Victor Oladipo

Central Notes: Oladipo, Lopez, R. Jackson, Gilbert

Nearly eight months after having surgery on a ruptured quad tendon, Victor Oladipo doesn’t want to talk about the rehab process, writes Scott Agness of The Athletic. Oladipo began on-court workouts in June, but he hasn’t practiced against anyone. He said he’s working on “a little bit of everything,” but doesn’t want to give away any secrets.

“Ah, I’m getting there,” Oladipo said. “I’m working my way there. You can’t rush these things, you just got to take your time. At the end of the day, Rome wasn’t built in one day.”

People close to Oladipo have talked about his work ethic and dedication. He has adapted his shooting method and now has a smoother shot with a quicker release. The Pacers are monitoring his progress, but haven’t set any sort of timetable for his return.

“I’m just excited to play basketball again, honestly,” Oladipo said. “Just go out there and compete at the highest level possible. I got a lot to let go, so I’m looking forward to letting it go.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Bucks center Brook Lopez tells Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype that he enjoyed July’s free agent frenzy just like any other fan. “Man, it was so entertaining – first and foremost,” Lopez said. “Just as a fan of the game – waiting for all of those Woj Bombs and news updates – it really was exciting! As a player, it’s exciting too. I mean, everyone has said it, but I think the level of parity is really exciting because there are a number of teams that, I think, are contenders now. It’s just great for basketball because it’s going to be such a competitive league this year.” 
  • Getting past the effects of two serious injuries helped Pistons guard Reggie Jackson enjoy a revival last season, observes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Jackson was slowed by left knee tendinosis during the 2016/17 season and a grade-3 right ankle sprain in 2017/18. Jackson started to feel fully healthy around mid-season and averaged 16.9 PPG after February 1.
  • Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was released from a Chicago rehabilitation facility this week after spending two months there following a stroke, relays Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

Central Notes: Oladipo, Anthony, Young, Blatt

Victor Oladipo is sure the Pacers will make the playoffs due to the additions of Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. Warren and Jeremy Lamb, among others, as he told J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star.

“I feel like we got some great additions. We got a chance to be really special. I feel like the league is wide open,” the Pacers’ guard said. “I was excited for the opportunity to play with (Brogdon). I know what type of player he is, the level that he plays on and has been playing on the last couple of years from Milwaukee. To have him as an addition is pretty big for us.”

Oladipo is working his way back from a quad injury and it’s uncertain whether he’ll be ready by the time the Pacers open training camp. “I’m not sure yet,” he told Mark Monteith of the team’s website.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Adding free agent Carmelo Anthony to the mix never made any sense for the Pistons, as Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press explains in his latest mailbag. Anthony’s game is predicated on isolation plays and that doesn’t fit the Pistons’ system. He’s also spent most of his time at power forward in recent seasons and the Pistons already signed Markieff Morris, a better defender, to back up Blake Griffin. They also added another veteran forward, Michael Beasley, to compete for a roster spot, Ellis adds.
  • Thaddeus Young is a quality finisher and that will help boost the Bulls’ offense, according to Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. Young shot 67.9% from inside three feet for the Pacers last season, while Chicago ranked 28th in the NBA in field goal percentage inside five feet, making just 58% of its attempts, Strotman notes. Young jumped teams on a three-year, $41MM pact early in the free agent season.
  • Former Cavaliers coach David Blatt is battling multiple sclerosis but plans to continue coaching, according to an Associated Press report. He’s currently the coach of the Greek team Olympiacos Piraeus. “I am a coach and my job is to lead and teach and inspire a lot of people,” Blatt wrote in the statement. “Not being as agile or active doesn’t affect my ability to do those things.”

Eastern Notes: Bulls, Frazier, Oladipo, Stoudemire

Bulls head coach Jim Boylen is excited about the new players his team brought in this offseason, and he hopes that the additions of veterans Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky alongside rookies Coby White and Daniel Gafford will allow him to deploy a deeper roster during the 2019/20 season, writes Sean Highkin of NBC Sports Chicago.

“What we (the Bulls) talked about is we wanted to bring in high character depth that could support our current roster,” Boylen said. “I also wanted a team that was duplicit and redundant so we could play the same way (when we go to our bench).”

Specifically, Boylen spoke on how the last couple years’ lack of depth caused the Bulls to rely on G League level players whenever stars like Zach LaVine or Lauri Markkanen were out with injury or sickness.

“We’ve struggled the last couple years to play on a night when we had injury or illness, where we had to change our style of play before the game. I don’t want that (for the Bulls). The good teams don’t have that.”

