Myles Turner

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.

And-Ones: Extension Candidates, BIG3, Sports Betting

With the NBA postseason set to tip off this weekend an equally intriguing offseason draws nearer. Recently, Keith Smith of RealGM took a nice, long look at the upcoming batch of players eligible to sign rookie contract extensions after July 1.

While some players like Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker are no-brainers for rich contract extensions, other players like Kristaps Porzingis and Myles Turner are intriguing cases.

Porzingis, Smith writes, could be a candidate for a conditional contract extension similar to the one Joel Embiid signed last summer. Turner, meanwhile, proved himself a worthy NBA starter early in his career but has dealt with injury setbacks of his own in the time since.

A number of the top lottery picks in the 2015 draft class aren’t likely to sign significant extensions, if they’re even eligible to do so at all. Two of the top five picks – Jahlil Okafor and Mario Hezonja – didn’t even have the fourth-year of their rookie deals picked up.

For a breakdown of all 30 first-round picks, how they fared through their first three seasons in the NBA and whether or not you can expect them to hit the restricted market in 2019, be sure to check out Smith’s full piece.

There’s more from around the NBA.

  • With discussion over the legalization of sports betting a hot topic these days, the NBA Player’s Association has issued a statement, urging consideration for players’ rights ahead of any consequent negotiations over associated fees. Ben Fawkes of ESPN has the latest about the pressing issue while Chris Crouse of Hoops Rumors confirms that the NBA is open to having the union involved.
  • The BIG3 held its offseason draft last night in preparation for the league’s second season set to begin on June 22. Andre Owens, an international journeyman who played sparingly with the Jazz and Pacers over a decade ago was the first overall pick. Notable NBA alums, including Jason Maxiell, Quentin Richardson, the original Mike James and Bonzi Wells were also taken over the course of three rounds. Josh Peters of USA Today has a full breakdown of the draft.
  • The NBA draft order is set, ahead of the May 15th lottery that is. We broke down what happened when a series of tiebreakers decided the fates of 12 impacted teams.

Eastern Rumors: Beasley, Embiid, Oubre, Tolliver

Journeyman forward Michael Beasley would like to return to the Knicks, but several factors play into that equation, as Marc Berman of the New York Post examines. Beasley returns to the free agent market this summer and has expressed a desire to stay put. “I would love to be back definitely. A lot goes into that,” he told Berman. “We’ll assess the situation in summertime.” The Knicks would likely have to use a portion of their mid-level exception to retain him. However, they could opt to spend it on a younger player or save cap space for the following summer, Berman continues. Their desire to re-sign Beasley also hinges on who will be coaching the team next season, Berman adds.

In other news around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Sixers’ playoff appearance will likely be a one-and-done experience if Joel Embiid can’t return for the first round, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer opines.  The center’s participation is uncertain due to a concussion and a fractured orbital bone near his left eye. The Sixers have outscored opponents by 11.6 points per possession when he plays and outscored by 3.9 points when he doesn’t play, Pompey notes. The team doesn’t have anyone to match up with the Pacers’ mobile center, Myles Turner, if they face Indiana in the first round without Embiid, Pompey adds.
  • Kelly Oubre has been buried in a shooting slump but his subpar defense is the thing that could reduce the Wizards forward’s playing time, according to Candace Buckner of the Washington Post. Coach Scott Brooks criticized Oubre’s defense following a loss to the lottery-bound Bulls on Sunday. “He hasn’t shot the ball well, but I’m more concerned about him getting blown by on defense,” Brooks told Buckner and other media members. “Seems like every time his man is scoring on him. He has to step up and start playing some defense if he wants to continue to play.”
  • Pistons veteran power forward Anthony Tolliver has added elements to his game this season, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com reports. “It’s really amazing the way he has been able to improve, particularly offensively,”coach Stan Van Gundy said. “Now when people close out on him, he can put the ball on the floor and attack. Not too many guys improve after 30.” Tolliver returns to the free agent market in July after signing a one-year deal with Detroit last summer.
  • Magic lottery pick Jonathan Isaac is gaining confidence in his 3-point shooting, George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel writes. Isaac attempted a season-high six attempts from long range against the Hawks on Sunday and made half of them. “Throughout the entire season they’ve been telling me let it fly, especially from the corner 3.” Isaac told Diaz.

Central Notes: Van Gundy, Turner, Osman

The Pistons have hit a cold spell and now sit five games out of the final seed in the Eastern Conference. Despite the acquisition of Blake Griffin, Detroit has struggled to maintain consistency. This has called into question head coach Stan Van Gundy’s future with the team, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes.

