Myles Turner

Stein’s Latest: Nash, Hornets, Pacers, Wall, Turner, Mavs

The Nets‘ season could be over in a matter of hours, as the team faces an elimination game at home on Monday night, down 3-0 to Boston in its first-round series.

While a first-round sweep would be a disastrous outcome for a club that entered the season as a championship favorite and would certainly increase scrutiny on head coach Steve Nash, one source close to the situation tells Substack writer Marc Stein that he doesn’t expect Nash to become a fall guy for a disappointing playoff run.

As Stein and his source observe, Nash has faced an inordinate number of challenges during the 2021/22 season, including Kyrie Irving‘s vaccination decision, James Harden‘s trade request, and injuries to players like Kevin Durant and Joe Harris. Stein suggests that Nash shouldn’t avoid blame for the Nets’ struggles, but says there are many larger issues in play as well.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • A concern about player discipline both on and off the court was among the factors in the Hornets‘ decision to part ways with head coach James Borrego, league sources tell Stein.
  • The Pacers expressed some interest in Rockets guard John Wall early in the 2021/22 season, but it didn’t go anywhere and it happened before they acquired Tyrese Haliburton, according to Stein. In other words, Indiana is probably an unlikely offseason suitor for Wall.
  • After seriously considering trading Myles Turner during the ’21/22 season, the Pacers now hope to keep the big man long-term, sources tell Stein. Turner will be extension-eligible this offseason as he enters a contract year.
  • While some Jazz staffers were reportedly upset about seeing Knicks executive William Wesley and Julius Randle courtside at Game 1 of their series vs. Dallas, the Mavericks weren’t particularly bothered by it, since it “didn’t really change anything” in their view, Stein writes. The Knicks are believed to have interest in Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell and Mavs guard Jalen Brunson, and Dallas is aware of New York’s interest in Brunson. Of course, Brunson is an unrestricted free agent this summer, while Mitchell is under team control for at least three more years.
  • Some teams have asked the NBA to consider making qualification for the play-in tournament contingent on the Nos. 9 and 10 teams finishing within a certain distance of the No. 8 seed, says Stein. It’s unclear whether the league will tweak that rule going forward or leave the format as is.

Pacers Notes: Offseason, Haliburton, Turner, J. Smith

After a disappointing 25-win season for the Pacers, Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star contends that the team should continue to reshape its roster this offseason, with a focus on building around a core duo of Tyrese Haliburton and Myles Turner. Doyel thinks that 2021 first-round picks Isaiah Jackson and Chris Duarte should be in the conversation for the starting lineup next season, but shouldn’t be considered locks by any means.

Doyel would also like to see Indiana part with Malcolm Brogdon and Buddy Hield, and not bring back free agent T.J. Warren, who only played four games over the past two seasons (zero in 2021/22) while recovering from consecutive stress fractures in his left foot.

The draft will be key, Doyel notes. The Pacers have a 42.1% chance of landing a top-four pick, and will own the Cavs’ first-round pick if Cleveland beats Atlanta and advances as the No. 8 seed (the Cavs keep the pick otherwise). Indiana also owns a couple of second-round picks from Houston (No. 31) and Phoenix (No. 58).

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • Haliburton said he had a humbling experience as a teenager when he faced off against another future NBA player, according to James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. “I think my biggest one would be Tre Jones from the Spurs,” Haliburton said. “I don’t know if he knows this, but we played each other when I was like 16. He killed me. Oh my God, he killed me. I left that day like, ‘Oh my God, I’m not cut for this. I’m just probably not that good.’ So being able to play against him in the NBA, it’s crazy how it comes full circle.”
  • The offseason will be a big one for Jalen Smith, who will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time, writes Joel Lorenzi of The Indianapolis Star. “This is a huge offseason, and a scary offseason,” Smith said. “Obviously, as a young player, you don’t want to make the wrong decision. … This offseason is gonna come down to a lot of thinking. A lot of late night conversations with my agency, my family, just trying to figure out the right path for me.” The Pacers will be prohibited from offering Smith a starting salary higher than $4.67MM, the amount of his 2022/23 option that was turned down last fall.
  • Boyd and Nat Newell explore the team’s offseason on the “Pacing the Pacers podcast,” per Clark Wade of The Indianapolis Star.

Hornets Rumors: Kupchak, Hayward, Bridges, Borrego

People around the NBA have speculated for years about the possibility of Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak leaving the organization or transitioning into more of an advisory role, but those whispers have intensified this year, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. As Fischer explains, Kupchak’s current contract with Charlotte is believed to expire at the end of this season.

It’s unclear at this point what Kupchak’s future holds, but Fischer says two names have frequently been cited as potential candidates for the top job in the Hornets’ front office if a change occurs. One is current assistant general manager Buzz Peterson, who was roommates with team owner Michael Jordan at UNC. The other is Bulls GM Marc Eversley, who interviewed for the job in 2018 before the Hornets hired Kupchak.

