Malcolm Brogdon

Central Notes: Sexton, Cavaliers, Antetokounmpo, Brogdon

The Heat are the best trading partner if the Cavaliers are looking to move guard Collin Sexton, contends Nekias Duncan of BasketballNews.com. Sexton is only 22 and is coming off his best season, averaging 24.3 points per game, but he will be eligible for a rookie-scale extension this summer. Cleveland is focused on re-signing restricted free agent center Jarrett Allen and may not want to hand out a second large contract.

Duncan likes the fit for Sexton in Miami because the Heat need another scorer who can attack the rim. Sexton’s limitations as a play-maker wouldn’t matter as much with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo handling the ball, Duncan adds, while coach Eric Spoelstra could find ways to overcome Sexton’s defensive issues.

Duncan suggests it would be easy to include Kevin Love in the potential trade and get his contract off Cleveland’s books. Miami could match salary by picking up its options on Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala and possibly including Tyler Herro and KZ Okpala in the deal.

Duncan mentions the Raptors, Celtics and Lakers as other possible destinations for Sexton.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers have gotten calls from teams interested in their No. 3 pick, but nothing has moved beyond “cursory conversations,” according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The Magic, who own the fifth and eighth selections, and the Warriors, who have No. 7 and 14, could be teams to watch if talks get more serious.
  • Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo was able to do on-court work today for the first time since hyperextending his left knee Tuesday night, tweets Malika Andrews of ESPN. Coach Mike Budenholzer confirmed the workout in a pre-game session with reporters, adds Eric Nehm of The Athletic (via Twitter), but said he wasn’t able to watch it.
  • A source tells J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star that the Pacers haven’t had any trade talks with the Sixers involving the 13th pick (Twitter link). A report Friday said Philadelphia declined an offer of Malcolm Brogdon and the pick for Ben Simmons. The Pacers tend to avoid large contracts like Simmons has, Michael adds, noting that owner Herb Simon vetoed a trade for Mike Conley two years ago. Indiana is open to moving the pick, according to Michael, but he says there have been no talks with the Sixers, who are hoping to land Damian Lillard from the Trail Blazers.

Sixers Reportedly Rejected Pacers’ Offer For Ben Simmons

The Sixers are listening to offers for Ben Simmons, but weren’t willing to accept a recent trade proposal from the Pacers, tweets Jason Dumas of KRON4 News.

According to Dumas, Indiana offered guard Malcolm Brogdon and a first-round pick in a deal for Simmons. He doesn’t specify that the pick would be this year’s, but the Pacers hold the 13th selection in the July 29 draft.

Brogdon, 28, is coming off a career-best season in both scoring (21.2 PPG) and rebounding (5.3 RPG). He can play either guard position and is known as an efficient shooter and an intelligent play-maker.

Brogdon is under contract for two more seasons and is set to earn $21.7MM next year and $22.6MM in 2022/23. The deal would provide some cap flexibility for Philadelphia, which owes Simmons more than $146MM over the next four seasons.

Trade rumors have been swirling around Simmons ever since his poor shooting performance in the playoffs. Sixers officials are saying they prefer to keep him and work to improve his shot, but they have been fielding offers, according to Dumas, who adds that they are continuing to insist on a star player in return.

Pacers Rumors: Turner, Budenholzer, Shaw, Bjorkgren, More

Prior to the 2021 trade deadline, J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star reported that the Hornets, Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, and Pelicans were among the teams to express interest in Pacers big man Myles Turner. With Turner possibly available again this summer in trade talks, many of those teams could renew their interest in the NBA’s shot-blocking leader.

Exploring that possibility, Michael tweets that the Hornets and Timberwolves are the teams that seem to “really” want Turner. Michael speculates (via Twitter) that Charlotte would be the team most likely to make an aggressive trade offer for the 25-year-old if the Pacers are willing to move him.

Here’s more out of Indiana:

  • If the Bucks decide to move on from Mike Budenholzer after their season ends, he’d move to the top of the Pacers’ list of potential head coaching candidates, league sources tell J. Michael. Michael adds that G League Ignite coach Brian Shaw, formerly a Pacers assistant, is also expected to be a serious candidate for the job.
  • In a subscriber-only piece for The Indianapolis Star, Michael takes a look at the factors that led to Nate Bjorkgren‘s ouster after just one season. One league executive described Bjorkgren’s coaching style as “fake positivity,” according to Michael, who also provides details on Bjorkgren’s tendency to micro-manage and his failure to hold players accountable. Michael adds that the first-year coach “made sure those beneath him knew their place,” which lines up with a May report that stated Bjorkgren didn’t treat his assistants particularly well.
  • Although the Pacers haven’t ruled out blowing up their roster, team owner Herb Simon may be averse to that idea, according to Michael, who suggests the club seems likely to bring back Domantas Sabonis, Caris LeVert, Malcolm Brogdon, and T.J. Warren.

