Tag Archives: Pacers News

Deciphering the Myles Turner and Indiana Pacers situation

Myles Turner is not interested in an extension with the Indiana Pacers according to Bob Kravitz of The Athletic, who appeared on the podcast Setting the Pace.

“They have every reason to believe that Myles Turner is not going to sign an extension to stay here,” Kravitz said on Setting the Pace. “… It’s not me guessing here. Myles has no interest in staying in Indianapolis.”

Now, Turner has come out on Twitter to call “cap” at least on the second half of that statement (translation: saying that he is not interested in staying with the Pacers is false).

There’s a few possible reasons for the disconnect between what Kravitz reported and Turner’s feelings about his situation. The most likely would seem to be that Kravitz was told that Turner had no interest in signing an extension this summer and took that one step further to say he’s not interested in staying with the team at all. And while Turner may not be wanting an extension in the immediate with his value at a low point after a couple injury-plagued seasons, that doesn’t mean he’s closed the door on his time in Indiana completely. He could be looking to bet on himself getting his value back up while playing with Tyrese Haliburton but still being open to re-signing with the Pacers as an unrestricted free agent next summer.

For Kevin Pritchard and the front office, that’s a risky proposition when he could decide to go elsewhere and leave the team with nothing in return. You can see why a lack of interest in an extension would make the Pacers act with more urgency to trade him now or during next season.

In the less likely explanation, Turner could be calling this a lie in an effort to stay because he knows sticking with the Pacers for one last season gives him the best situation he’s going to have in order to get a big contract somewhere else. Playing with Haliburton could push Turner to new statistical heights and with a rebuilding team he could be in line for a bigger offensive role that he could hope to get with any contending team that would be wanting to trade for him right now.

While I believe Turner to be truthful about still potentially being interested in being a Pacer long term, could anyone blame him if he did just want to play elsewhere at this point in his career? He’s been in so many trade rumors over the last three seasons that this was his response when asked about the latest one last December at the time when the Pacers decided to move in their current rebuilding direction.

Listening to him there, it’s clear that Turner’s basically become numb to the endless rumors. While the Pacers can be commended for keeping players in the loop when they are close to being traded so they don’t first learn about being traded from Twitter, it wouldn’t be surprising if it made him a little numb to the only franchise he’s ever played for as well.

Over the years, he’s learned a new position offensively with a less-involved role to try and make things work on the court with Domantas Sabonis during the Turbonis era that was doomed by injuries on the roster every season even more than the less than ideal fit of the two centers. In the 2020 off-season, the Pacers included him an offer in a sign-and-trade situation that would have brought Gordon Hayward to Indiana. Even after Sabonis was traded for Tyrese Haliburton, there were still expectations that Turner would be dealt at the trade deadline this past year as well, and he may have been if not for his foot injury. Earlier this month with Turner in line to be the solo five for the first time since early in his career, the Pacers went after an upgrade at his position in Deandre Ayton, signing him to a max offer sheet that was promptly matched by the Suns.

It feels almost guaranteed that the team asked Turner about an extension at some point this summer and he told them he would prefer to play out the last year on his current contract given the Kravitz report, Turner’s response, and comments from Pacers General Manager Chad Buchanan at the end of June before the start of free agency.

“We’d love to see [Myles Turner] with us long-term,” said Buchanan per 1070 The Fan. “Whether that plays out or not, that’s kind of in his hands a little bit as well.”

With the timing of Buchanan’s statement, it’s possible that the Pacers pivoted to a big swing with Ayton after they knew Turner wasn’t interested in an extension. Either way, Pritchard and the front office are doing their jobs by trying to do whatever they think will improve the roster for the long term. You can’t fault them for trying to make the team better, just like you can’t fault Turner for wanting to go into free agency for the first time in his career. For the Pacers, this has to feel somewhat similar to the Victor Oladipo situation where he turned down an extension offer with his value relatively low at the time and the Pacers ended up trading him for Caris LeVert. Though we haven’t been hearing for months that Turner really wants to be in any specific place like we did with Oladipo and Miami.

