T.J. Warren

Central Notes: Warren, Hayes, Rose, Giannis/Forbes

Starting Pacers small forward T.J. Warren went under the knife on Tuesday, January 5, to repair a small navicular stress fracture in his left foot, according to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Agness added that there is no timeline for Warren’s return to the floor following his surgery.

In his four healthy games this season, Warren averaged 15.5 PPG (on 52.9% shooting from the field), 3.5 RPG, and 1.3 APG for the Pacers.

There’s more out of the NBA’s Central Division:

  • After starting Pistons point guard Killian Hayes suffered a labral tear in his right hip, Detroit remains open to multiple possibilities with regard to his recovery, according to Rod Beard of the Detroit News. Hayes could try to rehabilitate without undergoing surgery, and potentially return this season in 4-6 weeks if he responds well to non-surgical treatment, or he could go the surgical route, and face a longer-term rehab process that could finish his rookie season. Sources tell James Edwards III of The Athletic that there does not appear to be structural damage in the hip.
  • Luckily for the Pistons, whose point guard corps has thinned out thanks to Hayes’ torn labrum, his backup Derrick Rose is not expected to miss any time with a minor right knee contusion suffered yesterday, according to Rod Beard of the Detroit News.
  • Reigning two-time Bucks MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has developed a strong on-court rapport with new reserve guard Bryn Forbes, highlighted by a flashy inverted pick-and-roll action, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “It’s a play that works,” Antetokounmpo said. “If you don’t stay in front of me, I’m going to try to go downhill and if somebody else comes, the corner is wide-open.”

Eastern Notes: Exum, Curry, Boucher, Warren

The Cavaliers have plugged Dante Exum into the role of defensive stopper, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. New head coach J.B. Bickerstaff used Exum to help hold Atlanta star guard Trae Young to 16 points on Saturday. “I think (Dante) is a heck of a defender,” Bickerstaff said. “He’s extremely intelligent. He’s got great length. And he’s committed to trying to go out and get the job done.” Exum, who is making $9.6MM this season, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Seth Curry appears to be headed to a career year with Sixers distributor Ben Simmons feeding him the ball. HoopsHype’s Bryan Kalbrosky breaks down how well they’re playing together in the early going. Acquired in a trade with the Mavericks, Curry is averaging 16.2 PPG while knocking down 51.5% of his 3-point attempts.
  • The Raptors are looking at Chris Boucher as the primary backup at power forward to Pascal Siakam, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes. Normally used at center despite being 6’9”, Boucher has recently played alongside centers Aron Baynes and Alex Len. “We really need some depth there, so it’s good to see that he’s been able to make a transition, kind of on a need basis,” coach Nick Nurse said. “Now it might be something we can count on.”
  • Pacers forward T.J. Warren faces a long recovery from his foot injury, as Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files details. One of the team’s top offensive threats, Warren is dealing with a small navicular left foot stress fracture that will require surgery.

T.J. Warren Out Indefinitely With Left Foot Stress Fracture

Starting Pacers small forward T.J. Warren has incurred a small navicular left foot stress fracture and will need surgery to address it, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. There is no timetable for his return to the hardwood, but Warren is expected to miss a decent portion of the 2020/21 season, says Wojnarowski.

New Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren could look to compensate for Warren’s loss by giving additional minutes to Justin HolidayDoug McDermott and Kelan Martin at the wing.

This season, Warren was looking to build on a scorching run he enjoyed in the Orlando 2019/20 season restart, averaging almost 27 PPG in six games. He was Indiana’s fourth-leading scorer during the young ’20/21 season, averaging 15.5 PPG (on 52.9% shooting from the floor) and 3.5 RPG across Indiana’s first four games. The Pacers were 3-1 in those contests.

Wojnarowski notes that the 6’8″ forward out of North Carolina State underwent a similar surgery on his right foot while with the Suns in 2016. Bobby Marks of ESPN adds (via Twitter) that Warren has thus far missed 119 of a possible 569 regular season games since being drafted with the No. 14 pick by Phoenix in 2014.

Warren, 27, has two years and $23.9MM remaining on his current contract with Indiana.

Central Notes: Donovan, Temple, Turner, Warren, Gores

Bulls coach Billy Donovan is already building a strong foundation in Chicago, working to establish relationships with his players and instill a respected culture within the team, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes.

Donovan, who’s set to start his first season as head coach of the Bulls this week, spent the past five years coaching the Thunder. He led Oklahoma City to a surprising 44-28 record last season, good for the fifth-best in the Western Conference.

