Southeast Notes: Jovic, Anthony, Mosley, Bridges

Despite a promising summer that saw him play a key role for Serbia’s national team at the World Cup, Nikola Jovic has been unable to crack the Heat‘s regular rotation so far this season, appearing in just two games for the club. Noting that the former first-round pick “needs to play,” head coach Erik Spoelstra confirmed on Saturday that Jovic will be sent to the G League for “a few games,” according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

Jovic doesn’t see the assignment to the Sioux Falls Skyforce as a step back, explaining that he welcomes the opportunity to get on the court.

“I just want to play. That’s it,” the 20-year-old said. “I just want to get some playing time, stay in a rhythm, you never know what’s going to happen [with the Heat]. Maybe they’ll need more help from me, you never know. I just want to improve and these guys do a great job at it. Even being in the G League, I feel like it’s going to be great for me.”

As Chiang explains, while Jovic has flashed an intriguing combination of ball-handling, facilitating, and shooting for his size (6’10”), his defense is still very much a “work in progress,” which is a key reason why he hasn’t been able to establish a consistent role in Miami.

Here are a few more items from around the Southeast:

  • Speaking to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Magic guard Cole Anthony suggested that competing in the World Cup helped teammates Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner become “more complete players” and said that making the playoffs is Orlando’s goal this season. Anthony also reiterated a point he made last month, telling Scotto that he’s happy to have resolved his contract situation by signing a rookie scale contract extension due to the security it provides. “It allowed me to play the game without the stress of worrying if I play badly that shoot, that’s my career,” Anthony said.
  • In that same conversation, Anthony lauded Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley for the role he has played in the team’s growth, telling Scotto that Mosley is “up front” and “candid” with his players. “I can tell why people in Dallas spoke highly of him,” Anthony said of the former Mavericks assistant. “He’s a really good dude who cares about his players about all of us beyond basketball. It’s been fun to play for him. He allows us to play through a lot of our mistakes. He’s also grown as a coach. This is his first head coaching gig. He’s doing a great job. He’s gotten better as a coach, and we’ve gotten better as players. It’s been fun.”
  • In an appearance on Sportsnet 590 The Fan (Twitter video link), NBA commissioner Adam Silver discussed the status of Miles Bridges, who returned on Friday from a suspension related to domestic violence charges, despite the fact that the Hornets forward faces newer allegations. As Silver explained, the league intends to let the legal process play out before deciding whether to assess an additional punishment related to those allegations.

Injury Notes: Brown, Mitchell, Payton, Anunoby, Alvarado

Celtics wing Jaylen Brown is considered questionable to suit up on Sunday in Memphis due to a right adductor strain, according to the NBA’s official injury report. The injury occurred during Friday’s in-season tournament game in Toronto, and Brown indicated after Boston’s win that a slippery floor was to blame.

“The court was just slippery all game,” Brown said (Twitter link via Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe). “I think as players we’re all here for the in-season tournament because it’s going to generate revenue, excitement, competition, but we’ve got to make sure the floor is safe to play on. We can’t put our players out there and risk their health. Tonight I thought the floor was unacceptable. I think guys were slipping all over the place, not just me.”

As Michael Grange of relays (via Twitter), Raptors forward Precious Achiuwa seconded Brown’s complaint about the court, which was being used for the first time: “It was slippery, I fell a couple of times myself. The extra stuff is extra. I’m just trying to play basketball, at the same time, not trying to get hurt.”

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

  • Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell will miss a second consecutive game on Sunday, having been ruled out vs. Denver due to a right hamstring strain, tweets Tom Withers of The Associated Press.
  • The Warriors provided a formal update on Gary Payton II on Saturday, announcing (via Twitter) that an MRI on his injured left foot didn’t show any structural damage and confirmed that he has a muscle strain in the foot. Payton, who missed Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma City, will be reevaluated again this weekend.
  • OG Anunoby has missed the Raptors‘ past three games due to a laceration on his finger, but he’s listed as probable to return for Sunday’s game vs. Detroit, per Josh Lewenberg of (Twitter link).
  • Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado, who was upgraded to questionable for Saturday’s game, ended up sitting it out, further delaying his season debut. However, it sounds like that debut will occur soon. Head coach Willie Green said on Saturday that Alvarado has been playing 5-on-5 and is getting very close, tweets Will Guillory of The Athletic.

