T.J. McConnell

Hawks, Bruno Fernando Agree To Push Back Guarantee Date

For a second straight year, the Hawks and Bruno Fernando have reached an agreement to push back his salary guarantee date, reports Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link).

In 2023, Atlanta moved Fernando’s salary guarantee deadline from June 29 to July 10, then ultimately kept him on the roster, guaranteeing his full $2.58MM salary for ’23/24. The guarantee date for his $2.72MM salary for ’24/25 has been pushed from June 29 into next month, Williams says, though there are no specific details yet on the new date.

Fernando is one of several players around the league who had a June 28 or June 29 salary guarantee date on his contract for 2024/25. Here are updates on a few of the others:

  • T.J. McConnell‘s $9.3MM salary for 2024/25, which had been partially guaranteed for $5MM, became fully guaranteed when the Pacers guard remained under contract through Friday, as Tony East of SI.com tweets. Given McConnell’s on-court value to Indiana, he was obviously never in danger of being waived.
  • That’s also true of Lauri Markkanen, whose contract with the Jazz featured a salary guarantee deadline on Friday. We can safely assume the team didn’t make any effort to push that date back, so the star forward’s $18MM salary for next season is now guaranteed.
  • Dante Exum remains in the Mavericks‘ plans going forward, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, who notes (via Twitter) that the guard’s $3.15MM salary for 2024/25 became guaranteed when he wasn’t waived on Friday. Exum had a very successful return to the NBA last season after two years in Europe, averaging 7.8 PPG, 2.9 APG, and 2.7 RPG with a .533/.491/.779 shooting line in 55 games (19.8 MPG) for Dallas.
  • Josh Minott‘s $2.02MM salary with the Timberwolves for 2024/25 is now guaranteed, tweets Dane Moore of Blue Wire Podcasts. Minott’s cap hit is a little less than that of a two-year veteran’s minimum, so in addition to having the opportunity to continue developing the 2022 second-round pick, Minnesota will save a little money by carrying him in place of a minimum-salary signing.
  • Reporting last week suggested that the Rockets planned to keep center Jock Landale through his guarantee date on Saturday, and there have been no indications since then that the plan has changed or that his deadline has been pushed back, so we’re assuming his $8MM salary for 2024/25 is now fully guaranteed. Landale, who had an inconsistent role last season, could be used as a salary-matching piece in a Houston trade at some point during the coming league year.
  • Our early salary guarantee date tracker has been updated to reflect all of these updates.

Pacers Notes: Siakam, Turner, McConnell, L. Jones

A new contract with free agent forward Pascal Siakam will be one of the Pacers‘ priorities this summer, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star, who adds that the options to replace Siakam may be limited if they can’t re-sign him. The two-time All-Star was a valuable addition for Indiana after being acquired from Toronto in January and played a major role in the team’s run to the Eastern Conference Finals. He was the Pacers’ leading scorer at 21.7 PPG in the 41 regular season games he played, as well as their top scorer in the playoffs at 21.6 PPG.

“Pascal was a great fit,” general manager Chad Buchanan said. “Obviously, we targeted him in the trade. I’ve liked him for a long time and I thought he came in and was a tremendous piece to the puzzle for us and had major impact on the team both on the court and in the locker room. He seems to be happy here and we’re obviously happy with him and hope this is something long-term for both sides.”

If Siakam and the team are unable to out a new deal, Dopirak points to former Pacers star Paul George as a potential target. He and the Clippers haven’t been able to reach an extension agreement, with L.A. reportedly unwilling to give George the four-year contract he desires. Dopirak also names the Knicks’ OG Anunoby, the Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan, the Hornets’ Miles Bridges and the Sixers’ Tobias Harris as other free agents who could replace Siakam, but Indiana would face competition for all of them and wouldn’t necessarily have the cap room necessary to pursue some of them.

There’s more on the Pacers:

  • In a separate story for The Indianapolis Star, Dopirak looks at each player on the roster and examines their prospects for next season. He states that the team and center Myles Turner have both expressed interest in another extension before he becomes a free agent in 2025.
  • T.J. McConnell went from being out of the rotation on opening night to playing crucial minutes in the conference finals, Wheat Hotchkiss of NBA.com notes in a player review. The veteran guard’s value to the Pacers became more apparent as the season wore on, and he looks like a bargain for next season at $9.3MM in the final year of his contract. “Getting this franchise back into the playoffs and making a run to the Eastern Conference Finals when not a single person had us going there, it was really fun just to play alongside the group and in games like that,” McConnell said.
  • After participating in a pre-draft workout with the Pacers on Tuesday, Purdue’s Lance Jones talked about the prospect of staying in Indiana for his NBA career (video link from the Indianapolis Star). “It’s very exciting,” Jones said. “I love Indiana. They’ve accepted me with open arms, and it just feels like another home for me.”

Pacers Notes: Defense, Toppin, McConnell, Workouts

Having already taken one big swing this year by trading for Pascal Siakam in January, the Pacers aren’t opposed to having a relatively quiet offseason and running it back with a similar group to the one that made this year’s Eastern Conference finals, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star (subscription required).

“You always gotta look and see what’s out there on the market,” general manager Chad Buchanan said this week during his end-of-season press conference. “Is there a player or players out there who are available who make sense for your team? You’re also very excited about the young core we have. It’s a balance. It’s going to be a lot of discussion, a lot of debate. Maybe there’s nothing out there that makes sense, and we’re fine with that. We really like this team. If we come back with this same group next year, we still believe there’s a lot of upside with this group.”

Improving the defense will be an offseason priority in Indiana, though it’s possible that could happen without making any outside additions, according to Dopirak, who points to young players like Aaron Nesmith, Andrew Nembhard, Ben Sheppard, Bennedict Mathurin, and Jarace Walker as guys who are capable of getting better on that end of the court. Buchanan acknowledged that the defense will be a focus for the front office after the team ranked 24th in defensive rating during the regular season.

“As you watch the team that eliminates you, it’s always fresh in your mind what they did to beat you,” Buchanan said. “I think Boston, obviously they have more experience than us, No. 1, but they have a tremendous defensive foundation. When we needed to try to score these last couple of games, it’s been very, very challenging. That’s one thing we take away that’s going to be important for us moving forward if we want to make another step.”

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • While Indiana’s spending power will be limited if Siakam signs a maximum-salary contract, the team hopes to continue its relationship with restricted free agent forward Obi Toppin, per Buchanan. “I thought Obi had a tremendous year for us,” the Pacers’ GM said, per Dopirak. “… I thought he really blossomed this year. We envisioned him being a good with a team that played fast; he was exactly that. His three-point shooting really developed and improved as we saw this year. The way we play, you get a lot of open shots. If you can catch and shoot, you’re going to have some success. His defense grew as the season wore on. He seems to be happy here too. Would like to continue the relationship.”
  • Buchanan also raved about the contributions of backup guard T.J. McConnell, who will be extension-eligible this offseason as he enters a contract year. It sounds as if Indiana will explore an extension for McConnell, as Dopirak relays. “He’s not slowing down. You’re not seeing any sign of an aging player,” Buchanan said. “… His value to us is very, very high, and that has not changed by anything that happened this year and we hope he’s with us for a long time as well.”
  • In a separate story for The Indianapolis Star, Dopirak observes that the Pacers‘ first pre-draft workout on Friday only consisted of prospects who played college basketball for four or more years and started for at least three seasons. As Dopirak writes, Indiana has three picks in this year’s draft but none higher than No. 36, so the team may be targeting seasoned prospects capable of stepping in and contributing right away, rather than focusing on upside. Dopirak notes that head coach Rick Carlisle frequently said during the season that Sheppard’s four years of college experience made it a smooth transition to the NBA for the No. 26 pick in last year’s draft, since he understood his role without requiring much instruction.
  • The Pacers’ second pre-draft workout, scheduled for Tuesday, will feature several more experienced college players, including Reece Beekman (Virginia), DJ Horne (NC State), Lance Jones (Purdue), Cam Spencer (UConn), and Harrison Ingram (UNC), tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Mantas Rubstavicius, who has played professionally in Lithuania and New Zealand since 2018, will fill out the six-man workout group.

Pacers Notes: Siakam, Toppin, McConnell, Nembhard, Turner

The Pacers entered the Eastern Conference finals as massive underdogs, played without their best player (Tyrese Haliburton) for more than half the series, and were ultimately dispatched by the top-seeded Celtics in four games. However, as Jamal Collier of ESPN writes, it feels like a missed opportunity for the team, which had at least a 90% win probability in the fourth quarter of Games 1, 3, and 4, per ESPN Stats & Information.

“It’s still very fresh for all of us,” starting center Myles Turner said following Monday’s Game 4 loss. “Very frustrating to have all these games in your grasp and let it slip through.”

As disheartening as the outcome was, the Pacers recognize they exceeded preseason expectations by making the playoffs for the first time since 2020 and winning two series. Starting guard Andrew Nembhard referred to the postseason experience as “second to none,” while reserve forward Obi Toppin said a “lot of good” came out of the season, adding that “we grew as a whole culture.” Still, there was frustration about not better taking advantage of the opportunity they had this year, since there’s no guarantee that opportunity will arise again.

“I can tell you like, yeah, we’re going to learn from it and it’s going to happen, but it’s not guaranteed,” Pascal Siakam said, per Collier. “I know how hard it is to get to this point. It’s unfortunate. You want to give credit to the other team because they took advantage of every mistake that we made. They did well.

“But for us, it’s been hard, like heartbreaking losses after heartbreaking losses. Yeah, you’re going to be encouraged by it and you hope to put the right amount of work to continue to get better. Because we need to be a lot better if you want to compete with those teams. And understand it doesn’t matter how good we played, we didn’t get it done.”

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • An unrestricted free agent this summer, Siakam declined to specifically address his contract situation but spoke glowingly about the half-season he spent in Indiana after being traded from the Raptors to the Pacers in January. “It’s been a blessing,” Siakam said (Twitter video link via Michael Scotto of HoopsHype). “I’m really appreciative of everything. Coming from where I come from, it means a lot. The support that I’ve received here is something I was kind of missing. Having all that and seeing how the city just breathes basketball and how much support they give to the team…it’s incredible. How would you not be a part of that? I’m just really blessed and happy how this has been.”
  • Re-signing Siakam will be the Pacers’ top priority this summer, as Bobby Marks of ESPN (Insider link) and Mark Deeks of HoopsHype write in their previews of the club’s offseason, though it seems unlikely to be a drawn-out process, Marks observes. Re-signing Toppin and perhaps extending T.J. McConnell could be more challenging negotiations, Marks notes, and improving the defense will be another major offseason goal.
  • While the Pacers would certainly have preferred to have a healthy Haliburton available for Games 3 and 4 vs. Boston, the performances Nembhard submitted as the starting point guard were bright spots in the final days of Indiana’s season, writes Kyle Neddenriep of The Indianapolis Star. Nembhard averaged 28.0 points, 9.5 assists, and 5.0 rebounds per game on .564/.538/1.000 shooting in those two tight losses and “defended at a high level,” per head coach Rick Carlisle. “He could be a starter on any team in this league,” McConnell said of Nembhard, who does typically start alongside Haliburton at the two. “He’s proven that night in and night out. What he’s done in the playoffs is truly remarkable, where defenses are game-planning even more for you. He just rose to the challenge every night.” Nembhard will be extension-eligible this offseason but is still under team control on a minimum-salary deal for two more seasons, so there’s no urgency to get a deal done right away.
  • Making it this deep in the postseason was special for Turner, who said he’s never been beyond the first round of the playoffs in his life, even in high school. As James Boyd of The Athletic details, few NBA players have been with their current teams longer than Turner has been a Pacer, which made this year’s success more rewarding for the veteran center, who has been the subject of trade rumors multiple times over the years and seemed on the verge of being replaced when Indiana signed Deandre Ayton to a maximum-salary offer sheet in 2022. “It’s a rarity that one player is with an organization as long as I’ve been, so I definitely don’t take it for granted. I have a lot of love for the city, and I try to express it as much as I can,” Turner said. “But to be frank, I have dealt with a lot of bullsh–t since I been here. Honestly, just battling sometimes with non-believers, having to deal with all of the trade rumors, having another big man signed right in front of my eyes. … No matter what was thrown in front of me, I’m gonna continue to be the consummate professional and the man that I am. It’s very easy to be like, ‘This happened, so I’m gonna up,’ or, ‘They gave up on me, so I’m gonna give up on them.’ That’s not my M.O.”

Pacers Notes: Game 4, Haliburton, Nembhard, McConnell

The Pacers can’t stand the thought of watching another team celebrate an Eastern Conference title on their home court, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. That will add to Indiana’s motivation for Monday’s game against the Celtics in the face of a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 deficit. Players and coaches understand they face long odds to win the series, but they’re focused on taking Game 4 to give themselves a chance.

“The important thing for us is to learn, to be resilient and stay in this fight and find a way to extend the series,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We want to keep playing. We want to get back on that plane and go back to Boston.”

Even though Boston has won the first three games, it hasn’t been a one-sided series so far. Two critical turnovers late in Game 1 cost the Pacers a chance to win the series opener, and they led by eight points with 2:38 remaining in Game 3 before letting it slip away.

“There are a lot of correctable things that we’ve got to get better,” Carlisle said. “There are some mistakes defensively that are fixable and some things offensively that we have to do better. We did a lot of things very very well. We led for a great majority of the game. There certainly are positives. So we always show our guys things that need to be corrected but also always show our guys the things we do well and that we need to continue to do well.”

There’s more from Indiana:

  • Despite a weekend report that Tyrese Haliburton may miss the rest of the series due to an injured left hamstring, no decision has been announced on his status for tonight. Carlisle refused to provide an update on Haliburton when meeting with reporters on Sunday, Dopirak adds, but he said he’s comfortable with T.J. McConnell or Andrew Nembhard running the offense. “(Nembhard’s) played plenty of point guard for us,” Carlisle said. “There have been stretches when Ty’s been unable to play both last year and this year. He has experience there. Guys who put the work in and are prepared tend to have more confidence because they’ve done the work. He’s one of those guys, and our team really as a group, we have really conscientious guys who are great workers who love to compete.”
  • The Suns inquired about McConnell during the season, sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, but the Pacers weren’t – and aren’t – interested in moving their backup point guard. McConnell is a valuable member of Indiana’s bench, and he has one year left on a team-friendly contract that will pay him $9.3MM next season. “He’s one of the heartbeats of that team,” Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla said. “He just makes winning plays. He’s really good at the end of quarters, which is a way that teams can keep momentum, start momentum, chip away at momentum.”
  • Nembhard sparked the Pacers’ offense with 32 points and nine assists in Game 3, but he committed a costly turnover when Jrue Holiday took the ball from him with just under 10 seconds remaining (video link). Holiday slipped on the play, notes Khari Thompson of The Boston Globe, but he was able to recover in time to poke the ball out of Nembhard’s hands. “I tried to get a shot up and he got in front of me. I lost the ball, slipped, turnover,” Nembhard said.

