Myles Turner

Pacers Notes: McMillan, Oladipo, Turner, Warren

The Pacers fired head coach Nate McMillan today, and sources tell Sam Amick of The Athletic that McMillan’s apparent resistance to some modern offensive philosophies was a factor in that decision.

As Amick explains, McMillan is a coach with “old-school sensibilities (and) a defense-first approach” whose offense relied more on mid-range shots than three-pointers — the Pacers ranked last in the NBA this season in three-pointers per game. President of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard viewed McMillan’s offensive approach as an “inopportune fit,” according to Amick.

Taking that into account, it’s no surprise that Mike D’Antoni was the first head coaching target linked to the Pacers. Amick says he expects Indiana’s next coach to have an offense-first philosophy.

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • As Victor Oladipo enters a contract year, his situation is worth monitoring this offseason. Amick wonders if playing for an offense-first coach like D’Antoni might convince Oladipo to remain in Indiana long-term, while Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report says a number of executives around the league believe the two-time All-Star is a candidate to hit the trade block this offseason.
  • Asked about his future with the Pacers this week, Oladipo said he’s not thinking about that right now and is no rush to make any decisions, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “I know what I need to focus on, what I need to do to make sure my knee gets stronger and better and what I need to do to get better as a person and a player,” Oladipo said. “I learned a lot from this year, and I learned a lot from this series, so I just got to continue to keep working.”
  • Speaking to reporters after the Pacers’ elimination, big man Myles Turner expressed frustration with the team’s fifth consecutive first round exit, writes Bontemps. “At some point, you have to get over the hump, man,” Turner said. “Five years of being in the playoffs, five first-round exits. So me, personally, I take that s–t personally. You gotta find a way.”
  • Count Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra among those who wasn’t a fan of the Pacers’ decision to fire McMillan. Spoelstra said today that McMillan’s ouster was “totally ridiculous” and was critical of the “media fake extension” that Indiana gave him earlier this month (Twitter link via Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald). That contract extension reportedly just added a team option to McMillan’s deal, rather than any guaranteed seasons.
  • In an Insider article for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks previews the Pacers’ offseason, including looming decisions on Oladipo and T.J. Warren. As Marks observes, Warren will be extension-eligible, but Indiana can’t offer more than $49.3MM over three years.

Central Notes: Bulls, Boylen, Wood, Pistons, Turner

Speaking to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago following his recent dismissal, former Bulls head coach Jim Boylen expressed no hard feelings toward his old team, telling Johnson that he “loved every minute of working for the Bulls” and that he understands why new head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas would want to bring in his own coach.

Boylen also expressed no regrets about his stint in Chicago, noting that Bulls ownership and former head of basketball ops John Paxson asked him to “bring more discipline” to the team. Boylen praised his players for competing hard, citing injuries and a young roster as a couple of the reasons why the club didn’t win more games.

“I don’t worry about people who haven’t coached critiquing me,” Boylen said. “I don’t try to be a doctor.”

Despite Boylen’s comments, reviews of his time with the Bulls weren’t exactly positive. According to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic, who took a deep dive into the last two seasons in Chicago, Boylen’s tenure was described by multiple people within the organization as “toxic,” with one calling it “a circus” and another referring to it as a “nightmare.”

In Mayberry’s view, Boylen tried to maintain total control of the team with a tough, abrasive style, but “couldn’t get out of his own way.” Boylen’s greatest success during his time as the Bulls’ head coach, according to Mayberry, was “simply getting the job.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago explores which candidates for the Bulls‘ head coaching job are favored by oddsmakers, pointing out that one prominent sportsbook lists Ime Udoka, Adrian Griffin, Kenny Atkinson, and Tyronn Lue as the frontrunners.
  • The Pistons have more options with Christian Wood this fall than simply re-signing him or letting him walk, according to James Edwards III of The Athletic, who digs into how the team could use a sign-and-trade deal to its advantage if Wood wants to join a team without cap room.
  • The rebuilding Pistons should keep a close eye on players coming off two-way contracts, writes Duncan Smith of Forbes. As Forbes explains, under-the-radar free agents like Chris Chiozza are realistic targets for Detroit and could help the club make the most of its cap space.
  • Pacers big man Myles Turner recently spoke to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype about life on the Disney World campus, Indiana’s playoff outlook, Victor Oladipo‘s 2021 free agency, and several other topics.

