Oshae Brissett

Pacers Guarantee Contracts For Brissett, Johnson

The Pacers have officially guaranteed the salaries of forwards Oshae Brissett and James Johnson for the remainder of the 2022/23 season, according to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link).

Indiana is well below the league’s salary cap “floor,” so there was little reason to believe the team would release either player. Today is the deadline to waive players on non-guaranteed deals before their salaries become fully guaranteed for the rest of the season.

Brissett, 24, has been a rotation regular for the Pacers, averaging 5.9 PPG and 3.1 RPG while shooting 37.0% from three-point range in 35 games (15.7 MPG). He has spent the last three seasons with Indiana after playing for Toronto, his hometown, as a rookie in ’19/20.

Johnson, 35, is a well-traveled veteran — the Pacers are his 10th team in 14 NBA seasons. He has only made nine appearances this season for an average of 7.9 minutes per contest, but clearly the club values his locker-room presence.

Brissett will carry a $1,846,738 cap hit, which is just above Johnson’s minimum-salary cap hit of $1,836,090. Both players will be unrestricted free agents in the summer.

Central Notes: Cunningham, Caruso, Green, Terry, Hield, Haliburton

Pistons general manager Troy Weaver said that Cade Cunningham was resistant to having season-ending surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left shin, according to Mike Curtis of the Detroit News (subscription required). Cunningham hoped that a few weeks of rest would allow him to get back on the court, but he ultimately chose to undergo the procedure this week.

“No player wants to sit out,” the Pistons GM said. “He’s a highly-competitive young player and he wants to play and he wants to be a part of the group. Of course, this is a tough deal for him to have to sit down and get this taken care of.”

The Pistons’ rebuilding timeline won’t be affected by Cunningham’s injury, Weaver insists: “Injuries are a part of it, but it doesn’t change anything. It changes for Cade, but not for what we are trying to accomplish. We’re trying to continue to grow the program and compete every night. … We’re still going full blast ahead.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Alex Caruso and Javonte Green were inserted into the Bulls‘ starting lineup in place of Ayo Dosunmu and Patrick Williams a couple of weeks ago. That lineup only lasted one game before minor injuries to Caruso and Green led to more adjustments. Caruso and Green could be back in the lineup again when the Bulls host the Knicks on Wednesday, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • Bulls rookie Dalen Terry isn’t ready to be a rotation piece, coach Billy Donovan told Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Terry has spent a majority of the last two months with the G League Windy City Bulls. “If you’re throwing him in the rotation you’re having to sit somebody else,” Donovan said of the 18th overall pick. “And right now, clearly, I don’t think he’s at the level of some of our guys. “
  • Pacers guards Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield have formed a strong bond and are constantly putting each other down in joking fashion. Their relationship has helped bring the entire team closer, Oshae Brissett told Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star. “All the time,” Brissett said. “Practice, on the plane, lunch, dinner, they’re always like that. But it’s all love. Brotherly love. If those two are like that, it brings the team together and everyone else has to follow.”

Pacers Notes: Nesmith, Cap, Brissett, Sabonis, Taylor

Malcolm Brogdon has passed his physical with the Celtics, clearing the way for Aaron Nesmith to officially join the Pacers‘ Summer League team, a league source tells James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. With the Pacers/Celtics trade that sent Nesmith to Indiana officially irreversible, the former lottery pick could make his Summer League debut with the Pacers as soon as Tuesday, Boyd writes.

The completion of the Brogdon deal also clears a few extra million dollars in cap space for the Pacers, who reportedly have their eye on restricted free agent center Deandre Ayton.

Indiana doesn’t have quite enough cap room to make Ayton a maximum-salary offer, but the team is close to getting there. The Pacers also could be attempting to work out a sign-and-trade deal with the Suns so they don’t have to worry about the possibility of Phoenix matching an offer sheet.

As we wait to see what happens on the Ayton front, let’s round up a few more Pacers-related items…

  • The Pacers decided to pick up Oshae Brissett‘s team option in June rather than declining it to negotiate a longer-term contract with the young swingman as a restricted free agent. However, Brissett tells Boyd that he wasn’t bothered by that decision and still hopes to re-sign with the team in unrestricted free agency next summer. “They believed in me when no one else did, so whatever they had on the table I was really ready (to accept) and come back and give it my all for this year,” he said. “I want to be here long term, so I know next year, whatever happens, Indiana’s always gonna be my No. 1 option to be back. The fans and the team have welcomed me with open arms and I’ll never forget that.”
  • Former Pacers center Domantas Sabonis told Boyd that being traded from Indiana to Sacramento was “hard” and that he expects to have “a lot of emotions” when he plays in Indiana for the first time as a King. “I love Indiana,” Sabonis said. “That was basically my first real NBA experience. I spent one year in OKC and then got traded, so that was my home for a long time, you know?”
  • After having his salary guaranteed for 2022/23, Terry Taylor spoke to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files about the role he envisions himself playing for the Pacers next season. “I think I can come in and do the little things to help the team, like play defense, be a versatile defender, crash the offensive glass like I usually do,” Taylor said. “And just be tough-minded and do all the dirty plays that nobody else wants to do.”

