Myles Turner

Central Notes: Bucks, Turner, Lopez, Kennard

The Bucks enjoyed a pivotal year in 2018, with a new coach, a new building, a roster upgrade and the emergence of an MVP candidate, writes Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. As a result, the franchise finishes the calendar year with the NBA’s best record at 25-10.

“This is not a Bucks team that’s trying to compete for mediocrity,” GM Jon Horst said. “We’re not happy and satisfied with just making it into the playoffs, even though that’s always a great accomplishment in its own right. I hope that they see it’s a team led by a young superstar in Giannis (Antetokounmpo) that has high character and wants to win at the highest level with great people throughout the organization from the top down.”

Mike Budenholzer took over as head coach in May and the team added several shooters over the offseason to fit his philosophy that emphasizes the 3-pointer. The team drafted Donte DiVincenzo and signed free agents Ersan Ilyasova, Brook Lopez and Pat Connaughton.

“It’s amazing,” Antetokounmpo said. “Got a new building, a new facility, a new head coach, a new system, everybody’s having fun, new atmosphere – it’s been amazing. … Moving on to 2019, I hope we can do big things and accomplish big things with this team.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Pacers center Myles Turner suffered a broken nose in today’s game and will be fitted for a mask tomorrow, tweets Scott Agness of The Athletic. “The hope is that he doesn’t have a concussion,” coach Nate McMillan said. “He can play with a mask.”
  • Bulls center Robin Lopez believes coach Jim Boylen has won over the players after some initial resistance, relays Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago has put together a 5-8 record since he took over for Fred Hoiberg earlier this month. ‘‘I think we kind of are seeing some results,’’ Lopez said. ‘‘I do think we’re making progress. It feels like guys have bought in and are playing together in this system.’’
  • After a DNP last Wednesday, the PistonsLuke Kennard studied some film to help fix his shot, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. Kennard has hit 63% from the field and 44% from 3-point range over the last two games and is back in the mix for minutes at small forward.

Central Notes: Hill, Turner, Pistons, Nwaba

George Hill has faced many challenges over the course of his NBA career, but the 11-year guard has been tasked with a different mission this month: Getting acclimated with his new teammates in Milwaukee.

The Bucks traded for Hill as part of a three-team deal nine days ago, acquiring a veteran presence and additional player in the team’s backcourt behind Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon. Hill has already earned the respect of several young players in the locker room, including Brogdon — a former Rookie of the Year winner.

“He’s a really, really good vet on and off the floor,” Brogdon said of Hill, according to Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “He’s not one of these vets you bring in that’s (just) a great locker-room guy. He’s a guy that’s going to contribute on the floor, lead by example with his voice, really help contribute this year. …

“He knows who he is; he’s a very confident guy, but he also knows what it takes to win. He’s been part of winning teams, winning cultures. We need someone like that in our locker room and he’s going to serve as that.”

Hill made several deep postseason runs with the Pacers before joining the Jazz in 2016. He’s also made stops with the Kings and Cavaliers, and started his NBA career under Hall of Fame coach Gregg Popovich with the Spurs. This month’s deal marked the fourth time Hill was traded in his professional career.

“For me, it’s a blessing no matter what,” Hill said. “People say, ‘Well, you’ve been sent to different places.’ To be sent to different places it means you’re wanted in different places at the same time.”

There’s more from the Central Division today:

  • Pacers center Myles Turner was fined $15,000 by the NBA on Saturday for directing an inappropriate gesture toward the spectator stands. The incident occurred in the second quarter of the team’s win over the Sixers on Friday night.
  • The Pistons‘ new medical team has been noticeably busy since the start of the season, Rod Beard of The Detroit News writes. Ed Stefanski, who was hired to run the team after the franchise parted ways with Stan Van Gundy, decided to go in a different direction with the training staff before the 2018/19 season began. Early injuries to Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard and others have tested the new group for the better, as detailed by Beard.
  • Cavaliers guard David Nwaba is determined to fight through his knee injury, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes. Nwaba missed nine straight games with general soreness, but appeared in the team’s last two contests in limited time. “It’s still pretty sore. Just something I’ve got to fight through,” Nwaba said. “See if it gets better over time.”

