Victor Oladipo

New York Notes: Carmelo, LeVert, Beal, Holiday

Is a Carmelo AnthonyKnicks reunion at all possible? Don’t count on it, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Anthony has revived his career with the Trail Blazers and would prefer to re-sign with Portland. However, Anthony has been on team president Leon Rose’s radar since he took the job in early March, Berman continues, and the Knicks have an opening at small forward.

We have more on the two New York City teams:

  • Will the Nets get a third star to join Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving? They may already have something to close to that in Caris LeVert, Brian Lewis of the New York Post opines. LeVert was the team’s best player in Orlando and the alternatives, unless they can pry Bradley Beal from the Wizards, are mostly question marks. Guards such as Jrue Holiday (potential opt-out after next season) and Victor Oladipo (knee issues) may not necessarily be an upgrade over LeVert, Lewis adds.
  • Whether to keep LeVert or trade him in a package for another star is also the topic of choice for HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto. A majority of scouts polled by Scotto believe the Nets should hold onto LeVert, though a deal that would net Beal or perhaps Holiday would change the equation.
  • In case you missed it, the Nets have formally interviewed coach Jacque Vaughn, who hopes to have the interim tag removed.

Pacers Notes: Coaching Search, Oladipo, West

The Pacers intend to be open-minded when it comes to picking their next head coach, president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard told reporters on Monday. As Eric Woodyard of ESPN.com writes, Pritchard said the Pacers would consider a college coach or an established veteran, and will focus on candidates who have the ability to connect with young players.

Pritchard said he has solicited advice from former Pacers forward David West, as well as Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard. Indiana’s head of basketball operations added that an ability to put together a reliable group of assistants will also be something the club takes into account.

“We’ve seen some of the hirings over the last few years, and they’re coming from all over the board,” Pritchard said, per Woodyard. “The way I’ve set up this process is, we want to start with a big pool then get down smaller and smaller. I don’t want to rule that out. If there’s an existing coach who has experience, who knows how to build a program, but maybe has a little mark or has something he needs to improve on.

“I believe this, that the head coach is critically important, but nowadays, that second, third and fourth coach almost are more important. So how they build out their structure and their coaching staff is critical.”

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • Pritchard also said today that he wants to hire a head coach who takes a “modern approach” to the game, and suggested that the team won’t be compromised by financial constraints when making a hire (Twitter links via J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star). He wants this to be a great organization,” Pritchard said of team owner Herb Simon. “If it was just about money, we probably wouldn’t have done what we did (firing Nate McMillan with money left on his contract).”
  • Pritchard said today that he sensed some “relief” from McMillan when the team informed him of the coaching change, according to Woodyard. “The coaching ranks in the NBA are ever changing, and I give Nate a ton of credit for instilling a hard-nosed tough culture here, and again, I really believe that he’ll get another job and get another job quickly if he wants to,” Pritchard said. “And boy, we would do anything we can to help him do that.” McMillan has said he likely won’t pursue a head coaching job for next season.
  • Victor Oladipo is entering a contract year in 2020/21, but Pritchard said he doesn’t feel “any rush to make a quick decision” on the two-time All-Star. It will be up to him,” Pritchard said (Twitter links via J. Michael). “He will have the choice. It’s his first time to have autonomous choice. He can go and do whatever he wants.” There has been speculation that Oladipo could become a trade candidate if the Pacers get the impression he doesn’t want to remain in Indiana beyond 2021.
  • According to J. Michael (Twitter link), the Pacers have tried repeatedly to get David West to work for them. To date, however, West hasn’t been interested, since he’s involved in a number of enterprises and doesn’t want to commit to a single job.

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.

Victor Oladipo Available For Pacers In Game 2

Pacers guard Victor Oladipo has been cleared to play in Game 2 against Miami this afternoon, the club announced today (via Twitter).

Oladipo suffered an injury during the first quarter of Indiana’s Game 1 loss when he was poked in the eye by Heat forward Jae Crowder. Although he briefly stayed in the game, Oladipo soon came out and didn’t return.

Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said after Tuesday’s game that Oladipo’s eye began swelling soon after he took the inadvertent hit from Crowder, and that McMillan never considered putting him back on the court. However, the team also said after the game that tests showed “no immediate concerns,” as Nick Friedell of ESPN details.

With Domantas Sabonis already sidelined due to a foot injury, the Pacers would have faced a significant uphill battle if Oladipo had been forced to miss time as well. They’ll be looking to even up their series with the Heat today.