With the Pacers entering a year without a goal of winning and a primary focus of growth and development, it’s easy to see why Myles wouldn’t be eager to sign an extension in that regard as well. At 26, Turner’s entering the prime of his career and has talked in the past of wanting to get beyond the first round of the playoffs where the Pacers were knocked out in each of his first five seasons. Maybe he would prefer to see how far along the team looks this season before committing long term.

If this does end up being the end for Myles and the Pacers, he’ll go down as the only really good draft pick the Pacers made between Paul George in 2010 and Chris Duarte in 2021 (no, Kawhi Leonard doesn’t count) and a player that has been here through the end of Paul George, the rise and fall of Oladipo, four different coaches, and too many injuries to count.

What the Pacers are doing now in their focus on developing their young players is not something that was ever the case for Turner when he was entering the league as he jumped right into a team trying to win as much as possible. (Can you imagine a big with a jump shot like Turner coming into the league today and being told not to shoot 3-pointers in his rookie season?) Say what you will about Turner’s counting statistics being rather stagnant while hovering around 12 points and 7 rebounds, but he’s also been remarkably consistent considering how he’s adapted to various roles in multiple offensive schemes and shared the floor with another center for a large chunk of his playing time.

While his 3-point spacing has mostly remained theoretical, his 2-point percentages have consistently been on the rise as his efficiency and shot selection has improved over the years. The last five seasons his 2-point percentages have improved every year going from 51.9% in 2017-18 to 66.2% last season.

Of course, Turner’s calling card in the NBA has been his defense where he’s blocked over 350 different players in his career and led the league in blocks twice. Often being the only thing keeping the defense above water when he’s been available the last two seasons.

Listen to the full Setting the Pace episode below:

How a bike accident may have changed the course of Pacers history

The beginning of the Indiana Pacers NBA history was a far cry from their ABA dynasty days. Financial struggles contributed to many poor personnel decisions which led to the team losing a lot in those dark days as they barely survived the merger between the two leagues. Ironically, the Pacers first NBA season with any amount of success led to perhaps the worst trade in team history and may have prevented the franchise’s NBA accomplishments dwarfing those three ABA championships.

But that one season of modest success might not have happened in the first place without a bicycle accident.

In the 1980-81 season, Jack McKinney led the Pacers to the NBA playoffs for the first time in his first season as coach of the team after taking over for the retiring Bobby “Slick” Leonard. The previous season McKinney was with the Los Angeles Lakers, who won the title in Magic Johnson’s rookie season. So why would the Lakers get rid of their head coach after winning a championship?

If you watched the first season of HBO’s Winning Time, a dramatized version of the Lakers of that era, you know the answer. Early on in the season with the team at 10-4 on a rare day off, McKinney was riding his son’s bicycle to go play tennis because his family was down to only one car after a crash in Portland. The brakes failed on the bike and the accident that followed was nearly fatal for the coach. It would take McKinney weeks to recover as he was in and out of a coma, and his close friend and assistant coach Paul Westhead stepped into his place.

“The first three or four weeks, I was clearly taking care of the plants while the owner was on vacation,” Westhead told Sports Illustrated in May 1980. The interim coach led the Lakers to a 51-18 record the rest of the regular season as the Lakers took a cautious approach with McKinney’s health with the success of the team. After winning the NBA Finals, Westhead was given the head coaching job outright.

“Shoot, I’d have taken it too,” McKinney said in 2006 according to the LA Times. “But at the time, that hurt.”

So in the off-season with McKinney recovered from his traumatic head injury, he headed to Indianapolis to become the Pacers head coach. He was hired at the behest of a guilt-ravaged Jerry Buss, the Lakers owner, according to Jeff Pearlman, author of Showtime, and he was the league’s Coach of the Year while leading Indiana to the postseason. But McKinney’s initial success was soon cut down when starting center James Edwards was lost in free agency to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In order to keep pushing for the postseason, McKinney traded a first-round pick in the 1984 draft for Tom Owens, a journeyman center on the tail end of his career, to fill the void that Edwards left.

“We have lost the services of James Edwards and I’m looking forward to Tom being our starting center,” McKinney said at the time according to Indy Star. “We want to encourage him to reach back and get a few of the years (he had) when I was coaching him (in Portland) and he was scoring 16 to 18 points a game.”