Central Notes: Budenholzer, Sexton, Sabonis

The Bucks credit new coach Mike Budenholzer for their hot start, as Nick Friedell of ESPN relays. The Bucks’ offense has more structure than it did under former coach Jason Kidd and interim coach Joe Prunty, multiple players told Friedell and other media members. “We have multiple sets we can get into, we have — just more of a foundation to play off of rather than just freestyle,” guard Malcolm Brogdon said. The players are displaying trust in the system, which emphasizes 3-point shots and ball movement, Friedell adds. “I think teams are starting to take notice and realize we’re not the Bucks that we were when I first got here six years ago,” small forward Khris Middleton said. “We’re a totally different team even from last year.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Cavaliers coach Larry Drew is going to ride the team’s first-round pick and he’s told the rest of the team to buy in. Drew has instructed his veterans that they need to allow rookie point guard Collin Sexton to work through his mistakes, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer“I actually pulled some guys to the side when we were in Orlando (on Monday),” Drew said. “That was my exact point — having to be patient with a 19-year-old kid.”
  • Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis is off to a hot start and that presents a tricky dilemma for the front office, Zach Lowe of ESPN notes. Myles Turner signed a four-year, $72MM extension last month but Sabonis has thus far outplayed him. Statistics bear out that Indiana’s offense suffers when both are on the court, though Turner has a higher ceiling because of his 3-point shooting and rim protection, Lowe continues. Sabonis is eligible for an extension prior to the start of next season but it’s tough to pay big bucks for two players at the same position, Lowe adds.
  • The Pistons rank among the top 10 in the league in open 3-point attempts, yet they’ve done a poor job of making them. Meanwhile, the Bulls have been bit hard by the injury bug. Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders takes a closer look at some of the areas of concern for Central Division clubs.

Central Notes: Turner, Hill, Bucks, Sabonis

Pacers center Myles Turner has struggled since signing his contract extension with the team, averaging 11.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in 12 starts this season. He faced criticism after Wednesday’s game against Joel Embiid and the Sixers, only to have a teammate immediately jump to his defense.

“I think he shouldn’t concern himself with what people are saying or thinking,” Victor Oladipo said of Turner, according to Jim Ayello of the Indianapolis Star. “He’s just got to play within himself. He’ll figure it out. He’s still young. I’m not making no more excuses for him, but the truth of the matter is he’s just got to find it within himself.

“He’s perfectly fine,” Oladipo continued. “He’s going to find his groove, and then everybody’s going to be like, ‘Whoa, he’s playing great. So what do you think about him playing great?’

“Everybody’s so quick to judge someone when they don’t play well. But everybody’s not in here. Nobody is in his shoes. Nobody’s putting on the jersey he’s putting on. Nobody’s out there playing the game he’s playing. So you can’t really judge him. We have no right to. But people are going to anyway. Me, personally, I really don’t care what people think about him. I love him to death. His upside is huge, and he’s just going to continue to keep getting better. And when he figures it out, watch out.”

Turner is well-liked in the Pacers organization and is in his fourth season with the team. Despite struggling to effectively rebound, he remains an intriguing two-way player with plenty of room to grow in his NBA career.

Here are some other notes from the Northwest:

  • Cavaliers guard George Hill will miss approximately one to two weeks with a shoulder sprain, the team confirmed. Hill was evaluated at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health on Thursday, where he underwent an MRI that revealed the sprain. He will now undergo a period of treatment and rehabilitation.
  • Stephen Curry believes this season’s Bucks are similar to the Warriors in their first season without Mark Jackson. “They’re very similar to four years ago here,” Curry said, according to Mark Medina of the The Mercury News (Twitter link). “A change of scenery sometimes helps. You get a little boost of energy, a little shift in focus and perspective. And that little bit (of a) difference can unlock something. It’s still early. They’re taking care of business like they should. It’s important when you have that much potential to get off to a good start.”
  • Domantas Sabonis‘ solid play could shift the Pacers‘ rotation this season, Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star contends. Sabonis could work his way into the starting center position, which would force Myles Turner to either play off the bench or share the frontcourt with him.