Injury Notes: Porzingis, Beverley, Oladipo, J. Brown, Westbrook

Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis has been upgraded to probable for tonight’s game against the Clippers, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. He had been listed as questionable with irritation in his right knee, similar to the condition that forced him to miss 10 games in December and January, adds Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link). The ACL tear Porzingis suffered in 2018 was in his left knee.

Dallas may need a huge effort from Porzingis to even up the playoff series. He posted 14 points and six rebounds before being ejected early in the third quarter of Game 1, which may have been the turning point in L.A.’s victory.

There’s more injury news to pass along:

  • Clippers guard Patrick Beverley is listed as questionable for tonight with a left calf strain that forced him to miss the final five seeding games, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link). Beverley was able to play 20 minutes in the series opener, but was limited by foul trouble.
  • The Pacers have “no immediate concerns” about guard Victor Oladipo, who was poked in the eye during Monday’s game, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Oladipo played just 8:34 in the loss, as the injury happened in the first quarter and coach Nate McMillan never considered putting him back in the game. “It wasn’t an option,” McMillan said. “His vision was really blurry, really couldn’t see out of his eye when we spoke to him at halftime, and he was going to get that checked out.” Oladipo, who is listed as day to day, was able to participate in today’s walkthrough (Twitter link from Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel).
  • The Celtics are listing Jaylen Brown as probable for today’s game with a right thigh bruise, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Brown suffered the injury in a collision with Sixers center Joel Embiid in the second half of Game 1 and was able to remain in the game.
  • Rockets guard Russell Westbrook continues to make progress in recovering from a strained quardriceps muscle, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, but coach Mike D’Antoni said he’s still not cleared to take the court and there’s no timetable for him to return. “I don’t know how long it’s going to take,” D’Antoni said. “It’s going to take a little bit. He’s working hard and he’s feeling better every day. The images are looking better. But I think it’s too early to say how many days he’s out. I don’t think anybody knows.”

Oladipo Not Playing On Monday; Brogdon Returns

1:32pm: Oladipo has officially been ruled out for Monday’s game, while Brogdon will be active, tweets Agness.


10:45am: Pacers guard Victor Oladipo has been listed as doubtful to play in Monday’s game against the Wizards, as Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports tweets. Oladipo continues to rehab the quad tendon injury that he returned from earlier this year.

The fact that Oladipo isn’t expected to suit up against Washington shouldn’t be a cause for concern for Pacers fans. Indiana is also scheduled to play on Tuesday vs. Orlando, and even after the All-Star guard changed his mind about sitting out the restart, there was an expectation that he wouldn’t play in both halves of the team’s lone back-to-back set. Sitting on Monday should mean that Oladipo is good to go on Tuesday.

Oladipo, who announced a month ago today that he would opting out of the restart this summer, reconsidered that position after accompanying the Pacers to Orlando and responding well in practices. He logged 32 minutes in the club’s win over Philadelphia on Saturday, putting up 15 points and seven rebounds on 6-of-14 shooting.

Meanwhile, Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon, who missed that game against the Sixers due to a neck injury, is listed as questionable for Monday’s contest vs. Washington, Agness notes. If Brogdon isn’t able to return today, he seems likely to do so soon.

Central Notes: Warren, Oladipo, Felicio, Drive

With most of the NBA’s top scorers gathered in Orlando, it’s somewhat surprising that T.J. Warren has the highest single-game total so far. After the Pacers forward exploded for a career-best 53 points in Saturday’s win over the Sixers, teammates told Eric Woodyard of ESPN they have always recognized what a dangerous shooter he can be.

T.J. Warren been scoring his whole life. Since his AAU days to N.C. State,”  Victor Oladipo said. “He’s been a scorer since as long as I’ve known him. I’ve known him for a long time. … He was born to get buckets, so it’s no surprise to any of us that he was able to do what he did tonight. It’s great to have him on our team. It was amazing to watch, and we’re all happy for him. That was incredible. Things like that don’t happen often.”

With Oladipo sidelined for most of the season, Warren has emerged as the leading scorer on a team that needed a boost on offense. Indiana picked him up cheaply in a three-team trade last offseason, sending cash to the Suns and second-round pick KZ Okpala to the Heat in exchange for Warren and three future second-round picks.

