Reports: Myles Turner and Indiana Pacers agree to extension

In a bit of surprise news, Myles Turner and the Indiana Pacers agreed to a contract extension ahead of today’s 6 p.m. deadline with a 4-year, $72 million deal that could go as high as $80 million with bonuses according to ESPN and The Athletic.

This avoids the Pacers needing to deal with restricted free agency next summer and avoids someone coming in with a mammoth offer to try and pry the big man away from Indiana. And for Turner, it puts to rest any worries about getting his next contract.

It ends up being a fairly similar deal to Clint Capela’s 5-year, $90 million contract that he signed this summer. No options have been reported.

This will be a big year for him now to prove he’s worth the new contract. Will he make a leap?

While $18 million per season may sound like a lot, the salary cap is much higher than it was just a few seasons ago when Roy Hibbert was making $15 million per season. And with many teams expected to have a lot of cap space next year, it’s very possible another team may have offered a huge deal to Turner as a RFA.

Even with adding Turner to the guaranteed salaries for next season, the Pacers still will have well over $30 million in cap space next summer.

And while the Pacers also have another center in Domas Sabonis that will be looking for his own rookie extension potentially at this time next year, this doesn’t mean the Pacers won’t be looking to re-sign Sabonis as well.

It’s an important bet for the Pacers on Turner as his development could help put Indiana at another level in the conference than another first-round exit.

If Turner can improve as his contract progresses, his deal could look like a bargain much like Victor Oladipo’s $21 million per year is seen as a bargain now after being seen as a salary dump initially by some media when he was acquired by the Pacers.

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Victor Oladipo appears on HBO’s The Shop

Victor Oladipo showed up on the second episode of The Shop on HBO, LeBron James’s new show where athletes and celebrities have an open conversation in a barbershop.

The Indiana Pacers star showed off his singing voice to start the show off.

He also talked about his experience over his first four seasons in the league, the struggles in his only season in Oklahoma City and being traded twice in a year.

Let’s hope Oladipo also used this opportunity to discuss Space Jam 2 opportunities with James and Maverick Carter, who both founded SpringHill Entertainment which is producing the sequel.

Other athletes that appeared on the show include Mo Bamba, Ben Simmons and Elena Della Donne.

You can catch the whole episode on HBO which features a large Drake segment where he discusses the details of the Kanye West/Pusha T events over the summer.

Ben Moore remains on roster as Pacers waive Elijah Stewart and Omari Johnson

The Indiana Pacers announced today that they’ve waived Elijah Stewart and Omari Johnson. This trims down the roster to the required 15 players before Wednesday’s season opener.

Ben Moore is (most likely) the 15th player. It’s possible that this means he made the team but recent history suggests that he could still be waived before the regular season opener.

Last season, the Pacers decided that instead of keeping Jarrod Uthoff, who was in a similar position to Moore at this time last year, as the 15th man, they would keep that roster spot open to start the regular season to have flexibility in case they wanted to add someone down the line.

Moore’s biggest hurdle to permanently making the roster is Edmond Sumner, who doesn’t count towards the 15 currently because of his 2-way contract. Sumner, however, would only get 45 days with the Pacers once the G-League season starts if he remains on a 2-way deal. With his play this preseason, it appears likely that Indiana will want him around all year whether as a possible injury replacement or as a part of the rotation.

This could be a repeat of last season as well as Alex Poythress was on a 2-way contract at the beginning of the year but rarely spent time in Fort Wayne, using up all his 45 days quickly before getting his 2-way converted to an NBA contract. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Pacers go with the same strategy with Sumner here.

It’s possible Moore could be kept on the NBA roster until that time. Moore could even end up with a 2-way deal once again if he is waived as the Pacers will have an opening once they decide how to proceed with 2-way player CJ Wilcox after his torn Achilles took him out for the season.

Moore has been in the Pacers system for a full season now after going undrafted out of SMU, playing for the Pacers in Summer League and preseason last year, spending most of his time in Fort Wayne with the Mad Ants and eventually seeing some time with the NBA team during the season after getting signed to a 2-way contract.

He stayed in Indianapolis to train at the team facilities after the season ended and once again played for the Pacers Summer League team. He’s a hard-nosed defender who makes all the effort plays. As he increases his outside shooting prowess, his likelihood of sticking on a roster will increase.

Stewart and Johnson are both likely candidates to play for the Mad Ants.

Preseason Takeaways: Pacers look ready for the regular season against Cavaliers

The Indiana Pacers won their third preseason game against the Cleveland Cavaliers 111-102. As said previously, the results don’t really matter but not everything from these preseason games is without value.

This game was an entertaining one from the start. Here are some takeaways that we can look for when the regular season starts in just 9 days.

Victor Oladipo looks poised for a fast start

Victor Oladipo was playing this game in the first half like it was Game 8 in the first round of the playoffs. He scored 10 points within the game’s first five minutes including a pair of pull-up 3-pointers and this ludicrous one-foot step back from the foul line seen early in the video below.

Oladipo only knows one speed and hasn’t been slowing it down for preseason. He’s ready to show how much he’s improved over the offseason once again. It should be a fun start to the season for the Pacers All-Star. He finished with 23 points on only 10 shot attempts in 28 minutes.

Myles Turner’s defensive positioning may be much improved

Myles Turner in his first few seasons has always shown phenomenal rim protection and shot-blocking skills but struggled with constantly being ready in the right position on the defensive end. Instead often using his length to try and make up for his poor positioning. Last night, he was always in the right position to help or protect the rim.

Turner blocked 3 shots including a pair of beautiful rejections of dunk attempts by Sam Dekker, but he altered many more and deterred opposing players away from the rim to prevent a shot attempt often, especially in the third quarter. He also played well anytime he was forced to guard a smaller player on the perimeter.

If Turner makes a leap on that end, this could be a very good Indiana Pacers defense this season.

He struggled to hit his jump shots tonight and finished with 8 points and 9 rebounds but still showed some new skills on the offensive end as well.

The Pacers played Turner alongside Domas Sabonis for only two minutes in this one. Sabonis and Kyle O’Quinn played a lot together in the second quarter but strange that the pairing that has been so heavily discussed has barely seen the court to this point.

Edmond Sumner should spend zero time in Fort Wayne this season

Edmond Sumner looks like the first-round pick talent that some had him rated before his injury at Xavier. He continued his solid preseason play by scoring 11 points in the first half while making all four of his shot attempts.

There looks like there’s not much reason for him to spend time in Fort Wayne this year. He looks like he should not only be on the NBA roster but have a spot in the rotation. Finding minutes for him may be difficult but he’s playing so well he may force Nate McMillan’s hand.

With no Cory Joseph tonight, it was Sumner who came in over rookie Aaron Holiday as the backup point guard and he was the replacement for Tyreke Evans when he missed a game, so it may just take one injury at one of the guard or small forward positions for Sumner to find himself in the rotation.

His passing and control of the offense was especially impressive in this one as he directed traffic and often got good looks for others with nice passes out of the pick and roll. He also made two 3-pointers which if consistent would make him a lock for a real NBA player. Prepare to board the Hype Train before it leaves the station.

Domantas Sabonis is going to get a lot of easy looks

The Domas Sabonis and Tyreke Evans pick and rolls have already been fun to see and Sabonis should reap plenty of benefits from the pairing.

He has also showed continued use of his right-hand in the post. This time making a right-hand hook. His nickname of Reverse Zoolander (can’t turn right) may have to be thrown out this season.

After taking 18 shots in 21 minutes in the last game, he took 15 in 22 minutes in this one with so many of those attempts being set up by Evans out of the pick and roll. You’d like to see Sabonis hit more of his shots (7 for 18, 7 for 15 in last two games) but he’s got an easy double double in every preseason game while playing just a little over 20 minutes each night.

Seeing how this develops into the regular season will be interesting to see.

