Justin Holiday

Central Notes: Giannis, Bucks, Holiday, Sabonis, Drummond

Asked during an interview on the Greek channel COSMOTE TV about the perception that he wants to win a title without teaming up with any other superstars, Giannis Antetokounmpo clarified that he’d be happy to be part of a roster stacked with star players — if those star players want to come to the Bucks.

“If LeBron (James) and Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis came to Milwaukee, I would have been good with that,” Antetokounmpo said, per Aris Barkas of Eurohoops.net. “I am not (concerned about whether) I am the top, second or third name, OK? Because I want to win.

“… For sure when I was 18 or 19 years old, maybe I didn’t understand what you need to do to win. But right now, I am 25 and I want to win because when I retire, that’s what people will remember. And if I got LeBron, KD, Davis, if all those came, I wouldn’t mind at all. I don’t care if I am the top (player) on the team.”

While Giannis’ comments may fuel speculation about the possibility of him joining the Lakers or another club, it’s worth reiterating that he spoke only about star players coming to Milwaukee to join him. Bucks fans should take some solace in that as Antetokounmpo continues to weigh whether or not to sign a five-year, super-max extension with the franchise.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • In an episode of The Athletic NBA Show, Sam Amick of The Athletic suggested that the Bucks‘ trade for Jrue Holiday had an impact on the team’s pursuit of Bogdan Bogdanovic, since it reduced the swingman’s projected role and may have affected how much the team could comfortably offer Bogdanovic in free agency. Dan Feldman of NBC Sports has the details.
  • Speaking on Wednesday to reporters, including Brendan Rourke of Pacers.com, newly re-signed Pacers guard Justin Holiday explained why he “hates” free agency. “I feel like I’m one of the guys, for whatever reason, I’m not ever really respected as far as how much you get paid,” Holiday said. However, he added that he likes the Pacers organization and the city of Indianapolis and he’s happy to have signed a multiyear deal to remain in Indiana for the foreseeable future.
  • Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis believes that the left foot injury that sidelined him during the NBA’s restart is behind him, as J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star details.
  • In his first media session of the season this week, Cavaliers center Andre Drummond said his plan “was always to come back to Cleveland,” writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. There was never any real doubt that Drummond would turn down his $28.75MM option for 2020/21, but he said he’s also looking forward to providing guidance to a young roster. “Being here in Cleveland, the opportunities are endless here and I can do great things,” Drummond said.

Pacers Sign Justin Holiday To Three-Year Contract

NOVEMBER 22: The Pacers have issued a press release officially confirming their new deal with Holiday.

“Re-signing Justin was one of our main priorities going into free agency,” president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said in a statement. “His contributions last season were tremendous. He can play multiple positions and is extremely versatile. He also represents this franchise as a true professional, on and off the court.”


NOVEMBER 20: The Pacers are bringing back shooting guard Justin Holiday, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the two sides have agreed to a three-year, $18MM deal. It’ll be fully guaranteed, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

Holiday, 31, was a key second-unit player in Indiana in 2019/20, averaging 8.3 PPG and 3.3 RPG on .428/.405/.791 shooting in 73 games (25.0 MPG). He was the only regular rotation player for the Pacers who was a free agent this week.

After earning $4.77MM last season, Holiday was eligible for a starting salary worth up to 120% of that amount using his Non-Bird rights, and it appears that’s how the Pacers will re-sign him. The total value of his deal should be about $18.02MM, and Indiana will still have its mid-level exception available if needed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Central Notes: Weaver, Bulls Draft, Avdija, J. Holiday

The Pistons hired general manager Troy Weaver because of his reputation for evaluating young talent, so Omar Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press looked into Weaver’s track record with the Thunder to get clues for this year’s draft. Detroit holds the No. 7 pick in a draft that appears unpredictable after the first two or three choices.

Weaver has a history of taking athletic players with long wingspans, Sankofa notes. His standout selection was Russell Westbrook with the fourth pick in 2008, and the pattern extends with first-rounders such as Serge Ibaka, Reggie Jackson, Steven Adams, Andre Roberson, Josh Huestis, Terrance Ferguson and Darius Bazley. Weaver also signed Luguentz Dort, a similar player, after he went undrafted last year.

Sankofa believes former Memphis center James Wiseman and Georgia guard Anthony Edwards are the best fits for Weaver’s philosophy, but both are expected to be taken well before the Pistons’ turn. Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, possibly the draft’s best wing defender, could be an alternative, along with guard RJ Hampton and Florida State forward Patrick Williams.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • With the Bulls holding the No. 4 pick, Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times looks at four potential selections and their possible impact on the organization. LaMelo Ball would challenge Coby White for the starting point guard job right away and could open the door for a Zach LaVine trade that would create cap room to add a free agent next summer. Edwards could be the future shooting guard, which would also make LaVine expendable, while Wiseman would give the team a true center and leave Wendell Carter and Lauri Markkanen battling to become the starting power forward. Deni Avdija fills the greatest need for Chicago and would eventually take over for Otto Porter Jr.
  • At least one draft expert believes Avdija would be a perfect fit for the Bulls, relays Rob Schaffer of NBC Sports Chicago. Appearing on the Bulls Talk podcast, Spencer Pearlman, a former draft consultant with the Suns, says Avdija is versatile enough to handle either forward slot and plays bigger than his 6’9″ size.
  • Although the Knicks have interest in free agent guard Justin Holiday, returning to the Pacers is his first option, tweets J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star. Michael also states that assistant coach Bill Bayno will remain with Indiana under new coach Nate Bjorkgren (Twitter link) and the organization has hired Ted Wu as a capologist (Twitter link).