Team owner Tom Gores seemed to give Van Gundy a vote of confidence after the Pistons enjoyed a 99-83 win over the Bulls.

“Stan and I talk every week and we just want to win — that’s it. That’s what we discussed: how we’re going to get this team to win. That’s been really important to us,” Gores said. “We know we’ve disappointed the fans and we haven’t won enough. I can tell you this team works really hard and Stan works hard. He’s been here for four years and has dedicated his whole life.”

While Gores and Van Gundy communicate regularly, a firm decision on the team’s future — and whether or not Van Gundy is part of it — will be discussed after the season, Ansar Khan of MLive.com writes.

“So, at the end of the season, we’ll sit down and talk and then he’s got to make a decision on the best way to go for the organization. I’ve been in this business a long time and I’ve been around this business even longer – my dad (Bill) coached for 40 years,” Van Gundy said. “So probably as much as anyone I know how this works. Tom’s been fantastic. You couldn’t be better as an owner. The way he wants to go about things is perfect, so we’re in 100 percent agreement on the way everything should be handled.”

Check out more Central Division notes below:

  • For the second time in a week, Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman felt a “pop” in his groin. On Friday, it forced him out of an eventual loss to the Clippers and details on the severity of the injury are scarce, Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon writes. However, Osman reportedly told the Cavs trainer that he could not run; the team is calling the injury a strained left hip.
  • In recent games, Myles Turner has been noticeably more aggressive in trying to score closer to the basket. As NBA.com’s Mark Monteith writes, Pacers veteran Al Jefferson has been working with Turner to help him develop a post game. “Last year he wouldn’t have even thought about a post; he would have gone with a turnaround jumper or fadeaway,” Jefferson said. “You’ve got a 6’4″, 6’4″, 6’6″ guard or wing on you and you’re taking those type of shots, that’s when it becomes a problem for me. He understands that. He’s getting his feet in the paint and getting good shots.”

Pacers Notes: Turner, Collison, GRIII, McMillan

It has been a somewhat disappointing season for third-year center Myles Turner, who was viewed as a strong candidate to have a breakout year for the Pacers following Paul George‘s offseason departure. Instead, Turner has been slowed by health issues and has seen his numbers decline in several offensive categories this year.

Still, as Jim Ayello of The Indianapolis Star details, Turner has lost the support of “exactly zero” members of the Pacers’ organization, and remains an important building block for the club’s future. Turner will be extension-eligible for the first time during the offseason.

Here’s more on the Pacers, who currently hold the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference:

  • Mark Montieth of Pacers.com has an in-depth feature on Pacers point guard Darren Collison, who says he feels like he’s been underrated throughout his NBA career. Collison, who has played for five teams in nine NBA seasons, also said he’d like to stick in Indiana a while longer. “I love it here,” Collison said. “If you ask me, I would like to be here a long time. We all know how this business works. You do the best you can and hopefully this is the place. Hopefully I can help these young guys grow.”
  • Currently sidelined with a knee injury, Collison will remain out of action for at least another week, tweets Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports. The Pacers will get one injured player back though, as Glenn Robinson III is ready to make his season debut after missing several months with an ankle injury. Monteith has the details at Pacers.com.
  • Clifton Brown of The Indianapolis Star lays out the case for why head coach Nate McMillan deserves his share of the credit for the Pacers’ surprising success this season. “Nate’s been brilliant. Our offensive and defensive strategies this year have been terrific,” said president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard. “Without Nate, we don’t have this. We’re not talking about this. He’s overachieved, and more importantly, he’s put our players in a position where every single night they can succeed.

Central Notes: Parker, Turner, Wade

Injured Bucks forward Jabari Parker is still expected back in the lineup the week before the February 18 All-Star Game, Genaro Armas of The Associated Press writes. The 22-year-old is already practicing with the team without restrictions.

Parker’s return will come weeks after the Bucks fired the only NBA coach he ever knew. While there are conflicting accounts about Parker’s relationship with Jason Kidd, there’s no denying that he had a close one with assistant coach Frank Johnson, who was let go after Kidd was.

It was kind of really hard for me to accept,” Parker told Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, noting that he saw Johnson every day and looked forward to their time together. “Not having him by my side is really going to be hard for me.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • After a nine-game absence, Pacers big man Myles Turner needs to shake some rust off and work his way back into game shape, Clifton Brown of The Indianapolis Star writes. “You could see that he was a little hesitant,” head coach Nate McMillan said. “He had an open look that I’ve never seen Myles pass up. We knew he would be a little rusty. We wanted to be patient with him and really watch him.
  • The Cavaliers expect Dwyane Wade back in the lineup on Tuesday, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. The guard has been out of action for two games following the death of his agent Henry Thomas. Thomas is said to have served as a father figure for Wade.
  • The Bulls have seen their offense stagnate without Kris Dunn, Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago writes. The sophomore guard’s absence has really driven home the impact that he has on the team when healthy.