Kevin Pritchard: “It’s My Fault” Nate Bjorkgren Didn’t Work Out

Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard accepts responsibility for Nate Bjorkgren’s unsuccessful stint as head coach, writes Bob Kravitz of The Athletic.

The team fired Bjorkgren on Wednesday after one season on the job, but the decision has seemed inevitable for weeks. Reports began circulating in early May that management was unhappy with Bjorkgren’s coaching style and his relationship with his players and staff.

With only one season remaining on his two-year contract, there was little reason not to move on.

“It’s my fault,” Pritchard said after the decision was made. “It’s our organization’s fault. We’ve got to do better.” He later added, “When we hired Nate, we wanted to take a risk. We wanted to try something new … I’m thankful for Nate; he worked his tail off. There were some things he did well. And there were some things I think he wished he had done differently.”

Bjorkgren, 45, is a former G League coach who spent two years as an assistant with the Suns and two years with the Raptors before the opportunity arose with Indiana. He led the Pacers to a 34-38 record and a spot in the play-in tournament despite significant injuries, but they were eliminated after two games.

Bjorkgren got a reputation in the locker room for not being tough enough, tweets J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star. Although there were numerous complaints about Bjorkgren, Michael adds there’s no evidence that the team’s best players, Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon, ever asked for him to be fired.

Pritchard repeatedly took matters into his own hands, Michael adds (via Twitter). A source said Pritchard went to the locker room following games at least four times this season to berate the players for what he viewed as poor effort. Pritchard had never done that before, according to Michael.

After being burned by the Bjorkgren hiring, Kravitz expects Pritchard to be far more conservative next time. Former Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts has been mentioned as a candidate, and Kravitz suggests the team might also look at Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni, Clippers assistant Kenny Atkinson and Sixers assistant Dave Joerger, who all have previous head coaching experience.

Caris LeVert In Protocols, Will Miss Tuesday’s Game

Pacers guard Caris LeVert has been placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols and won’t be available for tonight’s play-in game against the Hornets, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

LeVert is expected to miss multiple games if Indiana advances in the tournament and reaches the playoffs, sources tell Charania (Twitter link). He will likely be in the protocols for 10-14 days, Charania adds (Twitter link).

LeVert has been a valuable part of Indiana’s lineup since returning in mid-March from surgery to treat renal cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer. A small mass was discovered on LeVert’s kidney as part of a physical after he was traded from the Nets in January.

In 35 games with the Pacers, LeVert is averaging 20.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.9 assists per night.

The Pacers were already expected to be shorthanded on Tuesday, with Myles Turner, Jeremy Lamb, and T.J. Warren among the players sidelined due to injuries. Malcolm Brogdon (right hamstring) and Domantas Sabonis (left quad) are listed as questionable, per the team (Twitter link).

Bjorkgren, Stotts, Budenholzer Among Coaches On Hot Seat

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday that Nate Bjorkgren‘s future as the Pacers‘ head coach is uncertain, and Shams Charania and Sam Amick echo that point in their latest report for The Athletic. According to The Athletic’s duo, Bjorkgren’s “abrasive” style and a tendency to be controlling with assistants and other staff members has been a cause for concern.

Sources tell Charania and Amick that multiple Pacers players have expressed dissatisfaction with Bjorkgren this season, with Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis among those who haven’t been on the same page with the first-year coach. Those same sources tell The Athletic that several Pacers players feel the analytical style Bjorkgren has employed doesn’t suit the team’s personnel.

The growing pains Bjorkgren has experienced in Indiana don’t necessarily mean that the Pacers will make a coaching change at season’s end, but the situation is worth keeping a close eye on, per Charania and Amick.

