Pacers trying to trade Mike Dunleavy, T.J. Ford with little success

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Thumbnail image for Pacers_logo.gifThe Pacers don’t really make trades. It’s been two years since their last one, it’s just not part of their corporate culture.

But they are trying now.

The Pacers are trying to move Mike Dunleavy and T.J. Ford, according to the Indianapolis Star. And finding this is harder than they thought. Just like they have for the past couple of years, but the efforts are renewed.

Mike Dunleavy is set to make $10.5 million next year in the last year of his deal. Which is a lot of money for a guy who has battled injuries the last two seasons and seen his shooting percentage drop because of it — 41 percent overall last season, 41.8 percent from three with a true shooting percentage of 53.1. He scored 10 points a game last season. All numbers well off his 2007 pace.

The Pacers need to find a team that thinks he can regain his form, and they can’t. With good reason. They also could try to find a team that wants him for a year just to clear cap space, but that will be easier to do near the trade deadline.

The Pacers also are trying to move Ford, but they have been doing that for a while and found no takers. Ford is a solid point guard so long as you don’t ask him to shoot a lot, but he and coach Jim O’Brien’s system are oil and water. Again salary is an issue, Ford is set to make $8.5 million this season, which is a lot for what he can bring to the table.

The Pacers probably could move one of those two in a package with Troy Murphy — the Star reports teams are calling about him. But with Jeff Foster and Tyler Hansbrough coming off injuries, the Pacers are loath to move Murphy.

So we’re at an impasse.

The Pacers need a point guard to run their running system, but missed on every target this summer. Now they have two players nobody really wants as trade bait to do the same. The only thing they really have going for them is that basically every large contract comes off the books next summer so they can rebuild with free agents from the ground up. Which right now looks like about the best plan.

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.

Kings hire former WNBA Seattle coach Jenny Boucek as assistant

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The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.

The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.

Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.

A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.

 

 

Video of Kawhi Leonard struggling to board team plane concerning

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The San Antonio Spurs have been very tight lipped about how serious Kawhi Leonard‘s ongoing quadriceps issue is. He hasn’t played in the preseason or now the start of the regular season, with no timetable for his return. Part of that is the nature of the Spurs organization, but it leads to the feeling there is something more there.

Now surfaces this video of Leonard gingerly, slowly making his way up some stairs to the team plane, and it’s concerning.

To be fair, there is a real lack of context here, but according to the San Antonio Express-News, he had just come out of a rehab session. That means he might have been especially sore (and could have been iced up for the flight).

Still, this video makes one think it could be a while longer before we see Leonard back on the floor for San Antonio. (By the way over the past three seasons, including this one, the Spurs are 15-4 when Leonard sits. They will be fine short term.)

Nike “very concerned” after LeBron James’ jersey rips on opening night

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In the team’s first preseason game, the jersey of the Lakers’ Tyler Ennis was torn in the back with a tug from an opponent. Everyone made tearaway jersey jokes and moved on, thinking it was a one-off situation.

Then LeBron James‘ jersey ripped down the back on opening night, on national television.

Now Nike is looking into the issue, reports Darren Rovell of ESPN.

Nearly three days after one of its jerseys tore in the first regular-season game of its new deal with the NBA, Nike released a statement Friday expressing worry about the issue, without offering insight as to what happened or what will be done.

“The quality and performance of all our products are of utmost importance,” the company said in a statement. “We are obviously very concerned to see any game day jersey tear and are working with the NBA and teams to avoid this happening in the future.”

This is the first year Nike has the NBA apparel contract, having just taken it over from Adidas. They made the jerseys similar to what had been done for the 2016 Rio Olympics, where there were no issues, but these jerseys are lighter than the former Adidas ones. It’s unclear what, if any, changes could be coming.

Like many of the jerseys from opening night, LeBron’s ripped one is being auctioned by the NBA to raise money for hurricane relief.