“He has a great track record with his players and he has done a great job so far of telling us what he needs out of us,” veteran forward Thaddeus Young said. “We had a meeting (early in camp) and he took time to really sit down as a team and tell us, ‘These are the things we need to do to win basketball game(s) and these are the things we need to do in order to fight through this thing.’ I think he’s done a great job so far.’’

Donovan hopes to guide the Bulls to their first playoff appearance since the 2016/17 season, leading a group that consists of Zach LaVine, Coby White, Wendell Carter Jr., Patrick Williams and others.

Here are some other notes from the Central Division:

  • K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago examines how Garrett Temple could immediately help the Bulls in a separate story for NBC Sports Chicago. Temple, the team’s only acquisition in free agency, finished his first practice on Sunday after quarantining due to COVID-19. “Just talking guys through certain things that I see, whether it be defensive things, offensively or just making sure we stay together,” Temple said. “If a team goes on a 5-0 run, 10-0 run that we stay together and not put our heads down. Things of that nature are some things I think I can help out with right away.”
  • The Pacers expect to have Myles Turner and T.J. Warren available for their season opener against the Knicks on Wednesday, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star writes. Turner had been coping with a concussion, while Warren had been dealing with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. “They were in a full physical, contact practice today and they looked good,” coach Nate Bjorkgren said. “There was a lot on 5-on-5. That’s what I would expect. They’re getting the green light to get closer and closer to that.”
  • A criminal justice group has submitted a letter to NBA commissioner Adam Silver with hopes of forcing Pistons owner Tom Gores to sell the franchise, according to Davide Scigliuzzo of Bloomberg (via The Detroit News). The group’s concerns lie with Gores’ financial interest in Securus Technologies Inc., which came under fire this year for charging prisoners as much as $25 for a 15-minute call, Scigliuzzo writes.

Pacers’ Warren, Bowen Sidelined With Injuries

The Pacers announced today in a press release that forward T.J. Warren is being considered week-to-week due to right foot plantar fasciitis.

Warren, one of the stars of the NBA’s Walt Disney World bubble during the summer restart, was also being affected by plantar fasciitis in his right foot at that time. The fact that it continues to bother him isn’t a great sign. However, after he was able to play through the injury over the summer, the Pacers may simply be playing it safe this time around in an attempt to ensure it doesn’t become a longer-term issue.

Meanwhile, the Pacers also announced in today’s release that small forward Brian Bowen II will miss approximately six to eight weeks as a result of a partial groin tear.

Bowen didn’t project to be a regular part of Indiana’s rotation this season after having signed a two-way contract in November. However, his injury will still reduce the team’s depth on the wing with the regular season around the corner.

On the positive side, as a two-way player, Bowen would have been limited to 50 regular season games in 2020/21 anyway. If he’s sidelined for a full eight weeks, the Pacers will have just 49 games remaining in their season when he returns, meaning they won’t have to worry about those limitations for Bowen down the stretch.

Pacers Notes: Oladipo, Roster, Hayward, Warren, Lamb

Don’t count on Victor Oladipo to start the season with any team besides the Pacers. Speaking today to reporters, including Michael McCleary of The Indianapolis Star, president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said that Oladipo and agent Aaron Turner have both expressed that the standout guard is fully committed to the franchise.

“I think it took some time for (Oladipo) to think about what are his goals,” Pritchard said on Wednesday. “I got a call from his agent yesterday and it’s the same thing, ‘Can’t wait to get to camp, can’t wait to show that he’s healthy and that he’s 100% committed.’ And I have to take people at their word.”

Oladipo has been the subject of trade rumors for several months, with one report even suggesting that he’d asked members of other teams last season if he could come play for them. A report earlier today confirmed that the Bucks and Pacers discussed a possible Oladipo trade earlier in the offseason.

However, the 28-year-old publicly committed to the organization less than two weeks ago and Pritchard sounds satisfied with where things stand. The Pacers’ top basketball executive told reporters today, including McCleary, that the two-time All-Star has formed a strong relationship with new head coach Nate Bjorkgren and that he thinks that could be “a major factor in “chang(ing) the tide in terms of what (Oladipo) feels about us.”