There’s more news out of the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • Veteran point guard Tim Frazier is eager for the opportunity that awaits him with the Pistons, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. While Frazier may see limited minutes behind Reggie Jackson and Derrick Rose, Detroit sees value in having a young and experienced option in case Jackson or Rose get hurt.
  • As Jackie MacMullan of ESPN explains, Pacers guard Victor Oladipo has seen his appreciation for basketball grow as he’s been sidelined with a ruptured right quadriceps tendon. Regarding watching his team’s performance during the playoffs last season, Oladipo said “It was so hard. It makes you appreciate the game more, your teammates more, even yourself more… Sometimes we don’t realize our own impact. You take it for granted. I won’t ever do that again.”
  • The Knicks do not plan on signing former NBA All-Star big man Amar’e Stoudemire to a contract for the 2019/20 season, reports Marc Berman of The New York Post. Stoudemire worked out for the Knicks and 14 other teams in Las Vegas on Monday. He last played in the NBA for the Heat during the 2015/16 season.

Pacers Rumors: Oladipo, Bitadze, Turner, Young

Speaking on Thursday night to reporters, including J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star, Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard acknowledged that the team isn’t expecting to have Victor Oladipo ready to go to start the 2019/20 season. Oladipo continues to recover from the torn quad tendon he suffered in January.

“I’m hopeful that he’s going to be back in December, January,” Pritchard said of Oladipo. “To put a true timeline is not really fair.”

Here are several more Pacers notes worth passing along:

  • First-round pick Goga Bitadze will join the Pacers right away rather than being stashed overseas, Michael writes. “Of any of the guys we’ve drafted in the last few years, I think he’s more polished and ready to play in an NBA game than a normal kid coming out of college,” Pritchard said of the Georgian center.
  • While the Pacers are committed to playing Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis together, with one of the two at power forward, the team will have trade options available, Michael writes. Multiple league sources have told Michael that no one on Indiana’s roster is really untouchable, though he doesn’t expect the team to move Turner, as he tweeted prior to the draft.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic remains the Pacers’ top priority in free agency, while Thaddeus Young appears less likely to be retained, per Michael.
  • Pritchard expects to be active in free agency as the Pacers look to fill out their roster, Michael relays. “We’ve got a lot of holes to fill. We’re going to have a lot of money to go out into the marketplace,” Pritchard said. “July 1 is going to be where the real dirty work starts. We got to make some hay in free agency.”
  • More from Pritchard, via Michael: “We’ll try to be a good team next year. We’re not going to go young and try to start at the bottom. We want to win again.”

Pacers Notes: Free Agency, Bogdanovic, Oladipo

Heading into the 2019 offseason, the Pacers expect to have about $43-45MM in cap room available to spend, president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said today at his end-of-season press conference, per Scott Agness of The Athletic (Twitter link).

“I think that brings a lot of excitement and I think that allows for us to be super aggressive,” Pritchard said of the team’s financial situation, adding that the Pacers expect to highlight their strong culture as a primary selling point to free agents.

Asked about the Pacers’ potential spending power, Pritchard indicated that no significant restrictions have been placed on him by ownership, as Agness relays (via Twitter)

“(Team owner) Herb (Simon) wants to win. We set a budget. It’s a very high budget, I’ll tell you that,” Pritchard said. “Herb has never told me ‘No’ if it makes the team better. Not one time. … I want to think big.”

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • Bojan Bogdanovic will be the Pacers’ most notable free agent this summer, and Pritchard expects plenty of competition for the veteran swingman. “We would like to have extensive talks with Bojan. The truth is he’s a complete (unrestricted) free agent so he’s gonna have interest. You can feel that already,” Pritchard said today (Twitter link). “On July 1, I’m pretty sure I’m going to have a long conversation with Bojan.”
  • There’s still no timeline for Victor Oladipo‘s return to the court, but Pritchard said Indiana’s injured star is “coming along nicely,” with the focus still on his ongoing physical therapy (Twitter link via Agness).
  • Pritchard feels good about the No. 18 pick in the draft, but suggested that the team would be “open-minded” and “aggressive” about moving up or down in the draft, tweets Agness. “I would not be surprised if that pick is not the pick we pick,” Pritchard said.
  • Pritchard praised young big man Domantas Sabonis, suggesting that the team would like to find a way to get him a bigger role next season (Twitter link via Agness). Sabonis will be eligible for a rookie scale extension starting in July.

Injury Updates: Mirotic, Griffin, Anunoby, Oladipo

Nikola Mirotic has only played 14 games since the Bucks traded for him in February, but the club expects him to be ready for its playoff opener against the Pistons tomorrow, relays Malika Andrews of ESPN. Mirotic, who has been sidelined for nearly a month with a broken left thumb, was able to participate in a full practice Friday and a non-contact workout today, both times with the thumb lightly taped.

“Not much soreness, as we expected,” he said. “I should be ready to go.”

Mirotic moved into the starting lineup three games before getting hurt, replacing injured guard Malcolm Brogdon. Sterling Brown has been starting in Mirotic’s absence.

