Myles Turner

Celtics Not Expected To Trade Grizzlies’ Pick For Big Man Help

The Celtics‘ 11-2 start has catapulted them into contender status in the Eastern Conference with Kemba Walker‘s arrival rejuvenating the club. Boston still has a weakness in its interior, having rotated through starting big men, and the club has a major trade chip that could help land a major piece to man the center position, as Sean Deveney of Heavy.com writes.

As a result of the 2015 Jeff Green trade, the Celtics own a future Grizzlies first-round pick. The protections on the pick have kept it from conveying over the past couple years and it’s only top-six protected for the 2020 draft before potentially becoming unprotected in 2021.

However, some around the league don’t see the Celtics using this pick to acquire a bigger piece unless it’s for the right player.

“It’s a high-value pick no matter what happens, it is a lottery pick,” one rival GM tells Deveney “They’d be willing to trade the other pick they have (from the Bucks), but it wouldn’t make sense to move the Memphis pick. If it’s Anthony Davis then, OK, you change your plans. But there’s not really anyone on the market who is going to get them to move that.”

Deveney mentions Myles Turner among the candidates that Boston could be interested in, but hears that the Pacers are unlikely to trade the big man to an Eastern Conference rival — or at all. Deveney also names LaMarcus Aldridge as a possibility but that would likely require the Celtics to send Gordon Hayward to San Antonio, which is something Boston is reluctant to do.

Boston also owns Milwaukee’s 2020 selection, which figures to be among the last five picks or so in the first round. Packaging that pick along with salary to acquire a center seems much more likely.

Charania’s Latest: Gordon, Baynes, Turner, Wiseman

Multiple teams are monitoring Magic forward Aaron Gordon and would have interest if he becomes available, league sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic. However, according to Charania, Orlando has shown no interest in trading Gordon.

The fourth overall pick in the 2014 draft, Gordon has flashed tantalizing potential as a two-way impact player and is still just 24 years old. He’s also on a team-friendly contract, which is worth $19.86MM this season and declines all the way to $16.41MM in 2021/22. As such, it makes sense that he’d generate interest around the league and that the Magic wouldn’t want to move on from him, despite the fact that he hasn’t necessarily put it all together yet.

Here’s more from Charania:

  • Some potential contenders – such as the Lakers – were hoping that the Suns viewed Aron Baynes as a salary dump when they acquired him on draft night and would eventually buy him out, Charania writes. Instead, the veteran center has emerged as a key part of Phoenix’s lineup. Baynes is on an expiring contract and one team executive believes the big man is “positioning himself for well over $10MM per year,” as Charania relays.
  • Pacers center Myles Turner, who was listed as “week-to-week” after suffering a sprained ankle on October 30, hopes to return on Saturday when Indiana hosts Milwaukee, per Charania.
  • Even if top 2020 draft prospect James Wiseman is ruled ineligible for the entire NCAA season, scouts and executives don’t expect it to affect his draft stock. “Will him sitting the year impact him a spot or two? Maybe,” one high-ranking team official said to Charania. “But it isn’t impacting his financial base. He is known as a talent.” A season-long ban is unlikely though. One source tells Charania that Wiseman and Memphis are hoping for a suspension in the range of three-to-six games after he dropped his lawsuit against the NCAA this week.

Pacers’ Turner, Sumner Expected To Miss Multiple Weeks

The Pacers will be without starting center Myles Turner and rotation guard Edmond Sumner for the foreseeable future due to injuries, the team announced today in a press release.

According to the Pacers, Turner has been diagnosed with a sprained right ankle, which he suffered in the first quarter of Wednesday’s win over the Nets. He is being listed as “week-to-week” as opposed to day-to-day. Scott Agness of The Athletic (Twitter link) hears from a league source that Indiana expects Turner to be sidelined for at least two weeks.

As for Sumner, the third-year guard has a non-displaced fracture of the third metacarpal in his right hand, per the team. While he won’t require surgery, the 23-year-old will miss at least three weeks before being re-evaluated.

Turner, the lone Pacers starter who was also part of last season’s starting five, had been leaned on heavily to start the year, having logged at least 38 minutes in each of the club’s first three games. Meanwhile, Sumner had taken on an increased role in the backcourt with Victor Oladipo on the shelf, averaging 22.3 minutes per contest and starting two games before he went down.

With those two players out, Aaron Holiday is the top candidate to pick up more minutes in the backcourt, while Domantas Sabonis will take on a bigger role up front. T.J. Leaf and first-round pick Goga Bitadze could also see more regular minutes during Turner’s absence.