No additional injuries added to this list

The Pacers have been dealing with a lot of minor injuries among rotation players during the preseason and seemed to avoid any additions to that list and had no major injuries once again. Tony East of 8 points, 9 seconds reported that Thad Young will be back for the regular season opener but held out in the final preseason game so hopefully the Pacers will be at full strength when the season starts.

Preseason Takeaways: Lessons from Pacers overtime loss to Grizzlies

The Indiana Pacers lost to the Memphis Grizzlies in their second preseason game last night, but the result of the exhibition match doesn’t matter. With the Pacers resting all five starters, it was a chance for the young guys to get lots of minutes and show whether or not they belonged, and it was an opportunity for the bench unit to develop some chemistry with each other.

Here’s what we learned from Game 2:

Tyreke Evans and Domas Sabonis pick and rolls will be a delight:

These two have quickly developed a rapport on these type of plays in practice and it showed in their first game action together. Domas Sabonis repeatedly got great looks at the basket thanks to Tyreke Evans’s patience on the play, waiting until the right moment to make a quick pass to the Lithuanian big man.

Sabonis struggled to finish many of these looks but finished with an impressive 17 points (7 of 18) and 14 rebounds in only 21 minutes. Evans struggled to make shots as well but still finished with 12 points (3 for 11), 6 rebounds and 3 assists. It should be a blast watching these two run the pick and roll all season.

Evans had some chemistry miscues early with expecting players to go one way and going another or not being ready for a pass from Sabonis but it was good to get those kind of mistakes out of the way in preseason.

Continue reading Preseason Takeaways: Lessons from Pacers overtime loss to Grizzlies

What mattered in the Indiana Pacers preseason win over the Houston Rockets

Drawing conclusions from a preseason game is dubious, but after the Indiana Pacers preseason win over the Houston Rockets (110-100), we can all agree on one thing: it’s good to have Pacers basketball back.

Though much of the preseason is meaningless there are still a few takeaways that could be meaningful once the games actually matter.

Edmond Sumner looks like an NBA player

Easily the highlight of the game for Indiana was the play of their second-year, two-way contract guard Edmond Sumner.

Sumner filled in for Tyreke Evans, who missed the game with a sprained ankle and played 19 minutes that showed off his athleticism and potential.

Sumner played Evans’s role well and made some impressive drives to the rim throughout the game. His biggest highlight a dunk along the baseline in the first half as he got his first poster of his NBA career.  Continue reading What mattered in the Indiana Pacers preseason win over the Houston Rockets

Pacers Victor Oladipo wants to start a campaign to be in Space Jam 2

Indiana Pacers star guard Victor Oladipo wants to be in the Space Jam sequel.

“Yes, let’s start a campaign,” said Oladipo at media day when asked about his desire to be a Monstar in the LeBron James-led Space Jam sequel. “Let’s make this happen. I would be a crazy Monstar. I think that would be pretty dope.”

Oladipo wants a campaign. Let’s give him a campaign.

It may have helped his case if he said one of the four movies he watched every night before going to sleep was Space Jam instead of Home Alone 1 & 2, Shrek or Mulan, but I digress.

The first step to any online campaign has to be the hashtag, so here are some possibilities:  Continue reading Pacers Victor Oladipo wants to start a campaign to be in Space Jam 2

Report: Trevor Booker nears deal to play in China

Trevor Booker becomes the latest Pacers free agent to join a team in the Chinese Basketball Association according to a report from Alex Kennedy.

The deal with the Brave Dragons isn’t finalized yet but it’s likely that three members of the Indiana Pacers 2017-18 roster will be playing in China next season.

Al Jefferson and Joe Young will also play in China next season.  Continue reading Report: Trevor Booker nears deal to play in China

Indiana Pacers add C.J. Wilcox with 2-way contract

The Indiana Pacers have filled their remaining 2-way contract slot with a wing with some NBA experience in C.J. Wilcox.

Wilcox played for the Pacers in Las Vegas during Summer League and shot the ball very well throughout the team’s five games. He averaged 9.2 points per game and shot 56% from the floor.