NBA Maximum Salary Projections For 2024/25

Although a number of big-money free agent contracts were completed over the summer, the most lucrative deals signed by players so far in 2023/24 have been contract extensions. And many of those extensions have been maximum-salary deals.

[RELATED: 2023/24 NBA Contract Extension Tracker]

Because those extensions won’t go into effect until at least the 2024/25 season and the NBA won’t finalize the ’24/25 salary cap until next summer, we can only ballpark what many of year’s maximum-salary contracts will look like based on the league’s latest cap estimates.

The NBA’s most recent projection for ’24/25 called for a $141,000,000 cap, which is the number we’ll use to project next season’s maximum salaries.

Listed below are the early maximum-salary projections for 2024/25. The first chart shows the maximum salaries for a player re-signing with his own team — a player’s previous club can offer five years instead of four, and 8% annual raises instead of 5% raises. The second chart shows the maximum salaries for a player signing with a new team.

A player’s maximum salary is generally determined by his years of NBA experience, so there’s a wide gap between potential earnings for younger and older players. Unless they qualify for a more lucrative extension by meeting certain performance criteria, players with no more than six years of NBA experience are limited to a starting salary worth up to 25% of the cap. For players with seven to nine years of experience, that number is 30%. For players with 10 or more years of experience, it’s 35%.

Here are the the early max-salary projections for 2024/25:

A player re-signing with his own team (8% annual raises, up to five years):

Year 6 years or less 7-9 years 10+ years
2024/25 $35,250,000 $42,300,000 $49,350,000
2025/26 $38,070,000 $45,684,000 $53,298,000
2026/27 $40,890,000 $49,068,000 $57,246,000
2027/28 $43,710,000 $52,452,000 $61,194,000
2028/29 $46,530,000 $55,836,000 $65,142,000
Total $204,450,000 $245,340,000 $286,230,000

The “6 years or less” column here is what the new extensions for Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, and LaMelo Ball will look like if none of them make an All-NBA team in 2024. All three players have Rose Rule language in their contracts, however, and could move up to the 30% max column (“7-9 years”) if certain criteria are met.

The 30% max column will also apply to players who reach the free agent market next summer with between seven and nine years of NBA experience under their belts. That would be Pascal Siakam‘s maximum contract with the Pacers, for instance.

The third column (35%) will apply to the super-max extension signed by Celtics star Jaylen Brown. Devin Booker and Karl-Anthony Towns also previously signed super-max extensions that will begin in 2024/25, though those deals are for four years, so they’ll be worth a projected $221,088,000 instead of the projected $286MM+ that Brown will earn over five seasons.

It’s worth noting that when many of these contracts were signed, their projected values were initially reported based on a 10% cap increase rather than a 3.7% bump, since the estimates were coming from agents and represented best-case scenarios.

Ten percent would be the maximum allowable increase and it’s not out of the question that will happen — the NBA’s cap has risen by 10% in each of the past two summers. In that scenario, the maximum total value of these contracts would increase to approximately $217MM (25% of the cap), $260MM (30%), and $304MM (35%), respectively.

A player signing with a new team (5% annual raises, up to four years):

Year 6 years or less 7-9 years 10+ years
2024/25 $35,250,000 $42,300,000 $49,350,000
2025/26 $37,012,500 $44,415,000 $51,817,500
2026/27 $38,775,000 $46,530,000 $54,285,000
2027/28 $40,537,500 $48,645,000 $56,752,500
Total $151,575,000 $181,890,000 $212,205,000

If a player changes teams as a free agent, he doesn’t have access to a fifth year or 8% raises. So if someone like Tyrese Maxey were to sign an offer sheet with a new team next summer, he’d be limited to a four-year deal projected to be worth approximately $151.6MM.

If a veteran free agent with between seven and nine years of NBA experience – such as Siakam – wants to change teams in 2023, he would be able to sign a four-year contract worth up to a projected $181.9MM.

Paul George, Klay Thompson, or another veteran with 10+ years of experience would be able to earn up to $212.2MM across four years if they change teams as free agents in 2024. While it’s unlikely that George, Thompson, or any other 10-year veteran changes teams and signs a four-year, maximum-salary deal next offseason, it could theoretically be the first time in NBA history that a player receives a $200MM+ contract while changing teams.