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • “Word has circulated” among rival front offices that Hornets forward Gordon Hayward may be interested in a change of scenery this offseason, Fischer reports. However, a source close to Hayward told Bleacher Report that the veteran is primarily focused on recovering from the foot injury that appears likely to end his season.
  • Some league executives think that Hayward could be involved in a trade for Russell Westbrook, allowing the Hornets to increase their 2023 cap flexibility, according to Fischer. However, it would be a challenge for the Hornets and Lakers to work out a deal that appeals to both sides and includes both of those highly-paid former All-Stars. Using Hayward to try to acquire a center is another option Charlotte could explore, Fischer adds.
  • It’s unclear whether the Pacers will seriously consider Myles Turner – long considered a top trade target for the Hornets – this offseason, but league personnel expect Charlotte to be in the market for a rim protector like Turner. “They don’t defend,” one team scout said to Fischer. “You gotta find a defensive identity.”
  • Fischer’s sources believe the Hornets would match any offer sheet for RFA-to-be Miles Bridges. With that in mind, it remains to be seen if teams will be dissuaded from going after Bridges or if there could be a club willing to submit a maximum-salary offer to force Charlotte to match it. A four-year max deal for Bridges from a rival suitor projects to be worth about $128MM.
  • Even if the Hornets don’t make the playoffs via the play-in tournament, Fischer’s sources inside and outside of the franchise believe head coach James Borrego is a good bet to stick around. “It would make no sense to fire him,” an assistant general manager told Bleacher Report. “I know the NBA is a results-oriented business, but if you believe in him to be your coach, if you believe in him growing alongside LaMelo (Ball) and Bridges, you’ve taken a step forward each of the last two seasons, you just extended him. Why would not making the playoffs with a young roster suddenly change that?”

Central Notes: Brogdon, Turner, Holiday, Pistons, Cade

Malcolm Brogdon has been the subject of some trade speculation since the team acquired Tyrese Haliburton — some rival executives reportedly believe the Pacers will look to move the veteran guard this offseason.

However, speaking to reporters on Monday as part of his exit interview, Brogdon said he feels comfortable with his current team and has a “great relationship” with head coach Rick Carlisle, per Joel Lorenzi of The Indianapolis Star. In other words, while it’s possible the Pacers could trade him this offseason, it doesn’t sound like that would be his preference.

“I want to be here,” Brogdon said. “I feel like I’ve built a home here. They’ve paid me here and extended me here. And I fit. I like Carlisle, I like the coaching staff and I love my teammates. This is a player’s league, but a lot of time we don’t make the decisions. So for me it’s about getting healthy, getting better this summer and coming back ready.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Entering a contract year in 2022/23, Pacers big man Myles Turner admitted on Monday that the possibility of an extension is “always in the back of my mind,” but said he’s more focused on coming back healthy next season to “remind everybody what I’m about” (link via Matthew VanTryon of The Indianapolis Star). Turner didn’t play after January 14 due to a foot injury.
  • Jrue Holiday, whose contract calls for a $306K bonus if he plays in at least 67 games and averages at least 3.15 rebounds per game, logged just eight seconds of game time on Sunday in his 67th appearance of the season to ensure he received that bonus, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. The Bucks guard averaged 4.5 RPG this season.
  • In an Insider-only story for ESPN.com, Marks takes an in-depth look at some of the most important roster decisions facing the Pistons this offseason, including Marvin Bagley III‘s free agency and a handful of team options.
  • No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham, who averaged 21.0 PPG, 6.4 APG, and 5.8 RPG on 45.7% shooting in 21 games after the All-Star break, may have gotten hot too late to win the Rookie of the Year award, but his strong second-half performance is a reminder that he’s a player the Pistons can build around going forward, writes Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports.

Pacers Rumors: Carlisle, Brunson, Brogdon, Westbrook, Hield, Turner

Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle appears committed to his role for the future, Marc Stein writes at Substack. As we recently relayed, Carlisle denied that he’s interested in switching to a front office role, addressing the rumors in a brief statement.

“I just want to be completely clear on this. I don’t know what the assumptions are that people are making about this, why this would be the case,” Carlisle said, according to Stein. “When I came here, we had hoped to have a really good season this year. We had some struggles early, and it morphed into a change in direction, but that’s OK. It has not quelled my enthusiasm for being back with the Indiana Pacers or taking on this challenge one single bit.”

The Pacers are viewed as a team that may pursue Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson in free agency this summer, Stein reports. Brunson played under Carlisle for three years in Dallas. Signing the 25-year-old could motivate Carlisle further, though Detroit and New York are also expected to bid for his services.

