Jeremy Lamb

Fischer’s Latest: McCollum, Powell, Simmons, Turner, Hawks, Schroder

Anfernee Simons‘ breakout season is leading to speculation that the Trail Blazers may try to trade CJ McCollum or Norman Powell, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Portland entered the season with plans to be a contender, but injuries and some disappointing performances have left the team in a tight race for a play-in spot. With Damian Lillard sidelined after abdominal surgery, the Blazers may opt to unload some of their assets and take advantage of a high draft pick going into next season.

There have been whispers throughout the league that McCollum might be available, though Fischer wonders how much of a return he’ll provide considering that he’s 30 years old, is in the middle of a down season, and has been out of action for six weeks after suffering a collapsed lung. He also has two full years left on his contract at $33.3MM and $35.8MM.

Powell, who signed a five-year, $90MM extension during the offseason, seems like a more surprising name to be included in trade talks. However, about a dozen teams wanted to acquire him before he went to Portland at last season’s deadline and Fischer found that many league executives see his contract as valuable.

There’s a belief that Powell wouldn’t mind being traded again, as sources tell Fischer that there were “several snags” in his contract negotiations with the Blazers. One of the teams he considered in free agency was the Pelicans, according to Fischer, who notes that New Orleans is seeking to upgrade to improve its chances of reaching the play-in tournament.

Fischer shares a few more trade rumors from around the league:

  • Little has changed on the Ben Simmons trade front since the offseason, as Sixers ownership, the front office, coach Doc Rivers, and star center Joel Embiid are all united in the stance that the team needs to get an elite player in return. Fischer states that Philadelphia is willing to wait for someone along the lines of Lillard, Bradley Beal, James Harden or Jaylen Brown to become available. The Sixers have discussed three-team packages with the Kings, Pacers and Timberwolves, but none of those teams can offer a star that Philadelphia sees as equal value for Simmons.
  • The Pacers are seeking multiple first-round picks in exchange for center Myles Turner. The Mavericks, Timberwolves, Knicks, Kings, Hornets and Trail Blazers have all expressed interest, and several league executives told Fischer that the Raptors might be a team to watch. The Cavaliers and Knicks have asked about Caris LeVert, but Indiana also wants multiple first-rounders for him. The Pacers have gauged the trade value of Justin Holiday, Jeremy Lamb and Torrey Craig too, Fischer adds.
  • The Hawks are willing to consider a major upheaval before the deadline, with a rival assistant GM telling Fischer that he believes everyone except Trae Young and Clint Capela are available. Atlanta appears willing to move De’Andre Hunter for veteran help, and there may be a market for Danilo Gallinari, who only has a $5MM guarantee next season on his $20MM contract.
  • The Celtics will try to trade Dennis Schröder, who is unlikely to be re-signed next season because of tax considerations. The Knicks, Cavaliers and Mavericks are all possible destinations. Boston has also targeted Suns center Jalen Smith, who will be a free agent after Phoenix declined his third-year option.

COVID-19 Updates: Noel, Hornets, Pacers, Ingles, Reed, Bucks, Metu

Knicks center Nerlens Noel has cleared the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, per New York’s PR team (Twitter link). Noel entered the protocols in late December.

The 6’11” big man has only appeared in 17 contests, starting 10, for New York so far this season. The 27-year-old out of Kentucky is averaging 3.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.5 BPG and 1.1 SPG across 23.1 MPG. Knee injuries kept Noel absent for much of the start of the 2021/22 season. He signed a lucrative three-year, $32MM contract with the Knicks during the offseason.

Here are a few more protocol-related updates:

Jeremy Lamb Enters Protocols For Pacers

Pacers reserve swingman Jeremy Lamb tested positive for COVID-19 and has entered the league’s health and safety protocols, according to James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. Head coach Rick Carlisle told reporters, including Boyd, that lead assistant coach Lloyd Pierce returned an inconclusive test and will miss the team’s game against Charlotte Wednesday night.

Lamb, 29, suffered a torn ACL in February 2020 and has struggled to regain the same level of play post-injury. In 26 games this season (14.3 MPG), Lamb is averaging 6.9 PPG, 2.6 RPG and 1.4 APG on .361/.342/.932 shooting. He’s earning $10.5MM this season and will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2022.

