Team USA Practice Session

Pacers receive disabled player exception after injury to Paul George, but unlikely they use most of it


When Paul George suffered a fractured leg at USA Basketball’s showcase in Las Vegas, it not only ended his 2015 season with the Pacers, but it turned Indiana from a top-tier team in the East into one that will probably finish outside of the playoff picture.

The league has remedies for teams in these situations, in the form of a disabled player exception that allows them to add a replacement to the roster.

Indiana applied for one and has now reportedly received it, according to Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star. But it remains to be seen if they’ll even bother to use it.

BREAKING: Pacers have just received a disabled player exception from the NBA. They’ll have roughly $2 million to spend on another player.

The Pacers would actually have $5.3 million to spend on a player they signed to a one-year deal, or $5.4 million on one they traded for or claimed off of waivers who was in the final year of his contract. But that approximate $2 million figure is thrown out because spending any more than that would put Indiana into luxury tax territory, something Pacers president Larry Bird has said repeatedly that ownership is not going to approve.

That’s a big reason the Pacers pursuing Shawn Marion seemed a bit silly. Not only would Marion not want to join a team that might struggle to make the playoffs at this stage in his career, but he could command more money than Indiana is willing to spend.

The Pacers may add someone, but don’t expect much in the way of realistic help for what’s sure to be a bargain basement price.

Kevin Love names NBA players he thinks could play in NFL

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The majority of guys in the NBA are not built for the NFL. Blake Griffin the tight end makes a huge target for a free safety to line up. Kevin Durant is a little thin. Carmelo Anthony? Come on now.

But there are a few guys who might be able to, and on his show Dan Patrick asks Kevin Love about it today (see the video above). Then DP tries to take the obvious call of LeBron James off the table.

Nate Robinson as a DB? He’s athletic enough but at his height he would be a target for tall receivers. I like Dan Patrick’s suggestion of Russell Westbrook the free safety — he is certainly athletic enough.

Love also picked himself as a QB. Um, no. I’m not sure his outlet passing skills translate.

Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on not guilty verdict: “Justice was served”

Thabo Sefolosha

Friday morning, a New York jury found Atlanta Hawks guard Thabo Sefolosha not guilty of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. The charges stemmed from the night in the final weeks of last season when Sefolosha and then teammate Pero Antic went to a New York club after arriving in town, and while there Pacers’ player Chris Copeland was stabbed outside the club. In his clash with police, Sefolosha suffered a broken leg that required surgery and kept him out of the playoffs.

The New York prosecutor tried to make this go away with a plea deal of just day of community service and six months probation. But Sefolosha had the means and mind to fight the charges, got his day in court and won. This is what he said in a statement after the verdict, released by the Atlanta Hawks.

“This morning’s verdict ended a long and emotional period for me.  Justice was served and for that I am eternally grateful to the judge and jury for their quick and deliberate decision….

“It’s troubling to me that with so much evidence in my support that this case would even be brought to trial and that I had to defend myself so hard to get justice. It pains me to think about all of the innocent people who aren’t fortunate enough to have the resources, visibility and access to quality legal counsel that I have had.

“It was important to me as a man, a father to two young girls and as a role model, to stand up for what I believe in and have my name cleared of any wrongdoing.  Today’s verdict will not make up for the pain and trauma my family and I have suffered over the past six months or bring back the opportunity to have played in the Eastern Conference Finals and have a shot at an NBA title, but it does bring me some peace and closes a painful chapter in my life.

“Now I look forward to returning to the team and focusing solely on my rehabilitation for the upcoming season so that I can get back to playing the game I cherish so much.”

While Sefolosha says he is focusing “solely” on his rehab, the win in the criminal case would bode well for a potential civil case if he wanted to sue regarding his treatment and the broken leg.

Hawks’ coach Mike Budenholzer — who testified at the trial and was amused by parts of it — released this statement:

“Thabo is a man of great character and we are proud that he took a principled approach to proving his innocence. We are extremely happy for him and his family, and we are very pleased with today’s verdict in his favor.”