There’s more out of Indiana today:

  • The Pacers have left several rival teams with the impression that they’ll attempt to trade Malcolm Brogdon this offseason, Stein relays. Trading Brogdon would open a spot for Brunson, who could pair with Tyrese Haliburton in the backcourt.
  • If the team doesn’t sign Brunson, it could also examine a possible Russell Westbrook trade with the Lakers, Stein notes. A deal for Westbrook would likely include Buddy Hield, whom the Lakers coveted before trading for Westbrook last offseason. It could also include Brogdon and draft compensation from the Lakers. Indiana acquired Hield in a deal with Sacramento earlier this season.
  • One player the Pacers do want to keep is Myles Turner, according to Stein. Turner saw his name surface in trade rumors this season. He averaged 12.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in 29.4 minutes per game, shooting 51% from the floor. He’s under contract for next season at $18MM.

Central Notes: Turner, Pacers, Stephenson, Holiday, Beilein

Considered a prime trade candidate earlier in the season, Pacers center Myles Turner ultimately stayed put after he injured his foot and Indiana opted to move Domantas Sabonis instead. Appearing on the HoopsHype podcast with Michael Scotto, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files said he believes Indiana should either trade or extend Turner this offseason rather than having him enter 2022/23 on an expiring contract with a retooling team.

Agness believes the Pacers are more likely to bring back Turner than to move him, but notes that the Mavericks would be one team of interest to Turner if he’s shopped, since he was born and raised in the Dallas area. Scotto spoke to four NBA executives who believe the Pacers could get at least a protected first-round pick for Turner if he’s traded this offseason.

Within the same podcast, Agness acknowledged that the Pacers could gauge the trade market for Malcolm Brogdon and Buddy Hield, but he doesn’t view either player as a lock to be dealt. Agness also expressed skepticism that Indiana will be able to re-sign big man Jalen Smith, since he expects other teams to exceed a $4.67MM starting salary, which is the most the Pacers can offer.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Veteran wing Lance Stephenson is interested in re-signing with the Pacers this offseason, regardless of whether the team attempts to reload for another playoff push or leans further into rebuilding mode, according to Scotto. Stephenson would like to spend the rest of his career in Indiana, Scotto adds.
  • Having logged 2,075 minutes this season, Jrue Holiday has earned a $306K bonus in his contract with the Bucks, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Holiday is also on track to receive a bonus based on his games played and rebounds per game, Marks adds (via Twitter).
  • John Beilein‘s brief head coaching stint in Cleveland was a disaster, but he has embraced a new role out of the spotlight with the Pistons, as Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press details. Detroit’s senior advisor of player development, Beilein is a “meticulous note-taker,” Sankofa writes. “There’s some guys that, with one approach, shoot 45%,” Beilein said. “With another approach, shoot 20%. I keep this. Or left-hand dribble versus right-hand dribble, they shoot drastically different percentages. I’m keeping that stuff that they probably don’t have in the NBA databook, whether a guy shoots a hang dribble or a quick dribble. That’s not in the computer, but I can compute it.”

Myles Turner Won’t Return This Season

Pacers center Myles Turner will miss the remainder of the 2021/22 season, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Turner, who turned 26 last Thursday, has been sidelined since January 14 due to a stress reaction in his left foot. According to Wojnarowski, Turner has made “good progress” in his recovery, but the Pacers only have seven games remaining and are out of the playoff hunt, so it doesn’t make sense to bring back the big man at this point.

Prior to going down with his foot injury, Turner averaged 12.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 2.8 BPG in 42 games (29.4 MPG) for Indiana. His name surfaced in several trade rumors earlier in the season, but his injury diminished his value to some extent and Indiana ended up moving its other center, Domantas Sabonis, while hanging onto Turner.

It’s still possible the retooling squad will shop Turner this offseason ahead of the final year of his contract. But with Sabonis no longer in the mix, the Pacers may be more inclined to keep Turner, perhaps envisioning him as their long-term starting center.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN observes (via Twitter), Turner is eligible for a contract extension this offseason and Indiana could theoretically use its cap room to to renegotiate the last year of his current deal, giving him a raise on next year’s $18MM salary as part of an extension agreement.

Pacers Notes: Anderson, Turner, McConnell, Jackson, Draft

Swingman Justin Anderson is eager to display his skills after receiving a 10-day contract from the Pacers on Thursday, James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star writes.

“I just want to be out on the court and show my impact, show what I can bring. I’ve been biting at this for a long time,” Anderson said. “Unfortunately, injuries have kind of had me in and out of the NBA, but that’s over and done with. I only have two tibias, two legs, and both of those have been operated on, and I’m back stronger than ever.”