Knicks Reportedly Interested In Justin Holiday

As the Knicks shape the organization’s plans entering free agency and the 2020/21 campaign, people within the organization are interested in a reunion with Justin Holiday, SNY’s Ian Begley writes.

Holiday, 31, played with the Knicks during the 2016/17 campaign as he appeared in all 82 games (four starts). The California native was an effective bench piece for New York, averaging 7.7 PPG and 2.7 RPG while shooting a career-best 43.3% from the field.

As Begley writes, Holiday is viewed by many as a steadying locker room presence and reliable veteran that can help any team. He spent last season with the Pacers alongside one of his two NBA brothers, Aaron Holiday. Indiana made the postseason but lost to the Heat in a four-game sweep.

While several reports indicate that the Pacers are focused on re-signing the unrestricted free agent, Holiday should have no shortage of potential suitors this winter.

Central Notes: Wood, Henson, Maker, Holiday, Billups

The odds of several free agent bigs returning to the Pistons appear to be diminishing, according to James Edwards of The Athletic. The most prominent of the group, unrestricted free agent Christian Wood, seems like a 50-50 proposition to come back. Wood has positioned himself to be one of the most intriguing players on the market, Edwards notes. Another UFA, John Henson, doesn’t appear to have a future on a young, rebuilding squad while Thon Maker didn’t shine in the team’s minicamp. It’s unlikely the club will extend a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent, Edwards adds.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Pacers have reached out to Justin Holiday and they’re hoping to re-sign the unrestricted free agent, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star reports. Indiana anticipates a strong market for the 3-and-D wing, who played on a $4.8MM contract this past season. Holiday averaged 8.3 PPG on 40.5% shooting from deep in 25.0 MPG in his walk year. The Pacers will likely have to offer a multiyear deal to retain him, Michael adds.
  • Chauncey Billups remains a head coaching candidate for the Pacers, J. Michael reports in a separate story. Billups has already tentatively accepted an assistant coaching position with the Clippers, but the door is open for him to take a head coaching job. The 2004 Finals MVP is currently an ESPN analyst. Indiana is expected to pick three finalists and conduct final interviews before the end of the month, Michael adds.
  • Cavaliers guard Darius Garland didn’t have smooth sailing as a rookie but he looked like a different player in minicamp. Get the details here.

Western Notes: Powell, Bazemore, Holiday, Brown, Timberwolves

Mavericks big man Dwight Powell, who is signed through the 2022/23 season, is showing good progress as he rehabs from a torn right Achilles, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News reports. Powell, who underwent surgery in January, has no movement limitations. However, the closure of the Mavericks practice facility has created an obstacle to get on-court time. It typically takes an NBA player a year or more to return to action from an Achilles tear but the delayed start of next season should work in his favor.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Warriors could consider adding one of their former players,  the Kings’ Kent Bazemore or the Pacers’ Justin Holiday, in free agency, according to Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. Poole breaks down the pros and cons of both players and concludes Holiday would be a better fit, since he has proven more durable in recent years. However, it’s also likely he’d cost more than Bazemore, Poole adds.
  • It’s unclear if former Sixers coach Brett Brown is a candidate for the Thunder’s opening but there is a strong connection to the front office, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman notes. Brown worked with GM Sam Presti in the Spurs organization from 2002-07.
  • The Timberwolves mini-camp facilitated Jarrett Culver‘s development and Josh Okogie‘s playmaking skills, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. It also reinforced the value of forward Jake Layman, though he suffered a broken nose during the workouts.

Central Notes: Karnisovas, Holiday, Cavs, Bulls

New Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas has indicated that he intends to prioritize talent over fulfilling any specific roster needs as he approaches the 2020 NBA draft, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.

“I don’t think you address needs at four,” Karnisovas said in a Zoom call after the draft lottery Thursday. “You get the best talent. That’s what we’re going to be looking for with the highest upside player.”

K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago notes that the Bulls’ biggest needs appear to be finding a true point guard (Coby White, the No. 7 pick in the 2019 draft, is more of a scoring guard), a long-term solution at the wing, and even possibly adding frontcourt depth, despite the intriguing ceilings of recent big man lottery selections Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr.