Owens only played one season for the Pacers averaging 10.5 points per game and the team missed the playoffs with a 35-47 record. In that same off-season, they had drafted a better replacement for Edwards at center in Herb Williams.

Indiana then traded Owens to the Detroit Pistons for a second-round pick in the 1984 draft and won a combined 46 games over the next two seasons.

The Pacers finished with the worst record in the Eastern Conference in the 1983-84 season and McKinney was fired. That draft pick they traded away for a short-term fix ended up being the second overall selection in a loaded draft.

The 1984 NBA Draft is widely considered one of the best ever and ended up having five Hall of Famers. Hakeem Olajuwon went first overall to the Houston Rockets. The Portland Trail Blazers infamously took Sam Bowie and Michael Jordan fell to third with the Chicago Bulls.

We’ll never know if the Pacers would have made the same mistake as the Blazers or if they would have been wise enough to take the guy that ended up being arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, but Indiana had just taken a center the previous draft in Steve Stipanovich and still had Williams. So, it seems like Jordan would have been the pick if they had it. It’s certainly no guarantee that Jordan would have won six championships in Indiana like he did in Chicago. Maybe he wins more. Maybe less or even none. But he probably isn’t the reason the Pacers lose in the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals.

While the Pacers have these what ifs to ponder all because of a bike accident and the butterfly effect that followed, it changed the lives of those in the Lakers organization at the time as well. McKinney, who wasn’t even the Lakers first choice to fill their coaching vacancy, installed the system remembered forever as “Showtime” and Lakers guard Norm Nixon believes he should get more credit for that.

“I have no doubt that he would be,” Nixon told Pearlman when asked if not for the accident would McKinney be universally acknowledged as one of the greatest coaches in the history. “No doubt whatsoever.”

Pat Riley at the time of the accident was working on the Lakers broadcast team and Westhead brought him on as assistant coach. Riley ended up taking the job from Westhead a couple years later and winning four titles of his own with the Lakers.

“[McKinney] was a great coach,” Riley said in 2006 to the LA Times. “We used his system for three or four years after he left. If he hadn’t had the accident, he might have won five or six titles for the Lakers in the ‘80s.”

Riley, of course, was the Knicks head coach during the first three 1990s playoff series featuring the Knicks and Pacers and eventually ended up as the Miami Heat’s team president and put together the big three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh that knocked the Pacers out of the playoffs three straight seasons including twice in the conference finals. It’s not an unfair question to ask whether Riley gets all of those opportunities without McKinney and thus whether that Heat team is able to torment the Pacers like it did.

“He always says, ‘This is the guy who made my career possible,’” McKinney told Pearlman of what Riley says of him. “’This is the guy.’”

Riley wasn’t overly confident about staying in the coaching ranks permanently at the time as he needed a promise from Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn that he would still have a job whenever McKinney came back before he took the assistant gig.

“I wanted to make sure I had a job,” Riley told the LA Times. “… I didn’t even plan on being an assistant coach. Before I knew it, I was coach. And the rest is history.”

For the Pacers, this is just one of many cruel turns of happenstance they’ve suffered by the hands of the basketball gods and an additional layer to an entry in a long list of what ifs.

Rumors: Details on the Pacers and Lakers Russell Westbrook trade negotiations

The Indiana Pacers and the Los Angeles Lakers have discussed a deal that would send both Myles Turner and Buddy Hield to L.A. and Russell Westbrook and draft compensation to Indiana according to multiple media outlets.

Bob Kravitz of The Athletic reports the deal is currently “dead” as the Pacers would like an additional first-round pick to the current draft capital that’s being offered.

The biggest issue with the deal is that the Lakers are limited in what draft picks they have to even offer after sending so many out to get Anthony Davis and the limits on trading firsts in consecutive seasons. Continue reading Rumors: Details on the Pacers and Lakers Russell Westbrook trade negotiations

Pacers are trying to prep the runway for Tyrese Haliburton to takeoff

The Indiana Pacers are rebuilding. While doing so openly and without shame by accumulating draft picks and pursuing young talent, the foundation of it all is Tyrese Haliburton and everything they’ve done this off-season has giving their point guard every opportunity to make a leap in mind.