Central Notes: Bucks, Nance, Turner, Pacers

As part of their trade for Jodie Meeks, the Bucks received $1.5MM in cash from the Wizards, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link). Taking into account Meeks’ salary, Milwaukee essentially paid $1.4MM for a future second-round pick, notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter). Washington’s tax savings as a result of the deal will be significantly larger than that.

As for the draft picks involved in the deal, the Bucks already owned the Wizards’ top-55 protected 2020 second-round pick. Milwaukee sent that pick back to Washington in the swap, and the Wizards essentially returned it with new protections, per Katz and Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter links).

That 2020 second-rounder now has 46-60 protection, so the Bucks will receive it if it falls between 31 and 45. If it doesn’t, Milwaukee will instead receive the Wizards’ 2022 second-rounder (unprotected).

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Even though both Larry Nance Jr. and the Cavaliers wanted to complete an extension before Monday’s deadline, negotiations were challenging, according to reports from Joe Vardon of The Athletic and Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. Agent Mark Bartelstein tells Vardon that he and the Cavs were “still engaged with 10 minutes to spare,” while Pluto writes that Nance had trouble eating and sleeping in the days leading up to the deadline, since he was anxious to get a deal done. The two sides ultimately agreed to a four-year, $44.8MM extension.
  • Myles Turner‘s new $72MM deal with the Pacers was the other rookie scale extension finalized on Monday, and Turner was happy to secure his long-term future in Indiana, as Mike Williams of The Indianapolis Star details. “I love this city, I love the fans,” Turner said on Tuesday. “I just love how much the whole state takes a pride in basketball. … I can’t see myself anywhere else.”
  • Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star explores the connection between Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard and Victor Oladipo, the star Pritchard acquired in last year’s Paul George trade.

Pacers Sign Myles Turner To Four-Year Extension

5:20pm: The Pacers have officially finalized Turner’s new deal, issuing a press release to announce the extension. The contract will have flat cap hits of $18MM across four years, starting in 2019/20, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who notes that the $8MM in incentives are classified as unlikely (Twitter link). The deal features no team or player options, adds Michael Scotto of The Athletic (via Twitter).

4:24pm: Turner and the Pacers are now in agreement on a four-year, $72MM extension that can be worth up to $80MM via incentives, reports Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

3:05pm: Turner and the Pacers are still going back and forth on the exact details of a four-year deal in the $70MM+ range, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Wojnarowski notes that the extension is expected to be completed before today’s 5:00pm CT deadline.

2:47pm: The Pacers have reached an agreement on a rookie scale contract extension for Myles Turner in advance of today’s deadline, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). According to Charania, Turner will sign a new four-year deal worth $80MM. The extension will begin in 2019/20, keeping the young center off next summer’s restricted free agent market.

The 11th overall pick in 2015, Turner appeared to be on the verge of a breakout heading into the 2017/18 campaign after posting 14.5 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 2.1 BPG in his second NBA season. However, nagging injuries and the arrival of fellow center Domantas Sabonis helped limit Turner’s impact — he averaged just 12.7 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 1.8 BPG in 65 games.

By all accounts, Turner had a productive offseason and looks to be healthy and in great shape entering the 2018/19 campaign. The Pacers are clearly confident in the strides that their longest-tenured player has made, based on the reported terms of his new deal.

While we’ll wait on the specifics to see if there are any incentives or options that impact the overall value of Turner’s extension, an average annual value of $20MM per year would top Clint Capela‘s new contract with the Rockets, which maxes out at $90MM over five years with incentives. Turner’s new deal will fall short of the rookie scale extensions signed in recent years by centers like Rudy Gobert and Steven Adams, who got about $24-25MM annually.

Turner’s new extension will cut into Indiana’s cap room for 2019, but the club had less than $40MM in guaranteed salaries on its books for 2019/20 prior to today’s agreement. The Pacers should still have significant space available next July, as contracts expire for veterans like Thaddeus Young, Bojan Bogdanovic, Darren Collison, Tyreke Evans, and Cory Joseph.