He has three seasons of NBA playing experience and 66 games played in the NBA overall between time spent with the Clippers and Magic. He’s played sparingly every season and averages just 2 points, 0.5 rebounds and 0.5 assists per game in his career.  Continue reading Indiana Pacers add C.J. Wilcox with 2-way contract

ESPN: Nate McMillan finalizing contract extension with the Indiana Pacers

Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Indiana Pacers and Nate McMillan are finalizing a contract extension. McMillan has one year remaining on his contract currently.

McMillan coached the Indiana Pacers to a surprising season last year as they exceeded all reasonable expectations and pushed the Cleveland Cavaliers to the brink of elimination in the first round of the playoffs.  Continue reading ESPN: Nate McMillan finalizing contract extension with the Indiana Pacers

Joe Young agrees to play in China next season

Joe Young has decided to go to China next season and will play for the Nanjing Tongxi Basketball Club.

Young said that he was only offered 2-way contracts by NBA teams and decided to take the more lucrative offer with the international option.  Continue reading Joe Young agrees to play in China next season

JJ Redick nearly joined the Indiana Pacers

On his most recent podcast, JJ Redick said that he was very close to joining the Indiana Pacers in free agency.

“I almost signed with Indy,” Redick said. “I was an hour away, maybe two hours away … I had a whole conversation with Nate McMillan.”

Redick said that his current team the Philadelphia 76ers changed their offer before a deadline he had to decide on a deal with Indiana and he decided to stay put.

If Redick would have signed with the Pacers, it likely would have meant that Tyreke Evans would not have joined the team.  Continue reading JJ Redick nearly joined the Indiana Pacers

Pacers rookie Alize Johnson buys his mother new car

It appears Alize Johnson has made his first big purchase after signing his rookie contract with the Indiana Pacers: a new car for his mother.

In an Instagram post, you can see his mother’s reaction.  Continue reading Pacers rookie Alize Johnson buys his mother new car

Roy Hibbert says it’s “time to move on” from NBA

2-time All-Star Roy Hibbert appears to be done playing basketball telling TMZ Sports that “it’s just time to move on.”

Hibbert, 31, didn’t play last season and his name hasn’t popped up in rumor mills all offseason. He last played in the NBA during the 2016-17 season for the Denver Nuggets.

“I’m good on that,” he said when asked if he would want to play with LeBron James in Los Angeles, saying that he wasn’t training at the moment and felt like it was time to move on from basketball.  Continue reading Roy Hibbert says it’s “time to move on” from NBA

Alize Johnson signs deal with Indiana Pacers

Indiana Pacers second-round pick Alize Johnson shared a picture on Instagram of him signing his first contract.

Johnson, the 50th overall pick, looked good in Las Vegas Summer League, showing his relentless nature on the glass, ability to guard multiple positions and talent in transition. He averaged 12.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in Vegas.  Continue reading Alize Johnson signs deal with Indiana Pacers

Rodney Stuckey attempts an NBA comeback

Rodney Stuckey is trying to get back into the NBA.

Stuckey is hosting a private workout for teams in Las Vegas according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes.

Stuckey was out of the NBA all last season and hasn’t been picked up since the Indiana Pacers waived him after an injury, which cleared the way for Lance Stephenson to make his return at the time.  Continue reading Rodney Stuckey attempts an NBA comeback

Summer League Grades: Pacers have a few solid performances despite losing big lead

The Indiana Pacers fell in the first-round of the Las Vegas Summer League to the Atlanta Hawks. After building up a 27-point lead early in the third quarter, the Hawks slowly chipped away at the Pacers lead until suddenly it was gone. Trae Young finished them off with some ridiculous passes to keep holding the Atlanta lead down the stretch.

The Pacers will have a single remaining consolation game on Friday against the Brooklyn Nets at 4 p.m.

This was easily the most entertaining game for the Summer Pacers, even with the disappointing ending, with many players having their best games in Las Vegas.

Continue reading Summer League Grades: Pacers have a few solid performances despite losing big lead

Pacers Summer League Grades: Holiday battles Sexton

The Indiana Pacers were defeated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in their third game in Las Vegas and fell to 1-2 in group play in the Summer League.