MFW when a Pacers front office isn’t scared of the word “rebuild”

The first step for the Pacers front office was to move Malcolm Brogdon who didn’t fit a rebuilding timeline and limited Haliburton’s impact when they shared the floor last season. It was only eight games, but in over 200 minutes the Pacers had a net rating of -16.3 with both guards playing together and Haliburton’s usage rate dropped to just 16.1% which was far below his 20.5% rate in his Pacers minutes without Brogdon.

In clutch moments, Brogdon was far too likely to be handling the bulk of playmaking duties instead of the more dynamic threat in the Pacers newcomer. Moving the veteran leaves no doubt about who should be running the offense and Haliburton, who can be deferential to a fault, knows his team will be relying on him more than ever next season.

“The load, or what I’m being asked to do, is more than probably I’ve ever been asked to do in terms of responsibility,” Haliburton, who averaged 17.5 points and 9.6 assists per game with Indiana, told USA Today. “So, yeah, I’m just really excited for it. It’s an opportunity that everybody wants in their life and grew up wanting this opportunity in the NBA.” Continue reading Pacers are trying to prep the runway for Tyrese Haliburton to takeoff

Pacers Summer League Takeaways: What we learned in Las Vegas

The Indiana Pacers finished off their Summer League schedule with a loss to the Washington Wizards and suffered perhaps the worst shooting performance ever seen against the Phoenix Suns. Before the Wizards game, they actually had a shot at playing in the championship if they would have won by at least 15 points but Indiana rested many of their top players including Bennedict Mathurin, Isaiah Jackson, Chris Duarte, and Terry Taylor. Duane Washington Jr. was also inactive after being waived earlier this week so the Pacers could sign Deandre Ayton to an offer sheet. The Summer Pacers finished just 2-3 overall.

With three draft picks and seven players that were on the team’s roster in some capacity last season—plus newcomer Aaron Nesmith—this was a loaded group for the Pacers for Summer League in the first three games. While it’s important not to overreact positively or negatively to anything that happens in Las Vegas, there’s still plenty to learn and takeaway from these exhibition games. Here’s my takeaways from each player:

Bennedict Mathurin

The number six pick in the 2022 NBA Draft didn’t disappoint in his pseudo-debut for the Pacers as he averaged 19.3 points, 4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.3 steals in just 22 minutes per game. He finished his three games with shooting splits of 48.8/38.5/76.5. His numbers efficiency-wise compare favorably to any rookie in his class.

Mathurin averaged the third-most PPG among rookies in Vegas despite a much lower minute total than those above him.

Mathurin impressed in catch-and-shoot situations off the ball as expected but showed also showed off some nice on-ball skills with step-back 3-pointers and a variety of drives to the rim where he often finished or drew a foul (5.7 free throw attempts per game). Continue reading Pacers Summer League Takeaways: What we learned in Las Vegas

Pacers drop historic max offer sheet to Deandre Ayton, Suns immediately match it

The Indiana Pacers and Deandre Ayton saga has reached its dramatic conclusion as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports the two parties have a agreed to a 4-year, $133 million max offer sheet that is the largest in NBA history, and the Suns matched it instantly as soon as it was received.

The Pacers cleared about $4.6 million in cap space to have the room to sign the center by waiving Duane Washington Jr. and using the stretch provision on Malik Fitts, Juwan Morgan, and Nik Stauskas who were all acquired in the Malcolm Brogdon trade. This is actually the second time that Stauskas has been traded to Indiana and waived without playing a single game for the Pacers.

This is a historic move for the Pacers franchise in multiple ways beyond just the fact that this is the largest offer sheet in league history. Continue reading Pacers drop historic max offer sheet to Deandre Ayton, Suns immediately match it

Pacers Summer League Grades: Bennedict Mathurin dominates, Aaron Nesmith debuts

The Indiana Pacers looked like Summer League contenders again in a dominant effort against the Detroit Pistons as they won 101-87 behind rookie Bennedict Mathurin’s best performance in Las Vegas so far.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see Jaden Ivey in this matchup after he tweaked his ankle in Pistons previous game, but the Pacers starters bounced back from the previous game and made this an entertaining one for fans to watch. Let’s dive right into the grades.