Eastern Notes: Knicks, Sabonis, Hachimura, Johnson, Henson

Knicks management was “stunned and depressed” that marquee free agents Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant chose the Nets, a team source told Frank Isola of The Athletic. The Knicks have tried to convince outsiders they didn’t want meetings with them or another top free agent, Kawhi Leonard, but in actuality they desperately wanted those big-ticket free agents, Isola continues. However, it may work out for them in the long run considering Durant’s Achilles injury and Irving’s injury history, Isola adds.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • It makes sense for the Pacers to move Domantas Sabonis if he doesn’t mesh well with Myles Turner in the Pacers’ starting lineup, Sam Vecenie of The Athletic opines. Indiana is reportedly shopping Sabonis because extension talks have gone nowhere. The team should see if they can play together but if it doesn’t work, there’s no need to tie up a chunk of the team’s cap space on two centers, Vecenie continues, especially since it drafted another center in June.
  • Sabonis expressed his disappointment about the extension negotiations and subsequent trade rumors on Saturday, Forbes’ Tony East tweets. “Theres not really much to talk about. I know exactly how the Pacers feel about me now,” Sabonis said. “They know how I feel about that. There’s not much more to say. I’ll let my agents do the rest of it, we’ll see what happens.”
  • Wizards first-round selection Rui Hachimura is likely to be in the starting lineup for the season opener, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post tweets. Coach Scott Brooks said he was “leaning the way.” Hachimura averaged 10.3 PPG and 6.5 RPG in 21.9 MPG during the preseason.
  • Heat forward James Johnson believes he’ll suit up for the opener, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. Johnson has returned for workouts after a team-imposed suspension when he failed to meet their conditioning standards. Johnson said he just needs to get his body fat percentage down a little more. “You know, body fat takes a long time to drop. So I’m just waiting for that to get down,” he said. “I know my numbers. My weight is good, my conditioning is good, I’m just waiting for my numbers to drop.”
  • Center John Henson‘s injury woes have continually frustrated the Cavaliers, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Henson has been sidelined most of the preseason with groin and ankle injuries. A wrist injury that required surgery made last season a virtual washout for the former Bucks big man. Coach John Beilein was hoping Henson could challenge for a rotation or even starting spot. ““I’ve seen him so limited this year because he’s basically been injured almost every day that I’ve known him,” Beilein said.

Pacers Seeking Trade Partner For Sabonis

The Pacers are in active trade talks regarding big man Domantas Sabonis, Sam Amick of The Athletic reports.

Indiana has engaged Sabonis in extension talks but the two parties are far apart, convincing the front office to explore the trade market for the fourth-year forward. The Pacers are in negotiations with several teams regarding Sabonis, who averaged 14.1 PPG,  9.3 RPG and 2.9 APG last season. The Pacers’ asking price in talks has been too high, according to Amick’s sources.

Sabonis is making just $3.5MM this season and would become a restricted free agent next summer if no extension agreement is reached by Monday’s deadline.

The Pacers have some long-term salary cap concerns. They have a handful of players signed through at least the 2020/21 season making $10MM or more. Center Myles Turner received a four-year, $72MM extension before the end of last year’s training camp. Turner and Sabonis are expected to play together in the starting lineup despite concerns their skills might overlap.

The Pacers also added guard Malcolm Brogdon on a four-year, $85MM contract in a sign-and-trade with Milwaukee and handed Jeremy Lamb a three-year, $31.5MM deal in free agency.

Domantas Sabonis Talks Extension, Fit With Myles Turner

Domantas Sabonis has one year remaining on his rookie deal with the Pacers. The big man believes there’s a good chance he’ll sign an extension this offseason, but he’s remaining patient.

“Like my dad said: You did your job. You did your best and now you just have to wait. Now I can’t do anything. I just need to be patient and wait,” Sabonis said (via international journalist Donatas Urbonas’ Twitter feed).

The 23-year-old is arguably best-suited to play the five, which is also Myles Turner‘s best position. With Turner, who signed a four-year extension last season, in the fold and the Pacers drafting center Goga Bitadze in the first round of June’s draft, it’s fair to wonder about Indiana’s plan for Sabonis. The 23-year-old isn’t worried about the overlap with Turner.

“We know it can work,” Sabonis told Urbonas (Twitter link). “I think we were a good fit last season. We just need more time. Not only a few minutes per game, but a whole season or at least half of it. There are going to be better and worse games, but we need trust and everything will be fine.”

Teams Inquired On Myles Turner Before, After Draft

Teams contacted the Pacers both before and after last month’s draft to inquire about center Myles Turner, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv. However, it’s not clear if any of those talks gained any real traction, Begley notes.

Around the time of the draft, J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star reported that no one on Indiana’s roster was truly untouchable, but suggested that the club had no plans to trade Turner. About a week later, ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote that the Pacers rejected trade offers for the veteran center at the draft.

According to Begley, multiple teams that had conversations with the Pacers about Turner were left with the impression that it would take an “incredibly significant offer” to acquire him.