Turner is the fourth player to agree to a rookie scale extension this offseason, joining Devin Booker (Suns), Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves), and Justise Winslow (Heat).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacers Notes: Turner, Young, Roster, Contracts

Myles Turner is eligible for a rookie scale extension and Thaddeus Young has the ability to sign a veteran extension, but new deals don’t appear imminent for either player, writes J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star. Turner isn’t talking much about his situation, suggesting that his focus is on “winning games,” but Young expressed a desire to remain with the Pacers for the long term.

“I’ve always said I want to remain here and my family likes it here. They ask me every day, ‘Are we leaving?'” Young said. “They understand that I’m on the last year of my contract. They love it here. They want to stay here. I want to stay here. It’s just a matter of just trying to figure things out. I’m not really worried too much about that.”

Young could have opted out of his contract and tried to negotiate a new deal with the Pacers over the summer, but chose to pick up his player option in the hopes that he’ll be able to work out something with Indiana during the 2019 offseason. As for Turner, he’ll be eligible for restricted free agency next July if he and the Pacers don’t agree to terms on an extension by October 15.

Here’s more from out of Indiana:

  • The Pacers have a potential opening on their 15-man roster and will be on the lookout for a second two-way player as well, after C.J. Wilcox went down with a season-ending Achilles tear. According to president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard, Indiana will be “watching the waiver wire” for potential fits before the season gets underway. J. Michael has the details in another article for The Star.
  • Seven of the Pacers’ nine highest-paid players are entering contract years, but the club doesn’t intend to let those contract situations impact its chemistry, as Mark Montieth of Pacers.com writes. “We’re not going to get caught up in individuals playing for contracts,” head coach Nate McMillan said on Tuesday. “That’s not going to happen. You’ll be an outcast if you play that style of basketball.”
  • Back at The Indianapolis Star, J. Michael breaks down the impact that newcomers Tyreke Evans, Doug McDermott, and Kyle O’Quinn could have on the Pacers this season, as the team looks to build on last season’s 48-win showing.
  • In case you missed it, the Pacers indicated earlier this week that they intend to pick up the 2019/20 rookie scale options for Domantas Sabonis and T.J. Leaf.

New York Notes: Randle, Stauskas, Knicks, Turner

The Nets are among the teams interested in signing Lakers forward Julius Randle to an offer sheet, according to an article on NetsDaily. Brooklyn would like to reunite D’Angelo Russell with Randle, who is a close friend and one of the few Lakers who showed support for Russell when Magic Johnson publicly questioned his leadership abilities. They also share the same agent in Aaron Mintz.

A few things will have to break the Nets’ way for them to have a shot at Randle. The Lakers will have to land both LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard, limiting what they would be willing to spend on their restricted free agent, and the Mavericks, who are also known to covet Randle, would have to use most of their cap room to sign DeAndre Jordan.

Even if those dominoes fall into place, the Nets still have to trim some salary to come up with an offer sheet that starts in the $12MM to $15MM range. The article states that sweeteners such as up-front money and trade bonuses could be included to make it more difficult for the Lakers to match. To create cap room, the author adds, the Nets would have to get Dwight Howard to accept a buyout in the next few days and trade either Jeremy Lin or DeMarre Carroll.

There’s more today out of New York:

  • Even though the Nets decided against a qualifying offer for Nik Stauskas, that doesn’t mean he’ll be in a different uniform next season, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn views Stauskas as a lower-cost alternative if Joe Harris leaves in free agency, where he is expected to get a deal three to four times higher than his $1.5MM salary for 2017/18. Mark Bartelstein, who serves as the agent for both players, isn’t sure the decision will come down to one or the other. “We’ll see how things play out over the next two days,” he said. “We’ll be keeping the lines of communication open for the next few days. I know the Nets like Nik a lot. We’ll see how the roster shapes up.”
  • Pacers center Myles Turner could be the Knicks‘ top free agent target next summer, posts Ian Begley on ESPN Now. Turner will be a restricted free agent if he doesn’t sign an extension with Indiana this summer. His family lives in New York, and he and Kristaps Porzingis are friends. Begley lists Terry Rozier and Malcolm Brogdon as other names to watch in 2019.
  • James Dolan has denied rumors that he is thinking about putting the Knicks up for sale, tweets Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Madison Square Garden Company released a statement Friday night saying, “There are no plans to sell the Knicks or the Rangers.”