Eastern Notes: Wizards, Nunn, Warren, Micic

Wizards point guard John Wall expects to have a different role in the team’s offense once he rejoins Washington, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Wall has missed the entire 2019/20 season due to a ruptured Achilles tendon.

“My game is going to be totally different than what it was before because now with the way [Bradley Beal] can handle the ball,” Wall said of his Wizards teammate. “I can be off the ball a little bit and score from the wing and score in transition by running the wing.”

There’s more out of the Eastern Conference:

Pacific Notes: Beverley, Rondo, Warriors, Ayton

The Clippers announced on Wednesday that starting point guard Patrick Beverley is out with a left calf injury for Thursday’s game against the Mavericks (Twitter link). In addition to Beverley, forward Montrezl Harrell is still away from the team.

Beverley suffered the injury in the first quarter against the Suns on Tuesday afternoon. The defensive-minded point guard’s injury isn’t considered serious, however, which is good news for the Clippers, who have championship aspirations.

Without Beverley, Reggie Jackson could be inserted into the Clippers’ starting lineup, with Lou Williams and Landry Shamet also handling point guard duties.

Here’s more from around the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers head coach Frank Vogel told reporters on Wednesday that Rajon Rondo has begun daily coronavirus testing after returning to Florida to rehab, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin (Twitter link). Assuming Rondo tests negative for seven consecutive days before re-entering the NBA’s campus, he’ll have to do a four-day quarantine upon returning. That means he could theoretically rejoin the Lakers by the time the postseason begins, though he may not be ready to play by then.
  • Anthony Slater of The Athletic examines how the Warriors could use their $17.2MM traded player exception to acquire a bridge player and ultimately flip him in a second deal to upgrade the roster. Slater brings up Myles Turner and Aaron Gordon as potential targets who make more than the TPE.
  • After missing 35 games earlier this season, Suns center Deandre Ayton welcomes the opportunity to compete down in the bubble, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. The 22-year-old big man says that he’s matured and is confident in his abilities. “I can say I’ve grown up in a way to where I’m just not being a robot running the play,” he said. “I’m the playmaker when I got the ball, for real, and just me seeing the type of dominance and the type of effect I have on both sides of the floor. Affects the whole game and the whole team has bought in.” Through three games in the bubble, Ayton is averaging 16.6 PPG and 9.0 RPG.

Pacers Notes: Sumner, Sabonis, Turner, Practice

Pacers guard Edmond Sumner has dealt with knee soreness since his final year in college, so the extended layoff has improved his health, Michael McCleary of the Indianapolis Star reports. “This is probably the best I’ve felt, especially (with my) knee,” said Sumner, who missed some early-season action with a broken hand. “The training staff say this is the best they’ve been treating my knee.” Sumner could see his role increase in Orlando if Victor Oladipo stands by his original decision to opt out of the league restart.

We have more from the Pacers:

  • The chemistry between big men Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner had improved just before the stoppage in play. Coach Nate McMillan is hopeful that they’ll quickly recapture that form in Orlando, Mark Monteith of the team’s website writes. “Those guys had adapted to what teams were doing,” McMillan said. “I started to get a feel for how to use the two bigs and the rotations to split them.”
  • Guard T.J. McConnell liked what he saw from the team during its first practice in Orlando on Sunday, according to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files“The pace was so good and guys were playing off each other,” McConnell said. “So it was like we never left. Now we just need to build off it.”
  • Oladipo is having second thoughts about sitting out in Orlando after participating fully in practices. Get the details here.

Pacers Notes: Turner, Oladipo, Stephenson, Roster

Myles Turner is relieved to be able to focus on basketball again after his family’s experience with COVID-19, writes Mark Montieth of NBA.com. Turner’s father had to be quarantined in a bedroom for 10 days after contracting the virus, which made the Pacers center reluctant to support restarting the season.

“I saw it firsthand and how it affected my family and I couldn’t imagine how it’s affected other families,” Turner said Friday in a media session on Zoom. “I definitely wasn’t a big proponent of playing at first. I still have questions now, but most of the questions have been answered.”

Turner changed his mind about the restart after hearing the NBA’s plan to protect the players on the Walt Disney World campus. He turned in some of his best performances of the season just before the hiatus and will be vital to Indiana’s chances of advancing in the playoffs. Turner averaged 15.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.7 blocks in the Pacers’ last three games and seems to have figured out how to be effective alongside fellow big man Domantas Sabonis.