Pacers Exercise Oshae Brissett’s 2022/23 Team Option

12:11pm: The Pacers have officially exercised Brissett’s option, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac.


10:11am: The Pacers are picking up their team option on forward Oshae Brissett for 2022/23, reports James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star (Twitter link). Brissett’s $1,846,738 salary for next season will remain non-guaranteed after the option is exercised, but it’s a safe bet he won’t be waived.

Brissett, who turned 24 this month, has been a regular part of Indiana’s rotation over the last season-and-a-half, averaging 9.6 PPG and 5.4 RPG with a .368 3PT% in 88 games (23.7 MPG).

Given how modest his option salary is, there was never doubt that the Pacers would retain Brissett, but there was some question about whether or not they’d pick up his option.

Turning down the option would have made the former Syracuse standout a restricted free agent this offseason, whereas exercising it will put him on track for unrestricted free agency next year.

The Pacers have apparently decided to keep Brissett on a low cap number for one more year and will take their chances with locking him up beyond 2022/23, knowing that they won’t have the right of first refusal on any offer he signs as a free agent next summer.

We’re tracking all of the ’22/23 team option decisions right here.

Central Notes: Garland, Grant, Bulls, Brissett

Reaching an extension with Darius Garland figures to be among the offseason priorities for the Cavaliers, but the third-year guard didn’t want to speculate on the possibility during a public appearance Saturday, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Garland, who has become part of the young foundation in Cleveland, is expected to receive a five-year max-level extension offer this summer.

“We will see,” Garland responded when asked about an extension. “I hope I’m part of (the team’s future). Not anything set in stone yet. Hopefully.”

Garland is coming off a career-best season in which he averaged 21.7 points and 8.6 assists per game and helped the Cavs become a surprise contender in the East. He was stung by back-to-back losses in the play-in tournament and said he couldn’t stand to watch the first round of the playoffs, but now he looks back at the season as something positive.

“It definitely gave me a taste. Just being there. Feeling that atmosphere. The fans packing the arena. That was super cool,” Garland said. “Felt like the playoff atmosphere that I want to be in. Next year hopefully we will be back. We have a bright future. Just coming down the stretch we had a lot of bad timing with injuries and stuff like that. No excuses. We’re headed in the right direction I believe.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Pistons forward Jerami Grant will be a popular name on the trade market this summer, so Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press looks at four potential destinations. Sankofa proposes deals that would send Grant to the Trail Blazers, Timberwolves, Hawks and Grizzlies.
  • After a first-round exit this season, the future doesn’t look much brighter for the Bulls to make a long playoff run, contends Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Even if Chicago is able to re-sign free agent Zach LaVine, Cowley doesn’t believe the current core has enough star power to compete with the Celtics, Heat, Bucks, Nets and Sixers.
  • The Pacers have a $1.8MM option on Oshae Brissett‘s contract for next season, but Tony East of Forbes explains why it might be more beneficial for Indiana to decline that option and make him a restricted free agent now rather than allowing him to become unrestricted in 2023.

And-Ones: BIG3, Canada, Hezonja, Coaches

Ty Lawson, Corey Brewer, Jordan Crawford, Jonathon Simmons, Norris Cole, Festus Ezeli, and Jordan Hill are among the many former NBA players whose names are in the BIG3 draft pool for the 2022 season, per the league’s official website.

The BIG3 will hold its draft on Wednesday evening in Los Angeles as it gears up for the coming season. As we previously relayed, the first games of 2022 are scheduled for June 18 and this will be the first year in which the BIG3 holds an All-Star Game.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

Central Notes: Bucks, Tatum, Brissett, Pistons

Guarding Jayson Tatum will require a team effort from the defending champion Bucks, Eric Nehm of The Athletic writes. Milwaukee will open its second-round series against Boston on Sunday, playing the only undefeated team remaining in the postseason.