Again, a 10% cap jump rather than a 3.7% increase would push these figures higher. In that scenario, a 25% max contract would be worth nearly $161MM, a 30% deal would be worth about $193MM, and a 35% contract would work out to approximately $225MM.

Jazz Notes: George, Offense, LaVine, Hendricks

The Jazz wound up losing Friday’s in-season tournament game to Phoenix, 131-128. That dropped Utah’s record to 4-8, including 2-1 in the tournament.

Despite the loss, Friday’s contest was a good showcase of how well Utah’s offense has been clicking since making a couple of changes to the starting lineup, writes Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune.

The first change came by choice, with first-round pick Keyonte George replacing Talen Horton-Tucker at point guard. The second choice came out of necessity — Walker Kessler is sidelined with an elbow injury, and head coach Will Hardy decided to add more spacing by starting second-year wing Ochai Agbaji.

George has averaged 11.0 points and 8.3 assists over his four starts, while only turning the ball over eight times. According to Larsen, the 20-year-old has an impressive two-man game with Jordan Clarkson, who has been on an absolute tear since the change was made, averaging 31.5 points on .552/.445/1.000 shooting over the past four games.

Having a strong floor general and five shooters on the court has created room for Clarkson and Lauri Markkanen to operate, Larsen notes, with John Collins sliding up to center after Kessler was injured.

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • In the same story from Larsen, Hardy said he’s not sure who will start once Kessler returns. “We’re not exactly sure when Walker will be back, but it’s gonna be a big decision for us,” he said. “What we do with the lineups — you know, we always get caught up talking about the starters — but I think we’re just going to have to figure out how to blend it all together. Nothing’s really off the table at this point. … Offensively, you know, we have seen a pretty good flow right now. It’s been good for John. But Walker also hasn’t played a ton with Keyonte. So it’s hard to say right now.”
  • There haven’t been any rumors linking Zach LaVine to the Jazz, but Tony Jones of The Athletic considers the pros and cons of the team making a run at the two-time All-Star, writing that Utah hopes to return to the playoffs sooner rather than later, which is why the team was in the mix for Jrue Holiday before he was sent to Boston. Utah’s young core and strong offense could be good fits for LaVine’s game, but giving up assets to acquire a player on a long-term max contract who isn’t known for his defense may not appeal to the front office, according to Jones.
  • While George, who was selected 16th overall in June’s draft, has been seeing heavy minutes for the Jazz, that hasn’t been the case for fellow rookie Taylor Hendricks, who was the ninth selection. Sarah Todd of The Deseret News takes a look at the development plan for the team’s lottery pick, who has opened the season in the G League with Utah’s NBA G League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars.

Pistons Notes: Knox, Starters, Duren, Livers, Williams

New head coach Monty Williams has placed a strong emphasis on defense for the young Pistons, which is part of the reason why they’ve been using a starting lineup that doesn’t feature much shooting.

However, as Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (subscriber link) writes, the cramped offensive spacing has played a factor in the team’s issue with turning the ball over — the Pistons are last in the league in turnovers per game, and third-year guard Cade Cunningham leads the NBA in total turnovers (64 in 13 games, or 4.9 per night).

On Thursday, Williams said he was considering making changes to the rotation to surround Cunningham with more shooting.

He’s seeing two and three bodies every single night,” Williams said of Cunningham, who was limited to 12 games last season due to a shin injury. “Making the read is something that can be really hard for point guards in general, but in particular for a guy who’s been off for a while. When you look at the film at halftime, he knows right away where he should’ve made the read, or at night when we talk, he’s already on it. It’s just going to take a lot of reps. I think it’s a combination of the time off, different defenses, the physicality. He’s got bigger guys and stronger guys on him every single night.

I have to do a better job of allowing him to play in more space. Think I gotta change up the combinations with him on the floor so the paint isn’t as crowded. I think that’s going to free him up to see a lot more clearly, if you will.”

Williams did indeed switch up the starting lineup on Friday against Cleveland, with newly-signed Kevin Knox replacing Marvin Bagley in the frontcourt. Knox got the nod at power forward, sliding Isaiah Stewart up to center.

Knox continued his solid play, notching 11 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and a block in 31 minutes. But the change wasn’t enough for the Pistons to snap their losing streak, which was extended to 10 straight games, notes Mike Curtis of The Detroit News.