“This is what I do for a living,” Turner said. “It gives me my escape at a time like this. I’m trying to win a championship as well. From that standpoint, I’m all in.”

There’s more from Indiana:

  • The Pacers don’t plan to make a roster move even though Victor Oladipo won’t be available in Orlando, tweets J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star. Oladipo will travel with the team to Disney World, so Indiana would have to waive someone else to create a roster opening. Michael adds that the Pacers are focused on “getting out of this in one piece,” rather than making a playoff run.
  • Former Pacer Lance Stephenson won’t be an option if the team decides to add a player, according to Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports (Twitter link). Agness reports that Stephenson was close to signing with the Pacers on the morning the hiatus began because of injuries to Malcolm Brogdon and Jeremy Lamb. However, a source confirms Stephenson is ineligible to join the team in Orlando.
  • All 17 players who were on the roster when the hiatus began will travel to Disney World, Montieth writes in a separate story. That includes two-way players Brian Bowen and Naz Mitrou-Long. “Having all 17 players may be the most important thing, only because it gives them a chance to spend time together and create some bonds that could trickle over into next year,” said president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard.And we’re looking at programming things we can do together to stimulate that.”

Pacers Rumors: Oladipo, Turner, Sabonis, Draft

A report earlier this month indicated that teams around the NBA are expected to monitor Victor Oladipo, who will be entering a contract year in 2020/21 and hadn’t fully hit his stride with the new-look Pacers since returning from a major leg injury.

However, a league source tells J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star that Oladipo isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. According to that source, the Pacers have no plans to shop the two-time All-Star on the trade market during the 2020 offseason, and intend to focus on locking him up to a new deal beyond 2021. Oladipo’s name hasn’t come up in any trade talks to date, two sources told Michael.

As previous reports have indicated, Oladipo and the Pacers briefly discussed an extension before the 2019/20 season began, but he only could have added three new years at that point and wouldn’t have been eligible to increase his salary to the league max.

Oladipo decided at that point to wait on negotiating a new contract and will likely take the same approach during the 2020 offseason, according to Michael, who notes that Oladipo could maximize his potential earnings by waiting until his contract expires in 2021 to sign a new one. At that point, he’d be eligible for up to five years if he re-signs with Indiana.

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • Despite a long-standing belief among outside observers that Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner aren’t compatible, there was no indication at the trade deadline that the Pacers planned to move either player, according to Michael. Still, the club remains in the market for a power forward, Michael adds.
  • Turner drew some interest around the NBA prior to the deadline, particularly from the Wizards, according to Michael. One source tells the Indy Star that Washington was only inquiring about the big man for future reference, but another source told the Star that a “key player” from the Wizards sat down with someone close to Turner to directly express interest. According to Michael, Turner’s camp didn’t take those inquiries too seriously because they were aware Indiana wasn’t looking to move the 24-year-old.
  • The Pacers weren’t interested in adding 2020 draft picks in pre-deadline deals, since they’re “not enamored by” the 2020 draft class and are in win-now mode, says Michael.
  • Michael adds that “for the foreseeable future, no one is going anywhere,” since the Pacers like their roster.

Central Notes: Bulls, P. Connelly, Turner, Kennard

The Bulls have yet to formally announce the hiring of Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas as their new executive VP of basketball operations. That delay is related in part to the fact that there’s still a possibility of other Denver staffers joining Karnisovas in Chicago, tweets Mike Singer of The Denver Post.

Sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links) that one such candidate who is in serious talks to join the Bulls’ front office is Nuggets director of pro personnel Pat Connelly, the brother of Denver’s president of basketball operations Tim Connelly.

Woj adds that a deal between the Bulls and Pat Connelly could come together quickly, and that an official announcement on Karnisovas’ departure from the Nuggets for Chicago could happen as soon as today.

