Kurt Helin

George Hill Poses for Photos in Hickory Uniform

Pacers announce dates for games with Hickory uniforms


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Pacers will debut their new Hickory Huskers uniforms Nov. 6 at home against Miami.

Team officials announced Tuesday that they will be worn 10 times this season. Indiana is making the change to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the movie “Hoosiers.”

Indiana also will wear the uniforms for home games Dec. 23 against Sacramento, Jan. 26 against the Los Angeles Clippers, Feb. 24 against New York, March 15 against Boston and April 10 against Brooklyn and at road games Nov. 29 at the Los Angeles Lakers, Dec. 30 at Chicago, Jan. 13 at Boston and April 3 at New York.

Indiana also will have honorees at each home game including Crispus Attucks state championship teams from 1955, 1956 and 1959 and, of course, the “Milan Miracle” team of 1954.

Report: Thompson would sign for 3-years, $53 million, Cavs not moving

Tristan Thompson

Tristan Thompson isn’t getting his five-year, max contract from the Cavaliers — so instead he wants a three-year max deal.

Not sure that the Cavaliers will go for this, but Thompson’s aggressive agent Rich Paul apparently wanted to try to spin the story his way with this leak Thursday to Chris Broussard of ESPN:

Great deal? I’m not so sure about that — Thompson isn’t lowering his financial demands, only the number of years. Former Nets executive and Twitter star Bobby Marks put it well.

For the Cavaliers, who are concerned about the steep luxury tax hit that would come with signing Thompson to the max — as well as the fact he’s not worth more than guys such as Draymond Green, nor the same as Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler — this does not alleviate those concerns.

Cleveland doesn’t seem to be biting.

Cleveland has a five-year, $80 million offer on the table — that’s $16 million a year on average — and they are not willing to go higher for the reserve power forward. They aren’t getting pressured by LeBron James. The Cavs are holding their ground. Unlike my colleague Dan Feldman here at PBT, I’m not in the camp that thinks the Cavaliers are okay signing him to a max deal, even with the television money coming in. I’m far from sold he’s the kind of irreplaceable player you throw max money at, and I think that’s the kind of contract they regret in a few years.

The question soon becomes, is Thompson willing to play for the qualifying offer of $6.7 million to be an unrestricted free agent next summer? Is he ready to bet that the flood of television cash in the market will net him a max salary in 2016 that makes up the difference in money he gave up this season?

Video to get you pumped for NBA 2K16 release Friday

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Training camps open and real NBA basketball (or at least the training camp version of it) tips off next week.

But this Friday NBA 2K16 drops, so you can snap it up then spend your weekend trying to lead the Sixers to the title (well, in between watching football games). To get you pumped for the release, here is a little video courtesy the fine folks at 2K Sports. Enjoy.

Paul George not thrilled about playing power forward

2015 IPL 500 Festival Parade - 2015 Indy 500
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The NBA is going small, looking for floor spacing, and with their roster changes this past summer the Indiana Pacers are joining that trend. Which is why coach Frank Vogel is strongly considering Paul George as the Pacers’ starting power forward.

George doesn’t like that idea.

In two separate interviews, George clearly expressed displeasure at the idea. First, look what he told Candice Buckner of the Indy Star.

Here is what he told Sam Amick of the USA Today:

“Um, you know it’s, uh, I was open for – to try it out,” George said via phone while promoting his place on the cover of the NBA 2K16 mobile app. “It’s definitely a change. It’s something new. We’ll see how it goes. As the season goes, it might be better for me to just be at my regular position. But I told them I was open to the situation and (we’ll) see where it goes.”

I hope George does keep an open mind, because I think this could be good for him and the Pacers.

George is strong and physical enough to defend most of the fours in the East (it’s the West where the four is overloaded with talent), and on offense is ability to spread the floor with his shot will open things up for a Pacers offense that wants to play more up tempo.

Look at the top teams in the NBA — particularly the last two champions in San Antonio and Golden State — and what you see is versatility. They can go small, they can go larger, they can adjust to attack the weaknesses of their opponents (particularly in the playoffs). The Pacers can move that way, but it requires George being okay with playing some four.

Report: World Peace agrees to deal with Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs - Game One

All summer long Metta World Peace has been working out at the Lakers facility, and he formed a bond with second-year player (but a rookie in practice) Julius Randle. The Lakers watched the workouts and saw World-Peace the mentor — as strange as that sounds. What matters is that Randle was listening to him.

So, as had been long rumored, the Lakers are giving World Peace a one-year deal and a chance to make the team, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Free-agent forward Metta World Peace has reached agreement on a one-year, non-guaranteed deal to return to the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources told Yahoo Sports….

World Peace is expected to make the roster and play a role as a small forward off the bench, and a veteran extension of coach Byron Scott in the young Lakers locker room.

I would hold off on the assumption he makes the roster, although he certainly has a chance. The Lakers have some decisions to make. They have 12 guaranteed contracts on the books right now (although in theory they could buy out someone like Robert Sacre), and can only carry 15. The Lakers signed veteran Brazilian point guard Marcelo Huertas‘ to a non-guaranteed deal, but I’d expect him to make the cut. If Huertas and MWP make the roster, the Lakers have one roster spot for young talents Jabari Brown, Tarik Black, Michael Frazier and Jonathan Holmes to fight over (again, unless there is a buyout of an existing deal).

If MWP makes the roster, Lakers fans should not expect quality production out of him — there was a reason he’s been out of the league for more than a season. The Knicks waived him in 2014 because he isn’t near the same defender he once was, and his offensive game has slipped (he shot just 31 percent from three for them). Last season he played in Italy where he averaged 13.3 points a game, but at age 35 he’s not bouncing back to have NBA rotation player level contributions.

But that’s not why the Lakers want him. He seems to have the ear of Randle.

Why that requires a roster spot, and he can’t be brought in as an assistant coach or consultant I don’t get. Yes, listening to players is different from a coach, but that’s not the relationship Randle and World Peace have formed, so it doesn’t matter the title for MWP now?

The rebuilding Lakers keep stocking up on veterans. It’s an interesting mix.