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The Indiana Pacers announced Monday that Larry Bird is stepping down as President of Basketball Operations with current Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Kevin Pritchard assuming Bird’s position. Bird will remain with the team in an advisory role.

“I felt it was time to step away in a full-time capacity,” said Bird. “This has nothing to do with my health or our team. I’m 60 years old and I want to do other things away from basketball. I will do some scouting for the Pacers, NBA, college, international, do some appearances and stay in a capacity to advise senior basketball management. I love the Pacers, I grew up with the Pacers and admired them from a very young age. I want to thank the fans for their support throughout my career. I also want to thank (owner) Herb Simon for the many years of loyalty and for allowing me to stay with the team in a different role.”

“This is not a shock to me as Larry has always been up front about someday stepping down,” said Simon. “I thank him for all that he has done and am very pleased he is remaining with the Pacers in a different capacity.”

The 49-year-old Pritchard has been with the Pacers five years, first as Director of Player Personnel before becoming General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations/General Manager. He previously had been General Manager for the Portland Trail Blazers from 2007-10 where he helped turn around a team that in 2008-09 posted the sixth-best record in franchise history (54-28) and made the playoffs for the first time in six seasons.

“I want to thank Herb, Larry and Donnie (Walsh) for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Pritchard. “As someone who grew up in Indiana (he was born in Bloomington), I’ve always felt the Pacers’ pride. The goal is always going to be the same as it has been through Donnie and Larry: to make this a world-class organization.”

“I have the utmost faith in Kevin taking over,” said Simon. “He has learned from a couple of great ones, Donnie and Larry, while with the Pacers. We all feel he will do a tremendous job.”

Added Bird, “I’m very happy Kevin is stepping in and glad another Hoosier is in line to take over this job. He has a lot of experience from the past five years as a GM and he’s ready to step into a leading role. With us, he has had his own ideas on the draft, players, and now he gets an opportunity to push his basketball abilities to the forefront. His role will be no different than mine was. He will make all final decisions on all basketball-related matters. There can only be one voice and it will be his.”

Pritchard played collegiately at Kansas and was part of the Jayhawks’ 1988 National Championship team. He played in the NBA with Golden State, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami and Washington. After playing, he was the coach/general manager of the Kansas City Knights of the ABA, winning a championship in 2002. He then scouted for San Antonio, became Portland’s Director of Player Personnel in 2004 and in the 2004-05 season was the Blazers’ interim coach for 27 games. In 2006, he became Portland’s assistant general manager before becoming GM in 2007.

Indiana Pacers forward Paul George and LA Clippers guard Chris Paul today were named the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month, respectively, for games played in April.

George averaged an NBA-high 32.8 points and added 8.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists as the Pacers went 5-1 in April to clinch a playoff spot for the sixth time in seven seasons. He scored at least 30 points in four of six games, including a season-high 43 points in a 135-130 double-overtime loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on April 2. The 26-year-old forward shot 54.8 percent from the field and 42.4 percent from three-point range for the month. He also finished third in the NBA in steals with 2.17 per game. George and the Pacers will visit the Cavaliers on Saturday, April 15 for Game 1 of a first-round postseason series (3 p.m. ET, ABC).

Paul led the Clippers to a 5-0 month behind averages of 21.2 points, 9.8 assists (fourth in the NBA) and 5.0 rebounds, helping LA clinch the fourth seed in the Western Conference and secure home-court advantage against the Utah Jazz in the first round of the playoffs. The 31-year-old guard shot 54.4 percent from the field and 52.6 percent from three-point range and went 22-for-22 from the free throw line in April. He finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in a 98-87 road win against the San Antonio Spurs on April 8. The Clippers, who have made the playoffs a franchise-record six consecutive seasons since acquiring Paul, will host the Jazz in Game 1 on April 15 (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Here is a recap of April for George and Paul:

Paul George, Indiana Pacers
April 4 vs. Toronto: Notched 35 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in a 108-90 victory against the Raptors.
April 6 vs. Milwaukee: Finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds and five steals in a 104-89 win over the Bucks.
April 12 vs. Atlanta: Made five three-pointers on his way to 32 points and added 11 rebounds in a 104-86 victory over the Hawks.

