a clear message from the beginning of the game the intensity that they were coming with, the physicality that they played with. These are the tests that we talk about, and these are the lessons that we have to learn.”
  • Despite joining the Pacers on the day of a game, Jalen Smith showed promise in his debut on Sunday, James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star writes. Smith finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds off the bench, logging 23 minutes. Indiana acquired him and a 2022 second-round pick from Phoenix in exchange for Torrey Craig last week.

Pacers Notes: Haliburton, Hield, Turner, Brogdon, Smith, Sabonis

New addition Tyrese Haliburton said the Kings gave him no indication that he might be traded to the Pacers or any other team, as Wheat Hotchkiss of Pacers.com writes. “It’s just overwhelming,” Haliburton told reporters on Thursday, following his first practice with Indiana. “I had no idea, they gave me no indication this was happening.”

Haliburton said it’s hard not to feel a little circumspect entering a new city after being hurt, but he’s still excited for a fresh opportunity.

It’s scary, right?” he said. “I’ve put a lot of love, a lot of trust in Sacramento and kind of immersed myself in the community and with the people. They got rid of me, but you know that’s part of the business. I think that’s kind of my best trait. It’s like somebody who just loves hard. I want to be here. I want to be a part of it.

“It can be the biggest upside, but it can be a big downfall, too. It hurt when I got traded because I loved being there and I loved the people, but coming here I’m going to do the same thing. They’ve shown me nothing but love since I’ve gotten here and they’re another organization taking a chance on me (when) they have no reason to. So I’ll put everything I’ve got into it.”

Here’s more from Indiana:

  • Buddy Hield, who was also part of the trade, said it was “a shift that was needed,” after a disappointing season in Sacramento, Joel Lorenzi of The Indianapolis Star relays. “Just want to go there and do what I do best, shoot the ball and try to make opportunities for my teammates,” Hield said. “Just bring the positive energy I can bring to this team.”
  • Coach Rick Carlisle said Myles Turner (stress reaction in foot) will be out through the All-Star break, but Malcolm Brogdon (Achilles soreness) is “close” to returning. Neither player has an official timetable, James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star tweets.
  • If Jalen Smith plays well with the Pacers, he might price himself out of Indiana for an unusual reason, according to Nat Newell of The Indianapolis Star. Smith, who the Pacers acquired in a trade that sent Torrey Craig to the Suns, had his third-year team option declined by Phoenix, making him an unrestricted free agent this summer, but with one big caveat — Indiana can only offer up to the amount of his declined option, which was $4,670,160.
  • Two-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis, who was sent to the Kings as part of the trade that brought Hield and Haliburton to Indiana, thanked Pacers fans on Instagram recently, Newell writes in a separate story for The Star.

Leftover Deadline Rumors: Raptors, Rockets, Lakers, Nuggets, Knicks

The Raptors considered a series of potential trade scenarios before they agreed to send Goran Dragic and a draft pick to San Antonio for Thaddeus Young, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca.

According to Grange, Toronto had hoped the Hawks would make Bogdan Bogdanovic available, viewing the veteran wing as someone who could help the team in both the short- and long-term. However, Atlanta didn’t budge on Bogdanovic, forcing the Raptors to look elsewhere.

The Raptors inquired on Pistons forward Jerami Grant and Kings forward Harrison Barnes, sources tell Grange, but the price tags for those players were high. As previously reported, there were also discussions about a three-team deal that would’ve sent Talen Horton-Tucker and Nerlens Noel to Toronto, but Grange suggests those talks never gained serious traction.

Here are a few more leftover rumors on trades that didn’t get made on deadline day:

  • The Rockets never made real progress on a John Wall trade with the Lakers, who were unwilling to attach a first-round pick to Russell Westbrook, but a few days before the deadline, Houston got much closer to moving Wall to another team, a source tells Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. That proposed deal ultimately fell through, per Feigen, who doesn’t specify which team the Rockets were talking to.
  • During a TV appearance, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (video link) said one concept that “could have been discussed” by the Rockets and Lakers before the deadline, “depending on who you believe,” was a swap of Westbrook, Horton-Tucker, and draft capital for Wall and Christian Wood. It doesn’t sound like those talks, if they even occurred, advanced at all.
  • After agreeing to acquire center Jalen Smith from Phoenix, the Pacers explored flipping him to a new team, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). Fischer says the Nuggets were among the clubs in the mix for Smith, but Indiana didn’t find a deal it liked and ended up hanging onto the third-year big man.
  • The Knicks didn’t make a deal on deadline day, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Sources tell Steve Popper of Newsday that the club was willing to move just about anyone on its roster, but had trouble finding trade partners for many of its top trade candidates, including Kemba Walker and Noel. According to Popper, his sources suggested there was a “universal lack of interest in the Knicks’ talent and contracts.”

Pacers, Suns Swap Torrey Craig, Jalen Smith

7:33pm: The trade is official, according to an announcement from the Suns.

3:57pm: The Pacers will receive the Suns’ 2022 second-round pick in the deal, according to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link).

1:03pm: The Pacers will send Torrey Craig to the Suns in exchange for Jalen Smith, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Indiana will also receive a future second-round pick in the deal.

Craig, 31, was part of the Phoenix team that reached the NBA Finals last season. He only got into 32 games with the Suns and left in free agency to find a team that would give him a larger role. He signed a two-year, $10MM deal with the Pacers and averaged 6.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 51 games.

There has been speculation that Smith, a 21-year-old big man, would be moved ever since the Suns decided not to pick up his third-year option. The 10th pick in the 2020 draft, Smith got into 29 games this season, averaging 6.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in 13.2 minutes per night. He may get a larger opportunity on an Indiana team that traded away Domantas Sabonis this week.

Because Smith’s option for next season has already been declined, the Pacers can’t offer him a new contract starting at more than $4,670,160, which was the amount of the option.

Timberwolves, Suns Interested In Thaddeus Young

The Timberwolves and Suns are among the teams that have expressed interest in trading for veteran Spurs forward Thaddeus Young, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Young, who was sent from the Bulls to the Spurs in the DeMar DeRozan sign-and-trade in the offseason, had a nice year in Chicago last season, averaging 12.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 4.3 APG in 68 games (24.3 MPG).

However, he was essentially just a salary-matching placeholder in that DeRozan deal and hasn’t been used much in San Antonio this season. His averages of 6.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 14.2 MPG in 26 games are career lows.

Still, the Spurs are hopeful they’ll be able to find a trade partner willing to give up at least one draft pick for Young, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who hears that San Antonio and Minnesota have discussed a deal that would feature Taurean Prince. Scotto has heard the same thing, writing that the two teams have had exploratory talks about a trade that would send Prince and a second-round pick to the Spurs for Young.

Phoenix, meanwhile, has had previous discussions with San Antonio about trading Dario Saric, Jalen Smith, and a second-round pick for Young, per Scotto. While Smith – like Prince – will be a free agent at season’s end, Saric has one more year left on his contract. If Saric is fully healthy next season following his 2021 ACL tear, that second guaranteed year may not be a problem for the Spurs, but it will certainly be an important factor to consider as they weigh their options.

If the Spurs don’t end up finding a deal they like for Young, the two sides would likely try to negotiate a buyout agreement, says Fischer.