Injury Notes: Turner, Harden, Leuer, Ball

Pacers center Myles Turner has missed his club’s last three games and has already been ruled out of the remaining four contests on Indiana’s current road trip, the team announced today in a press release. Turner won’t require surgery, but he has been diagnosed with a ligament sprain and muscle strain in that troublesome elbow, and isn’t close to returning. Following the Pacers’ current road trip, Turner will be considered week to week, according to the team.

Here are a few more injury updates from across the NBA:

  • Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni hopes that James Harden will be able to return from his hamstring injury before the end of this week, as Tim MacMahon of ESPN details. “It could be Thursday or Saturday, I don’t know,” D’Antoni said on Sunday. “He’s got to get better. We’ll see. Whenever he’s ready.” Harden would presumably like to be back on the court for those showdowns later this week against Minnesota (Thursday) and Golden State (Saturday).
  • Jon Leuer continues to battle ankle issues, having recently received a second injection in his ankle, according to Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy (Twitter link via Rod Beard of The Detroit News). Season-ending surgery looks like an increasingly likely possibility for the veteran big man.
  • After undergoing an MRI, Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball was diagnosed with minor left knee sprain, the Lakers announced last night (via Twitter). It’s not viewed as a significant injury.

Injury Updates: Harden, Millsap, Allen, Turner

James Harden is showing signs of improvement as he recovers from a strained hamstring, but the Rockets‘ star guard won’t get the chance to lobby for a quicker return to the court, Mike D’Antoni said on Wednesday, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

“I walk into there to the trainers,” the Rockets head coach said. “‘Can he play?’ ‘No.’ Then he can’t play. There is no challenge. He’s going to try to push the envelope because he wants to play. That’s on trainers and doctors. I don’t figure into it. He’d beat me up.”

The Rockets announced on January 1 that Harden would be re-evaluated in two weeks, so he’s likely still at least a few days away from returning to action.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Paul Millsap has been out of the Nuggets‘ lineup since undergoing wrist surgery in late November, but he recently had his cast removed and is progressing toward a return, writes Gina Mizell of The Denver Post. According to Mizell, Millsap is on track to get back on the court around the time of the All-Star break next month.
  • Pelicans guard Tony Allen suffered a setback in his recovery from a fibula fracture, per Jennifer Hale of FOX Sports New Orleans (Twitter link). Allen, originally expected to be back around this time, will likely miss another two to four weeks, says Hale.
  • Pacers center Myles Turner, who sat out last night’s game against Miami with a right elbow injury, will also miss Friday’s contest vs. Cleveland, the club announced in a press release.

Central Notes: Turner, Thomas, Calderon

It’s been eight games since Myles Turner returned to action for the Pacers after suffering a concussion in the team’s season opener. The big man, Clifton Brown of the Indianapolis Star writes, has been struggling to find his groove ever since.

The third-year center has failed to top the 13-point plateau in each of the past five games and he hasn’t cracked double-digits in rebounds either. Last season, in contrast, the 21-year-old averaged 14.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game for the Pacers, setting the stage for a significant step forward in the first season without Paul George in the lineup.

Sometimes when you miss games, it sets you back and you lose your rhythm,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “He had some shots that he’s very capable of making. I told him, ‘Don’t get down on yourself. Keep shooting the ball. That rhythm will come for you.'”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • It’s coming, but the Cavaliers are still adapting to life without Kyrie Irving, Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer writes. There has been a noticeable hole in Cleveland’s attack at the point, although injuries to Isaiah Thomas and Derrick Rose have played a large part of that.
  • The Cavaliers will turn to Jose Calderon to fill a gaping hole at the point guard position, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. The 36-year-old has only played 6.7 minutes per game for the Cavs this season.
  • The rehabilitation process inherent with Isaiah Thomas‘ hip injury has helped the player build a unique sense of respect with the Cavaliers franchise. “I’m protecting myself, so, even if they wanted me to hurry back, I’m not going to hurry back, just because I’ve got a long career ahead of me and an important summer as well,” Thomas, a pending free agent, told Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. “So, I’ve got to make sure I’m 100 percent healthy before I step out on the floor. But these guys have not rushed me one bit. They’ve taken their time with me and I appreciate that. Because most teams, they want you out there, especially if things aren’t going well.