Jeremy Lamb

Central Notes: LaVine, Young, Lamb, Nance, Pistons

Zach LaVine is enjoying a career year in Billy Donovan‘s first season with the Bulls, and the success of that pairing bodes well for the team’s long-term outlook, says K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Donovan won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, and word around the NBA suggests that LaVine won’t be either, Johnson adds.

With LaVine expected to be unavailable on the trade market in the coming weeks, the Bulls’ most valuable trade chip could be Thaddeus Young. ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) says a handful of league executives identified Young as a player who could impact the playoff race if he’s moved, noting that he’s a versatile big man on a reasonable contract who has plenty of postseason experience.

The Bulls currently hold the sixth seed in the East and figure to be in the mix for a playoff spot – perhaps via the play-in tournament – but Marks argues the club should take a big-picture view and consider moving Young, especially if a team is willing to give up a first-round pick for him.

Johnson, on the other hand, contends in a separate NBC Sports Chicago story that moving Young for anything short of a lottery pick or a very promising young player might be a mistake. As Johnson explains, the veteran forward has had a positive impact on LaVine on and off the court, and LaVine and the Bulls’ other young players need to get some postseason experience at some point — Young could play an important role in helping get them there.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • It has been a full year since Jeremy Lamb suffered a torn left ACL, and while it takes some players a while to get back to 100% following that injury, the Pacers guard has thrived since making his season debut on January 20, writes Wheat Hotchkiss of Pacers.com. Lamb is averaging 12.2 PPG in just 24.7 minutes per contest, and has made an even 50% of his three-point attempts through 17 games. “It’s great to see how far I’ve been able to come,” Lamb said. “I’m still getting stronger, still working on it, but it’s encouraging.”
  • Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr., who underwent surgery on his hand earlier this month, is making positive progress and recently had his cast removed, tweets Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Nance was ruled out at least six weeks when he underwent the procedure, so we won’t see him back until sometime after the All-Star break.
  • Missing their top two point guards, the Pistons are seeing some positive signs from Dennis Smith Jr. and Saben Lee, says Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Lee, who has averaged 15.3 PPG and 4.3 APG in his last three games, is showing why GM Troy Weaver referred to him as part of Detroit’s “core four” of rookie building blocks, despite the fact that Lee was a second-round pick who signed a two-way deal, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.

Jeremy Lamb Cleared For First Game Action Since February

Pacers team doctors have green-lit wing Jeremy Lamb to return to game action for the first time this season, per Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link). Head coach Nate Bjorkgren would not divulge whether or not Lamb will play in tonight’s contest against the Mavericks, Agness adds.

Whenever Lamb does come back for Indiana, it will mark his first on-court appearance since tearing his left ACL on February 23, 2020 in a 127-81 loss to the Raptors. The 6’5″ swingman, 28, is in the second season of a three-year, $31.5MM contract he signed with the Pacers in 2019.

Across 46 games with Indiana (including 42 starts) of a possible 90 contests (including the 2020 postseason), he averaged 12.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.1 APG, and 1.2 SPG. He posted a promising slash line of .451/.335/.836.

With starting small forward T.J. Warren and new addition Caris LeVert sidelined indefinitely, Lamb’s return will provide the Pacers with a much-needed offensive boost on the perimeter.

Pacers Notes: LeVert, Lamb, McConnell, Turner

Caris LeVert is sidelined indefinitely after a mass was discovered on his kidney, but Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard believes there’s a chance he could play this season, tweets Eric Woodyard of ESPN. No timetable has been set on a possible return, and the team will decide how to proceed depending on the results of further testing.

“As soon as we found this out, all eyes were trying to help Caris,” Pritchard said. “This organization is going to step up.” (Twitter link)

The mass was discovered during a physical that LeVert was required to take after being sent from Brooklyn to Indiana this week as part of a four-team deal. The Pacers could have voided the trade after the mass was discovered, but they opted to take a chance on LeVert.

“There’s risks, we’re willing to accept that risk but there’s also a human element in that,” Pritchard said (Twitter link). He added that everyone on the Pacers’ management team was comfortable with completing the deal, according to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link).