There were rumors over the summer that the Pacers were looking to trade Lamb, but they haven’t found any takers yet, with his play not matching his salary. He could potentially be used as salary matching as part of a larger deal, with the Pacers reportedly looking to be active on the trade market. The Pacers hold a 14-20 record, 13th in the East.

Pierce is in his first season with the Pacers after being fired as head coach of the Hawks last season.

Lamb will be out for at least six days or until he returns two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Boyd writes that rookie two-way guard Duane Washington Jr. could receive more minutes in Lamb’s absence. Boyd also notes that with Malcolm Brogdon sidelined (sore Achilles), Keifer Sykes, whom the Pacers recently signed, should receive his first NBA action Wednesday.

Central Notes: Cunningham, Green, Pacers, Mobley

Pistons point guard Cade Cunningham is set to miss Detroit’s entire early-season road trip due to a lingering ankle injury, but could be ready to make his NBA debut on October 30 against the Magic, per Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Cunningham, 20, is apparently still dealing with some soreness.

“Last week, we made the decision to make sure we bring him back gradually, where he’d get some time with the G League team (the Motor City Cruise), practice with them, and get some reps with them,” head coach Dwane Casey said of the top draft pick out of Oklahoma State. “The medical people are holding back — and rightfully so… You don’t want to rush him back if it’s not 100%. That’s the one thing that they want to make sure of, that it was 100%, because there were certain movements he had that were still sore.”

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Reserve forward Javonte Green has already endeared himself to the Bulls faithful since coming over to Chicago at the 2021 trade deadline, writes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Tribune. “(Green is) one of the biggest energy guys we have,’’ Bulls starting point guard Lonzo Ball said. “Not only running the lane but playing defense. He can guard a lot of different positions, and he uses his hands very well… We definitely feed off of that when he comes into the game.’’
  • Pacers guard Jeremy Lamb and forward Oshae Brissett are proving their mettle as galvanizing scorers off the bench so far this season, according to Akeem Glaspie of The Indianapolis Star“A lot of the time the starters are not gonna be able to have it completely going and be able to make shots,” starting point guard Malcolm Brogdon said. “But as long as we defend and the second team comes in and gives us some energy and a spark off the bench offensively, we’re gonna be fine.” Indiana is currently 1-2 in this young season.
  • Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff and his assistants have been showing film of some NBA legends to rookie big man Evan Mobley, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Mobley, the third pick in the 2021 draft out of USC, was utilized much like Hall of Fame big man Kevin Garnett on defense during a 101-95 Cleveland win over the Hawks. He has also watched game tape of future Hall of Fame power forward/center Dirk Nowitzki, as well as current All-Star bigs Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo. “He’s asking me to emulate them but knows I’m still my own player,” Mobley said about Bickerstaff’s strategy. “I try to play my game, take bits and pieces from them, but still be myself and play how I play.” Mobley, already the Cavaliers’ starting power forward, is averaging 15.7 PPG, 8.3 APG, 2.3 BPG and 1.3 APG through three games. Cleveland is 1-2 in those contests.

Jeremy Lamb Unlikely To Finish 2021/22 Season With Pacers

The Pacers have made an effort to trade Jeremy Lamb and his $10.5MM expiring contract this offseason, but haven’t had any luck, so the veteran wing will likely open the season on the team’s roster, writes J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star. However, according to Michael, Lamb isn’t expected to still be a Pacer by the end of the 2021/22 campaign.

Lamb, 29, suffered a torn ACL during his first season in Indiana in 2019/20. That injury delayed his start to his second season with the team, and lingering knee and leg issues limited him to 36 total games in 2020/21. He averaged 10.1 PPG and 3.6 RPG in .435/.406/.947 shooting in 21.3 minutes per contest.

As Michael writes, since the Pacers added Caris LeVert earlier this year and drafted Chris Duarte in July, there’s no longer a clear role on the wing for Lamb, so the team is comfortable moving on from him. However, Lamb may have to prove this fall that he’s fully healthy in order to increase his appeal as a trade chip. At this point, teams likely wouldn’t give up much of value to acquire him.