The Pacers appear to have a mini-logjam at the five, with first-round pick Goga Bitadze joining Turner and rising young center Domantas Sabonis on the depth chart. However, the club is committed to playing Turner and Sabonis alongside one another going forward.

It would be in Indiana’s best interest if the two young big men can co-exist and thrive on the court together. Turner is entering the first year of a four-year contract with a total base value of $72MM. Sabonis, meanwhile, is eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason, so he’ll get much more expensive beginning in 2020/21.

If the duo produces mixed results this season and the Pacers look like a more dangerous team with one or the other on the floor, it could force the front office to make some tough decisions related to Sabonis’ potential restricted free agency and long-term future. For now though, it seems safe to say that neither player – especially Turner – is going anywhere.

And-Ones: Pacers, Favors, Zhou, Teodosic

The Pacers were thrilled to see Goga Bitadze still available when the team picked at No. 18, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star relays. The scribe hears that many within the league were surprised Bitadze was still available at that spot. However, several executives told Michael that had they been running the Pacers, they wouldn’t have taken the center unless they planned on trading either Myles Turner or Domantas Sabonis.

Most of the executives Michael spoke to believe that if the team decides to trade either Turner and Sabonis, the latter will be the one to go. Turner is entering the first season of a four-year, $80MM contract, while Sabonis is entering the last year of his rookie deal.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Pelicans were Derrick Favors‘ preferred destination once it was clear the Jazz were moving him, Tony Jones of The Athletic tweets. Utah needed to trade Favors in order to accommodate the Bojan Bogdanovic signing.
  • Former Rockets center Zhou Qi plans to play in Europe next season, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. Zhou has not yet picked a team.
  • Milos Teodosic will make slightly over €5MM during his three-year contract with Virtus Bologna, Carchia passes along in a separate piece. Teodosic last played for the Clippers during this past season.

Lowe’s Latest: Walker, Brogdon, Mavs, Rubio, Butler

The Celtics might be the frontrunner for Kemba Walker‘s services but devoting most of their cap space to the All-Star point guard would leave them without any proven frontcourt players and limited ways to acquire them, ESPN’s Zach Lowe writes in an in-depth look at free agency. The addition of Walker would force coach Brad Stevens to use either Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum or Gordon Hayward at power forward, Lowe notes. Walker also ran more pick-and-rolls with the Hornets than Kyrie Irving did with the Celtics, yet Irving was sometimes accused of being a ball hog, Lowe adds.

Here are some other interesting tidbits from Lowe’s column:

  • Bucks restricted free agent Malcolm Brogdon will lose a suitor if the Celtics ink Walker. The Suns, Bulls, Mavericks and Pacers could potentially extend Brogdon an offer sheet but some teams are concerned about his foot issues.
  • The Mavericks are not looking to sign any high-level free agents.
  • The Pacers are looking to make a run at point guard Ricky Rubio. They are also likely to let power forward Thaddeus Young walk and go with a frontcourt of Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. Indiana rejected trade offers for Turner at the draft.
  • The Heat could get involved in the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes via a sign-and-trade.
  • The Nets have no interest in doing a sign-and-trade with the Timberwolves involving restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell if it means taking back Jeff Teague or Andrew Wiggins.

Pacers Rumors: Oladipo, Bitadze, Turner, Young

Speaking on Thursday night to reporters, including J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star, Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard acknowledged that the team isn’t expecting to have Victor Oladipo ready to go to start the 2019/20 season. Oladipo continues to recover from the torn quad tendon he suffered in January.

“I’m hopeful that he’s going to be back in December, January,” Pritchard said of Oladipo. “To put a true timeline is not really fair.”

Here are several more Pacers notes worth passing along:

  • First-round pick Goga Bitadze will join the Pacers right away rather than being stashed overseas, Michael writes. “Of any of the guys we’ve drafted in the last few years, I think he’s more polished and ready to play in an NBA game than a normal kid coming out of college,” Pritchard said of the Georgian center.
  • While the Pacers are committed to playing Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis together, with one of the two at power forward, the team will have trade options available, Michael writes. Multiple league sources have told Michael that no one on Indiana’s roster is really untouchable, though he doesn’t expect the team to move Turner, as he tweeted prior to the draft.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic remains the Pacers’ top priority in free agency, while Thaddeus Young appears less likely to be retained, per Michael.
  • Pritchard expects to be active in free agency as the Pacers look to fill out their roster, Michael relays. “We’ve got a lot of holes to fill. We’re going to have a lot of money to go out into the marketplace,” Pritchard said. “July 1 is going to be where the real dirty work starts. We got to make some hay in free agency.”
  • More from Pritchard, via Michael: “We’ll try to be a good team next year. We’re not going to go young and try to start at the bottom. We want to win again.”