There’s more from Indianapolis:

  • The Pacers dealt with the Rockets to acquire LeVert rather than trying to get him from the Nets, according to Agness (Twitter link). Pritchard credits general manager Chad Buchanan with leading the effort. “We didn’t feel like we could get Caris directly from Brooklyn,” Pritchard said. “We needed a third team.”
  • Guard Jeremy Lamb is nearing a return from an ACL tear in his left knee that he suffered last February, writes Michael McCleary of The Indianapolis Star. Coach Nate Bjorkgren said today that when he asked Lamb how he was feeling, he responded with a “thumbs up.” Lamb was a starter last season and averaged 12.5 points in 46 games before the injury. “I’m not saying that means (he’ll return) tomorrow, but it’s getting very close,” Bjorkgren said.
  • T.J. McConnell has adjusted his game to the offseason coaching change, writes J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star. McConnell has nearly abandoned his turnaround jumpers in the lane under Bjorkgren, who prefers layups and open 3-pointers. “He’s a guy who takes himself for granted,” said teammate Malcolm Brogdon. “When you talk to him he doesn’t understand how good he is. His IQ on the floor, knowing who to get the ball to, when to get the ball to him.”
  • Myles Turner is focused on winning Defensive Player of the Year honors, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball News. He’s leading the league with 4.2 blocks per game, more than six entire teams. “I’m being more aggressive defensively,” Turner said. “I’m going after more shots and putting myself in position to be successful in that area.”
  • The Pacers received $2.6MM from the Nets in the revised four-team trade, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Indiana created a $4.79M trade exception, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).

Eastern Notes: LeVert, Simmons, Embiid, Lamb, Bulls

With Kevin Durant set to return on Sunday and Kyrie Irving potentially returning next week, Nets head coach Steve Nash has to figure out what to do with Caris LeVert, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Durant had been sidelined due to the league’s health and safety protocols, while Irving continues to miss time due to personal reasons.

LeVert, widely considered to be the team’s third-best offensive option behind its star duo, has averaged 18.1 points and six assists in 27.2 minutes per game this season. The 26-year-old recently acknowledged that it’s easier to get into sync as a starter, though he hasn’t been given a consistent role to date.

“Yeah, the roles are definitely different when those guys are playing,” LeVert said, naming Irving and Durant. “Yeah, I think so. But for me, just working off the ball is definitely something I’ve worked on a lot this offseason, playing off of players, playing off the ball, playing that 2-man spot, that 3-man spot. That’s where I’ve really improved, and as the season progresses, I’ll be able to show that.”

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • Sixers star Ben Simmons will miss Monday’s game against the Hawks due to a knee injury, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. He’ll continue receiving treatment and be listed as day-to-day going forward. Meanwhile, star center Joel Embiid (back soreness) is listed as probable, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne (Twitter link).
  • Pacers guard Jeremy Lamb will travel with the team on its upcoming road trip, Michael McCleary of the Indianapolis Star writes. Lamb, who’s recently been a full-practice participant, suffered a torn ACL in February of 2020, with head coach Nate Bjorkgren waiting for the “green light” to play him. “He’s getting close,” Bjorkgren said, “he’s getting very close to playing.” Indiana has upcoming games against the Kings on Monday, Warriors on Tuesday, Blazers on Thursday and Suns on Saturday.
  • The Bulls are hoping to return several protocol-impacted players soon, Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago writes. As Schaefer notes, Chandler HutchisonTomas Satoransky, Lauri Markkanen and Ryan Arcidiacono haven’t been active in almost two weeks. “There’s nothing normal,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “Guys are pretty much just locked up in their rooms, there’s very very little anybody can do. The days are long for these guys. It’s just a lot different.”

Pacers Notes: Oladipo, Roster, Hayward, Warren, Lamb

Don’t count on Victor Oladipo to start the season with any team besides the Pacers. Speaking today to reporters, including Michael McCleary of The Indianapolis Star, president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said that Oladipo and agent Aaron Turner have both expressed that the standout guard is fully committed to the franchise.

“I think it took some time for (Oladipo) to think about what are his goals,” Pritchard said on Wednesday. “I got a call from his agent yesterday and it’s the same thing, ‘Can’t wait to get to camp, can’t wait to show that he’s healthy and that he’s 100% committed.’ And I have to take people at their word.”

Oladipo has been the subject of trade rumors for several months, with one report even suggesting that he’d asked members of other teams last season if he could come play for them. A report earlier today confirmed that the Bucks and Pacers discussed a possible Oladipo trade earlier in the offseason.