Here’s more out of Indiana:

  • The Pacers have 13 players on guaranteed contracts and will keep the last two roster spots open to encourage competition, Pritchard said today (Twitter link via J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star).
  • Pritchard said the Pacers pursued Gordon Hayward in free agency “as hard as we possibly could” (Twitter link via Michael). He added that he was transparent with the Pacers players who were discussed in Hayward sign-and-trade scenarios, so there were no surprises when those names were leaked (Twitter link via Michael).
  • Addressing the Hayward situation further, Pritchard said “it hurt a little” to miss out on the forward, since “the feedback was he wanted to be here.” Ultimately though, the Pacers didn’t feel comfortable matching the Celtics’ asking price in a sign-and-trade deal.It can’t come at a cost so debilitating that it doesn’t make sense,” Pritchard said (Twitter links via Michael).
  • The Pacers are determined to play T.J. Warren at the four this season after his success there during the NBA restart, Pritchard said (Twitter link via Michael).
  • According to Pritchard, the Pacers are hoping that Jeremy Lamb will be practicing by mid-December and back on the court by mid-January at the latest (Twitter link via Michael). Lamb is returning from a torn ACL suffered last February.
  • In case you missed it, Indianapolis will now host the 2024 All-Star Game rather than the 2021 event, which is being postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.

Latest On Gordon Hayward

4:57pm: Hayward has told the Celtics he wants to go to the Pacers, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe tweets. The Pacers offered Myles Turner and Doug McDermott to Boston in a sign-and-trade scenario but the Celtics want Turner and either Warren or Victor Oladipo.


4:45pm: The Hornets are expected to pursue Gordon Hayward in free agency but will likely need to work out a sign-and-trade agreement with the Celtics to make it happen, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reports.

Hayward declined his whopping $34.2MM option in order to become an unrestricted free agent. In 52 games last season, he averaged 17.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 4.1 APG on .500/.383/.855 shooting but missed a good chunk of the playoffs with an ankle injury.

Charlotte has approximately $19.4MM in cap space, so it’s unlikely Hayward would sign a multi-year deal unless there’s a sign-and-trade scenario with Boston and perhaps a third team as a facilitator.

The Hornets could dangle the expiring contracts of Cody Zeller and Nicolas Batum as part of the package, Scotto notes.

Hayward has some history with the Hornets franchise. He signed an offer sheet with Charlotte in 2014 when he was a restricted free agent but the Jazz matched it.

The Pacers are also interested in Hayward via a sign-and-trade but are reluctant to part with T.J. Warren and Aaron Holiday, two players that Boston would have some interest in acquiring, according to Ian Begley of SNY TV. However, Hayward may try to force the Celtics’ hands. The former Butler University star is “fully focused” on returning to Indiana and playing for the Pacers, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania (hat tip to RealGM).

The Knicks are also expected to be in the mix for Hayward after freeing nearly $40MM in cap space.

Some with the organization have interest in signing Hayward as a free agent. However, the Knicks are unlikely to offer Hayward a four-year deal, Begley adds.

Central Notes: Cavs, Warren, Bulls, Pistons

The Cavaliers are set to return to their practice facility in mid-September to hold a voluntary minicamp. While most players will be there, pending free agents Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova will not be participating, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

Along with Thompson and Dellavedova, Andre Drummond isn’t expected to be in attendance at the Cavaliers’ minicamp due to a personal matter. Fedor says that the veteran center, who is likely to pick up his $28.7MM player option for next season, was initially interested in attending.

The Cavaliers are among eight teams who did not qualify for the NBA’s restart in Orlando that will get the chance to hold practices with their players.

Here’s more from across the Central Division:

  • In an extensive interview with Michael Pina of GQ, Pacers forward T.J. Warren spoke about his love of reading books. “I was thinking, I’ve gotta find a way to stimulate my mind when I’m not playing basketball and reading things that interest me,” Warren explained. “Sometimes you can get mixed up with some of the information you’re getting through social media or television, but if you actually like reading and getting it from the source, you can comprehend it better.” The 26-year-old forward had impressive performances in the bubble, which included a career-high 53 points against the 76ers in the seeding games.
  • Sam Smith of Bulls.com discussed some potential point guard options for the Bulls, who have the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft. In his latest mailbag, one reader asked Smith if the Bulls would think about trading down if LaMelo Ball is available at No. 4. In response to that question, Smith points out that new Chicago general manager Arturas Karnisovas has had success with finding gems later in the draft. However, if Smith had his choice, he would trade down for Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton, especially if Memphis’ James Wiseman is off the board.
  • In his latest mailbag, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com wrote about Sekou Doumbouya‘s possible role next season under head coach Dwane Casey, various draft options for the Pistons, and Derrick Rose‘s outlook. When it comes to October’s draft, Langlois writes that all options are on the table for the Pistons, who own the seventh overall pick. He mentions that they could select either Deni Avdija, Killian Hayes, Isaac Okoro, Onyeka Okongwu, or Haliburton.