Although the Pacers haven’t found a deal they like yet, Michael hears that about four teams have expressed some level of interest in Lamb. The Lakers and Hornets are among those clubs, Michael adds.

Central Notes: Pacers, Stanley, Green, T. Antetokounmpo, DeRozan

The Pacers are looking to add a third point guard after trading Aaron Holiday to the Wizards, according to J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star. They’ve been trying to move wing Jeremy Lamb and his expiring $10.5MM contract but have yet to find any takers.

Those factors contributed to the decision to pull a qualifying offer from two-way player Cassius Stanley. However, Stanley’s time in the organization isn’t necessarily over. He’s been offered a training camp invite, though it’s uncertain if he’ll accept it or attempt to hook on with another team.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Javonte Green‘s two-year, veteran’s minimum contract with the Bulls is fully guaranteed and doesn’t include any options, Keith Smith tweets. Green was acquired in March and entered the month as a restricted free agent after Chicago extended him a qualifying offer. The signing was made official on Wednesday.
  • Thanasis Antetokounmpo received a player option in the final year of his two-year contract with the Bucks, Ian Begley of SNY.TV tweets. He signed a two-year deal worth approximately $3.6MM.
  • DeMar DeRozan will make $26MM in the first season of his three-year contract, somewhat below what was initially reported, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. DeRozan, who was acquired by the Bulls in a sign-and-trade, will make $27.3MM and $28.6MM in the final two years, for a total of $81.9MM, according to Smith (Twitter link). The contract is fully guaranteed without any options or bonuses.

Pacers Rumors: Turner, Lamb, Brogdon, Ball, FAs

Plenty of trade speculation has swirled around the Pacers heading into the 2021 offseason, but a league source tells J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (subscription required) that a “seismic” change to Indiana’s roster is unlikely.

One player whose name has popped up frequently in trade rumors during the last year or two is Myles Turner, and teams haven’t slowed their efforts to land the rim-protecting big man. According to Michael, the Knicks have gotten more aggressive lately in their pursuit of Turner — they aren’t the only club trying to trade for Turner, but they appear to be making the strongest push as of late, Michael says.

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • With lottery pick Chris Duarte expected to step into a role on the wing, the Pacers are interested in moving Jeremy Lamb, reports Michael. Lamb, who was limited to 36 games last season due to injuries, is on a $10.5MM expiring contract.
  • The Pacers have had discussions about whether Malcolm Brogdon is the answer at point guard, according to Michael, who writes that the team also talked about possibly pursuing Lonzo Ball. However, Ball doesn’t seem to be a serious option for Indiana at this point, Michael adds.
  • T.J. McConnell and Doug McDermott both have interest in returning to the Pacers, but McConnell wants security (ie. a multiyear deal) and McDermott may get too pricey for the team. As he’s previously reported, Michael notes that McConnell is more likely than McDermott to re-sign with the Pacers.
  • Michael points to Avery Bradley, Lou Williams, Will Barton, and Garrett Temple as some free agents who may appeal to Indiana.

Rockets Talked To Pacers About No. 13 Pick

The Pacers are looking for a player who can contribute right away and are willing to trade the 13th pick in this year’s draft for veteran help, according to J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (hat tip to RocketsWire). A source tells Michael that Indiana talked to the Rockets about a possible deal.

Michael adds that the Pacers want somebody who is under contract for at least two more years, which suggests Eric Gordon is a target in any deal with Houston. Gordon will make $18.2MM in the upcoming season and $19.6MM in 2022/23, along with a non-guaranteed $20.9MM for the 2023/24 season.

The Rockets are rebuilding after posting the league’s worst record and would welcome another lottery selection. They own three picks in the upcoming draft and may be willing to send No. 23 or 24 to Indiana in the deal.

Gordon, 32, is an Indiana native and played college basketball at the University of Indiana. Injuries limited him to 27 games this season, but he was still productive when he was on the court, averaging 17.8 points and 2.6 assists in about 29 minutes per night.

The Pacers would have to match salary in any deal, and Ben DuBose of RocketsWire notes that Jeremy Lamb, who has a $10.5MM expiring contract, would be a good start. The Rockets originally drafted Lamb in 2012, but shipped him to Oklahoma City in the James Harden trade.

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.