Central Notes: Thompson, Pistons, Bulls Pick, Turner

Tristan Thompson will likely start at center for the Cavaliers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday, according to Joe Vardon of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Coach Tyronn Lue told reporters that Thompson’s return to the lineup is being strongly considered, mainly due to his past success in defending Celtics big man Al Horford“It’s definitely something we have to weigh,” Lue said. “We weighed it before the series started, but we’d won seven out of eight and we weren’t going to adjust until someone beat us and we didn’t play well with that lineup that got us to this point.” Boston blew out Cleveland 108-83 in Game 1 on Sunday.

In other Central Division developments:

  • The Pistons could find themselves hiring a head coach before a new team president after getting involved late in the process, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press writes. With the Pistons dealing with salary-cap issues, hiring a head coach that can maximize the potential of the current roster could loom as a higher priority, Ellis notes. Detroit and Stan Van Gundy, who held both positions, parted ways last week. Ex-Raptors coach Dwane Casey and former Hawks Mike Budenholzer are the top tier candidates, though both the Bucks and Raptors are reportedly interested in hiring Budenholzer. Ex-Piston Jerry Stackhouse, who coached the Raptors’ G League team last season, could also be a strong candidate, Ellis adds.
  • The Bulls need to hit a home run on their lottery pick this June in order to advance the rebuilding process, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times argues. Chicago is currently slotted at No. 6 unless it gets lucky in the draft lottery. “We’re going to find out [Tuesday] where we pick in the top 10,” VP of basketball operations John Paxson said. “That will obviously be a significant pick.” The Bulls also have the No. 22 pick, courtesy of the Nikola Mirotic trade with the Pelicans.
  • Pacers centers Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis could play together more often next season, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star reports. They bring varied skill sets to the floor, which could allow them to complement each other. Turner prefers to shoot jumpers and 3-pointers off of ball screens, while Sabonis rolls to the basket more often and shoots mid-range jumpers, Michael notes. “They’re different in how they play,” coach Nate McMillan said. “Part of it this season was allowing those guys to spend some time on the floor and possibly developing into a spread player at the 4 or the 5, depending on who was guarding who.”

Pacers Notes: Young, Offseason Outlook, Barton

As we relayed earlier today, Cory Joseph will opt in to his contract for next year, leaving Thaddeus Young as the only Pacers player with a decision to make on a player option for next season. J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star reports that GM Kevin Pritchard indicated in exit meetings that both Joseph and Young would like to return. As it turns out, he was correct on his assessment of Joseph, and we’ll soon find out whether Young will join Joseph in exercising his player option for 2018/19 worth about $13.8MM.

Michael opines that Young will likely opt out of his salary for the opportunity to sign a long-term contract, while Bobby Marks of ESPN estimates that a starting salary for Young on the open market would likely fall short of his salary for next season should he choose to opt in. Per Marks, Young will need to determine whether the future financial security of a long-term contract with a lower annual salary outweighs earning a higher salary for one season. Ultimately, Marks thinks Young will opt in, leaving the Pacers right at the salary cap come this summer.

There’s more out of Indianapolis:

  • Pritchard and the Pacers face an important offseason this summer, writes Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star. Gone are the days when the Pacers can sneak up on opponents with their new-found success, with head coach Nate McMillan saying, “We won’t go under the radar, so to speak, next season.”
  • Mark Montieth of Pacers.com takes a look at the options facing Pritchard and the Pacers’ front office this offseason. The overarching question that must be answered is whether Indiana will risk their new-found positive locker room culture by bringing significant new players or leave the status quo and rely on improvement from young players such as Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, and Domantas Sabonis.
  • As we touched upon a couple of weeks ago, one potential free agent target for the Pacers could be Nuggets swingman Will Barton, who is an unrestricted free agent this summer.