Today’s matchup was all about a pair of first-round draft picks with Collin Sexton, the 8th overall pick, and Aaron Holiday, the 23rd pick, going after each other on numerous occasions.

The statistics mostly favor Sexton but Holiday had his moments as well. We’ll go into further detail below:

Aaron Holiday: C+

For the second consecutive game, Holiday really struggled from the field. He hit only 4 of his 14 attempts and is now shooting only 36% over the three games.

He looked motivated to perform well against a player drafted higher than him in the first round in Sexton and held his own, going back and forth with him on occasion.

Sexton blew by Holiday multiple times after the first quarter but Holiday did offer some resistance to him early on, blocking a shot, deflecting a pass and forcing a couple missed attempts. He seemed to be more attentive off the ball compared to the previous game.

Holiday had 8 assists but he also tallied 8 turnovers. Multiple times he fell to the ground and lost control of the ball and a few more were poor passes that were overthrown.

He still showed some tantalizing flashes of real NBA potential but he’s got plenty to work on. During this rookie year, he’ll need to pay real close attention to Darren Collison and how he takes care of the ball.

Alize Johnson: B+

Johnson continues to impress with his high motor and looks like a player deserving of a roster spot. He ended the game with 16 points (6 of 11 from the field) and 7 rebounds. He hit his first 3-pointer of Summer League play from the corner, a shot that could be crucial to his long-term development.

Johnson made some impressive plays once again on both ends of the court. He continues to show the ability to switch onto guards and stay in front of them on defense. Today, he forced a turnover from Sexton and then finished the ensuing fastbreak with an and-1 bucket.

On one offensive possession, he showed off a well-polished move that led to an easy basket inside.

He also showed that he still has a long ways to go. A defender stopped him in the backcourt on one of his grab-and-go rebounds and forced a turnover by sitting on his right hand. Johnson will have to develop his left-hand to have success at the next level as NBA scouting reports will make it well known quickly about his inability to use the off hand.

“He’s not there yet,” said Kevin Pritchard who praised his ability to always be in on the rebound during the broadcast, “but I really like his determination to get the ball.”

He also took a few ill-advised shots in the halfcourt offense including a fadeaway and floater that both badly missed. Overall though, it was another positive performance for the second-round pick.

T.J. Leaf: B

Leaf scored 20 points but needed 21 shots to get to that mark against the Cavaliers. He continues to struggle from the 3-point line, coming up short on numerous attempts and only making one attempt in garbage time.

He made a few of his usual nice drives and hit a few shots in the post, showing more patience than in the first game.

Leaf also added 2 blocks and 9 rebounds. This was probably his best defensive game though his pick-and-roll coverage is still a work in progress.

Edmond Sumner: B+

Sumner had his best game in Las Vegas and had a few really nice offensive moments. He scored 14 points and made 6 of his 11 shot attempts. He added a pair of assists and steals.

He hit multiple jump shots and looked confident pulling up from 3 at the end of a quarter. He went 2 for 3 from behind the arc overall.

After struggling to finish at the rim in the first game, he made a nice move and finish here:

Other notes:

  • Alex Poythress has a nice quiet game with some solid energy moments and defensive plays. He finished with 7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks and 1 steal.
  • Ben Moore hit all three of his shots from the floor as he made timely cuts and showed some aggression in his limited chances with drives to the basket. He finished with 9 points and 4 rebounds. He could easily end up with another 2-way contract this season.
  • Henry Sims murdered a man.

And destroyed a man’s soul.

Report: Pacers and Nate McMillan to talk contract extension

According to J. Michael of the IndyStar, the Indiana Pacers are looking to give Nate McMillan a contract extension now that their roster construction for next season is essentially finished.

Michael reports that nothing is imminent but that it seems a “foregone conclusion” that it’ll happen. McMillan has one year remaining on his original contract with the Pacers that began after he was hired to replace Frank Vogel.

McMillan has a long history with Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard going back to their days with the Portland Trail Blazers where they held the same positions.

