Rumor Roundup: Pacers, Thomas, Nets
A quick look at the latest news, views and moves from around pro hoops:
Per ESPN: "Afterward, Indiana did not appear so even-keeled in digesting the missed opportunity, as Paul George openly questioned CJ Miles for taking the last shot after George passed out of a double-team, expecting to have the ball back in his hands for the final attempt.
Per ESPN: "I gave the ball up to try to soften them up and get the ball back," George said. "I talked to CJ about it. In situations like that, I have to have the last shot."
Per ESPN: "Yet the Cavs barely flinched at how dicey things got. 'If I didn't get that block last year in the Finals, what happens?' LeBron James retorted when asked how Cleveland would have handled things had Miles made it. 'If Kyrie [Irving] didn't make the 3? If Steph [Curry] would have made the 3. There's so many [hypotheticals]. You can't look at a game like that.'" (Full report.)
Per the Indianapolis Star: "George is being doubled at the top of the key, 35 feet from the basket. He passes to Miles on the left wing and follows his pass, charging toward Miles with both hands up. He wants the ball back. There are five seconds left."
Per the Indianapolis Star: "But there goes Miles the other way, dribbling once, twice. George is still coming, still has both hands in the air. Miles is shot-faking Cavs forward Richard Jefferson past him, and now George is cutting to the rim.'
Per the Indianapolis Star: "This was George being a leader in full, calling for the last shot and calling out his teammates, saying what they could have done better -- saying they have to know better -- but criticizing himself as well." (Full column.)
Per Sports Illustrated: "Lance Stephenson brings a certain energy to the Pacers that’s very noticeable when he’s on the court. He can create his own shot, and defensively, he can guard three positions credibly thanks to his size and bullish strength. Opponents hate playing against him.
Per Sports Illustrated: "Monta Ellis, at this stage in his career, struggles at all of those things. Miles will likely be remembered for missing the game-winner on Saturday, but he played only 16 minutes, and a surface-level look at metrics shows that even he is likely a better option than Ellis, who played 28 minutes."
Per Sports Illustrated: "The issue with Stephenson is his volatility. Early in the fourth quarter of Game 1, Stephenson’s irrational confidence bordered on harmful, as his tendency to go one-on-one stalled the offense and kept the ball out of Paul George’s hands." (Full report.)
Per ESPN Stats & Info: "Paul George was scorching hot early on for the Pacers, but cooled off late in the game. In Indiana's 109-108 loss to Cleveland, he led the team with 29 points, but just four -- including a 3-pointer with 40 seconds remaining -- came in the closing moments."
Per Vigilant Sports: "Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which was signed by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association on January 19, 2017 and takes effect on July 1, George is eligible for the Designated Veteran Player Extension."
Per Vigilant Sports: “I’m one of the guys that agreed on it,” George said then. “Was happy with what our NBPA came up with. I think it’s beneficial for a lot of reasons. We’ll see when it comes to contract time.” (Full report.)
Per Pacers.com: "I have to believe the Pacers' front office is satisfied with Jeff Teague, because his numbers during the regular season were amazingly in line with his career stats. He delivered what should have been expected of him, and perhaps more."
Per Pacers.com: They traded for him and got what they should have expected out of him, so logically you would think they would like to have him back. Free agency can get complicated, however." (Full report.)
Per the Boston Herald: "Isaiah Thomas and his family were rocked by the news that his younger sister died in a car crash early yesterday morning."
Per the Boston Herald: "Celtics coach Brad Stevens was one of the first visitors to his player’s home. According to a league source, Thomas was 'in a state of shock.'"
Per the Boston Herald: "A team source, expressing remorse and that 'it’s not just relevant' if Thomas plays or not, said he wouldn’t be surprised if the process goes on."
Per the Boston Herald: "We have not even gone there with Isaiah — we just have to leave him to his thoughts,” the team source said. “We probably won’t know anything until game time (tonight)." (Full report.)
Per Yahoo Sports: "Utah center Rudy Gobert has been diagnosed with a hyperextension and bone bruise in his left knee but has no structural damage, league sources told The Vertical."
Per Yahoo Sports: "Gobert, 24, underwent an MRI late Saturday night and the injury casts doubt on his availability for the series vs. the Clippers, league sources said." (Full report.)
Per the New York Daily News: "Phil Jackson believes the Knicks season went sour when he went on vacation, and moving forward he wants to be more hands-on with “mentoring” — regardless if he’s perceived as undermining coach Jeff Hornacek."
Per the New York Daily News: “I probably will (be viewed as undercutting the coach),” said Jackson, who suggested he’d rather be coaching than handle the duties of a front office figure. “I think that one of the things that I like about this job is that (GM Steve) Mills does a lot of the paper work — the back and forth with the NBA headquarters and my issues is about talking to coaches, finding out the game plan." (Full report.)
Per the Washington Post: "When he was winning championships with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, it was an amusing, quirky part of Jackson’s personality. Now that he’s losing, though, it seems far different: a combination of pettiness, insecurity and deflecting the blame from his team’s struggles in literally every direction but toward himself." (Full column.)
Per the Orlando Sentinel: "In the wake of firing general manager Rob Hennigan, Magic CEO Alex Martins admitted that former coach Scott Skiles was right about the failed GM and should have stuck around until the team figured out what to do about it."
Per the Orlando Sentinel: "Skiles quit after only one season because he did not like the roster Hennigan had put together or the lackadaisical culture Hennigan and assistant GM Scott Perry had cultivated among its core of young players." (Full report.)
Per the New York Post: "With the worst record and the second-most money to spend in the NBA, expect the Nets to be huge players in the free-agent market. And from stars Jeremy Lin and Brook Lopez to owner Mikhail Prokhorov, the Nets say they have developed a culture that will make recruiting easy."
Per the New York Post: "While the Knicks are forcing the triangle system on the players, the Nets played at the highest pace in the league. Sean Marks had a storage room off the Barclays Center practice court remade into a family room, and had his executive assistant and the basketball operation human resources director work with the players’ wives and girlfriends. They even let the players’ families on the team charter and on road trips." (Full report.)
Per the Sacramento Bee: "Character will remain a buzzword for the Kings as they move into the offseason, and the team has at least one noteworthy free agent who fits the culture Vlade Divac vows to build."
Per the Sacramento Bee: "The team’s general manager said he’d like to have veteran small forward Rudy Gay, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent, back with the Kings next season."
Per the Sacramento Bee: "The Kings will need to address their point guard situation with Darren Collison and Ty Lawson both being unrestricted free agents. On Thursday, Divac said it was 'too early to say' if the Kings will attempt to bring those veterans back. Another veteran – shooting guard Tyreke Evans, who got a second stint in Sacramento in the DeMarcus Cousins trade – is also an unrestricted free agent." (Full report.)
Per the Detroit News: "With their current salary structure, the Pistons have two big questions heading into next season: Will they be able to keep Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and is Aron Baynes an option? The easy answers are yes and no. But it might not be that simple." (Full report.)