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#pounditTuesday, January 26, 2021

Articles tagged: Indiana Pacers

Report: Pacers working on bringing back Lance Stephenson

The Indiana Pacers are reportedly bringing back a familiar face.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical, Lance Stephenson and the Pacers are working on a deal that will see him return to the Pacers after nearly three seasons elsewhere.

Stephenson played for the Pacers from 2010 to 2014 and had his best years there, averaging 13.8 points per game and 7.2 rebounds in his final year there. He turned down $44 million and proceeded to crash and burn at each subsequent stop, ending up as a midseason tryout. He will now hope he can get his career back on track in the place where it started.

Paul George rips Pacers for lack of ‘pride’

The Indiana Pacers have reached a point in the season where they can’t afford to lose to lesser competition, so coming up short against the 29-44 Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night was not ideal. For Paul George, it was downright infuriating.

Despite leading by as many as nine points midway through the fourth quarter, the Pacers collapsed and ended up losing to Minnesota, 115-114. George did not hold back after the game.

“Pissed,” George said of how the loss made him feel, according to Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star. “I know I was pissed. It’s the only to really sum it up.”

In just one night, the Pacers fell from fifth in the Eastern Conference to seventh. With one more loss, they would fall below .500 for the first time since Jan. 1. The No. 8-seed Miami Heat currently hold the tie-breaker over the Pacers for playoff position, so a berth in the postseason is hardly a guarantee with just eight games remaining.

“We should have a professional approach, man, and defend our home court, especially to a team that’s not even in the playoffs,” George added. “That’s what it comes down to. As a team, we’ve got to have a grit and we’ve got to own up, man up.

“There’s no urgency, no sense of urgency, no winning pride. This locker room is just not pissed off enough.”

Playing on the road has been a major issue for the Pacers this season. They’re just 11-25 in games away from Bankers Life Field House, so you can understand why a home loss to the T-Wolves this late in the season is such a problem. George alluded to that.

“It’s tough losing a game here that we need knowing that we don’t play well on the road,” he said. “When we lose focus here, I’m not sure where our head is going to be as a team tomorrow. I’ll make sure to gather these guys around and let them understand, man, that we’ve got to win. That’s the only thing that’s important. The only thing that should be motivational is winning.”

George led the team with 37 points, but he can’t win games by himself. If Indiana ends up missing the playoffs because of a late-season meltdown, there’s no guarantee George will want to remain with the team this summer. We have already heard rumblings that he is determined to play for a certain team, and PG13 could try to force his way there sooner rather than later if he gets frustrated enough.

Report: Pacers halt trade talks, will keep Paul George

Paul George will not be on the move after all.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical, the Pacers have turned down all trade offers for George and will keep him going forward for at least the remainder of the season.

George had been a surprisingly prominent name on the market throughout the day on Thursday, with the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, and Los Angeles Lakers linked to certain degrees. A deal always seemed like a long-shot, though. George is a free agent after next season, and unless the Pacers were getting a huge haul for him, it makes more sense for them to try to build around him and hope they can convince him to a sign a long-term deal in the offseason.

Report: Pacers, Celtics discussing Paul George trade

The Indiana Pacers have been gauging the trade market for Paul George, and it seems like the team with the most interest is the Boston Celtics.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Celtics have been reluctant to include the first-round pick they have from the Brooklyn Nets in trade talks, but Boston GM Danny Ainge could be warming up to the idea.

Any trade the Celtics make for a superstar would almost certainly have to include Brooklyn’s pick. The Nets currently have the worst record in the NBA, which means their pick — which Boston has — would have the best chance of becoming the top overall selection in the draft if the season ended today.

The risk in trading for George is that he supposedly wants to either try to win in Indiana or return home to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers when he hits the free agent market in two years. Despite what this executive may think, there is a lot standing in the way between George and Boston.

Report: Pacers gauging trade market for Paul George

The Indiana Pacers may be open to trading Paul George, after all.

Adrian Wojnarowski of the The Vertical reports that the Pacers have been “gauging the trade market” for George ahead of Thursday’s deadline. However, that does not necessarily mean Indiana is sold on unloading its biggest star. Wojnarowski also notes that the team has looked into the possibility of adding pieces that would help convince George to sign an extension.

The Pacers are working the trade deadline on parallel fronts: Pursuing deals that will bring talent into Indiana to sell George on signing a long-term extension – and soliciting deal offers on George that would signal a rebuild around center Myles Turner, league sources told The Vertical.

Ultimately, the Pacers will have to evaluate the two paths and make a decision before Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET deadline. There’s no urgency to make a deal for George, unless the Pacers fear the Boston Celtics could ultimately provide Indiana the best possible package of assets in a deal – and think that option could disappear if Boston makes a deal with Chicago for Jimmy Butler.

George is under contract through next season, and the last thing the Pacers want is for him to walk away and leave them with nothing to show for it. One NBA executive reportedly believes George will end up with another Eastern Conference contender this week, though a trade of that magnitude is always more likely to fall through than be completed.

Simply put, the Pacers are keeping their options open. That’s always a wise thing to do when the market is sizzling.

Report: Pacers willing to trade first-round pick to get help for Paul George

The Indiana Pacers are reportedly willing to pay a significant price to get Paul George some help in the hopes of being an Eastern Conference contender for years to come.

According to Chris Haynes of ESPN, the Pacers are dangling their first-round draft pick in an attempt to acquire an established wing or frontline player.

The team has lost six in a row, and sit just two games ahead of the final playoff spot. With the knowledge that George can opt out of his contract after next season, the Pacers want to make aggressive improvements in the hopes of convincing him to sign an extension this summer.

George has spoken about winning a title in Indiana, and the Pacers want to give him incentive to stay and believe he can accomplish it.

“I wanted to be the first and want to be the first to be able to bring a championship to Indiana,” George told ESPN Radio on Friday. “So that’s still on my mind … and something I definitely want to achieve in Indiana.”

George has admitted that a large part of this season has been rather trying for him. Losing a disgruntled George to free agency would be crippling for a franchise that has invested so much in building around him, and they’re going to do everything they can to keep him happy.

Paul George thinks referees are against Pacers

Paul George crying

The Indiana Pacers vented after Monday’s loss to the Chicago Bulls about the team’s lack of respect from the referees.

The Pacers lost 90-85 to the Bulls despite shooting better from the field by nearly four percent. However, there was a huge free throw disparity between the clubs, as the Bulls attempted 28 free throws and the Pacers just 10.

Both Pacers star Paul George and head coach Nate McMillan made note of that in their postgame comments

George had an off night going 6-for-14 with 14 points, but he only attempted one free throw. That’s much less than the 4.5 free throws he averages per game.

George, who was drafted by the Pacers in 2010 and is in his seventh season with the team, believes there is a bias from the officials against Indiana.

George may feel like he and the Pacers don’t get enough calls, but they’re actually in a three-way tie with the Rockets and Jazz for 17th in the league in free throws averaged per game. That’s very close to the mean, which somewhat defeats George’s argument. But the man does have a case about Monday night, where the Bulls got nearly three times as many attempts from the charity stripe.

George Hill: Pacers’ handling of Frank Vogel ‘unfair’

Frank Vogel

Frank Vogel made the playoffs in five of his six seasons as head coach of the Indiana Pacers, and many believed the team made a mistake by firing him. George Hill, who played for Vogel for five seasons, is among those people.

On Monday, Vogel will return to Indiana for the first time since he was let go when his Orlando Magic take on the Pacers. Hill, now with the Utah Jazz, expects his former coach to have mixed emotions.

“For him at the moment, his heart is probably burning,” Hill said, per Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. “Just the way that the organization treated him towards his exit was very unfair. I think the guy did a phenomenal job. I think he deserved a little bit more respect than what he got. But that’s how they handled it. Vogel took it like a man and moved on. I’m just happy that he had another opportunity to come in and change another program around.”

The Pacers and Magic are both 4-6, so it’s far too early to tell if the right decision was made. Vogel expects the return to be an “emotional” one.

“I’m sure it’ll be emotional,” he said. “[I have] a lot of strong ties there still, a lot of great memories. It’s endless. [I spent] nine years there. My daughters were basically raised there. I became a head coach in the NBA there. Some of my best basketball moments of my life were coaching the Pacers.”

The Pacers obviously believed Vogel could not get them over the hump after the team finished 45-37 last year and lost in the first round of the playoffs. Time will tell if Nate McMillan can do a better job.

Four NBA teams that could surprise this season

karl-anthony-towns-wolves

The birds are singing, the bells are ringing, and the memes are swinging, which can only mean one thing: the NBA season is officially upon us. What’s beautiful about basketball is that there’s a little something for everyone. Perhaps watching the Golden State Warriors firebomb the court from all five positions doesn’t quite tickle your fancy. Maybe you’ve grown tired of seeing LeBron James take a dump on the heads of everybody else in the league. Perhaps you believe that there’s more to life as a fan of the sport than bearing witness to Chris Paul executing the perfect pick-and-roll, the San Antonio Spurs catapulting the ball harmoniously from side to side, the Chicago Bulls attempting to find enough space to convert oxygen into carbon dioxide, or Russell Westbrook making it his personal mission to rip the entire rim clean off the backboard and offer it as a blood sacrifice.

To all you hoops non-comformists, I say touché and present to you these four NBA teams who are almost certain to duck underneath the radar in 2016-17, but are nevertheless well-equipped to climb up your League Pass rankings and surprise a few cynics in the process.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Much has been made of Minnesota’s juicy nucleus of young talent, and for good reason. Last year, they satisfied our collective hunger by giving us delicious treats in bursts. Sometimes, it was pulling a big-time upset out of a hat and becoming the only team in the West to defeat the Warriors at Oracle Arena in the regular season. Other times, it was Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine getting out in the open floor to jelly and jam on some poor fellas. Oh and not to forget, they taught us once and for all that Karl-Anthony Towns is an alien invader from outer space.

Karl-Anthony Towns doesn't play like your average center.

A video posted by Sports Videos (@houseofhighlights) on

A 20-year-old seven-footer, folks.

But nevertheless, the facts don’t lie: Minnesota hasn’t had a winning season since 2004-05 (back when the immortal Latrell Sprewell was their starting small forward), and no matter how many scintillating young pieces they acquire, it always seems like Groundhog Day whenever we see them back in the draft lottery year after year after year. That should begin to change though in 2016-17 now that the baritone-voiced Tom Thibodeau is back from his season-long exile and ready to coach these whippersnappers into form.

In case you missed it, Thibodeau has built something of a name for himself as a defensive architect, and he should transform the Timberwolves into a more disciplined and cohesive battalion on that end. It’ll be particularly worth keeping a cornea on to see how Thibs develops Wiggins, who has the physical attributes but neither the polish nor the consistency to be a top-tier defender.

Towns needs some chiseling done on him as well with his middling 49.6 opposing field goal percentage allowed at the rim last season ranking him a notch below the likes of Channing Frye, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marreese Speights, and Darrell Arthur. But Minnesota’s new free agent signings should have Thibodeau licking his chops. Cole Aldrich represents a quality third big man who converts around the basket and defends well both in space and in tight quarters. Minny should also benefit from the quiet signing of Brandon Rush, who is a championship-experienced wing stopper and has found the bottom of the net on 40.3 percent of his career three-point tries.

In the end, Thibs and the Wolves still have a lot of question marks to address. Are Towns and Gorgui Dieng a viable post pairing in the long haul? Does Ricky Rubio finally get dealt if rookie Kris Dunn plays well enough to usurp his starting position? Can Thibodeau resist the urge to give significant ball-handling duties to LaVine? Is Shabazz Muhammad even still alive? Maybe Minnesota doesn’t have the answers just yet. But it will be exciting as heck to watch them dig, and a return to the postseason could very well be in store if they do end up finding them.

Indiana Pacers

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Report: Jeff Teague traded to Indiana as part of three-team deal

jeff-teague-hawks

Point guard Jeff Teague is off to the Indiana Pacers as part of a three-team deal that also involves George Hill and the No. 12 pick, according to a report.

Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical reported that Teague was going to the Pacers, with Hill going to the Utah Jazz. The Atlanta Hawks are reportedly acquiring Utah’s first round pick, No. 12 overall, as part of the deal.

Teague would be a free agent after 2016-17, so even if they can’t ink him to an extension, Indiana will have a year of him. The Jazz also get an established veteran guard in Hill, and the Hawks get a lottery pick and an opening to put Dennis Schroder into the starting lineup.

It will be interesting to see what this means for the Hawks going forward. They’d clearly been willing to move Teague, and with Al Horford about to become a free agency and already being looked at by several teams, their core may be about to come apart.