Bennedict Mathurin – A+

Mathurin airballed his first 3-pointer of the night and then just destroyed the Pistons defense at every opportunity. Continue reading Pacers Summer League Grades: Bennedict Mathurin dominates, Aaron Nesmith debuts

The Pacers & Deandre Ayton are the will-they-won’t-they plot of the NBA off-season

The Indiana Pacers are interested in restricted free agent center Deandre Ayton and could give him a max offer sheet or complete a sign-and-trade for him with the Phoenix Suns as early as well yesterday. This according to media reports for what feels like the last week but most recently by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

Scott Agness of The Fieldhouse Files confirms the Pacers are interested in Ayton. Marc Stein has reported that much of the league is waiting to see if Indiana will make that widely anticipated offer. Windhorst has been all over the ESPN world rumor mongering for a few days about this one including that the Pacers have met with Ayton. Plenty of smoke just from yesterday in the NBA Rumor Mill.

You may be thinking: So what’s the hold up? Why aren’t the Pacers making this move already that I’ve been hearing rumors about for the entire off-season? Are these two going to end up together or what? Come on, Ross and Rachel! We don’t want to go through 236 episodes of every ESPN talk show waiting for the answer here. Let’s get on with it!

I am right there with you, hypothetical reader, and ready for the constant Ayton anticipation to reach its climatic ending whether that’s in Indiana or elsewhere. There are lots of layers to this slowly-developing situation, but the biggest reason that the Pacers and Ayton are stuck in this will-they-won’t-they loop typically reserved for sitcoms is restricted free agency. Continue reading The Pacers & Deandre Ayton are the will-they-won’t-they plot of the NBA off-season

Pacers Summer League Grades: Starters struggle against Kings

The Indiana Pacers fell to the Sacramento Kings in their second Summer League game 103-96 in a showdown between two top draft picks in Bennedict Mathurin and Keegan Murray.

Chris Duarte sat this one out after he looked too good for these summer exhibitions in game one and the Pacers starting lineup missed him, but some guys that didn’t play in the first game had nice showings today. Without further ado, let’s jump into the grades:

Bennedict Mathurin – C+

Mathurin’s final line of 15 points (6 of 16), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 turnover sums up an okay performance decently in this one. His numbers easily could have looked better if just a couple more things fell his way: 2 of 5 from the free-throw line, missed all three of his catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts, and couldn’t buy a whistle on a few drives to the rim. Continue reading Pacers Summer League Grades: Starters struggle against Kings

Pacers Summer League Grades: Bennedict Mathurin and Chris Duarte lead the way

The Indiana Pacers looked very fun in their first game in Las Vegas Summer League as they beat the Charlotte Hornets 96-84 behind stellar performances from their rookie Bennedict Mathurin and second-year player Chris Duarte.

As always, remember this is Summer League. The results of the games don’t matter but some of the details can tell us a lot about these players, many of which will be on the Pacers roster during the regular season. That being said, the Summer Pacers look like Vegas contenders so let’s add some meaningless grades to these semi-meaningless games.

Bennedict Mathurin: Grade A-

Mathurin looked good in his debut for the blue and gold. He led all players with 23 points (9 of 16 from the field) and added four rebounds and a steal to his tally. Mathurin started off strong hitting a 3-pointer to open the game on a beautifully run Spain pick and roll by the Pacers. Continue reading Pacers Summer League Grades: Bennedict Mathurin and Chris Duarte lead the way

Possible effects of Jalen Smith being a starter for the Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers held a press conference for the re-signing of Jalen Smith yesterday with much pomp and circumstance as team employees clapped and cheered at every opportunity for some added flair and energy to the events.

The biggest news to come from it is that Smith, who averaged 13.4 points and 7.6 rebounds in just under 25 minutes per game with the Pacers, will be the team’s starting power forward next season which came straight from the mouth of the head coach, Rick Carlisle.

