Malcolm Brogdon

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).

Central Notes: Hayes, Bey, Gores, Brogdon, Love

The Pistons are easing their young players into the rotation and that’s to be expected, James Edwards III of The Athletic writes.

Veterans Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose, both of whom sat out Monday’s game at Atlanta, played heavy minutes in the double overtime loss to Cleveland on Saturday. Lottery pick Killian Hayes sat during crunch time, while Saddiq Bey has played only six minutes. The Pistons’ other first-round pick, Isaiah Stewart, didn’t play at all in the first two games.

It’s unrealistic to expect all of the Pistons’ developmental players to log 15-plus minutes a game at this point but their playing time will increase as the season progresses, Edwards adds. Hayes and Bey started against the Hawks.

We have more on the Central Division:

  • Pistons owner Tom Gores rubber-stamps new GM Troy Weaver’s roster moves, according to Rod Beard of the Detroit News. Detroit has only four holdovers on its 15-man roster and Weaver engineered trades to draft Bey and Stewart. “To get three first-round picks I think was a win for us,” Gores said. “We have to see how those young men develop, but I’d say the thing Troy did right away was he really owned this. He didn’t sit back and worry about it. He was thoughtfully aggressive, and he owned it.”
  • Malcolm Brogdon wasn’t thrilled with the Pacers’ previous coach but he has been quick to praise new coach Nate Bjorkgren, Akeem Glaspie of the Indianapolis Star writes. Bjorkgren drew up the game-winning play on Sunday, a Domantas Sabonis basket against Boston. “It takes a high-IQ coach and a patient coach to draw something like that up there,” said Brogdon, who was reportedly the Indiana player who was most outspoken and displeased with Nate McMillan’s coaching style.
  • Kevin Love and lottery pick Isaac Okoro are among a handful of Cavaliers players who will miss Tuesday’s game against the Knicks, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets. Love has a calf strain that kept him out of the team’s opener and limited him to nine minutes against Philadelphia on Sunday. Okoro will sit out for the second straight game with a foot sprain.

Pacers Rumors: Oladipo, Turner, Brogdon, More

Victor Oladipo agitated some of his Pacers teammates by saying some iteration of “Can I come play with y’all?” to members of the Raptors, Heat, and Knicks last season in front of his teammates, three sources tell J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star.

According to Michael, Oladipo has also gained a reputation throughout his career for being moody — he’ll be positive when things are going well, but has a tendency to point fingers if they aren’t, sources tell The Indy Star.

Still, Michael says the odds have increased that Oladipo will still be in Indiana when the 2020/21 season gets underway. As Michael explains, replacing head coach Nate McMillan with Nate Bjorkgren has helped “change the tone” for the Pacers, whose front office has maintained a “good rapport” with Oladipo. According to Michael, Oladipo’s agent Aaron Turner has also conveyed to the franchise that his client would like to stick around.

The Pacers have engaged in trade discussions involving Oladipo, including in hypothetical three-team deals that would also include big man Myles Turner, sources tell Michael. But for now, the two-time All-Star seems more likely than not to remain a Pacer until at least the 2021 trade deadline.

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • Indiana is keeping the door open for possible contract extension talks with Oladipo, but doesn’t expect a deal to be reached before he hits free agency in 2021, writes Michael. Signing a new contract in free agency would be the best way for Oladipo to maximize his earnings, since the most lucrative extension the Pacers can offer is worth less than the max.
  • Turner has generated plenty of interest, with the Celtics and Hornets believed to be among the teams with an eye on him, according to Michael. League sources with knowledge of the situation tell The Indy Star that while Turner entered the offseason resigned to the possibility that he may be playing elsewhere in 2020/21, the most recent interactions he has had with the franchise suggest he may end up staying put.
  • After joining the Pacers in 2019, Malcolm Brogdon emerged as the team’s leader. A league source told The Indy Star earlier this year that Oladipo felt it was “no longer his locker room” when he returned from his quad tendon injury, and two sources have since confirmed that sentiment, per Michael.
  • Brogdon was also the player who was most outspoken and displeased with McMillan’s coaching style, which was referred to as “coaching through fear,” according to Michael.

Central Notes: Brogdon, Cavs, Pistons, Bulls

Count veteran guard Malcolm Brogdon among those who are enthusiastic about the Pacers‘ decision to hire former Raptors assistant Nate Bjorkgren as their new head coach. Appearing on ESPN’s The Jump on Thursday, Brogdon said he’d had lunch with Bjorkgren earlier in the day and is looking forward to getting to work with the first-time head coach.