“Niko has been traveling with us,” Eric Bledsoe said. “He has been around practice. We have been feeling his energy. Him just being around has been big for us. I think he’s doing pretty good.”

There are more injury updates to pass along:

  • The Pistons aren’t sure if Blake Griffin‘s sore left knee will allow him to be ready for Game 1, writes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Griffin offered no clues after today’s practice as the team prepared to fly to Milwaukee. “We’re taking this day by day,” he said. “I’m not looking forward to a day that’s not here right now in front of me. I’ll sit with our training staff and whoever else needs to be in on that decision and make that each day.” Griffin sat out four of Detroit’s final seven games as the team was battling for a playoff spot. He was limited to riding an exercise bike during today’s practice.
  • On top of their loss to the Magic today, the Raptors got some bad health news about OG Anunoby, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Originally projected to miss at least two weeks after an emergency appendectomy on Thursday, Anunoby may now be sidelined until the Eastern Conference Finals.
  • There’s no chance he’ll return for the playoffs, but the Pacers are encouraged by the progress Victor Oladipo has made since suffering a ruptured quad tendon in January, tweets Scott Agness of The Athletic. Oladipo has been in Miami since the injury and is reportedly doing “really well.” He will see a doctor in a few days and hopes to be in Indiana for Games 3 and 4 of the Pacers’ playoff series.

Pacers Notes: Free Agency, Sabonis, Oladipo

Struggling would-be contenders like the Celtics and Lakers could learn a lesson from the Pacers, who have bounced back impressively after losing star guard Victor Oladipo for the season, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com.

Within his examination of the Pacers’ ability to battle through adversity, Windhorst notes that the club’s leaders – head coach Nate McMillan, president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard, and GM Chad Buchanan – have an “open-door policy” when it comes to discussing players’ upcoming free agency — they aren’t afraid to sit down and talk to a player about his situation if he wants to, and have attempted to be transparent in those discussions.

As Windhorst observes, the Pacers’ rotation is stacked with players in contract years. Thaddeus Young, Bojan Bogdanovic, Darren Collison, Cory Joseph, and Tyreke Evans are among those who will be unrestricted free agents this summer. With long-term uncertainty facing so many of Indiana’s vets, the work McMillan has done to keep them all on the same page this season is impressive.

Here’s more from out of Indiana:

  • Chris Sikich of The Indianapolis Star provides the latest updates on a piece of legislation aimed in part at keeping the Pacers in Indiana for the next 25 years. As Sikich explains, the bill, which the Indiana Senate voted in favor of this week, would see the Pacers chip in about $63MM in new money for facility upgrades and would give the team until next April to negotiate a new long-term lease for the Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
  • Domantas Sabonis has been diagnosed with a left ankle sprain and may be forced out of action for the Pacers’ next few games, as J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star details. “He’s got a lot of swelling,” McMillan said. “He’s going to be out for a couple games. He’s not walking with crutches, but he can’t put a lot of pressure on it.” In Sabonis’ absence, frontcourt players like Kyle O’Quinn and T.J. Leaf could get the opportunity to play increased roles.
  • Speaking of injured Pacers, while Oladipo won’t be able to return this season, he’s making progress in his rehab work. As Ameer Tyree of Sporting News passes along, Oladipo’s trainer recently posted a video of the All-Star guard working on his handle while wearing a leg brace.

Central Notes: Ellington, Stauskas, Oladipo

The Pistons used up the remainder of their mid-level exception to sign guard Wayne Ellington, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Detroit made a $2.4MM commitment to acquire Ellington, who was waived by the Suns after getting traded by the Heat last week. The team remains $252K under the luxury tax threshold and it has no player bonuses that would push it over the tax, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.

The Pistons divvied up portions of the mid-level to sign free agent Glenn Robinson III and second-round picks Khyri Thomas and Bruce Brown Jr. over the summer. Ellington got off to a slow start in his Pistons debut, shooting 1-for-8 from the field against Washington on Monday night.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • The signing of free agent guard Nik Stauskas technically pushed the Cavaliers over the luxury tax line but they’ll drop below it due to an unrelated acquisition, Marks notes in another tweet. Cleveland will get a $750K credit based on John Henson‘s bonuses being deemed unlikely at the end of the season. That will put the Cavs $722K below the tax line. Henson was acquired as part of the George Hill deal with the Bucks in early December but has yet to make his Cavs debut after undergoing wrist surgery in late November.
  • Stauskas is happy he would up back with the Cavaliers, believing he’ll get a chance to showcase his skills, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Stauskas was traded by Portland to Cleveland last week. He was included in two other deals, then waived before re-signing with the rebuilding club. “This team is not in a playoff position right now so they’re in the stage of developing guys and obviously it’s not like you look at the roster and have a bunch of All-Star talent,” Stauskas said. “I’m coming from Portland where I was playing behind guys like Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum — established guys. You look at the roster here and you don’t necessarily have that. I look at the opportunity coming in and help this team win some games and maybe help show what I can do as well.”
  • Victor Oladipo‘s season-ending quad injury occurred in the same area of his right knee that forced him to miss 11 games earlier this season, according to an ESPN report. However, the Pacers star guard is unsure if the earlier injury led to the more serious one. The soreness Oladipo felt in November and December was just above the right knee. “Sure, it might be connected, but who knows,” Oladipo said. “I’m not focused on the past because I have no control over that, just like I have no control over the future.”