Details of the contract were reported by Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Originally reported as a 2-year deal when news broke of his re-signing by multiple outlets, Agness says the deal was tweaked over the last few days and it is now a 3-year contract with a player option on the third season. The first season in the deal will start at $4.67 million, which is what the Pacers were limited to offering due to the Suns declining his team option of the same amount. Continue reading Possible effects of Jalen Smith being a starter for the Indiana Pacers

T.J. Warren and the Pacers’ problem moving forward

Pacers free agent T.J. Warren has agreed to a deal with the Brooklyn Nets according to multiple media reports.

Warren who suffered multiple stress fractures in his foot after his unforgettable breakout in the NBA Bubble played just four games for the Pacers over his last two seasons with the team including none all of last year.

Warren’s absence amplified the biggest weakness of the team’s roster makeup. They simply haven’t had any forwards that can play both small and power forward at a high level the last few seasons. Big wings have been torching this group since Warren went out and never returned. Oshae Brissett was a huge addition for this team late in the lost Bjorkgren season simply because he was the right body size. It was a bonus that he was actually good at basketball and added things on both ends. Continue reading T.J. Warren and the Pacers’ problem moving forward

Danny Granger and the What-If Machine: This Picture is Worth a Thousand Words #7

In case this is your first time here or you forgot because it’s been years since I’ve put one of these out, here’s the concept of This Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: I find an interesting picture from the history of the Indiana Pacers whether from their ABA glory or the more modern era and then take the cliché literally and write at least 1,000 words inspired by the photo.

In the past in this column, I’ve covered the five stages grief of Knicks fans captured in a single moment against Reggie Miller, that game the Pacers played with only six active players the day after the infamous brawl, and a few other things. You can see all the past columns here. Let the word count begin:

Today, we talk about Pacers legend Danny Granger and the iconic picture—taken by Robert Duyos of the Sun Sentinel—of him towering over LeBron James like he’s Muhammad Ali over Sonny Liston.

Continue reading Danny Granger and the What-If Machine: This Picture is Worth a Thousand Words #7

Indiana Pacers re-sign [redacted]

CLASSIFIED DOCUMENT: Bureaucracies move slowly. While there is no longer a reason for information about Jalen Smith to be redacted, we at iPacers.com have not been given the clearance to declassify everything.

Free agent center Jalen Smith has re-signed with the Indiana Pacers on a 2-year contract per Shams Charania of The Athletic.

As has been discussed ad nauseam by everyone covering the Pacers since he was acquired and started shooting like a human flamethrower , Kevin Pritchard was limited in what he could offer Smith, who averaged 13.4 points and 7.6 rebounds while making 11 of his first 14 3-pointers and shooting 37% from deep overall over 22 games with Indiana, in a potential deal to return to the team due to rules involving what happens when a team declines the team option on a player’s rookie-scale deal. The Pacers were being limited by the decision made by the Phoenix Suns to decline his third-year option and could only offer him $4.67 million in the first year of any contract. Continue reading Indiana Pacers re-sign [redacted]

Thoughts on the Pacers trading Malcolm Brogdon to the Celtics

After a quiet initial start to free agency, the Pacers have made their first big move: trading away Malcolm Brogdon for Aaron Nesmith, Daniel Theis, a first-round pick and a collection of players on minimum contracts according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Everyone knew the Pacers had been shopping Brogdon and trying to find a deal for the guard for months as he simply no longer made sense with their future plans to build around the young point prince Tyrese Haliburton. They end up with their third 1st-round pick in 2023 (their own and the Cavaliers’ lottery-protected selections being the others) and a young wing in Nesmith who was a first-round pick in 2020. Continue reading Thoughts on the Pacers trading Malcolm Brogdon to the Celtics

Pacers Summer League Preview

It was a quiet night for the Indiana Pacers on the opening day of the always entertaining NBA free agent frenzy. The biggest news for circle city squad was the announcement of the Summer League roster (well other than that the Pacers have finally shed Monta Ellis from their cap sheet and that Indiana’s free agent big man [redacted] remains unsigned).

Please use up your MLEs and cap space remaining teams that have those available.