“He’s going to be terrific,” Brogdon said, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “Toronto has a great culture, as we all know, and a lot of bright young minds, and he’s one of them, so I’m super excited to have him on board.”

Brogdon also told The Jump’s panel that he’s working this offseason on expanding his game by improving his shot off the dribble. And after missing at least 18 games in each of the past three seasons due to injuries, he’s hoping he can stay healthier in 2020/21.

“My only fully healthy season has been my rookie year, and then the past three years I’ve sat out 15 to 20 games,” Brogdon said. “So that’s really hurt me, and I think it’s really hurt my team.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • After months of consideration, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com offers up what he thinks are the Cavaliers‘ top five options with the No. 5 selection, starting with trading down. Fedor – who assumes that LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, and James Wiseman won’t be available at No. 5 – contends that Isaac Okoro and Onyeka Okongwu should be the Cavs’ top targets if they keep the pick.
  • Within a mailbag, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic considers whether the probability of fans not being in arenas for 2020/21 should influence the Pistons‘ roster decisions at all this offseason — not having to worry about selling tickets to 41 home games means the team could be more willing to bottom out.
  • While the Bulls may explore trading up or down in the lottery, Sam Smith of Bulls.com expects the team to ultimately stand pat at No. 4.

Central Notes: Donovan, Bucks, Oladipo, Thomas

New Bulls head coach Billy Donovan will greatly help the Chicago’s young roster, Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times opines. In Donovan, the Bulls finally have a coach who will work to factor in the strengths of his players as he game-plans, as opposed to striving to make players conform to his system. Former Bulls head coaches Fred Hoiberg and Jim Boylen both struggled to fit their players into their preferred offensive systems.

“[O]ne of the things I’ve always felt is important when you’re building out different things offensively is I think you’ve got to spend time with players to hear how they want to be used,” Donovan said recently of the coaching philosophy he brings to the Bulls. “And then you build out how you want to play from there.’’

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Eric Nehm of The Athletic brainstorms potential routes through which the Bucks can upgrade their point guard position. Currently, 30-year-old starting point guard Eric Bledsoe, a two-time All-Defensive Team inclusion with Milwaukee, is earning $16.9MM and is with the team through the 2022/23 season. His contract for the final year is only partially guaranteed. Bledsoe’s limitations as an offensive creator hamper his fit with the Bucks. Backup point guard George Hill is earning $9.6MM through 2021/22, though the 2021/22 season is only partially guaranteed. Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday is weighed as a trade option were the Bucks to flip Bledsoe and other pieces, while D.J. Augustin and Jeff Teague are considered as viable biannual exception signings.
  • The Pacers front office has recently spoken a couple times with star guard Victor Oladipo, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star tweets. Last week, there were rumblings that Oladipo, a free agent in 2021 and a two-time All-Star with Indiana, would be amenable to a trade.
  • As we previously relayedKhyri Thomas impressed Pistons coach Dwane Casey during Detroit’s recent mini-camp team practices. After undergoing a foot surgery last fall, Thomas was limited to just playing in eight games of the 2019/20 season.

Oladipo Not Playing On Monday; Brogdon Returns

1:32pm: Oladipo has officially been ruled out for Monday’s game, while Brogdon will be active, tweets Agness.


10:45am: Pacers guard Victor Oladipo has been listed as doubtful to play in Monday’s game against the Wizards, as Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports tweets. Oladipo continues to rehab the quad tendon injury that he returned from earlier this year.

The fact that Oladipo isn’t expected to suit up against Washington shouldn’t be a cause for concern for Pacers fans. Indiana is also scheduled to play on Tuesday vs. Orlando, and even after the All-Star guard changed his mind about sitting out the restart, there was an expectation that he wouldn’t play in both halves of the team’s lone back-to-back set. Sitting on Monday should mean that Oladipo is good to go on Tuesday.

Oladipo, who announced a month ago today that he would opting out of the restart this summer, reconsidered that position after accompanying the Pacers to Orlando and responding well in practices. He logged 32 minutes in the club’s win over Philadelphia on Saturday, putting up 15 points and seven rebounds on 6-of-14 shooting.

Meanwhile, Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon, who missed that game against the Sixers due to a neck injury, is listed as questionable for Monday’s contest vs. Washington, Agness notes. If Brogdon isn’t able to return today, he seems likely to do so soon.