Jeremy Lamb

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.

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: