Tyrese Haliburton

Central Notes: Eversley, Bulls, Pacers, Pistons

Bulls general manager Marc Eversley, who reportedly received consideration from Detroit and Charlotte when those teams sought new heads of basketball operations earlier this year, recently signed a new three-year contract with Chicago that will begin in July, a source with knowledge of the situation tells Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic.

Eversley, who was hired by the Bulls in 2020, has served since then as the front office’s No. 2 executive under head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas.

The Athletic’s report on Eversley’s contract situation comes within a larger look at some key questions facing the Bulls this offseason, as Mayberry considers what the future holds for DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball, among others. Mayberry speculates that if the Bulls want to do a short-term deal for DeRozan, they may have to offer upwards of $40MM annually; he also suggests that team officials seem less optimistic than Ball about his ability to be ready to go on opening night in 2024/25.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • This year’s Pacers have been likened by some to the 2021 Hawks, who unexpectedly made the Eastern Conference finals but haven’t won a playoff series since then, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. However, Tyrese Haliburton believes the 2010-14 Pacers (who won five total playoff series and made the Eastern Conference finals twice) are a better reference point for Indiana’s current team, adding that he and his teammates will be fueled by the skepticism about their staying power. “We’re a group of guys that are really motivated by negativity, motivated by being doubted,” Haliburton said. “That’s how a lot of us guys are motivated. I’m really excited to go into this next year with, ‘The Pacers made the Eastern Conference finals. Can they do it again? They probably can’t. They’re this, they’re that.’ That’s exciting for our group.”
  • Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (subscription required) poses five crucial questions for new Pistons president Trajan Langdon to consider, including whether the Cade Cunningham/Jaden Ivey backcourt duo can work long-term, whether Jalen Duren is a franchise center, and whether this offseason is the right time to take a big swing.
  • James L. Edwards III of The Athletic takes a look at Langdon’s draft history as the Pelicans’ general manager to get a sense of what sort of player the Pistons might target at No. 5. In Edwards’ view, a “long, rangy” wing could be Detroit’s preference, with Matas Buzelis among the prospects who could be a fit in at No. 5.

Pacers Notes: Haliburton, Title Contention, Siakam

If Tyrese Haliburton was given the choice of playing in Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, he would have suited up. However, the Pacers star isn’t upset with the team over its decision to hold him out as the Celtics completed a sweep, according to Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star.

Haliburton suffered a hamstring injury in Game 2. He could barely walk after the contest.

“There was obviously an organization-wide meeting with our front office, with agents, with everybody,” he said. “They did what their job is, to protect me from myself and wouldn’t allow me play Game 3. I understand the long-term implications of the chances of re-hurting my hamstring. I’m just very thankful for this organization from protecting me from myself.”

Haliburton said this hamstring strain was different from the one he suffered during the winter, which caused him to miss 10 games.

“It’s a whole new thing,” Haliburton said. “Same hamstring. Just a different spot. It’s definitely frustrating. Anyone who watched me play understood that I was never really 100% after the first time dealing with that. But I wanted to be on the floor. I wanted to play. The 65-game rule (to qualify for postseason awards) was obviously a thing, but I wanted to play. I wanted to play basketball.”

We have more on the Pacers:

