Indiana Pacers on the right path. At least the owner thinks so.

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The Indiana Pacers were just hard to watch this season. This was a team that wanted to run — second fastest pace in the league at 97 possessions per game — but didn’t have any ball handlers who could handle it. Throw in some key injuries and a disinterested defense and you got a lot of ugly basketball. At least until the last few weeks, when everything seemed to click just in time to cost the team lottery odds. Just perfect.

Pacers owner Herb Simon didn’t enjoy watching this season either — the team could finish with 50 losses for the first time in two decades.

That doesn’t mean he’s selling the team, he refuted the Forbes report and says the team is not on the market. He also thinks things are on the right path and no changes to the front office are coming, he told the Indianapolis Star.

Yes, (President of Basketball Operations) Larry (Bird) will be back next season. It’ll be up to him on if he wants to return after next season. Larry is a no-nonsense guy. He calls the shots the way he sees them and he’s never going to compromise his values, which I appreciate…

All I can tell you is I sit next to Larry at games and after every timeout there’s a line of people waiting for his autograph. There may be some people that criticize him, but he’s a special person. He’s confident that he’ll get this thing turned around.

Coach Jim O’Brien is going to be back as well, Simon said. Which is fine, he system can win and can draw fans, if they get the right players in to run it. The Pacers need a roster shakeup, some players to go around Danny Granger, some round pegs to go in the round holes, not what they have now. That is on Bird. And no matter how many people want his autograph, if he can’t make the moves someone else needs to come in and do so.

Report: Carmelo Anthony’s camp ‘cautiously optimistic’ Knicks will trade him by Monday

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In July, Carmelo Anthony was reportedly confident he’d be traded to the Rockets.

That optimism always seemed misguided. A couple months later, with Anthony still on the Knicks, it looks downright foolish.

Yet…

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

Anthony’s camp is cautiously optimistic that a deal will be struck before Monday, and trying not to think about the potential media circus that will take place if Carmelo is still with the Knicks.

It’s more likely Anthony’s confidants are hopeful than optimistic. If they’re actually optimistic, they’re very likely to be disappointed.

If Anthony hasn’t been traded by now, what will change between now and Monday? Houston still must find a taker for Ryan Anderson, and that’s no easy task – not without relinquishing sweeteners more valuable than Anthony. I suppose Anthony could waive his no-trade clause for additional teams, but it’s late for a deal to come together.

Hopefully for Anthony, his advisors aren’t pinning everything on a longshot trade and are helping him craft answers to the numerous questions he’ll face at media day next week – likely in New York.

Rick Pitino predicts NBA draft will accept high schoolers within two years

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Once an advocate of increasing the age minimum and a willing accepter of one-and-done, NBA commissioner Adam Silver sounded more open about allowing high school players to declare for the NBA draft.

The new Collective Bargaining Agreement left the issue open, but Louisville coach Rick Pitino predicts change is coming – relatively soon.

Pitino, via ESPN:

When I was at Kentucky, I had seven high school basketball players, told me they were coming, and instead, they went to the pros out of high school. And by the way, I think that rule is going to change back to that. I think high school players are going to be able to go pro again.

I think the commissioner is probably going to do it within two years.

Does Pitino know something? With decades of experience in the NBA and college, he could have many contacts with inside information. It’s certainly imperative for devising a recruiting strategy to know how this rule will change.

It’s also possible Pitino saw Silver’s comments, like any outsider could have, and is making a relatively blind guess.

But the possibility of inside information makes his comments more intriguing.

Warriors executive: Golden State rejected richer jersey-ad offers

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The Warriors are charging $60 million over three years for their jersey ads – about double what any other NBA team is getting.

Golden State chief marketing officer Chip Bowers, via Darren Rovell of ESPN:

“We actually had multiple finalists,” Warriors chief marketing officer Chip Bowers said. “This was not the biggest deal that we were offered.”

Bowers said the team felt it was important for the deal to be with a worldwide brand.

Light years ahead.

New Bulls advisor Doug Collins: ‘I am woke’

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The Bulls hired Doug Collins as an advisor.

Is Collins, who has coached only one winning season in the last 20 years and often sounds analytically disinclined, too behind the times?

Collins:

I’m old. Let me finish. But I’m not old school. I’ve got a young brain. And I think you get pigeonholed: That guy is old school because he’s old. Now, if being on time and working hard and doing all those things are old school, then yes, I’m old school. But I will match my wits with anybody in terms of young people, in terms of what’s going on now and what’s happening. So, I am woke.

Suddenly, Kyrie Irving‘s statement on ESPN – “Oh, if you’re very much woke, there’s no such thing as distractions” – has a challenger for the most awkward use of “woke” by NBA personnel this week.