Here’s more from around the Central Division:

  • No decisions have been made yet on Jim Boylen‘s future as head coach, but there has been “a lot of smoke” today around Adrian Griffin and the Bulls, tweets Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. One executive tells Cowley that the current Raptors assistant is so ready for a head coaching role that he’s “over-qualified” for most jobs.
  • Pacers center Myles Turner revealed during an appearance on CJ McCollum‘s podcast (hat tip to Dan Feldman of NBC Sports) that his father was hospitalized with COVID-19 for nearly a week before recovering. “He’s not contagious anymore. He’s back on his feet,” Turner said. “It’s a blessing that he was able to make it through, but there’s a lot of people that aren’t. So, I think having something personal happen to you like that, that’s kind of what made it, the perspective, all feel real.”
  • Getting Luke Kennard back on track will be a top priority for the Pistons if the regular season resumes, Keith Langlois of NBA.com writes. The former lottery pick will be eligible for a rookie-scale extension during the offseason.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

USA Basketball Announces 44 Finalists For 2020 Olympic Roster

USA Basketball has formally announced a preliminary group of 44 players who are candidates to be part of the program’s roster for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The final roster will only consist of 12 players, so most of these finalists won’t actually play for Team USA at the Olympics. Some will likely withdraw from consideration, while others simply won’t make the final cut. However, these players have all expressed interest in being involved in the process.

“This is the first step in USA Basketball identifying the 12 players who will represent the United States as members of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team in Tokyo,” said USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo.

“… Over the course of the remainder of the NBA season we’ll continue to monitor all of the athletes. Selecting the 12-man USA roster will obviously be an extremely challenging and difficult process, and we will again attempt to select the very best team possible to represent our country and who we hope will be successful in our difficult mission of repeating as Olympic champions for a fourth consecutive Olympics.”

Although the U.S. men’s team has won three consecutive Olympic gold medals, the program had a disappointing showing at last year’s World Cup, finishing in seventh place. Team USA will be looking for a bounce-back performance in Tokyo this summer, with many players from that World Cup squad among the 44 finalists announced today.

Here’s the full list of players who are candidates to play for Team USA at the 2020 Olympics:

  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 (Rockets)
  18. Montrezl Harrell (Clippers)
  19. Joe Harris (Nets)
  20. Tobias Harris (76ers)
  21. Gordon Hayward (Celtics)
  22. Dwight Howard (Lakers)
  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 (Lakers)
  33. Khris Middleton (Bucks)
  34. Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
  35. Victor Oladipo (Pacers)
  36. Chris Paul (Thunder)
  37. Mason Plumlee (Nuggets)
  38. Marcus Smart (Celtics)
  39. Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  40. Klay Thompson (Warriors)
  41. Myles Turner (Pacers)
  42. Kemba Walker (Celtics)
  43. Russell Westbrook (Rockets)
  44. Derrick White (Spurs)

Scotto’s Latest: Gallinari, Nunn, Pacers, Nuggets, More

When the Thunder and Heat discussed a potential Danilo Gallinari trade leading up to last week’s deadline, James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Kendrick Nunn, and draft compensation were among the various assets that came up in talks, league sources tell Michael Scotto of Bleacher Report. Miami reportedly wanted to extend Gallinari’s contract as part of a deal, but couldn’t agree to terms with his camp, which is one main reason the trade didn’t happen.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote last week that he believed the Heat could’ve acquired Gallinari without surrendering any of their young players like Nunn. So even though his name came up in discussions, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Thunder would have insisted on his inclusion, depending on what other pieces were involved.

While Gallinari remained with the Thunder for this season, Scotto suggests the Heat and Knicks could be among his potential suitors this summer. Miami clearly has interest, and created some cap flexibility for 2020/21 by moving Johnson and Dion Waiters last week. New York, meanwhile, will have cap space and is hiring veteran CAA agent Leon Rose as its new president of basketball operations. Gallinari is a CAA client.

Here are a few more noteworthy tidbits from Scotto’s look at the post-deadline landscape:

  • The Knicks and Pacers discussed a possible Marcus Morris trade. According to Scotto, a package that featured Aaron Holiday, Doug McDermott, and T.J. Leaf was “briefly kicked around,” but didn’t end up going far.
  • McDermott’s name also came up in discussions about a potential Pacers trade with the Bucks involving Ersan Ilyasova, says Scotto. It’s not known which team initiated those talks.
  • Before the Cavaliers traded for Andre Drummond, they called the Pacers to ask about Myles Turner‘s availability, per Scotto. Indiana has remained firm on keeping Turner, though many executives expect the team to eventually break up its Turner/Domantas Sabonis frontcourt.
  • The Nuggets discussed the possibility of trading Gary Harris, Malik Beasley, and Juan Hernangomez as part of a package for Bulls guard Zach LaVine or Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, sources tell Scotto. New Orleans set a very high asking price for Holiday, while LaVine was said to be “off-limits” for Chicago, so Denver didn’t get far on either front.