“We’ve been together a long time,” said Pritchard, who got choked up talking about McMillan at the end-of-the-season press conference. “We’ve had our disagreements. He’s evolving as a coach and I am proud to have him as a partner.”

With McMillan at the helm, many veteran Pacers had the best seasons of their careers last year including Victor Oladipo, Bojan Bogdanovic and Darren Collison.

For Oladipo, McMillan will be the first coach that he’s had for two full seasons in his NBA career. He recently told a story about McMillan telling him to “become more of an a******” if he wanted to be great.

McMillan’s record over his first two seasons in Indiana is 90-74 (0.548). He has previously coached with both the Seattle Supersonics and Blazers.

The Indiana Pacers put the depth in Depth Chart

With additions of Tyreke Evans, Doug McDermott, Kyle O’Quinn and Aaron Holiday, the Indiana Pacers roster is almost filled with 13 players under contract currently. And second-round pick Alize Johnson seems likely to become the 14th soon with his strong Summer League play.

They also have two 2-way contracts to fill with one spot filled currently by Edmond Sumner. Johnson could possibly fill that slot instead of an NBA roster spot as well.

The subtractions from the team include Lance Stephenson, Al Jefferson, Joe Young, and recently waived Alex Poythress.

Here’s a look at the projected starters and rotation as it stands today.

Point guard

  1. Darren Collison
  2. Cory Joseph
  3. Aaron Holiday

Shooting guard

  1. Victor Oladipo
  2. Tyreke Evans

Small forward

  1. Bojan Bogdanovic
  2. Doug McDermott

Power forward

  1. Thaddeus Young
  2. T.J. Leaf
  3. Alize Johnson

Center:

  1. Myles Turner
  2. Domantas Sabonis
  3. Kyle O’Quinn
  4. Ike Anigbogu

A lot less roster turnover than the last few years for the Pacers. The entire starting lineup looks like it’ll be back next season to see if they can pick up where they left off in a surprising campaign.

Kevin Pritchard and company added a lot of depth without losing many rotation players. Evans should give the team the secondary playmaker that it desperately needed last season, especially when Oladipo was out.

McDermott should back up Bogdanovic and be able to bring a lot of the same things to the court that he does.

O’Quinn should be a lot more playable than Jefferson was and be a valuable third center. It seems he may see a lot of time at power forward alongside Turner or Sabonis if McMillan goes that route. Leaf was expected to play minutes next season but his defense still is struggling against guys in the Summer League. He might already be penciling O’Quinn in as the second power forward.

McDermott with the Thunder and O’Quinn with the Magic are both former teammates of Oladipo and of each other with the Knicks and should be good additions to the team’s chemistry.

The rookies lay in waiting but may surprise if they get a chance to play this year. Holiday, as the third point guard, is much more likely to find time than Johnson.

One of the more exciting aspects of the roster that is filled with possibilities of different 5-man groupings to finish the game.

Evans and Oladipo will likely share the floor often this year at the end of games, especially if Evans shooting percentages continue to trend upward. Three guard lineups with three of Collison, Joseph, Oladipo and Evans are likely to find utility during the season as well.

Need a defensive point guard at the end of the game? Here comes Joseph. Want to go small and really space the floor? How about a lineup of DC/Vic/Tyreke/Bojan/Turner that’s filled with guys that can shoot the 3?

Domas Sabonis is always capable of finishing games as well. It will be interesting to see whether the team will have more success this year than last when Turner and Sabonis share the court, a key thing to watch for the team’s future.

It’ll be a fun challenge for Nate McMillan at the end of close games to figure out the right combinations every night depending on the matchup and whose playing well.

One spot remains open on the NBA roster (2 if the Pacers don’t guarantee Anigbogu’s contract later this month) but the Pacers can only offer minimum deals to anyone else looking to join the rising Eastern conference team. Ben Moore is one possibility currently with the team’s Summer League squad as well as for the team’s other 2-way contract. Poythress could still be in the mix and brought back as well or the Pacers could look to add a veteran similar to signing of Damien Wilkins last year.

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