As for the Summer League, the Pacers look like they’ll be putting out their best squad since they started coming to Las Vegas instead of Orlando for their exhibition games. The roster is highlighted by both of last season’s first-round picks in Chris Duarte and Isaiah Jackson, all three of this year’s picks in Bennedict Mathurin, Andrew Nembhard, and Kendall Brown, and returning Pacers Terry Taylor and Duane Washington. Not to mention the two players who ended the season on 2-way contracts with the team in mixtape legend Gabe York and Nate Hinton. The head coach will be Butler legend Ronald Nored who seems destined to be the top dog on the sidelines for an NBA franchise at some point. Continue reading Pacers Summer League Preview

His heart and everything else Bennedict Mathurin is bringing to the Indiana Pacers

Bennedict Mathurin didn’t hesitate when asked what the Indiana Pacers would be getting from him.

“My heart, man,” the 6th overall pick said on the ESPN broadcast after being selected. “They’re getting everything from me from the jump to the end.”

When watching Mathurin tape from Arizona this past season, his heart was evident. He plays with passion and celebrates with excitement on big plays whether by a teammate or himself. It feels safe to assume he loves the game.

As the highest Pacers draft pick since the late 1980s, that quality to go along with his work ethic and desire to improve are intangibles that added to his appeal as a top selection.

“I think one of the things that made the Pacers interested is that they feel like there’s an inferno burning inside this kid,” said Tommy Lloyd, Arizona’s head basketball coach during Mathurin’s sophomore season. “… He’s a super diligent guy. He really immersed himself in the process of becoming a great basketball player … he’s a self-starter and extremely motivated. I think his best days are ahead of him.” Continue reading His heart and everything else Bennedict Mathurin is bringing to the Indiana Pacers

The Many Problems of the Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers are 9-16. The 7th-worst record in the NBA. They are on their third head coach in three seasons and out of excuses.

“We can’t be an organization or a team that accepts mediocrity,” Myles Turner said after the latest embarrassing loss for the Pacers who fell to the Miami Heat without both Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. “That’s what we’ve been playing like. We got to up the ante, somehow someway … we have to find a way to fucking win.”

So what’s the problem with these Pacers? Continue reading The Many Problems of the Indiana Pacers

After Sabonis extension, these Pacers have time to grow together

Do you like the look of the current Pacers roster? Because the majority of this team could be in Indiana for awhile after Kevin Pritchard and the front office agreed to an extension with Domantas Sabonis less than two hours before today’s deadline.

It was a bit of a surprise development after rumors that the Pacers were at least listening to offers for their young center this past week and Sabonis seemed unhappy and a little frustrated with the situation after practice on Saturday.

Bobby Marks of ESPN had reported that Myles Turner extension amount of $72 million was seen as a “non-starter” by Sabonis’s agent, so it seemed he was looking for much more than the terms that ended up being agreed upon.

Sabonis’s contract extension is for four years and $74.9 million according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, just a shade larger than Turner’s deal signed last year at about this same time. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that with bonuses the deal can reach up to $85 million. This amount won’t start until next season as he plays out the last season of his rookie contract in 2019-20.

With Sabonis under contract for the next five seasons, he joins many Pacers that are in long-term deals with the team: Continue reading After Sabonis extension, these Pacers have time to grow together

Rumors: Thoughts on the Domantas Sabonis trade talk

The Indiana Pacers have until Monday to sign Domantas Sabonis to an extension, but the two parties appear unlikely to agree to terms before that deadline according to multiple media reports.

The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported that they are far apart to the point that the Pacers “have engaged in active trade talks with several teams this week.” While Amick notes that there is no lack of interest in the young center, his sources say that the Pacers asking price remains too high.

The IndyStar’s J. Michael confirmed that an extension is not imminent at the moment and said he “wouldn’t be surprised by anything as the deadline nears.”

Based on all the reporting, here is some speculation on what’s going on. I repeat this is just speculation and is only my best guess for the entire situation:

When the Pacers realized that they were probably not going to reach an agreement with Sabonis, they started to check what the trade market would be for him.

This doesn’t mean that they are necessarily looking to trade him right now (unless they got a huge offer they couldn’t pass up which would line up with their rumored “high” asking price) but perhaps it is more of a situation where the Pacers are just seeing what they could possibly get in a deal and what teams would be interested down the line if Kevin Pritchard and company decided to go that direction in the future. In other words, it’s just due diligence. Continue reading Rumors: Thoughts on the Domantas Sabonis trade talk