Pacers Notes: Nembhard, McConnell, Carlisle, Haliburton

The Pacers came just one play short of besting the Celtics in Game 3 of their ongoing Eastern Conference Finals series despite playing without All-NBA point guard Tyrese Haliburton. Second-year guard Andrew Nembhard played a significant role in the team’s competitive showing, writes Kyle Neddenriep of The Indianapolis Star. The Gonzaga alum racked up 32 points and nine assists, against just two turnovers, while he helped try to fill the scoring void created by Haliburton’s absence

“The confidence he plays with is incredible,” backup point guard T.J. McConnell said of Nembhard. “You see him bringing the ball up the floor, he’s getting people involved, he’s shooting it and making it at high level. In the playoffs, in the regular season, he’s coming off the bench, he’s starting at two, he’s starting at one, he’s the backup point guard. As a kid at his age, getting thrown around like that can maybe mess with your mental (side). But he’s answered the bell all year, his whole career.”

There’s more out of Indiana:

  • McConnell did what he could to help the Pacers withstand an eventual 18-point Boston rally to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series on Saturday, according to James Boyd of The Athletic. The Celtics won, 114-111, and are now just one game away from making their second NBA Finals in the last three years. McConnell single-handedly outscored the Celtics’ bench 23-4 himself. Even facing a seemingly insurmountable hole, the former Arizona standout is hoping his club remains dialed in. “Obviously, this one stings, but there’s no guy in this locker room that’s packed it in,” McConnell said. “We’re gonna try to get one here and extend this series and then go back to Boston and try to make things difficult. But there’s no guy in this locker room that’s gonna quit.”
  • Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle spoke post-game about making up for this Game 3 letdown, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “Believe me when I tell you, we are going after them,” Carlisle remarked. “We’re going to be back here [Gainbridge Fieldhouse] Monday night, looking to extend the series, and we’re going to come at them even harder.” Indiana had been up by eight with 2:38 left in regulation, before Boston’s two-way brilliance powered the team to a 13-2 final kick.
  • Although Nembhard submitted the game of his life in the absence of Haliburton (his 32-point night was a career-best), the Pacers still clearly felt the absence of their best player, notes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Big man Myles Turner and star forward Pascal Siakam, a free agent this summer, contributed what they could, but Siakam conceded post-game that the club was prone to sloppiness in the second half. “We did a good job in the first half, but in the second half, not as much,” Siakam said. “They made runs and we weren’t able to come back and have that same intensity. We had a couple of turnovers, and against a team like that, no team is safe, so we have to play well until the end.” It was reported earlier today that Haliburton’s status for the rest of the series is very much in doubt.

Central Notes: Pacers, Haliburton, Bickerstaff, Bulls

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle has a couple of options to rearrange his starting lineup with the absence of Tyrese Haliburton, who will miss tonight’s Game 3 due to an injured left hamstring, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star.

One obvious choice is backup point guard T.J. McConnell, who would provide a second ball-handler to pair with Andrew Nembhard. Dopirak notes that they have logged a lot of minutes together this season. McConnell finished seventh in the Sixth Man of the Year voting, and he leads all bench players with 76 assists during the postseason.

Dopirak states that Carlisle could choose to go with power forward Obi Toppin or rookie guard Ben Sheppard instead to get more size in the starting lineup. That would keep McConnell in a reserve role and may provide more minutes for Doug McDermott, Jarace Walker and possibly Jalen Smith, who were all used in Game 2.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • In his pregame press conference, Carlisle told reporters that Haliburton lobbied to play tonight, but the medical staff determined that it’s best for him to sit out, tweets Jared Weiss of The Athletic. “He very much wants to play. Desperately wants to play,” Carlisle said. “But the decision on tonight was taken out of his hands earlier in the day. It was determined that tonight was not an option. He’s feeling better and we’ll see where he is on Monday. And that’s it.”
  • Carlisle, who serves as president of the NBA Coaches Association, reached out to J.B. Bickerstaff after the Cavaliers fired him on Thursday, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Carlisle said Bickerstaff did “an amazing job” with a “culture makeover” in Cleveland, but all NBA coaches understand the realities of their jobs. “I have great respect for him. I’ve been in touch with him,” Carlisle said. “In our profession, no one likes it, but teams, ownership, they can hire and fire who they want to. Our business has got to be a very resilient one. And he’s been through a lot in his career and he’s grown so much as a coach. J.B. will be fine and he certainly will be a head coach again, sooner than later.”
  • Even if executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas makes the changes he has promised this summer, Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times is skeptical that the Bulls can rise very far in the Eastern Conference standings. Cowley looks at the eight teams that finished ahead of Chicago this season and concludes that they all have staying power.