Here’s more on the Pistons:

  • A significant factor in Detroit’s poor spacing is the fact that the team has been ravaged by injuries to open 2023/24. Second-year center Jalen Duren doesn’t provide much shooting yet, but his rim-running and strong synergy with Cunningham have been sorely missed after he sustained an ankle injury that has hampered him since October 30, according to Curtis of The Detroit News (subscriber link). Duren has missed the past three games with bilateral ankle soreness.
  • On a more positive note, Isaiah Livers, who has missed the entire season to this point with a Grade III ankle sprain, is questionable for Sunday’s matchup with Toronto, tweets James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Livers was a full practice participant on Thursday. The former second-round pick will hit restricted free agency in 2024.
  • After winning two of their first three games, the Pistons are now 2-11, but Williams has been encouraged by the team’s progress behind the scenes, per Keith Langlois of “When we watch film, they see the things that we have taught that they know they can be better at,” he said. “I see the growth. I know it sounds crazy, but when I look at the numbers and I look at the film, I see the growth. My hope is with the work and the preparation, we’re going to see consistent play and the style and identity that we want to put on the floor every night.”

Nets Notes: Simmons, Whitehead, Walker, Defense

While Ben Simmons‘ latest injury — a nerve impingement in his lower left back — isn’t believed to be nearly as serious as the multiple herniated disks that required surgery last year, the fact that he’s still having back issues is obviously concerning.

Brian Lewis of The New York Post spoke to Dr. Neel Anand, an orthopedic spine surgeon based in Los Angeles, to get a better understanding of Simmons’ injury. According to Anand, the question to ask isn’t whether or not Simmons will have ongoing back issues — it’s how often he might have flare-ups like the one he seems to be experiencing now.

Again, low back. All that means is this disk is not great. Once you’ve had a disk problem, whether it be a tear, a disk herniation — which is what he had before — that disk is not normal anymore, so it’s not unusual to get another tear or a small thing that flares up again,” Anand told The Post. “The question is, is this new episode another major disk herniation, or just a little flare-up which can be settled down?

It’s like your car tire. You get a tire, you patch the hole and you’re fine and you drive your car. That tire could blow up again, get another tear, or it could run another 10 years. That’s the issue; that tire is not normal anymore. You patched the tire; that’s all you’ve done. And that’s what the surgery we do for micro decompression — which is what he probably had — is. But the actual disk is not the same anymore. So you can get other tears.

What’s important is the MRI didn’t show a large disk herniation pushing on his nerves or something big. … [Reports say] he doesn’t need surgery, so based on that I’m going to assume he does not have a big disk herniation. He’s got a small tear that’s flared up. Anti-inflammatories settle it down 90-95 percent of the time. Now, can it happen again? That’s a $1 million question. The answer’s yes; the question is when? Nobody can predict. [Or] he could play for years. Nobody can predict that.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • First-round pick Dariq Whitehead is a former top high school recruit who dealt with a foot injury that required a second surgery prior to the draft. He’s now playing for Brooklyn’s NBA G League affiliate in Long Island as he continues to regain his conditioning. Speaking to Jordan Greene of, Whitehead said he’s “getting closer to where I need to be.” “I’m currently getting my legs where they need to be and my explosiveness is getting back as well,” he said. “When you’re out for six months you sort of lose your bounce a little bit. Now, I’m trying to get my first step back so I can get back to my regular self and hopefully be able to play above the rim soon.”
  • Lonnie Walker signed a one-year, minimum salary contract with the Nets as unrestricted free agent over the summer. To this point, he has been an absolute bargain, stepping up while Simmons and leading scorer Cam Thomas are out with injuries, per Lewis of The New York Post. “He’s just continuing to make plays for us on both ends of the floor,” said head coach Jacque Vaughn. “He’s flying around on the defensive end of the floor, which we need. And then offensively, you see his ability to attack the rim.” Through 11 games (21.6 MPG), Walker is averaging a career-best 15.7 PPG on an excellent .508/.439/.769 shooting line.
  • According to Lewis of The New York Post (subscriber link), Brooklyn theoretically has a roster that could put together one of the better defenses in the league, with two former Defensive Player of the Year runner-ups in Simmons (2021) and Mikal Bridges (2022), along with a strong back-line anchor in Nic Claxton. But the Nets currently have the NBA’s 23rd-ranked defense, with injuries to Simmons and Claxton playing a factor in that poor figure. As Lewis writes, the coaches want the team to take more risks to force more turnovers, which the Nets haven’t been doing to this point — they’re last in the league in opponent turnovers.

