Rob Werdann

Central Notes: Sumner, Jefferson, Grand Rapids

The Pacers drafted a pair of injured prospects earlier this month but it wasn’t an oversight, Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star writes. By taking a chance on the heralded but sidelined NCAA stars, president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard was able to get his hands on two quality projects at a bargain rate.

They don’t want me to rush back,” Edmond Sumner, the point guard out of Xavier said of his new club. “They just want me to get healthy. That’s the main priority right now, just getting healthy. I’m not going to rush.

Considering that the franchise is at the beginning of a rebuild, they stand to benefit from any young talent they can amass. Ike Anigbogu is the second of Indiana’s intriguing second-rounders.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • A former business manager of Richard Jefferson has been indicted of fraud, Billy Heyen of writes. The manager stole $7MM from the Cavaliers veteran after forging Jefferson’s signature and illegally establishing power of attorney over his finances.
  • A Detroit city council proposal that would earmark the income tax of NBA players for a neighborhood fund has hit a speed bump, Ben Solis of MLive writes. The proposed fund is estimated to collect $1.3MM annually from Pistons players, their opponents and team personnel.
  • The Pistons and their G League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive, have agreed on a two-year extension, the team has announced in a press release. They’ve also named Rob Werdann their new head coach.

Western Rumors: Rivers, Jordan, McNeal, Blazers

It was an oft-repeated story this summer that Doc Rivers didn't want the Clippers to part with Eric Bledsoe as the team negotiated with the Celtics to bring Rivers to L.A. The Clippers wound up trading Bledsoe to the Suns in a separate deal, and now Rivers says he was worried that another Clipper would wind up in Boston. The coach wanted to bring Kevin Garnett with him to L.A., but not if it meant giving up DeAndre Jordan, according to Arash Markazi of There's more on Rivers and Jordan as we look at the latest from the Western Conference:

  • Rivers sees Jordan as a defensive player of the year candidate, as Markazi notes in the same piece. "[Jordan] is just too young and too gifted to let walk out your door, bottom line," Rivers said. "He's a game changer defensively. He can single-handedly change a game with his defense. There's five guys, and that number maybe too high, that can do that single-handedly with their size and athleticism and he's one of them. When you have one of those guys, you want to keep them."
  • Former Jazz shooting guard Jerel McNeal has signed with the Zhejiang Chouzhou Golden Bulls in China, reports Kenya Brown of Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported last month that McNeal had an agreement with a Chinese team, but it was unclear whether it was with the Golden Bulls or the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions.
  • The Trail Blazers have announced the hirings of Rob Werdann and Zendon Hamilton as assistant coaches for the Idaho Stampede. Chris Haynes of first reported the story (Twitter link). The Blazers control the basketball operations for the Stampede, who have a one-to-one affiliation with Portland.

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