Victor Oladipo Out For Season With Ruptured Quad Tendon

JANUARY 28th, 5:02pm: Oladipo underwent surgery on the ruptured quad tendon Monday, according to a team press release. There is no timetable for his return.

JANUARY 24th, 12:05pm: The Pacers have issued a formal update on injured guard Victor Oladipo, announcing today in a press release that an MRI revealed a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee. Oladipo will undergo surgery at a later date to repair the injury and will miss the rest of the 2018/19 season, according to the club.

It’s a brutal blow for a Pacers team that had established itself as one of the clear top five teams in the Eastern Conference this season, along with the Raptors, Bucks, Sixers, and Celtics. While the Pacers may not have been favored against any of those clubs in a playoff series, they had been holding onto the East’s No. 3 seed at 32-15, putting the club in position for a potential first-round series win.

Without Oladipo, the Pacers figure to remain in the top five in the East, but it’s hard to imagine the team hanging onto the No. 3 seed, and a first-round postseason exit seems much more likely today. Still, the Pacers held their own when Oladipo missed time with a bone bruise earlier in 2018/19, posting a 7-4 mark, so we’ll see how they look without their star player down the stretch this season.

As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski observes (via Twitter), a ruptured quad is a pretty rare injury among NBA players and one that’s challenging to come back from. Charles Barkley and Tony Parker suffered the same injury in the past, with Parker rupturing his quad less than two years ago. The Pacers and Oladipo will likely study Parker’s rehab and recovery process closely, Wojnarowski notes.

In Oladipo’s absence, the Pacers figure to lean more heavily on veteran guards Darren Collison, Cory Joseph, and Tyreke Evans. 2018 first-rounder Aaron Holiday also may reclaim a regular rotation role, as he did during Oladipo’s previous stint on the inactive list.

The Pacers are ineligible to apply for a disabled player exception to replace Oladipo for the rest of the season, since the deadline to request a DPE was January 15. The club will have an open roster spot once Stephan Hicks‘ 10-day contract expires if it wants to add any more veteran backcourt depth.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Central Notes: Oladipo, Sumner, Thompson, Bledsoe

Pacers star Victor Oladipo posted a message on social media thanking his fans, teammates and players around the league for supporting him after suffering a season-ending injury last week. Oladipo, 26, ruptured the quad tendon in his right knee and is scheduled for season-ending surgery.

“The amount of support, love and prayers that I have received over the past few days have been breathtaking and has truly inspired me to come back even better than before,” he wrote on Instagram. “Thank you to everyone including all my teammates, pacer fans and staff. Thank you to all the NBA fans around the world and all my brothers around the league who texted, called, tweeted and posted me I am truly thankful. It’s going to be tough but tough times don’t last, tough people do.”

Oladipo was in the midst of another solid season with Indiana before getting injured, holding per-game averages of 18.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists. His injury was a crushing blow to a Pacers team focused on making a deep postseason run in the spring.

“I will be back better than ever and if you question that well, thank you,” Oladipo wrote. “Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world. I am #UnBreakable.”

The Pacers currently hold the third best record in the East at 32-16, with the team still set on competing for the postseason behind the likes of Myles Turner, Tyreke Evans, Thaddeus Young and others.

There’s more from the Central Division today:

  • Pacers guard Edmond Sumner could receive more minutes going forward with the loss of Oladipo, J. Michael writes for the Indy Star. “There’ll be some nights that we may look to go to him off the bench,” said coach Nate McMillan. “There’s some nights where we can look at going with Ed off the bench instead of Aaron because it does give us more length.” Indiana traded for Sumner, 23, on draft night in 2017.
  • Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson will miss approximately two weeks of action with left foot soreness, the team announced. The soreness is believed to be from a foot sprain suffered on December 10, an injury that forced him to miss 10 straight games.
  • Eric Bledsoe is finally where he wants to be in his career with Milwaukee, Malika Andrews of ESPN writes. The Bucks traded for Bledsoe in November of 2017, giving him the chance to start and help lead a team in the Eastern Conference. “It’s slow,” Bledsoe said of Milwaukee. “There ain’t much to do. It feels just like home. I like it because I don’t want life to pass me by. In big cities, things go by too fast.”