HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto and Pacers beat writer Scott Agness for Fieldhouse Files discuss the futures of Myles Turner, Malcolm Brogdon, Lance Stephenson, and others. Plus, the duo previews Indiana’s draft and free agency plans and more on the latest edition of the HoopsHype podcast.
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1:52 Myles Turner’s future and trade value
Scotto: Myles Turner’s name came up at the deadline. As I reported on HoopsHype, they wanted either two first-round picks or a promising young player and a first-round pick in exchange for him. Then, he got hurt, and that kind of torpedoed his trade value at the deadline because teams didn’t know if he was going to play or not.
Looking ahead to next season, he’s going to be in the final year of his deal for $18 million. At 26, on paper, he’s young enough to still be a part of a rebuild or a retool, but is center going to be a position on a rebuilding team going forward that they’ll want to spend on when he’ll be due a potential pay raise by next summer as long as he shows he’s healthy?
I spoke with four NBA executives who told me they believe Myles Turner can still get a protected first-round pick outside the lottery if he’s traded this offseason. When I asked the executives which teams they believe could try and trade for him, the usual suspects came up, including Charlotte, Toronto and Dallas.
Agness: I think it was very serious that they were looking to trade him before the deadline, but then everything just stopped in mid-January when he wasn’t feeling right. He had a couple of bad games. They did further testing, and that revealed he had a stress reaction in his foot. For Myles, it’s the second type of injury to a foot area that has not allowed him to finish the season for the second straight year. Last year, it was turf toe. A totally different injury. This being a stress reaction, if you continue to play on that, that probably becomes a stress fracture, which TJ Warren had several times now.
He’s young enough that he should be entering his prime. He’s at his utmost confidence. I think we know who he is as a player and what he provides. However, he wants a greater opportunity, specifically offensively. He was going to get that at the trade deadline when the Pacers finally decided to move on from Domantas Sabonis.
My belief going into next season is you either have to trade or extend him. You’re not going to bring him back entering the final year of a contract. I doubt that would happen. I guess you could still trade him at the trade deadline. My current thinking is they’ll bring him back coming off an injury, and they’ll finally be able to see what he looks like with the new face of the team in Tyrese Haliburton.
You mentioned those teams. Those are the same teams that have been after him and targeting him for two or three years, it seems. Charlotte. Dallas. Atlanta at one time. The Lakers had made calls about him previously. Toronto could be in there. I know if he does get traded, Dallas would definitely be one that interests him personally because that’s his hometown team.
8:50 Malcolm Brogdon’s future
Scotto: This offseason, Malcolm Brogdon can be traded. He’s owed $67.6 million over the next three seasons, according to our HoopsHype salaries page. Several executives believe Indiana will certainly be open to trading him this offseason as the Pacers look to build around their young backcourt core of Tyrese Haliburton and Chris Duarte. Some executives believed his contract extension and being under team control for three seasons looking ahead makes him more appealing. Others were scared off and a little bit on the fence due to his injury history.
One executive specifically mentioned that Indiana traded their best player in Domantas Sabonis for a younger player in Tyrese Haliburton, who plays the same position as Brogdon. To him and other executives on a broader scale, it signaled a change in the direction for the franchise and that Brogdon could be more expendable. These executives certainly think that teams are going to be after him to try and get an upgrade at point guard and that Indiana would certainly be willing to listen.
Given his age (29), it doesn’t seem he’s necessarily a fit for a rebuild. If they retool, that could be a different story.
Agness: They’re not going to undergo what most people would consider a rebuild, meaning trading off their assets, getting super young, and a lot of draft picks. OKC is the far end of one spectrum. They’re not even going to go close to that. They’re trying to reshape the roster.
In terms of Brogdon, I don’t see a complete duplicate skill set. In my mind, I think they’re two different players. To me, the Pacers finally got their first point guard they’ve had in decades with Haliburton. Since he got here, Haliburton is third in assists per game. Brogdon’s best role is what it was in Milwaukee, where he’s that off-ball guard where he can knock down the three-pointer. That’s when he was a 50-40-90 guy. It’s not when he has the ball always in his hands.
The individuals around the league I’ve talked to think, for the most part, that contract extension is more of a detriment even though it’s an understood cost. In the middle of next year, he’s going to turn 30. He’s had an injury history dating all the way back to the University of Virginia. Long story short, I think they’ll absolutely gauge the market on Brogdon. I would not be surprised if he’s moved, and they can get value and open up cap space for them because he’s the highest-paid player on the team.
We’ve talked about the franchise’s willingness to move him or not. I reported back in the fall during the Ben Simmons thing, and given, Daryl Morey wasn’t trading for Brogdon and giving away Simmons. But, before they agreed to an extension with Brogdon, they checked in with Philly one last time and let them know he wasn’t going to be eligible to be traded if they extended him.
16:35 Buddy Hield’s future
Agness: Initially, I thought they were trading for Haliburton, and, as we saw this past offseason, there was a market for Buddy Hield. They could just repurpose him. However, I’ve gotten a little bit more blowback on that because we’ve seen what Buddy can provide for this team. They’ve desperately needed shooters.
I don’t think Buddy’s a sure thing to be moved. I think if the Pacers got something significant and interesting to them, maybe a first-round pick, and a rotational player, that’s generally what the Pacers like. They don’t want just a straight draft pick. That’s not what Herb Simon, the team owner, likes.
18:55 Lance Stephenson’s free agency
Scotto: Lance Stephenson wants to re-sign with the Indiana Pacers as a free agent this offseason, a league source close to Stephenson told HoopsHype. Whether Indiana goes into a full rebuild or retool, Lance believes he fits into either scenario. Ultimately, he wants to spend the rest of his career in Indiana, I’m told.
Agness: There’s just a special relationship and family type of feel. He loves Pacers fans, and they love him. When he checks in off the bench, he gets louder applause than anyone, including Haliburton or Turner. A lot of that is familiarity, and he was on the teams that went to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals.
I think it’s going to come down to what does Herb Simon want versus what does Rick Carlisle want. I was told Simon was a big proponent of bringing Lance back.
22:15 TJ Warren’s free agency
Agness: Either he gets kind of the Victor Oladipo contract, where it’s a league minimum, and you come back for one year, and you show what you can do, or you get a one-plus-one with a team option. He’s still young enough, and you can argue he’s got fresher legs because he hasn’t been playing. There isn’t a lot of tread on those tires. But you’ve got to be concerned with fractures in both of his feet now.
I’m leaning towards something like a one-plus-one for $10 million.
25:40 Ricky Rubio’s free agency
Scotto: One executive joked with me that Ricky Rubio is like a point guard whisperer. He commended what he did in Cleveland with Darius Garland and how he helped him improve behind the scenes there.
Agness: Indiana has always been a proponent of Rubio, especially Larry Bird. Back in 2019, the plan was to re-sign Bojan Bogdanovic and sign Rubio in free agency. That was as far down the line as it could be without agreeing on a deal. I heard numbers for the deal. That means it’s basically going to get done. Then they had a big pivot when Milwaukee was calling around and trying to do a sign-and-trade with Malcolm Brogdon. Now, I just don’t see it.
28:22 Jalen Smith’s free agency
Agness: Can he get more than $4.67 million for next season? If he can, it’ll be very tough for the Pacers to bring him back. I think many teams would offer more than that. This is a lottery pick that has not realized his potential. He’s 22. When he’s gotten playing time, he’s produced for the Pacers. The deal that comes to mind for me is something like three years, $30 million. The Pacers can’t do that. They can sign him for up to four years with eight percent raises. The most they can offer him in total over the four years is $21 million. I think he can do better than that. He was drafted two spots ahead of Tyrese Haliburton.
31:21 Indiana’s free agency and draft outlook
Scotto: Our HoopsHype salary cap expert, Yossi Gozlan, currently projects Indiana to generate $22 million in cap space assuming they land the fifth pick as projected.
Agness: The position they badly need now that point guard is handled is that wing spot. That Paul George type of player. A guy that can defend. Who’s guarding LeBron, Giannis, Kawhi? They also could use a power forward that’s physical.
In terms of the draft, I’ll admit a little bit of bias because I saw this guy every game of the Big Ten Tournament here where the Pacers play. Keegan Murray is the guy that jumps out to me.
Scotto: I like Mark Williams out of Duke. He’s going to be a potential lottery guy that’s a first-round pick for sure. He reminds me a lot of Tyson Chandler.
Agness: The Pacers have another first-round pick from the Cavaliers towards that mid to late first round. That’s where the Pacers could actually be able to get Mark Williams.