The two Athletic reporters also singled out a few other coaching situations worth watching around the NBA. Here are a few highlights from their report:

  • The Trail Blazers are increasingly likely to part ways with head coach Terry Stotts this offseason unless he can “pull a rabbit out of his hat” and make a deep playoff run, according to Charania and Amick. Sources tell The Athletic that Stotts has less player support this season than he has in past years. Charania and Amick identify Jason Kidd, Dave Joerger, Chauncey Billups, Brent Barry, and – if he becomes available – Nate McMillan as potential targets for Portland if the team makes a change.
  • There’s significant pressure on Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer entering the postseason, according to Charania and Amick, who say Budenholzer’s job will be in serious danger if the team is eliminated in the first two rounds. Budenholzer has one year left on his contract after 2020/21, per The Athletic’s duo.
  • Luke Walton of the Kings and Scott Brooks of the Wizards are other coaches whose job security isn’t exactly rock solid, but Charania and Amick point to financial considerations in Sacramento and a recent hot streak in D.C. as factors working in favor of Walton and Brooks keeping their jobs. Walton has a strong relationship with Kings GM Monte McNair, while Brooks is well-liked in Washington, note Charania and Amick. Still, the long-term future of Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard is also somewhat uncertain, which further clouds Brooks’ status.

Trade Rumors: Powell, Knicks, Nets, Pacers, Gordon

The Pacers may be the team to watch in the competition for Raptors shooting guard Norman Powell, no matter what happens by Thursday’s trade deadline, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. League sources tell Berman that Indiana is willing to outbid the field for Powell in free agency, even if it means overpaying.

The Knicks also have interest in Powell, Berman adds, but just as with Rockets guard Victor Oladipo, they’re reluctant to part with first-round picks and would want some assurance that he would re-sign before making a move.

New York’s front office believes the team has exceeded expectations this season and is confident that it can at least wind up in a play-in game with the current roster. Berman cites a feeling around the league that the Knicks will wait until the offseason for any major moves.

There’s more on the trade front:

  • The Knicks will have interest in signing Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball this summer, Berman adds in the same story. New Orleans is considering whether to trade Ball now instead of possibly losing him in free agency. If New York reaches a buyout with Austin Rivers, J.J. Redick will be a candidate to take his place on the roster, assuming that he’s bought out as well, but the Knicks would face competition from the Nets and other teams for Redick.
  • A source tells Berman that the Pacers haven’t put Malcolm Brogdon or Myles Turner on the trade market. A report Tuesday said Indiana was listening to offers for Brogdon.
  • The Nets are interested in Cavaliers centers Andre Drummond and JaVale McGee, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv, but it’s not clear if Brooklyn will wait for a buyout or try to make a trade.
  • The Timberwolves are among the teams still pursuing Magic forward Aaron Gordon, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. Stein confirms a report that Minnesota and Orlando had serious discussions about Gordon in January before he injured his ankle.

Trade Rumors: Brogdon, Ball, K. Williams, Bjelica

A Tuesday report stated that the Pacers are listening to inquiries on Malcolm Brogdon, and Chris Mannix of SI.com wrote today that the Hawks have had discussions about the guard. However, Brogdon won’t be dealt this week, two sources tell J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (subscription required). Still, Indiana is worth keeping an eye on, as the club has underperformed to some extent this season.

Multiples sources tell Michael that Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren, who has strong relationships with Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis, can be “too much of a micro-manager,” while another source suggested that’s to be expected for a first-year head coach who is still learning the ropes.

There’s no indication that Bjorkgren’s job is in any jeopardy, but the coaching staff may receive an offseason shake-up, Michael reports. In the meantime, it’s unclear if the Pacers will make any deadline moves — their plan as of a few weeks ago was to stand pat and wait for Caris LeVert to round into form and T.J. Warren to get healthy, says Michael.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the NBA:

Goodwill’s Latest: Brogdon, Blazers, McGee, Heat, Oubre, More

Multiple teams have indicated that the Pacers are open to listening to pitches on Malcolm Brogdon, according to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Brogdon is only in the second season of a four-year, $85MM contract, but Goodwill suggests that Indiana is comfortable with the idea of Caris LeVert manning the point if the team gets a deal it likes for Brogdon.

In addition to Brogdon, another Pacers point guard – Aaron Holiday – is thought to be available. A report last week indicated Indiana was seeking a first-round pick for Holiday, which Goodwill confirms. According to Goodwill, Holiday seems to have “fallen out of favor” somewhat in Indiana.