Pacers Notes: Haliburton, Carlisle, Bench, More

After Tyrese Haliburton left Game 2 early due to left hamstring soreness on Thursday, the Pacers have listed the star guard as questionable to play in Saturday’s Game 3 (Twitter link). While Haliburton was also said to be dealing with a chest issue in Game 2, the hamstring soreness is his only ailment mentioned on the official injury report.

Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star (subscription required) explores how the Pacers might try to make up for Haliburton’s absence in the event that he’s unable to play in Game 3. As Dopirak notes, the team has solid alternatives at point guard in Andrew Nembhard and T.J. McConnell but might have to dig deeper into its rotation at other positions to cover Haliburton’s minutes. Nembhard and McConnell also wouldn’t be able to replicate the play-making and outside shooting that the All-NBA guard provides.

“He does so many things for our team where everyone just has to move the ball more and get in the paint more,” McConnell said. “The ball movement, like I said, just has to be at another level. He gets 10 assists in his sleep. It’s hard for another person on our team to replicate that. It’s a group effort when he goes down to kinda get people the ball and get moving.”

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • Whether or not Haliburton is healthy, the Pacers won’t have any hope of beating pulling off a comeback and beating Boston in the Eastern Conference finals if they play like they did on Thursday, Gregg Doyel writes in a column for The Indianapolis Star (subscription required).
  • Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle raised some eyebrows in Game 2 by leaning on little-used bench players like Doug McDermott, Jarace Walker, Kendall Brown, and Jalen Smith in the fourth quarter while sitting Myles Turner, Aaron Nesmith, and Pascal Siakam for most or all of the final period. Carlisle explained why he went to his bench so early despite facing a deficit that didn’t seem insurmountable. “To look at some guys that I thought needed a look,” Carlisle said, per Dopirak. “McDermott went in there and played well. Isaiah Jackson brought a lot of fight to the game. Jalen Smith hasn’t had much of an opportunity to play in the playoffs, so I wanted to see where he was at. We weren’t giving up, but it was an opportunity to get some energetic fresh guys in there to fight. They did some good things. … The guys who had played to that point, Pascal was very tired. Aaron had four fouls and he was tired. That was it.”
  • Prior to Game 2, Haliburton told reporters that Indiana has the “best bench in the NBA,” Dopirak writes in another Indy Star story (subscription required). McConnell, Obi Toppin, and Ben Sheppard are the Pacers reserves who have seen the most action this postseason, leading a second unit that ranks No. 1 in the playoffs with 33.4 points per game.
  • While many NBA fans didn’t assign much meaning to the league’s first in-season tournament earlier this season, making the championship game in that tournament benefited a Pacers team that hadn’t made the playoffs since 2020, says Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “There were some real playoff simulations — our quarterfinal game at home, on a Monday night, against (the Celtics), had the feel of a conference finals-matchup atmosphere,” Carlisle said. “The part about going to Vegas and playing there, that was different, but there was certainly the exposure, the stage, all that. So, all those experiences help a young team.”

Central Notes: Pacers, Allen, Mitchell, Garland, Grimes

Sunday afternoon will mark the first experience with a Game 7 for most of the Pacers‘ roster, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Indiana extended the series with a convincing win in front of a home crowd Friday night, but a much different atmosphere will await the team at Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks have won all three matchups.