“It doesn’t matter the environment, you’ve just got to come with it every game,” Warren said. “Every game I feel anxious and nervous at the same time, but it’s full of excitement. Tonight was one of those special nights.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Despite being a game-time decision, Oladipo played nearly 32 minutes Saturday and scored 15 points. However, the Pacers guard explained to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files that his status hasn’t changed. “It’s a day-to-day thing,” Oladipo said. “I wish I could tell y’all I’m going to play all eight games, but again, I can’t say that. I have to take it one day at a time. I’m sorry, but at the end of the day, I don’t want to say one thing and do another thing because you know how you guys acted the first time I did that.”
  • Bulls center Cristiano Felicio may be fighting for his future in the NBA next season, writes Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. Felicio, who appeared in just 22 games this year, will be entering the final season of a four-year, $32MM contract.
  • Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press examines the status of the G League’s Grand Rapids Drive now that the Pistons have an agreement to buy the Northern Arizona franchise from the Suns.

Victor Oladipo Will Start Pacers’ Opener

Victor Oladipo will be in the starting lineup as the Pacers begin their reseeding schedule tonight, the team announced on Twitter. Oladipo, who wasn’t sure if he was going to play at all in Orlando because of concerns about his quad tendon, had been listed as a game-time decision.

“He is in the lineup, he’ll be starting tonight,” coach Nate McMillan said. “So yes, he’s playing and ready to go.”

Oladipo has appeared in just 13 games this season after recovering from surgery that kept him sidelined until late January. He averaged 13.8 points in 25.9 minutes per night, which are both career lows. He also shot a career-worst .391 from the field and .304 from 3-point range.

Oladipo reportedly decided in early July to skip the NBA’s restart, but he remained on the Pacers’ roster and accompanied the team to Orlando. He had second thoughts once he went through a couple of practices at the Walt Disney World campus.

“This is very, very rare so right now I’m trying to figure things out just like everybody else had to figure what situation they were in,” Oladipo said, per Eric Woodyard of ESPN. “… Essentially this is my knee and my body, my leg and I’ve got to listen to how I respond because everyone responds differently.”

The news isn’t as good for backcourt partner Malcolm Brogdon, who will sit out tonight’s game because of a neck injury, the team announced in a separate tweet. This marks the 18th game Brogdon has missed this season with eight different ailments, notes Nat Newell of The Indianapolis Star.

Central Notes: Oladipo, Bitadze, Kornet, Sabonis

Pacers head coach Nate McMillan states that star shooting guard Victor Oladipo, whose status for the NBA’s season restart has remained uncertain, will be a game-day decision for Indiana’s first seeding game in Orlando on Saturday, according to Eric Woodyard of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

“He went through practice today, he’ll go through practice tomorrow and like any other one of our players, we’ll see who’s available for Saturday,” McMillan said. Oladipo did play in all three of the Pacers’ scrimmages in Orlando.

Here are more notes from around the Central Division:

  • McMillan also said this week that Pacers rookie center Goga Bitadze, the No. 18 pick in the 2019 draft, remains “a couple of weeks away” from being able to suit up for Indiana, according to J. Michael of the Indy Star (Twitter link). McMillan indicated last week that Bitadze is struggling with a soft-tissue injury.
  • Bulls bench center Luke Kornet had a disappointing first season in Chicago, as Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago details. Kornet, who inked a two-year, $4.5 MM contract with the club last summer, was roundly outplayed by second-round rookie Daniel Gafford, and averaged just 6.0 PPG, 2.3 RPG, and 0.7 BPG.
  • With the team’s lone 2019/20 All-Star Domantas Sabonis away from the NBA’s restart campus dealing with plantar fasciitis, the Pacers are now looking to take a small-ball approach to their seeding games and subsequent playoff run, according to Mark Montieth of Pacers.com.

McMillan Expects Oladipo To Play In Pacers’ Scrimmages

The Pacers will participate in their first inter-squad scrimmage this Thursday, and head coach Nate McMillan told reporters today that he expects star guard Victor Oladipo to play in that game — and in the rest of Indiana’s scrimmages.

“I do,” McMillan said. “He’s going through the practices and he’s looking good. Our first scrimmage is Thursday and we’ll see how our guys feel and get them minutes accordingly.”

Oladipo has wavered in recent weeks on whether or not he’ll participate in the NBA’s restart this summer. After initially ruling himself out for the summer in early July, Oladipo changed course, telling reporters last week that there’s a “strong possibility” he’ll play if his body continues to respond well to workouts.

McMillan’s comments today don’t mean that anything is set in stone regarding Oladipo’s availability for the team’s upcoming scrimmages, seeding games, or playoff contests. However, for now, it still seems as if we’re trending in the direction of seeing the two-time All-Star play this summer.

In other Pacers news, McMillan said today that Domantas Sabonis, Goga Bitadze, and JaKarr Sampson are dealing with what he referred to as soft-tissue injuries, tweets Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports. Sabonis has had a plantar fasciitis flare-up and is unlikely to play in Thursday’s scrimmage, tweets J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star.