Ron Howard

Pacers Waive Ron Howard, Darnell Jackson

The Pacers have released Ron Howard and Darnell Jackson, reducing their camp roster to 15 players, the team announced today in a press release. With 15 players now under contract, the team won’t necessarily have to make more cuts before opening night. However, according to Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star (via Twitter), coach Frank Vogel has indicated Indiana figures to start the year with a 13-man roster, so more moves are likely on the way.

The 6’5″ Howard was a D-League All-Star last season, averaging 19.1 PPG and recording an 18.2 PER for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. The 6’8″ Jackson, meanwhile, participated in Utah’s training camp last fall before joining the D-League’s Reno Bighorns. A second-round pick in the 2008 draft, Jackson has played for the Cavaliers, Bucks, and Kings in 138 total NBA contests. As Buckner notes (via Twitter), Howard and Jackson were the only two active Pacers players not to get into last night’s game against the Mavericks.

Assuming the Pacers make two more cuts before opening night, as planned, Hilton Armstrong and Rasual Butler are likely to be the odd men out. Both players are on fully non-guaranteed deals.

Amico On Heat, Cole, Bulls, Howard, Casspi

Sam Amico of FOX Sports has tons of info in today's column, let's dive in and check out some of the highlights..

  • The Heat certainly aren't desperate to shake up the roster, but word is they’ve explored what backup point guard Norris Cole may bring in a trade.  While Cole is rather inconsistent on offense, he's a very strong on-ball defender.
  • Amico cautions against reading too much into the reported friction between Bulls GM Gar Forman and coach Tom Thibodeau.  Phil Jackson and exec Jerry West didn’t get along in L.A. but they co-existed well enough to see the club win three straight titles.  Jackson and GM Jerry Krause got along even worse than that in Chicago, so it shouldn't affect the on-court product at all.
  • Ron Howard, currently in camp with the Pacers, is someone to keep an eye on.  He might not be a fit in Indiana, but execs from around the league feel that he'd be a nice locker room addition to a young squad.
  • It's early, but Amico came away impressed by Omri Casspi in the Rockets-Pelicans preseason opener.  Casspi has languished on the Cavs' bench for the last two years but will look to start anew in Houston.

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Ron Howard To Accept Pacers Camp Invitation

D-League stalwart Ron Howard will be in training camp with the Pacers, a source tells Scott Schroeder of The 30-year-old swingman has earned the nickname "Mr. Mad Ant" over his unusually long tenure with the club, which has spanned six seasons. He was in summer league last month with the D-League Select Team, and he's taken part in three previous NBA training camps, but he's yet to formally make it to the NBA.

The 6'5" Howard was a D-League All-Star last season as he helped the Mad Ants to their first playoff appearance in his time with the team. He averaged 19.1 points per game in 2012/13, and his PER of 18.2 was the best mark of his D-League career. He added a passing element to his game last year as he took on some point guard duties, bumping his assists per contest to a career-high 4.7 from the 2.7 he averaged in 2011/12. 

Howard would represent one of the league's most unlikely success stories if he makes the regular season roster for Indiana, having first joined the Mad Ants through an open tryout after he went undrafted out of Valparaiso in 2006. The Pacers have 13 players on guaranteed contracts, but they have no one other than Howard on a non-guaranteed deal at this point, so it looks like he has a decent chance of making it to opening night.