“It’s the ultimate game,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s a great opportunity. … This team has been through a lot of new experiences over the last 3 1/2 weeks and this will be another new one. We’ll do everything possible to get them ready. In Game 7s, it comes down to compete level and how well you’re tied together.”

Dopirak notes that Pascal Siakam and T.J. McConnell faced each other in a Game 7 in 2019 when Toronto topped Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Myles Turner and James Johnson also have Game 7 experience, as does Aaron Nesmith, but he only played two total minutes in a pair of seventh games with Boston.

“The team that exerts the most energy and plays to exhaustion comes out on top and it’s win or go home,” McConnell said. “It’s something that I feel like every player plays for, a Game 7. Excited for the opportunity, but we have to be more dialed in than any of have ever been before. … If you’re not playing to exhaustion in this next game, why even go?”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers may explore trade opportunities involving center Jarrett Allen this offseason, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst stated on his Hoop Collective podcast (YouTube link). “I would just say that while there’s extreme interest and excitement probably from certain fanbases to go to the trade machine and work out Donovan Mitchell trades, and maybe those will be needed in a month, we’ll see,” Windhorst said. “I would think the Cavs are going to be spending more time in this next month looking at possible Jarrett Allen trades, and what that could bring.”
  • On his latest Lowe Post podcast (YouTube link), ESPN’s Zach Lowe speculates that the Pelicans could be among the teams with interest in Mitchell and that the Spurs might pursue Darius Garland if the Cavaliers decide to break up their backcourt. “I will be surprised if Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland are both on the Cavaliers next season,” Lowe said. Which guard is more likely to land on the trade block will depend on whether or not Mitchell agrees to an extension.
  • A sprained knee limited Quentin Grimes to six games after the Pistons acquired him from New York at the trade deadline, but he should enter training camp with a chance to earn significant playing time, according to Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Grimes is eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer.

Pacers Notes: Nesmith, Haliburton, McConnell, Siakam

Aaron Nesmith (right shoulder soreness) is no longer on the Pacers‘ injury report heading into Game 5 on Tuesday, tweets Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Nesmith was listed as questionable for Game 4 before being upgraded to available and logging 24 minutes on Sunday.

Tyrese Haliburton, who is dealing with low back spasms, a right ankle sprain, and a sacral contusion, is once again listed as questionable, Dopirak notes. But like Nesmith, that was Haliburton’s designation before Game 4 as well and he was able to suit up. The star point guard was a +31 in 28 minutes in Sunday’s win, which evened the series at 2-2.

Here are a few more notes on the Pacers ahead of a pivotal Game 5 in New York:

  • T.J. McConnell struggled in Game 3 but has otherwise been one of the Pacers’ most effective players in the series vs. New York, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The veteran guard has averaged 12.3 points, 6.5 assists, and 1.5 steals in just 21.2 minutes per contest, and Indiana has a +16.0 net rating during his time on the court. “T.J., he’s one of our leaders,” teammate Myles Turner said. “He’s really taken it upon himself to lead that second unit.”
  • With the Pacers/Knicks series now essentially a best-of-three, Fred Katz and Eric Nehm of The Athletic pose five pressing questions for the rest of the series, including whether or not New York has run out of gas and which players could be X-factors in the remaining games.
  • Asked during a an appearance on FanDuel’s Run it Back show (Twitter video link) about his claim in a French-language interview that Pacers forward Pascal Siakam is overrated, Wizards youngster Bilal Coulibaly clarified his comments, but didn’t exactly walk them back. “I just said he’s not overrated, but they were asking me who was the easiest superstar to guard,” Coulibaly said. “And I was like, Pascal, I watched the films and I knew what he was about to do, when he was going left, spinning around, going right. So he was the easiest superstar to guard.”
  • In a story for The Indianapolis Star, Dopirak takes a closer look at the key roster moves the Pacers made in recent years to build a roster that’s just two wins away from securing a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals.