Pacers Rumors

Latest On Jahlil Okafor

Jahlil Okafor is an unrestricted free agent this summer, but hasn’t exactly been a hot commodity among teams looking for frontcourt help — this is our first story about the former third overall pick since free agency began 17 days ago.

Still, Okafor appears to be generating at least a little interest. Sources tell Sean Deveney of The Sporting News that Okafor worked out for four teams in Las Vegas last Wednesday, and remains “hopeful” about signing an NBA contract before camps open in September.

It’s not clear which teams were in attendance at Okafor’s workout last week, but Deveney rules out a few clubs. According to the Sporting News scribe, Okafor had drawn some interest from the Pacers and Bulls earlier in the year, but neither team was at last week’s workout. The former Duke standout also won’t be returning to the Nets next season, Deveney adds.

Okafor, originally a Sixer, averaged 17.5 PPG and 7.0 RPG during his rookie season in 2015/16, but has seen his playing time and production decline since then. After being traded to Brooklyn this past season, he posted 6.4 PPG and 2.9 RPG in 26 contests (12.6 MPG) with the Nets.

As TNT’s David Aldridge details, Okafor has been working this summer with Miami-based trainer Idan Ravin, who has been “reconstructing” Okafor’s jump shot and looking to expand the 22-year-old’s offensive game. We’ll see if that work helps earn him another NBA shot this fall.

Pacers To Sign Elijah Stewart

Undrafted rookie Elijah Stewart has agreed to sign with the Pacers, sources tell Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). According to Charania, Stewart will get a one-year, Exhibit 10 deal with Indiana.

Exhibit 10 contracts are non-guaranteed, one-year deals that essentially serve as training camp contracts with modest optional bonuses.

While Exhibit 10 deals can be converted into two-way contracts, the most common path for a player on an Exhibit 10 deal is to be waived before the regular season begins, then to join his club’s G League affiliate. In other words, Stewart may end up becoming a member of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants this fall.

Stewart, a 6’5″ shooting guard out of USC, averaged 11.7 PPG on .453/.391/.844 shooting in his senior year. In each of his four seasons with the Trojans, Stewart attempted more shots from beyond the three-point arc than from inside it.

Pacers Sign Second-Rounder Alize Johnson

3:32pm: Johnson will have a fully guaranteed salary in 2018/19, tweets Michael Scotto of The Athletic.

2:54pm: The Pacers have now locked up both of their 2018 draft picks, announcing today in a press release that they’ve signed second-round selection Alize Johnson. First-rounder Aaron Holiday inked his rookie deal at the start of the month.

Johnson, the 50th overall pick in the draft, finished his college career at Missouri State after spending two years at Frank Phillips College. The young forward averaged a double-double in both of his years at Missouri State, posting 14.9 PPG and 11.1 RPG in 66 overall games with the program.

Johnson also looked solid for the Pacers in Summer League action, averaging 12.4 PPG and 8.6 RPG in 23.0 minutes per contest.

While terms of Johnson’s contract aren’t known, a two-year, minimum-salary deal seems likely. The Pacers used up all their cap space, then signed using Kyle O’Quinn with their room exception, so they don’t have the means to offer a more lucrative or longer-term contract.

Indiana now has 14 players on NBA contracts for 2018/19.

Pacers Attend Rodney Stuckey's Workout

  • Earlier today, we noted that Rodney Stuckey was holding a private workout in Las Vegas as he seeks a new NBA home. According to international basketball reporter David Pick (Twitter link), the Warriors, Nets, Grizzlies, Spurs, and Pacers had representatives at that session.

Pacers' Front Office Deserves Credit For Avoiding Complacency

Pacers’ Pritchard Talks Offseason, Young, McMillan

The Pacers‘ free agent shopping for 2018 is all but over, with the team having used up its cap space on Doug McDermott and Tyreke Evans before committing its room exception to Kyle O’Quinn. While the team may make some tweaks around the edges of its roster, it won’t be able to offer more than the veteran’s minimum to any more free agents.

With his roster for 2018/19 nearly set, Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard spoke to J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star about this summer’s free agent signings, an increased focus on three-point shooting, and several other Pacers-related topics. The conversation is worth checking out in full, but here are a few highlights from Pritchard:

On considering making a trade during last month’s draft:

“We had a couple of guys that we really liked in the draft and to move up we were going to have to take on some contracts. Some teams wanted to get off contracts. We were able to move up but it would’ve taken us completely out of free agency. What happens is you evaluate what you think can happen on July 1 in free agency, which you have no clue, or do you move up and get a young guy that’s up and coming? As we analyzed it, what we felt like was important was this team last year made a jump like we weren’t expecting. We wanted it to be a good team, but adding a really good rookie (chosen higher in the draft) is a good thing but sometimes that’s a future’s play.”

On Thaddeus Young‘s decision to exercise his player option:

“We were thrilled because we wanted to keep that starting five in place. Now we’ve kept the top seven guys (from last year’s team) in terms of minutes played and adding a few players that we feel like could come off our bench to be effective. Thad means everything to us. The continuity of that, what he brings in the locker room — it feels like we over-talk about that stuff — but it’s important. We know what Thad is. He’s going to be a great leader and he’ll have a heck of year. I have no doubt.”

On the contract status of head coach Nate McMillan, who is entering the final year of his deal:

“We’re talking right now. We value what he’s done. We understand how important he is and we’ll have conversations over the summer with him.”

On what it will take for a star free agent to seriously consider the Pacers:

“If we win a series or get a little deeper into the playoffs with our flexibility, that’s our ultimate goal. A good core we believe in and then ultimately some flexibility to go after something like that. We may not get him, but you have to at least try. For me, having some success on the court, having our players enjoy the way we play and winning, that’s the best thing Indiana can provide. If you want to come, have success, have a chance to win in the playoffs, we can provide that.”

Pacers Sign Kyle O’Quinn

JULY 9: The Pacers have published a tweet welcoming O’Quinn to the team, signaling that the signing is now official.

JULY 6: The Pacers have reached a contract agreement with free agent center Kyle O’Quinn, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, who reports (via Twitter) that O’Quinn will sign a one-year, $4.5MM deal with Indiana.

O’Quinn, 28, enjoyed the most productive season of his career in 2017/18, establishing new career highs in PPG (7.1), RPG (6.1), FG% (.582), and several other categories in 77 games (18.0 MPG) for the Knicks. Coming off a successful year in New York, O’Quinn was one of the few veterans in the NBA who turned down a player option for 2018/19.

That player option was worth approximately $4.26MM, so O’Quinn appears poised to exceed that salary on his new deal with the Pacers. Based on the reported terms, it appears that Indiana will use its room exception, worth $4.449MM, to finalize its deal with the veteran center after using up the rest of its cap space.

The Pacers have been busy this week, striking a three-year, $22MM deal with sharpshooting forward Doug McDermott early in free agency, then agreeing to terms on a one-year, $12MM pact for Tyreke Evans. Those two deals are expected to eat up just about all of Indiana’s cap space, but even after using their room exception on O’Quinn, the club will able to add minimum-salary players.

Before reaching an agreement with the Pacers, O’Quinn reportedly met with the Clippers and drew interest from the Sixers and Pelicans.

In Indiana, O’Quinn will join a talented and versatile frontcourt that features Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis, Thaddeus Young, and T.J. Leaf. With Al Jefferson and Trevor Booker no longer in the mix, there should be a regular rotation role available for O’Quinn.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details For Tyreke Evans

  • The Pacers‘ deal with Tyreke Evans has a cap hit of $12.4MM, which includes $100K in likely incentives (Twitter link).

Pritchard Wants To Re-Sign Own Free Agents

The addition of swingman Glenn Robinson III filled the Pistons’ biggest need this offseason, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. The Pistons didn’t anticipate an early commitment but a phone call from new coach Dwane Casey as the start of free agency helped to seal the deal with the ex-Pacers wing. Robinson received a two-year, $8.3MM contract. “We didn’t expect we would get Glenn that quickly,” senior advisor Ed Stefanski said. “We felt getting the two-year commitment was huge to us. To find a young wing who can make a shot, they’re hard to find in the league. When the opportunity came up that quickly, we felt we had to make a move. If it wasn’t for him, we would still be out there looking for a guy.”

  • Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard hopes to use a majority of next summer’s cap space on his own free agents, Mark Monteith of Pacers.com reports. Rotation players Thaddeus Young, Darren Collison, Cory Joseph, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Tyreke Evans could all be free agents next summer, which would free up as much as $57MM in cap space, Monteith notes. But Pritchard would prefer to use most of the money to re-sign some of those players, as he told Monteith. “We have the season like we want to have, our free agents will be the priority,” he said. “I think this team has a chance to grow this year. … We already know these guys. They become our priority in free agency.”