The Indiana team that made an appearance at TD Garden Friday hardly resembled the group that was expected to compete among the NBA elite for years. George has a broken leg. Lance Stephenson was brought to Charlotte by Michael Jordan. George Hill is out until December with a bruised left knee. C.J. Watson has a bruised right foot. And David West is beginning to make some basketball moves on his sprained right ankle but is out for another two weeks.
The Pacers’ franchise goals have shifted dramatically in the past three months. They might have had a chance to compete without Stephenson, but the loss of George was monumental, and then the Pacers were besieged with nagging injuries that make competing for a playoff spot a chore.
“Nobody is feeling sorry for us and we’re not feeling sorry for ourselves,” coach Frank Vogel said. “We’re coming close to some victories but we’ve got to squeeze some out. I’m a patient guy in any situation, whether it be the team that’s competing for the best record in the East or the team that’s really banged up like this, you have to have patience. You have to have a teaching mentality, an improving mentality, and get the best out of whatever group you have.”
Sources: NBA Submit Proposal to Lower Draft-Eligible Age to 18
The NBA has submitted to the National Basketball Players Association a formal proposal that will lower the draft-eligible age to 18 from 19, a person with knowledge of the proposal told USA TODAY Sports.
The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss discussions between the league and the union.
The NBPA and its executive director, Michele Roberts, planned to review the proposal Monday at a post-All-Star weekend meeting in the Bahamas.
The league and union have had informal discussions about lowering the age limit, and NBA commissioner Adam Silver is on record saying the current 19-year-old age limit is not working for the league or college basketball.
This is the first step in formal negotiations to lower the age limit by the 2022 draft. The issue is collectively bargained between the NBA and NBPA, and both sides need to agree to any rule change.
Sources: Bucks Interested in JR Smith, Buyout Unlikely
The Milwaukee Bucks have interest in JR Smith, sources said, though Smith and the Cavs are not close on a buyout. There is very little incentive for Cleveland to buy him out, and at this stage in his life, NBA money is important to Smith.
Smith is guaranteed $3.9 million for next season and $15.7 million if he’s on Cleveland’s roster July 1. What this means for the Cavs is — there is great reason to hold on to him for the rest of the season, and then try to trade him before July 1. If they fail, then they either waive him by June 30, paying him the $3.9 million to walk, they take on his full contract with the hope of being able to trade it by the February deadline next season, or they keep him past July 1 in an effort to trade him by a late August deadline to “waive and stretch” his contract. In essence, this would be risking $12 million for an extra two months to trade him.
Source: Joe Vardon of The Athletic
Report: Zion Williamson Day-to-Day with Right Knee Sprain
NEWS: Zion Williamson was diagnosed with a Grade 1 right knee sprain. He is progressing as expected, and his status is day-to-day.
NEWS: Zion Williamson was diagnosed with a Grade 1 right knee sprain. He is progressing as expected, and his status is day-to-day. pic.twitter.com/H8YUZGnOyc
— Duke Basketball (@DukeMBB) February 21, 2019
Source: Duke Basketball on Twitter