  • Haliburton says he’ll hang around Indianapolis and rehab the injury to get ready for the Paris Olympics, Dopirak adds. “I have no concern,” Haliburton said of the injury potentially affecting his Olympic status. “Basically, I have six weeks until I have to report to camp. I’ll be in Indy for the majority of my treatment and rehab. Six weeks is a pretty long time. I didn’t have that ever during the year with the previous injury, so there’s no concern. The organization will be sending medical staff with me the whole time. I don’t really have concern.”
  • Despite getting swept, they are closer to being championship contenders than some experts may believe, according to Seerat Sohi of The Ringer. They will have the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception to acquire another impact rotation player, plus plenty of draft capital along with a relatively young roster than will continue to develop. The Athletic’s Eric Nehm expresses a similar view, noting the Pacers were without Bennedict Mathurin during the postseason due to shoulder surgery and that seven of their top eight players in minutes played could be back next season.
  • The Pacers’ biggest priority this offseason will be re-signing Pascal Siakam and coach Rick Carlisle says it’s essential that the franchise retains the veteran power forward, Dopirak relays. “The first very important step is to begin recruiting Pascal Siakam in earnest,” Carlisle said. “That will start today with exit meetings. He’s a great player. He was tremendous for us. The acquisition of him in late January really was a key enabler for us to not only make the playoffs but be able to advance in the playoffs. That’s something you simply cannot take for granted.” The Athletic’s Shams Charania stated on FanDuel’s Run It Back program (video link) that the Pacers are prepared to offer Siakam a max contract and “there’s mutual interest in getting a deal done.”

Pacers’ Tyrese Haliburton Out For Game 4

Pacers star guard Tyrese Haliburton won’t play in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals tonight against the Celtics, Joe Vardon of The Athletic tweets. Haliburton also missed Game 3 on Saturday due to a left hamstring strain.

Indiana, which is facing elimination, nearly won Game 3 without its All-Star point guard until Boston staged a fourth-quarter rally. Andrew Nembhard stepped up his production with 32 points but Ben Sheppard, who was inserted into the starting lineup, was held scoreless in 26 minutes.

Haliburton suffered the injury during the 126-110 Game 2 loss in Boston. He had just 10 points and eight assists in that contest after a 25-point, 10-assist outing in Game 1.

He underwent an MRI on Saturday, and the risk of doing further damage with his team facing long odds of a comeback outweighs trying to push through it. He also dealt with a hamstring strain during the regular season. Haliburton, a third-team All-NBA selection, has averaged 18.7 PPG and 8.2 APG in the playoffs.

The Celtics have announced that Jrue Holiday and Luke Kornet, who were on Sunday’s injury report, are available, Keith Smith of Spotrac tweets. Kristaps Porzingis remains out.

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.

Woj: Haliburton’s Status In Doubt For Rest Of Series

4:55pm: Haliburton is listed as questionable for Game 4, Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star tweets.

11:06am: The Pacers find themselves in a 3-0 hole in the Eastern Conference finals after dropping Saturday’s Game 3 in Indiana. The Pacers led for most of the game, but Boston used a late run — including a couple stupendous plays from Jrue Holiday — to secure the victory.

Before the game, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on NBA Countdown that Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton, who missed Game 3 with a left hamstring injury, could miss the rest of the series (Twitter video link).

The Pacers are going to err on the side of caution with this left hamstring injury, and for that reason, you may have seen Tyrese Haliburton for the last time in this series,” Wojnarowski said.

Haliburton missed 10 games earlier in the season with a left hamstring strain, which is one reason why Indiana is wary of the All-NBA point guard returning too soon, according to Wojnarowski, who noted the 24-year-old is also on the U.S. Olympic team.

Certainly, they’re going to reassess this on Monday ahead of Game 4, but I think there’s real doubt that Tyrese Haliburton will be back in Game 4 — and perhaps even again in this series — as much as he would love to rejoin this Indiana team and try and give them a chance down 2-0 versus Boston,” Wojnarowski concluded (hat tip to Jordan Daly of NBC Sports Boston).

The Pacers showed last night that they can’t be discounted merely because their best player is out. Indiana went 7-6 without the Haliburton during the regular season.

Still, no team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit, and the Pacers were already underdogs against the East’s No. 1 seed. Monday’s Game 4 tips off at 7:00 pm CT.

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.