Blazers’ Ish Wainright Out 4-6 Weeks With Knee Sprain

Trail Blazers forward Ish Wainright is expected to miss four-to-six weeks after being diagnosed with a sprained MCL in his left knee, the team announced in a press release. An MRI revealed the injury.

Wainright, 29, was cut by the Suns just before the 2023/24 season started, as Phoenix was facing a roster crunch. Portland claimed his non-guaranteed minimum-salary contract off the waiver wire.

A former Baylor Bear who went undrafted in 2017, Wainright played professionally overseas before making it to the NBA in 2021. He appeared in 60 games for the Suns last season, averaging 4.2 points and 2.3 rebounds in 15.3 minutes per night. His shooting line was .370/.329/.839.

Wainright was sidelined for Portland’s first eight games due to a right calf strain — the fact that he was injured again so soon after returning from that injury is an unfortunate development. He has made two appearances thus far for the Blazers, playing five total minutes.

Since Wainright hasn’t been a rotation regular, his absence won’t necessarily impact other players receiving minutes, but it will make the Blazers even more shorthanded — they’re already playing without Scoot Henderson (ankle), Anfernee Simons (right thumb surgery) and Malcolm Brogdon, who missed his fourth straight game on Friday due to a hamstring injury.

Wizards Notes: Poole, Jones, Gallinari, Coulibaly, Shamet

Wizards guard Jordan Poole, who is off to an inconsistent start with his new team, had his worst game of the season on Friday, scoring just eight points on 2-of-11 shooting and committing five turnovers in a 21-point loss to New York. His scoring average for the season is at 15.5 PPG on .392/.278/.813 shooting, well below the marks he posted during his last two seasons in Golden State.

After the loss, Tyus Jones said that he and the rest of the Wizards are trying to make sure that Poole stays positive, and expressed confidence that things will turn around before long for his backcourt partner.

“I think he’s probably putting a little too much pressure on himself,” Jones said (Twitter video link via Hoop District). “But it comes from a place of caring and wanting to be great and wanting to succeed, wanting to play well for not only himself but for his teammates, for the city, for the organization. It’ll work itself out. He’ll be good.”

Veteran forward Kyle Kuzma took to Twitter to voice his agreement with Jones’ assessment, responding to his teammate’s quotes with the “100” emoji.

Here’s more out of D.C.:

  • Speaking to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Jones said he’s trying to make the Wizards’ front office “look good” for acquiring him and giving him an opportunity to be a starting point guard for the first time in his career. He also said he’s trying not to focus on his 2024 free agency as he plays out a contract year. “I like where I’m at. I like what we have here in D.C.,” Jones said. “I like the future and what this could be. I want to be a part of that. I’m looking forward to doing so.”
  • Scotto also spoke to Danilo Gallinari about the veteran forward’s desire to represent Italy in the 2024 Olympics and how much longer he’d like to continue his NBA career. “As long as my legs are underneath me, I want to play,” the 35-year-old said. “When you love basketball so much, in your head, you want to play until you’re 70, but of course your legs are not going to be there. As long as my legs are there, my mind is always going to be ready to go and be competitive. I just need my legs, and I’ll be good.”
  • Rookie forward Bilal Coulibaly has impressed the Wizards with his defensive effort this season and passed another big test this week when he held his own against Luka Doncic in Wednesday’s loss to Dallas, per Chase Hughes and Bijan Todd of Monumental Sports Network.
  • In a separate story, Hughes takes a look at what Landry Shamet – acquired from Phoenix in the summer’s Bradley Beal blockbuster – has brought to the Wizards, noting that his quick release has added a new element to the club’s second unit.

And-Ones: Diallo, T. Cook, J. Green, Expansion, More

Former NBA big man Cheick Diallo, who opened this season playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s G League affiliate, intends to return to Kyoto Hannaryz, the Japanese team he played for in 2022/23, according to Donatas Urbonas of (Twitter link).

Diallo appeared in 180 NBA games from 2016-20, but has bounced around since then, playing in the G League and multiple international leagues, returning to the NBA for just three contests in 2021/22.