Here’s more from Goodwill:

  • The Trail Blazers are among the teams with interest in Cavaliers center JaVale McGee, per Goodwill. McGee could be had via trade — it remains to be seen whether he and Cleveland would work out a buyout if he stays put at the deadline.
  • The Nets are dangling Spencer Dinwiddie and a second-round pick as they look to bolster their bench, sources tell Yahoo Sports. Brooklyn has discussed players like Avery Bradley, Kendrick Nunn, and Maurice Harkless with the Heat, Goodwill says.
  • Kelly Oubre‘s camp believes the Warriors forward is capable of getting a “top-10 deal” in free agency this offseason, per Goodwill. Presumably, that means one of the top 10 most valuable free agent contracts signed this summer.
  • Goodwill suggests that former Cavaliers executive Brock Aller – who is now the Knicks‘ VP of strategy – is worth keeping an eye on in the event that Cleveland moves on from current general manager Koby Altman at some point. Aller has a long-standing relationship with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, Goodwill notes.

USA Basketball Expands Finalist List for Olympic Roster

Fifteen players have been added to the list of finalists for the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team, USA Basketball announced today in a press release. The group will eventually be pared down to 12 players who will participate in the Olympic Games, which are set for July 23 to August 8 in Tokyo.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will serve as coach for the U.S. team, with Warriors coach Steve Kerr, Villanova coach Jay Wright and former Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce as his assistants.

No tryouts will be held this year. Instead, USA Basketball will choose the final roster by early summer. Training camp is scheduled to being in early July before the conclusion of the NBA playoffs.

“With the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics from 2020 to 2021, it’s important that we continue to remain flexible and consider all players who can contribute to our efforts to field the best USA team possible,” USA Basketball men’s national team managing director Jerry Colangelo said. “These additions we are announcing today will help ensure that we are doing that. Having a larger player pool than what we normally have is critical because of all of the uncertainties we face about availability. But for USA Basketball to receive the commitment of so many outstanding players remains an indicator of the great honor of representing your country means to these men.”

The new names under consideration are:

  1. Jarrett Allen (Cavaliers)
  2. Eric Gordon (Rockets)
  3. Jerami Grant (Pistons)
  4. Blake Griffin (Nets)
  5. Jrue Holiday (Bucks)
  6. DeAndre Jordan (Nets)
  7. Zach LaVine (Bulls)
  8. Julius Randle (Knicks)
  9. Duncan Robinson (Heat)
  10. Mitchell Robinson (Knicks)
  11. Fred VanVleet (Raptors)
  12. John Wall (Rockets)
  13. Zion Williamson (Pelicans)
  14. Christian Wood (Rockets)
  15. Trae Young (Hawks)

Forty-two players remain from the original list, which was announced in February 2020:

  1. Bam Adebayo (Heat)
  2. LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs)
  3. Harrison Barnes (Kings)
  4. Bradley Beal (Wizards)
  5. Devin Booker (Suns)
  6. Malcolm Brogdon (Pacers)
  7. Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
  8. Jimmy Butler (Heat)
  9. Mike Conley (Jazz)
  10. Stephen Curry (Warriors)
  11. Anthony Davis (Lakers)
  12. DeMar DeRozan (Spurs)
  13. Andre Drummond (Cavaliers)
  14. Kevin Durant (Nets)
  15. Paul George (Clippers)
  16. Draymond Green (Warriors)
  17. James Harden (Nets)
  18. Montrezl Harrell (Lakers)
  19. Joe Harris (Nets)
  20. Tobias Harris (76ers)
  21. Gordon Hayward (Hornets)
  22. Dwight Howard (Sixers)
  23. Brandon Ingram (Pelicans)
  24. Kyrie Irving (Nets)
  25. LeBron James (Lakers)
  26. Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
  27. Kawhi Leonard (Clippers)
  28. Damian Lillard (Blazers)
  29. Brook Lopez (Bucks)
  30. Kevin Love (Cavaliers)
  31. Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
  32. JaVale McGee (Cavaliers)
  33. Khris Middleton (Bucks)
  34. Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
  35. Victor Oladipo (Rockets)
  36. Chris Paul (Suns)
  37. Mason Plumlee (Pistons)
  38. Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  39. Myles Turner (Pacers)
  40. Kemba Walker (Celtics)
  41. Russell Westbrook (Wizards)
  42. Derrick White (Spurs)

Two players removed from that list are Warriors guard Klay Thompson, who is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, and Celtics guard Marcus Smart. Sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic that Smart turned down an invitation because of injury concerns due to having a short offseason and playing late into consecutive seasons (Twitter link).