As Nehm notes, Jrue Holiday was Tatum’s primary defender this season, but a lot has changed for both clubs. Milwaukee is expected to play without Khris Middleton (MCL sprain), which likely means Bobby Portis will continue to start for the team.

With Holiday, Wesley Matthews, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Portis and Brook Lopez starting, the Bucks held the Bulls to an average of 92 points in three games last series. Starting Portis would also allow Milwaukee to match Boston’s big men and designate Antetokounmpo as Tatum’s primary defender.

The Bucks will certainly miss Middleton, the team’s second-leading scorer at 20.1 points per game this season, but as Nehm writes, it’ll take a full team effort to slow down Tatum and the Celtics.

Here are some other notes from the Central Division:

  • Zach Lowe of ESPN lays out why the Bucks will need absolute peak Giannis Antetokounmpo to beat the Celtics. Antetokounmpo is coming off a season where he averaged a career-high 29.9 points, 11.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game, shooting 55% from the floor. Boston tends to play two big men at all times (starting with Al Horford and Robert Williams III), making it difficult to score at the rim. When you combine this with Middleton’s absence, Milwaukee will certainly need a group effort on both ends to win this series.
  • James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star explores why the Pacers should consider turning down Oshae Brissett‘s $1.85MM team option. By declining the option, Indiana could make Brissett a restricted free agent this summer instead of an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Pacers would be able to match any offer Brissett gets from a rival club. He averaged 9.1 points and 5.3 rebounds in 23.3 minutes per game in 67 appearances this season.
  • Keith Langlois of Pistons.com examines a number of Pistons-related notes in his latest mailbag, including which team may express interest in Jerami Grant and the chances of a Killian Hayes trade. Detroit finished the season 23-59, but it still has a young core headlined by No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham.

Central Notes: Ibaka, Bucks, LaVine, Pacers, Bagley

Discussing the decision to acquire Serge Ibaka at the trade deadline, Bucks general manager Jon Horst referred to the big man as “one of our top targets,” explaining that Ibaka will help the team become more versatile defensively, per Eric Nehm of The Athletic.

“I think our rebounding and our toughness and our presence at the rim is a little bit of our identity and our calling card, so adding players to that – kind of independent of how big they are – is always going to be something we’re going to try to do,” Horst said. “Last year, we did it in a 6’6″, 6’7” P.J. Tucker package. Now this year we did it in a 6’10” Serge Ibaka package.

“I see this as a similar move to P.J., having a chance to have a similar impact. I don’t know that Serge will guard the ones and the twos the way that P.J. Tucker did, but I think Serge can guard the fours and the fives in a different way than what P.J. Tucker did. So, it’s just versatility. We want to find the best seven, eight, nine guys who can play meaningful playoff minutes and our roster is so versatile, I think we can kind of do it in different ways.”

The Bucks, who came out of the deadline with three open spots on their 15-man roster, found themselves a little shorthanded on the wing and will reportedly bring in DeAndre’ Bembry as its 13th man. However, as Nehm relays, Horst said the club isn’t focused on specific positions to fill its 14th and 15th spots, and will target players who are the best fit from a talent and culture perspective.

“It could be guard help. It could be big help,” Horst said. “You know we’re always looking for shooting, we’re always looking for experience and toughness, defensive versatility, a lot of the things that Serge gave us in this move, I think we’ll look for more of that, but positionally, I’m really less worried about what that means positionally. I just think we’re really balanced and really deep.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Bulls head coach Billy Donovan confirmed on Monday that Zach LaVine will be out at least through the All-Star break, noting the guard’s his visit to a knee specialist in Los Angeles will take place on Tuesday, per Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link). Donovan suggested that the Bulls will have a better idea of the plan for LaVine after today’s evaluation.
  • Praising Kevin Pritchard for his impressive trade history, Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star argues that the Pacers ought to give their president of basketball operations a contract extension. Doyel thinks Pritchard may be in the final year of his current deal, though he acknowledges he’s not sure about that.
  • Pacers forward Oshae Brissett began the season on a non-guaranteed contract without a regular rotation role, but he has made impressive strides and shouldn’t be overlooked in conversations about the team’s young talent, writes James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. Brissett, whose contract includes a minimum-salary team option for 2022/23, established new season highs with 22 points and 13 rebounds against Minnesota on Sunday.
  • Marvin Bagley III made a strong impression in his Pistons debut on Monday, putting up 10 points and eight rebounds in just over 20 minutes in his first game since January 29, says Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. “His timing’s off a little bit, understandably, but he has an advantage in the post with his length and his ability to score around the basket. I really like that,” head coach Dwane Casey said. “And first play down the floor, he took a charge. I love that. He’s a little rusty, but I like the way he plays.”

