The Cleveland Cavaliers claimed veteran point guard A.J. Price after he was waived by the Indiana Pacers, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
Price was with the Cavs during training camp but was waived before the start of the season. The Pacers picked him up after suffering a rash of injuries, and in 10 games with Indiana, he averaged 10.5 points and 2.7 assists in 19.3 minutes per game.
Indiana has played Chicago tough. They’ve been in it. Now they head home for Game 3 Thursday night.
The question was would they be in it without Darren Collison, who sprained an ankle when he stepped back into the foot of a cameraman on the baseline last game.
Turns out they may not have to, according to a tweet from Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star.
Collison said it’ll be a game time decision, but believes he’ll play tonight
Coach Frank Vogel was more cautious, because coaches are that way. But the Pacers need Collison — their backup choice of A.J. Price has shot a lower percentage, given out far fewer assists (11 to 2) and turned the ball over more than the steady Collison. Put simply, Collison has been good and his backups have not.
The Pacers do not have much if any margin for error here. They need Collison. That or Price or T.J. Ford have to have a monster game… yea, better to count on Collison.
Darren Collison was the guy. Indiana needed an up-tempo point guard to run Jim O’Brien’s up-tempo offense, so they went out and got the highly-coveted Collison out of New Orleans.
Except that during crunch time, T.J. Ford has been getting the minutes for the Pacers. Against the Hawks last Friday A.J. Price was the guy getting run. Pacers coach Jim O’Brien told the Indianapolis Star why that was.
“I thought our best chance of coming back was with A.J. in the game because he spaces the court, he shoots the 3 and he also needed playing time,” O’Brien said. “I also think he did a nice job.”
So far this season Collison is shooting 41.4 percent from three, Price 25 percent. I understand trying to get Price some run — he has earned it with his play — and he did help cut the Hawks’ lead in half at times. But when that run falters you need your best playmakers on the floor. Your best players finish games and Collison has sat. That has left Collison confused and unhappy.
“I don’t know why I didn’t play,” said Collison, who has started all 19 games he’s appeared in. “I’m not going to lie, it’s been tough. Right now, I’m not used to it. It is what it is.”
The Pacers have slowed it down some — by about 2.5 possessions per game this season — and in the half court Ford has some veteran savvy with execution. He is a little bit better defender than Collison.
Look at the five man rotations and you see that Collison does better with the regular starters (Mike Dunleavy, Danny Granger, Josh McRoberts and Roy Hibbert) but substitute Rush for Dunleavy (as O’Brien has done a lot recently) and Ford becomes the much better fit (by 16 points per 48 minutes).
Still the Pacers rotations seem to be a mix and match, which makes it hard to grasp a real identity for this team. They are better — Hibbert has made a huge leap — but we’ll see. Four games this week against the league’s elite will tell us a lot about just where they stand.
UPDATE 6:28 pm: With no trade to be made, the Pacers decided to cut Magnum Rolle lose. Which means they traded up to get a guy in the second round they then cut.
9:59 am: Welcome to cut-down day. Today is the day NBA rosters need to be at 15 for the season.
The Indiana Pacers are at 16.
According to the Indianapolis Star, the Pacers have been looking for a 2-for-1 trade all weekend to get their roster down.
It’s a Jones trade, the Pacers want to package Dahntay Jones and Solomon Jones in a deal, according to the report. Combined that is $4 million in salary. So far, no takers.
If not, the Pacers have to cut someone and eat some money. Team president Larry Bird said they would do it if they have to.
Three players on the Pacers do not have fully-guaranteed deals, meaning if the Pacers buy them out they don’t have to pay the full amount of the salary — A.J. Price, Josh McRoberts and Magnum Rolle.
However, don’t be shocked if Solomon Jones is the guy cut anyway and the Pacers pay off the $1.5 million he is owed. But thinking about it and actually writing that check are two different things.
A last-minute trade would solve all that, but….