Pacers Notes: McMillan, Oladipo, Turner, Warren

The Pacers fired head coach Nate McMillan today, and sources tell Sam Amick of The Athletic that McMillan’s apparent resistance to some modern offensive philosophies was a factor in that decision.

As Amick explains, McMillan is a coach with “old-school sensibilities (and) a defense-first approach” whose offense relied more on mid-range shots than three-pointers — the Pacers ranked last in the NBA this season in three-pointers per game. President of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard viewed McMillan’s offensive approach as an “inopportune fit,” according to Amick.

Taking that into account, it’s no surprise that Mike D’Antoni was the first head coaching target linked to the Pacers. Amick says he expects Indiana’s next coach to have an offense-first philosophy.

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • As Victor Oladipo enters a contract year, his situation is worth monitoring this offseason. Amick wonders if playing for an offense-first coach like D’Antoni might convince Oladipo to remain in Indiana long-term, while Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report says a number of executives around the league believe the two-time All-Star is a candidate to hit the trade block this offseason.
  • Asked about his future with the Pacers this week, Oladipo said he’s not thinking about that right now and is no rush to make any decisions, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “I know what I need to focus on, what I need to do to make sure my knee gets stronger and better and what I need to do to get better as a person and a player,” Oladipo said. “I learned a lot from this year, and I learned a lot from this series, so I just got to continue to keep working.”
  • Speaking to reporters after the Pacers’ elimination, big man Myles Turner expressed frustration with the team’s fifth consecutive first round exit, writes Bontemps. “At some point, you have to get over the hump, man,” Turner said. “Five years of being in the playoffs, five first-round exits. So me, personally, I take that s–t personally. You gotta find a way.”
  • Count Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra among those who wasn’t a fan of the Pacers’ decision to fire McMillan. Spoelstra said today that McMillan’s ouster was “totally ridiculous” and was critical of the “media fake extension” that Indiana gave him earlier this month (Twitter link via Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald). That contract extension reportedly just added a team option to McMillan’s deal, rather than any guaranteed seasons.
  • In an Insider article for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks previews the Pacers’ offseason, including looming decisions on Oladipo and T.J. Warren. As Marks observes, Warren will be extension-eligible, but Indiana can’t offer more than $49.3MM over three years.

NBA Announces All-Bubble Awards

The NBA announced today that Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has been named the Player of the Seeding Games, earning de facto MVP honors for the league’s restart.

Lillard, who averaged 37.6 PPG and 9.6 APG on .497/.436/.888 shooting in eight seeding games, led the Blazers to a 6-2 record, allowing the team to surpass the Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed in the West. Portland will earn the conference’s final playoff spot if it picks up a win over Memphis today or tomorrow.

Lillard was the unanimous selection among 22 media voters for the bubble’s MVP award. Devin Booker (Suns) received 19 second-place votes, with T.J. Warren (Pacers) picking up two and Luka Doncic (Mavericks) getting the other one. Booker, Warren, Doncic, James Harden (Rockets) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks) all received third-place votes.

Meanwhile, Suns head coach Monty Williams was named the Coach of the Seeding Games, per today’s announcement. The selection comes as no surprise after Williams led Phoenix to an 8-0 record this summer. The Suns narrowly missed out on a spot in the play-in tournament, but were the only club that went undefeated during the seeding games, despite initially being ranked 21st of the 22 teams invited to Orlando.

Williams was a near-unanimous choice, with Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts receiving one first-place vote and finishing second overall in voting. Nets coach Jacque Vaughn and Raptors coach Nick Nurse were among the other top vote-getters.

The NBA also announced All-Seeding Games First and Second Teams, as follows:

First Team:

  • Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers)
  • Devin Booker (Suns)
  • Luka Doncic (Mavericks)
  • James Harden (Rockets)
  • T.J. Warren (Pacers)

Second Team:

Lillard, Booker, and Doncic were unanimous First Team selections, with Harden and Warren each receiving 18 of 22 First Team votes. Antetokounmpo received the other eight First Team votes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.