Five More Players Receive Salary Guarantees

The Hawks are hanging onto forward Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, guaranteeing his salary for the rest of the 2021/22 season, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). The decision assures Luwawu-Cabarrot of his full $1,939,350 salary, which counts against Atlanta’s cap for $1,669,178.

After two seasons in Brooklyn, Luwawu-Cabarrot signed a one-year, minimum-salary deal with the Hawks in September. He has appeared in 24 games so far, averaging 4.5 PPG and 1.5 RPG on .387/.381/.813 shooting in 13.9 minutes per contest. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2022.

Here are more updates on salary guarantees:

  • According to Scotto (via Twitter), Pacers forward Oshae Brissett has survived today’s salary guarantee deadline and is assured of receiving his $1,701,593 salary. Brissett has emerged as a three-and-D piece in Indiana’s rotation since joining the team last April, registering 8.2 PPG and 4.5 RPG with a .399 3PT% in 49 total games (20.7 MPG) across parts of two seasons. The club holds a $1.85MM option on him for next season.
  • The Cavaliers are retaining center Ed Davis and guaranteeing his salary, tweets Scotto. Davis isn’t playing much for Cleveland, logging just 112 total minutes across 12 games so far, but he’s considered a strong veteran presence in the locker room. His salary is $2,641,691, while his cap hit is $1,669,178.
  • The Bucks are guaranteeing Wesley Matthews‘ salary for 2021/22, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Milwaukee decided to move on from DeMarcus Cousins this week, but will hang onto Matthews, who signed a minimum-salary contract with the team last month. Matthews is on the books for a $1,237,494 cap hit and is earning a $1,958,495 salary.
  • Timberwolves wing Jaylen Nowell has received a rest-of-season guarantee, according to Dane Moore of Blue Wire Pods (Twitter link). Nowell, whose $1,782,621 salary and equivalent cap hit are now locked in, is averaging 7.5 PPG, 1.9 RPG, and 1.9 APG in 24 games (13.8 MPG) for Minnesota so far this season. The Wolves will have to make a decision this summer on his $1.93MM team option for 2022/23.

Central Notes: Cunningham, Green, Pacers, Mobley

Pistons point guard Cade Cunningham is set to miss Detroit’s entire early-season road trip due to a lingering ankle injury, but could be ready to make his NBA debut on October 30 against the Magic, per Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Cunningham, 20, is apparently still dealing with some soreness.

“Last week, we made the decision to make sure we bring him back gradually, where he’d get some time with the G League team (the Motor City Cruise), practice with them, and get some reps with them,” head coach Dwane Casey said of the top draft pick out of Oklahoma State. “The medical people are holding back — and rightfully so… You don’t want to rush him back if it’s not 100%. That’s the one thing that they want to make sure of, that it was 100%, because there were certain movements he had that were still sore.”

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Reserve forward Javonte Green has already endeared himself to the Bulls faithful since coming over to Chicago at the 2021 trade deadline, writes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Tribune. “(Green is) one of the biggest energy guys we have,’’ Bulls starting point guard Lonzo Ball said. “Not only running the lane but playing defense. He can guard a lot of different positions, and he uses his hands very well… We definitely feed off of that when he comes into the game.’’
  • Pacers guard Jeremy Lamb and forward Oshae Brissett are proving their mettle as galvanizing scorers off the bench so far this season, according to Akeem Glaspie of The Indianapolis Star“A lot of the time the starters are not gonna be able to have it completely going and be able to make shots,” starting point guard Malcolm Brogdon said. “But as long as we defend and the second team comes in and gives us some energy and a spark off the bench offensively, we’re gonna be fine.” Indiana is currently 1-2 in this young season.
  • Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff and his assistants have been showing film of some NBA legends to rookie big man Evan Mobley, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Mobley, the third pick in the 2021 draft out of USC, was utilized much like Hall of Fame big man Kevin Garnett on defense during a 101-95 Cleveland win over the Hawks. He has also watched game tape of future Hall of Fame power forward/center Dirk Nowitzki, as well as current All-Star bigs Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo. “He’s asking me to emulate them but knows I’m still my own player,” Mobley said about Bickerstaff’s strategy. “I try to play my game, take bits and pieces from them, but still be myself and play how I play.” Mobley, already the Cavaliers’ starting power forward, is averaging 15.7 PPG, 8.3 APG, 2.3 BPG and 1.3 APG through three games. Cleveland is 1-2 in those contests.