Report: Pacers to sign Toney Douglas

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The Pelicans waived Toney Douglas before having to guarantee the rest of his contract.

The Pacers didn’t submit a claim, but now that he has cleared waivers, they’ll take him.

Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today:

The Pacers probably got a couple advantages by signing Douglas rather than claiming him. If it’s a one-year minimum contract, the NBA will pay a portion of it. That wouldn’t have happened by claiming him, because he was on a two-year deal, even though that was for the minimum. Indiana can also negotiate a new guarantee date rather than Aug. 1 – and that’s particularly important.

The Pacers have 15 players with guaranteed salaries, and their four lowest-paid players – Shayne Whittington, Joseph Young, Rakeem Christmas and Glenn Robinson III – signed this offseason. It’s hard to see Indiana making room for Douglas on its regular-season roster.

George Hill, Monta Ellis, Rodney Stuckey, Joseph Young can all play point guard or some proximity to the position. If Indiana makes a trade, Douglas could provide depth – especially because some of those other players will see most of their minutes on the wing. Otherwise, Douglas probably gets squeezed out in late October.

But at minimum, the six-year veteran will have training camp to make his case. Maybe a point guard-needy team with a roster vacancy will be watching.

Pacers sign Shayne Whittington, guarantee his salary for this season

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The Pacers signed Shayne Whittington as an undrafted free agent last year.

Call last season a learning experience for him. The stretch four played just 108 NBA minutes, spending part of the year in the D-League.

But he’s getting another chance with an NBA contract.

Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star:

The 6-foot-11 Whittington showed a nice shooting stroke at Western Michigan, though he didn’t regular stretch beyond the 3-point arc. He hasn’t had enough of an NBA opportunity to change opinions.

If Whittington improves his range, he could stick in the league. His interior defense seems decent enough, though his ability to defend pick-and-rolls on the perimeter will remain a question.

The biggest positive indicator about Whittington’s career: The Pacers – the team that knows him best – found it worthwhile to give him a guaranteed salary.

Pacers teammate skeptical Paul George returns this season

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Larry Bird hinted at it. Paul George was open to it.

And then, suddenly it was on – George planning to return to the Pacers this season.

George returned to practice, but he missed one targeted return date.

Now, he’s uncertain he’ll make it back this season – and so are those around him.

Candace Buckner of IndyStar:

However, even as George has practiced for three weeks, Pacers’ teammates, while highly supportive, see a player who looks good for someone who broke his leg while noting that he is still on the mend. One teammate declared that George is “not even close to 100 percent” while expressing strong skepticism about a return this year

While Vogel never speaks about how George looks on the court, during the brief moments when media has watched the end of practices, George has shown little to justify a return in the near future.

Friday’s media session offered only a minuscule window into George’s activity but the final three minutes didn’t resemble the player last seen in the Eastern Conference finals. During that stretch, he could not get through rookie Shayne Whittington’s screen. Then on a different play, George recovered late trying to pick up Whittington, who was open for a mid-range jumper. George cursed as the shot swished through.

Also, for the several months that he has participated in spot-up 3-point drills, George appears to have developed a hitch in his footwork. On some long attempts, George will shoot and follow through while his right leg instinctively steps forward to brace him, instead of landing and stopping without additional movement as most jump shooters would.

The Pacers have climbed to seventh in the Eastern Conference, and the longer they play, the more likely George is to return. But it seems increasingly unlikely it will happen this season.

Sure, there’s some concern about George disrupting Indiana’s chemistry. I think he’d provide a boost in limited minutes, though. It’s not as if the Pacers would immediately make him a focal point again.

Still, those who’ve seen George the most have major doubts, and that’s pretty telling.

Quote of the Day: Pacers rookie Shayne Whittington explains guarding ‘mammoth’ Nene

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Pacers rookie Shayne Whittington – 6-foot-11, 250-pound forward – might have NBA size. But when he made his career debut Saturday against the Wizards, it didn’t feel like it.

Whittington, via David Drew of MLive (hat tip: Jared Wade of 8 Points, 9 Seconds):

“When I got in the game and I was guarding Nene,” Whittington explained of guarding Washington’s 6-foot-11, 250-pound 12-year veteran center.” I’m just like, ‘Oh (expletive). I’m not used to people being the size of a mammoth.’ Nene is one of the biggest people I’ve been around. Strength-wise, he was as strong as an ox. That was a holy crap moment.

“I thought I did a lot of good things, though. I know for a fact defensively I was lost of the first three or four possessions. It happened really quick. The first two possessions they went right at me and scored a couple times and after that I kind of calmed down and I got the feel of the game.”

Report: Lakers, Rockets, Pacers interested in Quincy Miller

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The Nuggets, to trim their roster before the season, could have waived Erick Green and paid $50,000 or Alonzo Gee and paid nothing.

Instead, they dropped Quincy Miller. Cost: $150,000.

Maybe the Nuggets correctly assessed Miller’s ability, determining the added cost of waiving him didn’t matter because he wasn’t as good as the other two. Or maybe Denver doesn’t know what it’s doing.

A few teams are poking around that second idea.

Shams Charania of RealGM:

Free agent Quincy Miller has received several inquiries from NBA teams since joining the available market on Monday, with the Los Angeles Lakers as leading suitors for the forward, league sources told RealGM.

The Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers also have registered levels of intrigue in Miller, sources said.

All three of those teams have full rosters, but each could waive someone without a fully guaranteed contract – Lakers (Wayne Ellington or Ronnie Price), Rockets (Tarik Black) and Pacers (Shayne Whittington) – to make room for Miller.

Most likely, the teams are assessing Miller in case a roster spot opens for another reason, most likely a trade.

Miller projects as a 3-and-D player, but he has yet to impress with either skill – 3-point shooting or defense – in the NBA. After two seasons with the Nuggets, who drafted him No. 38 out of Baylor in 2012, Miller will probably need to prove himself in a lesser league before returning to the NBA.