There’s more out of the NBA’s Central Division:

  • Free agent Pacers wing Justin Holiday has hired a new agent, Bernie Lee, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Lee also represents Heat swingman (and Holiday’s former Bulls teammate) Jimmy Butler. Holiday signed a one-year, $4.8MM contract with Indiana last summer.
  • Bulls president Arturas Karnisovas has indicated that September’s forthcoming group workouts for the eight teams (including Chicago) that missed the Orlando 2019/20 season restart will not expedite the team’s search for a new coach, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago tweets. The team fired coach Jim Boylen last week after one-and-a-half lackluster seasons at the helm. Sam Smith of Bulls.com notes that Nuggets assistant coach Wes Unseld Jr. and Sixers assistant coach Ime Udoka appear to number among the top candidates for the position.
  • Though the Cavaliers may miss out on top prospects LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman with the No. 5 pick in the 2020 draft, team general manager Koby Altman thinks the team will have plenty of intriguing options left, per Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. “We are confident that this draft position will allow us to acquire talent that will complement our core mix of young players and established veterans,” Altman said in a statement last night. Russo takes a look at five key prospects who may still be available for Cleveland, including Dayton forward Obi Toppin, Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Deni Avdija, and Auburn wing Isaac Okoro.

Lou Williams Expected To Play In Restart; Beal Still Undecided

Seven players so far have opted out of the NBA’s restart this summer, but Clippers guard Lou Williams is unlikely to join that group. Despite previously expressing uncertainty about his status, Williams is expected to suit up for the Clippers as they pursue a title at Walt Disney World, head coach Doc Rivers said on Wednesday.

“As far as Lou, all indications (are) that yes, he is (playing),” Rivers said on a Zoom call, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. “Obviously, up until we get on the plane, anything can happen. But I do expect Lou to be with us. I would be very surprised if he’s not.”

Meanwhile, another high-scoring guard, Bradley Beal, remains uncertain about his status for Orlando, as Youngmisuk writes in a separate story. Beal’s teammate Davis Bertans has already pulled out due to injury concerns ahead of his upcoming free agency. Beal’s backcourt mate and fellow All-Star John Wall won’t be in attendance either, as he continues to focus on his Achilles rehab and a 2020/21 return.

According to Youngmisuk, Beal is considering health factors too as he weighs his options.

“I have yet to make (my decision),” Beal told reporters on Wednesday. “I am still working my tail off every single day as if I am playing. It is more or less a decision that will come down to the medical staff and coming back from zero to 100, and then I have some nagging stuff from the end of the year that we are trying to clean up, too. We are looking at it from all angles. I am definitely working out every single day here. It is good to be back in the facility. … I am not swayed one way or another.”

Here’s more on certain players’ participation decisions:

Justin Holiday Unsure About Going To NBA Campus

When the NBA released its six-phase plan to restart the season in Orlando, one major detail confirmed by the league was that players do not have to attend. Players would not receive their game checks in the event that they take this route, but there would be no penalty – such as a fine or suspension – beyond that.

J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star hears that Justin Holiday is the only member of the Pacers deliberating whether or not to go. Sources tell Michael that Holiday is 50/50 on joining the club in Orlando.

Holiday was one of the players on the recent Kyrie Irving-led conference call, during which the Nets point guard questioned the league for returning the play in the midst of social justice reform.

Players have until June 24 to notify their team that they will not be participating in the remainder of the season in Orlando.

Eastern Notes: Raptors Draft, Galloway, McConnell, Bulls

With the potential loss of Fred VanVleet in free agency and Kyle Lowry turning 34 this year, the Raptors could be in the market for a point guard in this year’s draft. With that in mind, Blake Murphy of The Athletic takes a look at floor leaders that the club could target with its late first-round pick. Duke’s Tre Jones, Stanford’s Tyrell Terry and Arizona’s Nico Mannion are some of the prospects that Murphy examines.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Pistons guard Langston Galloway, who is headed into unrestricted free agency, has “no regrets” about this season regardless of whether his team gets to play again, he told Rod Beard of the Detroit News. Galloway was the only player on the team to appear in every game and established himself as a solid second-unit shooter. “If we didn’t get to finish, I would say I had a great season and move on to the summer workouts,” he said. “I played in every single game, so I put my work on display every single game and the work I continue to put on display. I have no regrets going into the summer.”
  • Free agents T.J. McConnell, Justin Holiday and Alize Johnson are likely to remain with the Pacers next season, Scott Agness of The Athletic opines. McConnell and Holiday are solid reserves, while Johnson still has some upside. JaKarr Sampson is the only free agent that Indiana probably won’t re-sign, Agness adds.
  • The Bulls’ lottery chances could be jeopardized if they’re included in plans to resume the season, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago opines. Chicago is currently seventh in the draft lottery standings, giving the team a 32% chance at a top-four pick and a 7.5% chance at the No. 1 pick, Johnson notes. If the Bulls got hot during the resumption of play and even advanced in a revised playoff format, those odds would drop.