Anderson was averaging 27.8 PPG, 6.9 RPG and 4.4 APG in 22 games with the G League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

We have more on the Pacers:

  • T.J. Warren was ruled out for the remainder of the season on Thursday due to his ongoing foot issues. Myles Turner (foot) and T.J. McConnell (wrist) probably won’t see the court for the remaining 12 games as well, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files tweets. Turner has been out since mid-January, while McConnell hasn’t played since December 1.
  • Isaiah Jackson has entered the NBA’s concussion protocol and will not play Friday at Houston, Boyd writes in a separate story. Coach Rick Carlisle said the rookie big man suffered the injury during the team’s home loss to the Grizzlies on Tuesday when he was hit in the face with the ball.
  • With the Pacers headed for the lottery, Carlisle has kept an eye on potential draft prospects, Boyd tweets“I’ve been watching stuff for the draft since January. … There’s a lot of really good players,” he said.

Pacers Notes: Sykes, Brogdon, Stephenson, Turner, McConnell, Warren

Pacers guard Keifer Sykes, a rookie at age 28, has taken a remarkable path to the NBA, according to James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. It’s an in-depth look at Sykes’ journey — from the harrowing gun violence of his youth in Chicago’s South Side, to starring for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, several stops overseas and much, much more.

Sykes’ mother, Lisa, was thrilled when she learned that his contract had been guaranteed for the remainder of the season.

My heart was just filled with so much joy when he got what he wanted, and that’s to play in the NBA for his dream,” Lisa Sykes said. “When I see him play against his favorite people, seeing him playing against Chris Paul and he went to Chris Paul’s camp, it’s like it’s (full) circle.”

It’s a fascinating story and I recommend checking out the full article.

Here’s more from Indiana:

  • Head coach Rick Carlisle provided injury updates on several players Thursday, including Malcolm Brogdon, who suffered a concussion during Tuesday’s 127-124 loss to Cleveland. Brogdon was struck by an errant elbow from Evan Mobley and will be sidelined for the back-to-back road games this weekend against the Spurs and Hawks, Boyd of The Indianapolis Star tweets.
  • Lance Stephenson aggravated his left ankle sprain during Thursday’s practice and had to leave the court early, Carlisle said. He’s unsure whether Stephenson will be able to play in the upcoming games this weekend, per Boyd (Twitter link). Stephenson has missed four of the team’s last six games, including two straight.
  • Myles Turner and T.J. McConnell are making progress from their foot and wrist injuries, respectively. Carlisle said Turner was able to do 30 minutes of non-contact work during Thursday’s practice and has been gradually ramping up activity, but there’s still no timeline on his return (Twitter link via Boyd). Carlisle called McConnell week-to-week. Given Indiana’s place in the standings (22-45, fifth-worst in the NBA) and the fact that both players are under contract through at least next season, it wouldn’t be surprising if they’re held out for the remainder of the season.
  • In one of the more bizarre and unfortunate storylines of the 2021/22 season, T.J. Warren continues to be sidelined with a stress fracture in his left foot. He hasn’t played at all this season after playing just four games last season, originally suffering the injury in December of 2020. Carlisle said there was “no update on T.J Warren” when asked about his status by James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star (via Twitter). Warren will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Central Notes: LaVine, Turner, Bickerstaff, Rondo

Bulls All-Star Zach LaVine previously said that he won’t know in advance whether he’ll be able to play back-to-back games going forward. Chicago continues to monitor him daily, but coach Billy Donovan said that LaVine’s knee has been feeling much better since the All-Star break (Twitter links via Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago).

After playing against the Hawks on Thursday, LaVine didn’t appear on Chicago’s injury report on Friday and suited up for both ends of the back-to-back against the Bucks. He finished the game with 30 points, eight rebounds and six assists, but the Bulls dropped their fourth straight in a 118-112 loss. Chicago is now the No. 4 seed in the East with a 39-25 record.

Here’s more from the Central:

  • Pacers center Myles Turner has been sidelined since January 14 after suffering a stress reaction in his left foot, but he’s making progress in his rehab, as James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star relays. Turner posted an Instagram video of himself running for the first time since the injury. He was doing defensive slides in another video, apparently at Detroit’s practice facility. Indiana lost at Detroit 111-106 on Friday night. There’s no official timetable for Turner’s return.
  • Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff was fined $20K by the NBA for inappropriate language directed at officials and refusing to leave the court in a timely manner during Wednesday’s 119-98 loss to the Hornets, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Bickerstaff was ejected after receiving two technical fouls early in the third quarter. The Cavs have dropped six of their past seven games after Friday’s 125-119 loss to the Sixers.
  • Cavaliers point guard Rajon Rondo was upgraded from out to doubtful for Friday’s contest after participating in the team’s shootaround, but ultimately missed the game against Philadelphia. A source tells Fedor (Twitter link) that Rondo is “getting close” to a return, but isn’t quite ready yet. Rondo is eight days removed from suffering a sprained big toe which was expected to sideline him for about two weeks, so he’s apparently a little ahead of schedule in his recovery.