In other international basketball news, former NBA forward Tyler Cook has signed with Spanish club Joventut Badalona, per a press release from the team. Cook played in a total of 65 games for five different NBA teams between 2019-22, but wasn’t in the league at all last season. He played in the G League in 2022/23 and had a brief stint in Australia this fall.

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

  • Former NBA forward Johnny Green, who made four All-Star appearances between 1959-71, including three for the Knicks, has passed away at age 89, according to Richard Goldstein of The New York Times. Known as Jumpin’ Johnny, Green was a college star at Michigan State before recording over 12,000 points and 9,000 rebounds in the NBA.
  • Asked during an appearance on Sportsnet’s The Raptors Show (Twitter video link) about comments he made recently referencing the idea of expansion to a Canadian city like Montreal or Vancouver, commissioner Adam Silver stressed that the NBA has received interest from those markets but isn’t prepared to seriously explore the possibility yet. “It’s not an active discussion right now,” Silver said.
  • The early returns for the NBA’s first ever in-season tournament “have been pretty positive,” Silver said during that same radio appearance (Twitter video link). In addition to seeing a significant jump in television ratings for tournament games, Silver is encouraged by the buy-in from people around the NBA. “The players are really into it, and the coaches and teams have been very engaged and excited about it,” Silver said. “That’s what’s most important and what will ultimately translate into the most interest from the fans.”
  • Sam Amick, Josh Robbins, and Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic take stock of the best and worst of the NBA’s first few weeks, identifying the Mavericks, Rockets, and Timberwolves as the teams that have most outperformed expectations and the Lakers, Clippers, and Bucks as a few that have underwhelmed.

Central Notes: LeVert, Bulls, Haliburton, King

After moving him in and out of the starting lineup last season, the Cavaliers are hoping to keep Caris LeVert‘s role more consistent in 2023/24, says Chris Fedor of (subscriber link). The veteran wing got one start early in the season when both Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell were unavailable, but has come off the bench in his other 10 appearances, including in games when just one of Garland or Mitchell is out — the plan is for that to continue going forward.

“I’m comfortable starting, coming off the bench, whatever,” LeVert told Fedor. “But I think for us this season, the goal was kind of to keep me in the same. Obviously, if Don and D.G. are out, I would probably start. But I think just for me in terms of getting my rhythm, we kind of discussed that it would be better for me to have one role — to come off the bench all season.”

No longer sharing the court as often with the team’s most ball-dominant guards, LeVert has bumped his scoring average to 18.0 points per game and his usage rate to 24.4% so far this season. Both marks are the highest they’ve been since he arrived in Cleveland. While we’re only a few weeks into the season, his play as a reserve has made LeVert a popular early pick for the Sixth Man of the Year award, an honor he’d like to earn.

“Of course, I want to win it. Of course I do,” LeVert told Fedor. “If I’m going to come off the bench, I want to be the best at it. That’s something that would be cool. But I think that is a team award more than anything else. If our team performs well, I think we will have a lot of people who get rewarded because of that. I’m just trying to play a good team game.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago checks in on where things stand for the struggling Bulls, citing sources who say management still isn’t prepared to launch an all-out rebuild, despite at least one report suggesting that could be in the cards. According to Johnson, the front office has “full autonomy” on its roster decisions, with ownership not attempting to influence the team’s direction.
  • After signing a five-year, maximum-salary extension with the Pacers in July, Tyrese Haliburton has shown so far this season why he was worthy of such an investment, averaging 24.7 points and a league-leading 12.5 assists per game with a scorching-hot .528/.436/.932 shooting line. As Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic writes, Indiana has played at the second-fastest pace in the league this season and Haliburton appreciates that the team has built its offensive system around the way he likes to play. “Teams don’t want to run with us. Nobody. I don’t care who it is. Nobody wants to run with us,” Haliburton said. “I’m relatively young, but that’s just the way I play basketball, and this organization has done a great job of allowing me to spread who I am throughout the organization and how I play throughout the organization.”
  • Pacers second-round pick Mojave King was originally expected to be a draft-and-stash prospect who played overseas this season, but the 6’5″ shooting guard ultimately decided to sign a G League contract and join the Indiana Mad Ants, the Pacers’ affiliate. King, who is recovering from a foot injury, spoke to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files about why he decided to go that route, noting that he liked the team he spent with the G League Ignite last season.