Mavericks Notes: Doncic, Irving, Olympics, Lively Trade

Numerous media members were calling Anthony Edwards “the new face of the NBA” after Minnesota upset Denver, but that honor actually belongs to Mavericks star Luka Doncic, writes Kevin Sherrington of The Dallas Morning News. Doncic strengthened his case as the league’s best player and top clutch performer with a game-winning three-pointer Friday night that gave Dallas a 2-0 series lead. Sherrington notes that after sinking the shot over Rudy Gobert, Doncic displayed his fearlessness by shouting “you can’t guard me” and some stronger comments at the Defensive Player of the Year.

The argument for Doncic as the league’s No. 1 star starts with five first-team All-NBA appearances, including this season. He finished third in the MVP voting behind Nikola Jokic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, but Sherrington points out that they were both eliminated in the second round while Doncic has a chance to add to his reputation with the longest postseason run of his career.

“There are moments where he shows his brilliance and can score so easily,” Kyrie Irving said, “and then he comes back and he looks like he’s laboring a little bit, but that guy’s a warrior.”

There’s more on the Mavericks:

  • Irving was able to keep his composure after missing two free throws with 1:44 remaining, Sherrington states in a separate story. The misses provided free fried chicken for all the fans in attendance, but more importantly they cost the Mavs a chance to slice the lead to one point. Irving made up for it a few seconds later with a clutch three-pointer from the corner that set the stage for Doncic’s heroics. “I think I was as surprised as a lot of people in the arena,” Irving, a 90% free throw shooter during the regular season, said of his misses from the line. “In those moments, I’ve got to stay focused and be aware of how much it means to our team to make those. But when you miss, you’ve also got to take that accountability and be better. The next-play mentality was the only thing I could carry forth. I got into that corner and knocked it down.”
  • Irving could be in line for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team this summer if Tyrese Haliburton opts out because of his hamstring issues, speculates Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). Haliburton, who was held out of tonight’s Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, also missed 10 games with a hamstring strain in January.  Irving was disappointed about not making the team last month after being one of the finalists.
  • Dallas and Oklahoma City both benefited from last year’s draft-day trade, Rylan Stiles writes for Inside the Thunder. Dereck Lively II has been an interior force for the Mavericks throughout the playoffs, while Cason Wallace became a three-and-D specialist in the Thunder backcourt.

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’ Tyrese Haliburton To Miss Game 3

2:04pm: Haliburton will be out for Game 3 and will be reevaluated ahead of Game 4, according to Wojnarowski, who says the guard’s availability for that game “remains in serious question” (Twitter link). Indiana will err on the side of caution with its franchise player, Woj adds.

1:40pm: Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton, who re-injured his left hamstring on Thursday, is expected to miss Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday, according to reports from Shams Charania and Joe Vardon of The Athletic (Twitter link) and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Haliburton exited Game 2 in the third quarter due to hamstring soreness and didn’t return. As we detailed that night, the issue was especially concerning because the Pacers star strained his left hamstring in January and missed 10 games as a result of that injury — he attempted to return after just five games, but ended up being out for five more following that lone appearance.

The Pacers, who entered the Eastern finals as massive underdogs, are already facing a 2-0 deficit in their series vs. the Celtics and will face even longer odds without Haliburton, the engine who drives Indiana’s offense. The 24-year-old was named to the All-NBA Third Team this week after averaging 20.1 points and a league-leading 10.9 assists per game during the regular season. He has put up 18.7 PPG and 8.2 APG in the playoffs.

As we wrote on Friday, the team has solid alternatives at point guard in Andrew Nembhard and T.J. McConnell, but neither player can replicate the kind of play-making and outside shooting that Haliburton 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.”

While Nembhard and McConnell will take on increased responsibilities at point guard, the Pacers will also lean more heavily on star forward Pascal Siakam to initiate the offense and be the team’s go-to scoring option.

In related news, Celtics guard Jrue Holiday – Haliburton’s primary defender – has been added to the injury report for Game 3 due to a non-COVID illness, as Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston tweets. Holiday is listed as questionable to play.

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.”