Daniel Theis

Pacers Notes: Hield, Mathurin, Backup Center, Nembhard, McConnell

The Pacers are in a difficult position trying to make a Buddy Hield trade so close to the start of the season, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. No progress has been reported since news broke last Wednesday that the team was working with Hield’s representatives to find a deal after the sides were unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension.

Dopirak believes Indiana is justified in asking a high price for Hield, who is one of the league’s top three-point shooters. However, teams are reluctant to shake up their rosters this far into the offseason, especially for a player who has an expiring contract.

It’s also not clear what the Pacers will be seeking in return for Hield. Dopirak notes that the team saw a need after last season to upgrade at power forward and find defensive-minded wings, but that has already been addressed during the offseason. He states that they’ll need three-point shooting help if they part with Hield and may be looking for a younger, less expensive player who can do what he does.

There’s more on the Pacers, all courtesy of Dopirak:

  • Bennedict Mathurin has a chance to win a starting job, but only if he can improve his defense. Dopirak observes that the first-team All-Rookie selection struggled with that part of the game, particularly when he got an opportunity to start late in the season. The Pacers are hoping to see progress from Mathurin in camp and will need him to take on a larger role if Hield gets traded.
  • Daniel Theis‘ impressive showing in the World Cup gives him a strong case to be the primary backup center heading into camp. Dopirak notes that he’ll be competing for minutes with Isaiah Jackson and Jalen Smith, who are both younger and more athletic than the 31-year-old Theis. He adds that Jackson is the team’s best lob finisher and second-best shot blocker behind Myles Turner, while Smith was Indiana’s leader last season in rebounds per 48 minutes.
  • The Pacers’ improved roster could lead to several other changes, Dopirak adds. If Mathurin and free agent addition Bruce Brown are both starters, Andrew Nembhard could move from shooting guard to backup point guard, which is his more natural position. That could lead to a reduction in playing time for T.J. McConnell, who posted the best scoring average of his career last season.

Central Notes: Thompson, Theis, Pistons, Giannis

Tristan Thompson‘s new contract with the Cavaliers is a one-year, minimum-salary deal that is guaranteed for just $200K, Hoops Rumors has learned. Thompson will earn his full $3.2MM salary if he remains under contract through at least January 7, though Cleveland’s cap hit for the season would be just $2.02MM, with the NBA covering the difference.

Here’s more

Pacers Notes: Turner, Haliburton, Theis, Cap Room

As a result of his contract renegotiation and extension, Pacers center Myles Turner now has base salaries of $34,596,500 this season, $20,975,000 in 2023/24, and $19,928,500 in ’24/25, Hoops Rumors has learned. Since Turner’s original base salary for this season was $17.5MM, his deal features exactly $58MM in new money.

Turner could technically earn his maximum salary of $37,096,500 this season, since he has another $2.5MM in likely and unlikely incentives available in 2022/23 from his previous contract. In his two new extension years, he’ll have $3MM in total bonuses ($1.5MM annually), so the renegotiation-and-extension could be worth up to $61MM overall.

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • Discussing his decision to sign an extension with Indiana, Turner expressed confidence in the direction of the franchise and suggested he believes he has plenty of room to continue improving, per Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. “I have such a strong belief in this organization and this city and what the city encompasses,” he said. “That’s a huge factor in my decision to stay it. … I’m just getting started. I’m just starting to feel like the best version of myself.”
  • Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton, who has been sidelined since January 11 due to elbow and knee injuries, practiced on Tuesday and Wednesday and is on track to be available on Thursday when Indiana hosts the Lakers, head coach Rick Carlisle said today (Twitter link via the team).
  • Carlisle was less certain today about Daniel Theis‘ status for Thursday, tweets Dopirak, but the veteran center has been practicing this week and said after Tuesday’s session that he had “no pain (and) no issues,” according to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Theis, out all season due to a knee ailment, continues to target a Thursday return, Agness adds.
  • If the Pacers want to make use of the $10.7MM in remaining cap room they still have available this season, they’ll have to renounce their cap hold for Tyreke Evans, notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter). Given that Evans hasn’t played in the NBA in 2019, the Pacers likely won’t hesitate to remove that cap hold from their books if an opportunity arises to take advantage of their cap space.

Central Notes: Theis, Wade, Pistons, Bucks

Pacers center Daniel Theis hopes to make his 2022/23 season debut this coming week, according to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (subscription required). Acquired from Boston over the summer, Theis was dealing with recurring right knee soreness entering the season and underwent surgery in November to address the issue.

Although Theis seems unlikely to be part of the Pacers’ long-term plans, he has another guaranteed season on his contract beyond this one, so it would be a challenge for Indiana to extract much – if any – value for him at the February 9 trade deadline.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Cavaliers forward Dean Wade is getting an opportunity to show whether he can help solve the team’s issues on the wing, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, who notes that Wade’s minutes restriction following his return from a shoulder injury has been lifted. Fedor explores what it means for the rest of Cleveland’s rotation if Wade is getting regular playing time and whether there might be an odd man out.
  • It has been an up-and-down week for the Pistons. While Detroit’s impressive road win in Brooklyn on Thursday served as a reminder that the team’s future is worth believing in, per James L. Edwards III of The Athletic, Saturday’s home loss to Houston was the worst of the season and signaled that a trade deadline deal should be welcomed, Edwards contends in another story for The Athletic.
  • Eric Nehm of The Athletic evaluates a series of reader-proposed trades for the Bucks. Nehm considers hypothetical deals involving Cam Reddish, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Josh Hart, among others, but concludes that none of them quite work, with either Milwaukee or its proposed trade partner likely to say no.

Central Notes: McConnell, Theis, Bogdanovic, Bucks

Pacers guard T.J. McConnell took a hit to his right shoulder on Sunday but an MRI showed the shoulder was “stable” and he was able to practice on Tuesday, Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star reports.

“I think it was one of those weird plays where I just got hit in a bad spot,” McConnell said. “I was a little worried at the beginning and it was really painful, but our training staff is awesome, they worked on it. They said it was stable and the MRI showed that there was nothing seriously wrong. So it’s just about playing through the pain right now knowing it’s good, it’s stable. I said that I missed enough games last year, I can play through a little bit of pain.”

McConnell is in the second season of a four-year, $33.6MM contract.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Daniel Theis is showing progress from his latest knee surgery in November and he could make his Pacers debut in the coming weeks, Dopirak notes in the same story. Theis was acquired from the Celtics in July as part of the package Boston gave up for point guard Malcolm Brogdon. “I don’t know that there’s any real set, hard timetable on Theis’ availability to play in a game but he’s weeks, not months away,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “That’s good news.”
  • As if the Pistons didn’t have enough injury issues, leading scorer Bojan Bogdanovic missed Tuesday’s game against Philadelphia due to left calf soreness, Mike Curtis of the Detroit News tweets. Rookie center Jalen Duren missed his second straight game due to right ankle soreness and Isaiah Stewart (shoulder) was a late scratch.
  • The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Jim Owczarski breaks downs the Bucks’ cap situation, key dates and luxury tax implications of any moves they might make before the trade deadline. He notes that Jordan Nwora and Bobby Portis will be eligible to be traded as of Jan. 15, while Pat Connaughton becomes eligible to be moved on Jan. 18.

Central Notes: Stewart, Theis, Bucks, DeRozan, LaVine, Allen

Starting Pistons center Isaiah Stewart has emerged as a key leader for a rebuilding 9-28 Detroit team this season, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Edwards notes that the third-year big man, still just 21 years old, has become the team’s de facto main presence with star point guard Cade Cunningham shelved indefinitely.

“I’ve been sitting back and just seeing his growth, his progress on the floor and as a leader,” journeyman Detroit shooting guard Rodney McGruder told Edwards. “He’s being more vocal in the locker room, on the bench, in timeouts and in huddles.”

McGruder has spoken with Stewart about being more careful not to show frustration or disappointment on the court during games.

“For me, personally, that’s another growth step in regards to not showing that body language,” Stewart told Edwards. “I do feel like that kind of helped me in terms of learning how to talk to my teammates. You can talk to a certain teammate a certain way, other teammates you can’t talk to a certain way. That aspect has helped me.”

Through 30 games in 2022/23, Stewart is averaging a career-best 11.7 PPG on .467/.373/.742 shooting splits. He is also pulling down 7.8 RPG and dishing out 1.2 APG.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The health of reserve Pacers center Daniel Theis appears to be improving as he continues to rehabilitate from a preseason knee scope, notes Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link). The 6’8″ big man was spotted working through on-court shootarounds, per Jeremiah Johnson of Bally Sports Indiana (via Twitter).
  • The Bucks‘ 139-118 blowout Christmas loss to the Celtics looked a lot like last year’s Eastern Conference Semifinals, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Nehm notes that Boston was frequently able to free up All-NBA forward Jayson Tatum for exploitable mismatches on offense. “He had a big night of tough shot-making and, at some point, it’s on me to maybe change it up, give him a different look, but credit to Jayson tonight,” Milwaukee head coach Mike Budenholzer said of Tatum, who scored 41 points in the Celtics’ win.
  • In Wednesday’s 119-113 overtime Bulls victory over the Bucks, Chicago All-Star DeMar DeRozan took exception to a hard forearm in his back courtesy of Milwaukee shooting guard Grayson Allen, and there was a brief dust-up with play stopped. After the game, both DeRozan and Zach LaVine alluded to Allen’s reputation for borderline plays, per Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. Though video review indicated that Bulls forward Patrick Williams initially fouled Allen, who then fell into DeRozan, Chicago’s stars remained frustrated. “I didn’t know if it was on purpose or what happened,” DeRozan said. “I just felt a hit. That’s all it was.” LaVine weighed in as well: “We know his (Allen’s) track record. Pat got the foul, but DeMar got elbowed in the back of the head. It is what it is. We made up for it with a big win. DeMar responded the right way. The next 20 minutes, you saw what happened.”

Daniel Theis Out Indefinitely Following Right Knee Surgery

Veteran Pacers reserve center Daniel Theis will be sidelined for the indefinite future, the team has announced in a press release.

Theis, who was dealing with recurring right knee soreness, underwent surgery to address the issue. The Pacers noted in their statement that Theis’ status “will be updated as appropriate.”

This is not a major loss in terms of on-court contributions, as Theis has yet to play in a single game for Indiana this season. The 30-year-old has spent the majority of his career with the Celtics, outside of half-year stints with the Bulls and Rockets.

The 6’8″ big man inked a four-year deal worth up to $36MM with Houston in a 2021 sign-and-trade, but was subsequently flipped back to the Celtics midway through the season. In total, he appeared in 47 contests, averaging 8.2 PPG on 51.9% field goal shooting, plus 4.9 RPG, 0.9 APG and 0.7 BPG, across just 20.8 MPG.

Theis’ $8.7MM cap hit meant he was a logical piece to be included for salary matching purposes in Boston’s offseason acquisition of former Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon.

Pacers Rumors: Turner, Hield, Theis, Smith

Appearing on the HoopsHype podcast with Michael Scotto, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files said he believes the Pacers originally intended to move Myles Turner rather than Domantas Sabonis at last season’s trade deadline. However, Turner went down with an injury and an opportunity arose to acquire Tyrese Haliburton using Sabonis, so Indiana jumped at it.

Although Turner remains with the Pacers for now, Agness believes it’s more likely than not that he and Buddy Hield finish the 2022/23 season with another team.

The Lakers have been the team most often mentioned as landing spot for the veteran duo, but Agness thinks Indiana will want to hold firm to its reported asking price of two unprotected first-round picks for Turner and Hield. As Agness notes, the small-market Pacers won’t have forgotten that the Lakers previously tampered with Paul George and won’t be eager to give them what they want.

It’s unclear whether the Nets have any interest in Turner, but Scotto says that general manager Sean Marks recently spoke to Pacers executives Kevin Pritchard, Chad Buchanan, and Happy Walters when the two teams faced one another in a back-to-back set in Brooklyn on Saturday and Monday.

Here are a few more highlights from the conversation between Agness and Scotto:

  • Agness and Scotto both believe Turner will be seeking at least $20-25MM annually on his next contract, with Scotto citing Atlanta big man Clint Capela as a point of comparison (Capela’s most recent extension was worth $21.5MM per year). Agness, meanwhile, suggests that Turner would like to get more individual recognition for his play – including leading the NBA in blocks per game multiple times – which could be a factor in his free agency decision next summer.
  • While Turner and Hield are the Pacers veterans most frequently mentioned as trade candidates, Agness says center Daniel Theis should be added to that group too. The veteran center has yet to play for Indiana this season, with the team citing right knee soreness on its injury reports.
  • According to Scotto, Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle has referred to Jalen Smith as an “important part of our future.” As Agness details, Carlisle flew to Maryland during free agency to meet with Smith and have dinner with him and his parents.

Lakers Rumors: THT, Westbrook, Reaves, Nunn, Carmelo

Before the Lakers traded Talen Horton-Tucker to the Jazz in the Patrick Beverley deal, the Pacers expressed interest in the 21-year-old wing, Michael Scotto said in the latest episode of the HoopsHype podcast.

As Scotto explains, the Pacers were interested in pursuing a deal that sent Buddy Hield, Myles Turner, and Daniel Theis to the Lakers in exchange for Russell Westbrook, Horton-Tucker, and Los Angeles’ 2027 and 2029 first-round picks. However, L.A. has been reluctant to include both of those first-rounders in any deal not involving Kyrie Irving, and wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about swapping Horton-Tucker for Theis.

Although Horton-Tucker is off the table, Indiana remains one of the two most likely landing spots for Westbrook, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who says a deal involving the Pacers and Westbrook could involve just one of Hield or Turner — the Pacers still have $30MM+ in cap room and could take on Westbrook’s $47MM+ expiring contract without sending out both players. Still, Buha believes that Utah is a more viable destination for Westbrook than Indiana.

Here’s more on the Lakers from the HoopsHype podcast:

  • Scotto has gotten the impression that Austin Reaves and the Lakers have mutual interest in continuing their relationship beyond the 2022/23 season. Reaves will be a restricted free agent next summer and will be seeking a pay bump on his minimum-salary contract.
  • While Kendrick Nunn has been around the Lakers’ facility and has been working out, his ramp-up process has been slowed than anticipated, according to Buha. Nunn said a month ago that he feels 100% healthy, but the acquisition of Beverley gives the team some extra insurance at point guard.
  • A reunion between Carmelo Anthony and the Lakers remains possible, in Buha’s view, but he believes the veteran forward is more likely to land elsewhere. L.A. still needs more shooting, which Anthony could provide, but also wants to continue to upgrade its perimeter defense, which isn’t one of Carmelo’s strengths.

International Notes: Schröder, Theis, Giannis, Satoransky

Free agent guard Dennis Schröder won’t accompany his German teammates to Sweden for Thursday’s opening game of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, according to Eurohoops. Schröder is recovering from an ankle injury he suffered in the Hamburg Super Cup tournament and will remain in Germany for treatment. There’s a chance he may recover in time for next Sunday’s home contest against Slovenia.

Schröder remains unsigned after splitting last season with the Celtics and Rockets. Although he received positive reviews in Houston after being acquired at the trade deadline, the team is emphasizing youth and doesn’t appear interested in bringing back Schröder.

Germany is already without Pacers center Daniel Theis, who will miss the World Cup Qualifiers and possibly next month’s EuroBasket tournament due to an undisclosed injury. He is training individually and being monitored by the German national team’s medical staff, according to Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops.

The Germans are also missing Maxi Kleber, Moritz Wagner and Isaac Bonga due to injuries.

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out Greece’s final exhibition game with back soreness, but he’s expected to be ready for Thursday’s World Cup Qualifier against Serbia, Askounis writes in a separate story. Antetokounmpo underwent an MRI that showed no damage to his back.
  • NBA players Dario Saric, Ivica Zubac and Bojan Bogdanovic are all on the final roster for Croatia, Eurohoops reports. Mario Hezonja is also part of the Croatian team, which missed out on the World Cup Qualifiers but will participate in EuroBasket. Saric sat out all of last season with a torn right ACL.
  • Czech Republic guard Tomas Satoransky appears to have avoided a major injury to his right ankle, Eurohoops adds in another piece. Satoransky was hurt in Saturday’s game against Germany, and while there has been no official announcement on his condition, Czech reporter Jakub Kanta offered encouraging news. “The X-ray has already ruled out a fracture,” he tweeted, “but the extent of the injury will only be determined by an MRI in the Czech Republic after the swelling subsides.” Satoransky recently signed with FC Barcelona after spending six seasons in the NBA.