However, the 28-year-old publicly committed to the organization less than two weeks ago and Pritchard sounds satisfied with where things stand. The Pacers’ top basketball executive told reporters today, including McCleary, that the two-time All-Star has formed a strong relationship with new head coach Nate Bjorkgren and that he thinks that could be “a major factor in “chang(ing) the tide in terms of what (Oladipo) feels about us.”

Here’s more out of Indiana:

  • The Pacers have 13 players on guaranteed contracts and will keep the last two roster spots open to encourage competition, Pritchard said today (Twitter link via J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star).
  • Pritchard said the Pacers pursued Gordon Hayward in free agency “as hard as we possibly could” (Twitter link via Michael). He added that he was transparent with the Pacers players who were discussed in Hayward sign-and-trade scenarios, so there were no surprises when those names were leaked (Twitter link via Michael).
  • Addressing the Hayward situation further, Pritchard said “it hurt a little” to miss out on the forward, since “the feedback was he wanted to be here.” Ultimately though, the Pacers didn’t feel comfortable matching the Celtics’ asking price in a sign-and-trade deal.It can’t come at a cost so debilitating that it doesn’t make sense,” Pritchard said (Twitter links via Michael).
  • The Pacers are determined to play T.J. Warren at the four this season after his success there during the NBA restart, Pritchard said (Twitter link via Michael).
  • According to Pritchard, the Pacers are hoping that Jeremy Lamb will be practicing by mid-December and back on the court by mid-January at the latest (Twitter link via Michael). Lamb is returning from a torn ACL suffered last February.
  • In case you missed it, Indianapolis will now host the 2024 All-Star Game rather than the 2021 event, which is being postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.

Central Notes: Reynolds, Porter, Lamb, Leaf, Galloway

When the NBA announced the official rosters for the summer restart on Monday, Cameron Reynolds‘ name didn’t show up on the Bucks‘ squad. Asked about Reynolds’ omission, head coach Mike Budenholzer explained that the limitations placed on the team’s overall traveling party – including coaches and trainers – resulted in Milwaukee leaving its second two-way player at home.

“It’s really hard not to bring him,” Budenholzer said, per Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “But at some point … you start thinking, ‘How do we make sure that, whether it be the top eight, nine, 10, 11 guys, have the best health from our sports performance, whether it be a massage person, a physical therapist, strength and conditioning coaches.’ … We felt like 16 players was the right decision and all the staff that we brought from sports performance and assistant coaches gave us our best group.”

Reynolds’ absence in Orlando doesn’t mean he’s no longer under contract with the Bucks. His two-way deal with the team will expire in October, and Milwaukee will have an opportunity to re-sign him at that point.

Here’s more from out of the Central:

Central Notes: Bucks, Lamb, Pistons, Pacers

The Bucks, who had been hoping to lock up Giannis Antetokounmpo to a super-max contract extension this summer, are one of many NBA teams whose future will be complicated by the current hiatus and the potential loss of revenue associated with it, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

As Pincus details, a significant loss of revenue for the NBA would compromise the league’s ability to continue increasing its cap substantially over the next couple years. That would, in turn, create uncertainty about Antetokounmpo’s long-term earning power on a super-max deal that begins in 2021/22, and could have a major impact on Milwaukee’s ability to navigate the cap and the luxury-tax line.

Here’s more from around the NBA’s Central division:

  • It fell through the cracks to some extent last week due to the NBA’s suspension, but Pacers swingman Jeremy Lamb underwent surgery to repair his torn left ACL and torn meniscus. He’ll be out indefinitely, according to the team. Given the serious nature of his injury, it seems safe to assume Lamb won’t return until sometime in 2020/21 no matter when the ’19/20 season resumes.
  • James Edwards III of The Athletic examines how the COVID-19 situation may specifically impact the Pistons, exploring whether Derrick Rose could now return this season (yes), whether Christian Wood‘s free agency value will be impacted at all by his positive test for coronavirus (no), and more.
  • Pacers owner Herb Simon is giving financial add to the part-time workers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse affected by the NBA’s stoppage, tweets Bob Kravitz of The Athletic. Meanwhile, the Bucks announced (via Twitter) that they’ll match the donations their players make to part-time arena workers at the Fiserv Forum.

Central Notes: Wood, Brogdon, Cavs, Bulls

Christian Wood will be reaching the unrestricted free agent market in 2020 on the heels of a career year, and the Pistons‘ big man isn’t pretending that he hasn’t thought about what the offseason might bring, as Keith Langlois of Pistons.com details.

“I know it’s a big summer for me,” Wood said on Tuesday. “I actually think I’m one of the best bigs in this free agency coming up with my ability to shoot and space the floor and be able to play the five and be able to guard and switch on the perimeter. I’ve just got to stay focused. I’ve got to keep with the same mindset, same attitude what I’m doing right now.”

While Wood should draw a good deal of interest on the open market this summer, he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of remaining with the Pistons. The fact that Detroit is the team that finally gave him an opportunity to play a regular role is something he won’t forget as he considers his options, per Langlois.

“It’s a huge factor,” Wood said. “Especially with this team being one of the first to actually give me a legitimate chance and playing in games and believing in me and believing in what I do. Especially with (head coach Dwane) Casey, with us establishing a relationship early and throughout right now. It plays a big factor.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

Eastern Notes: Lamb, Robinson, Boylen, Robinson

The Pacers aren’t interested in re-signing swingman Lance Stephenson despite Jeremy Lamb‘s season-ending injury, according to Scott Agness of The Athletic. Stephenson is seeking to return to the league and would welcome a reunion, Agness adds. Aaron Holiday, Justin Holiday, Edmond Sumner and Doug McDermott could all see additional playing time to make up for Lamb’s absence.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Glenn Robinson III isn’t quite sure why the Sixers wanted him, as he told Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders. Robinson was acquired from the Warriors in a deadline deal. “When you come here and your role’s not really explained or you don’t know what’s going on with the trade — it’s not like it was a trade where you come in and immediately have an impact,” Robinson said. “It’s a little different, so… this team is full of wings, full of guys who can play. So really, I don’t really understand it.” Robinson has an expiring contract after signing for the veteran’s minimum with Golden State last summer.
  • Jim Boylen’s chances of remaining head coach of the Bulls beyond this season rest upon whom the front office hires, as K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports explains. The Bulls plan to restructure the front office and there will be at least one new prominent hire in basketball operations, Johnson continues. While it’s unknown whether the newcomer would determine Boylen’s future, the ability to make that decision would likely be a priority for most attractive candidates, Johnson adds.
  • Shooting guard Jerome Robinson hit a big 3-point shot for the Wizards against the Nets this week as he continues to take advantage of his opportunities, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. Acquired in a three-team deadline deal from the Clippers, Robinson is averaging 5.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG and 1.3 APG in 17.6 MPG in seven games with Washington. Robinson, the 13th pick of the 2018 draft, has a $3.7MM guaranteed salary for next season with a $5.3MM team option for the 2021/22 campaign.

Jeremy Lamb Out For Season With Torn ACL, Meniscus

Pacers wing Jeremy Lamb, who left Sunday’s game in Toronto with a knee injury, has been diagnosed with a torn left ACL, a torn meniscus, and a lateral femoral condylar fracture, the team announced today in a press release. Lamb will undergo surgery and will miss the rest of the 2019/20 season.

The injury occurred when Lamb went up for a dunk attempt in the second quarter. Raptors guard Terence Davis met him at the rim in an attempt to block the shot and Lamb landed awkwardly on his left leg. After the game, he referred to the play as a “freak accident” (Twitter link via Scott Agness of The Athletic).

The diagnosis is a devastating blow for the Pacers and for Lamb, who had been playing a key role for the team in his first season in Indiana. In 46 games (42 starts), the 27-year-old averaged 12.5 PPG and 4.3 RPG with a .451/.335/.836 shooting line in 28.1 minutes per contest.

The Pacers do have Victor Oladipo back in their lineup now, and Oladipo figures to play many of the minutes that belonged to Lamb during the first half of the season. Justin Holiday, Aaron Holiday, T.J. McConnell, and even Edmond Sumner are among the other players who could be relied upon more heavily with Lamb no longer an option.

Given the serious nature of Lamb’s injury, he’s unlikely to be ready for the start of the 2020/21 season. Although the Pacers haven’t offered a recovery timeline beyond ruling him out for this season, they’ll likely play it safe with the veteran swingman, who is under contract with the team through 2021/22. I’d be surprised if we see him back in Indiana’s lineup before 2021.

The Pacers aren’t eligible to apply for a disabled player exception to replace Lamb this season, since the deadline to apply for a DPE was January 15.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.