Chris Paul, LA Clippers
April 1 vs. L.A. Lakers: Recorded 29 points, 12 assists and four rebounds in a 115-104 win against the Lakers.
April 5 vs. Dallas: Registered 22 points, 11 assists and three rebounds in a 112-101 win over the Mavericks.
April 10 vs. Houston: Contributed 19 points, nine assists, five rebounds and four steals in a 125-96 victory against the Rockets.

Other nominees for the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month were Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Cleveland’s LeBron James, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Houston’s James Harden, the Clippers’ Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, Portland’s Damian Lillard, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Utah’s Gordon Hayward.

The Indiana Pacers’ Nate McMillan and the LA Clippers’ Doc Rivers today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month, respectively, for games played in April.

McMillan guided the Pacers to a 5-1 record during April, tied for the best mark in the Eastern Conference. Indiana closed the month and the regular season with five consecutive victories to secure the seventh playoff seed in the East. For the month, the Pacers ranked third in the NBA in scoring (115.5 ppg) and fourth in field goal percentage (50.1) and point differential (plus-11.7). Indiana’s only defeat was a 135-130 double-overtime loss to its first-round postseason opponent, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Game 1 of the series is Saturday, April 15 at 3 p.m. ET on ABC.

Behind Rivers, the Clippers went 5-0 in April to finish as the NBA’s only undefeated team for the month and extend their regular-season-ending winning streak to seven games. LA outscored its opponents by a league-best 16.4 points per game and led the NBA in field goal percentage (51.5). On the final day of the regular season, the Clippers defeated the Sacramento Kings 115-95 to clinch the fourth playoff seed in the Western Conference. The Clippers will host the Utah Jazz in Game 1 of their first-round series on April 15 at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Other nominees for the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month were Boston’s Brad Stevens, Chicago’s Fred Hoiberg, Denver’s Michael Malone, Golden State’s Steve Kerr, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Luke Walton, Miami’s Erik Spoelstra, Portland’s Terry Stotts, Toronto’s Dwane Casey and Utah’s Quin Snyder.

Paul George and Gerald Henderson fined by NBA

Indiana Pacers forward Paul George and Philadelphia 76ers guard Gerald Henderson have each been fined $25,000, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

George has been fined for public criticism of the officiating following the Pacers’ 120-111 win over the 76ers on Monday, April 10 at Wells Fargo Center.

Henderson has been fined for his Flagrant Foul 2, for throwing an elbow to the head of George with 2:59 remaining in the fourth quarter of the same game.

To view the on-court incident, click on this link.

Lance Stephenson is back on the Pacers

Lance Stephenson is once again a member of the Indiana Pacers. The team signed him to a contract today.

Stephenson, a 6-5 guard/forward, was drafted by the Pacers in the Second Round of the 2010 NBA Draft as the 40th overall pick. He played four seasons with the Pacers and averaged 9.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game in the regular season. He played in 42 games in the playoffs with the Pacers, including twice in the Eastern Conference Finals, and in those 42 playoff games he averaged 10.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists.

According to the Indianapolis Star, “Stephenson, the tenacious, versatile and mercurial combo guard who once flourished in a blue and gold Indiana uniform, will make his stunning return to the Pacers later this week and be reunited with George. He signed a three-year, $12 million deal Thursday that includes a team option in the final year of the contract.”

“We’re very happy to have Lance back as part of our team,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “We always knew he wanted to come back here, and we feel now is the right time, not only for the rest of this season, but moving forward. We look forward to having a long relationship with him, because we know what he can bring to our franchise, both on and off the court.”

After the Pacers, Stephenson played for Charlotte, the L.A. Clippers, Memphis, New Orleans and most recently with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He has career averages of 8.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.

Stephenson will join the team in Cleveland for Sunday’s game.

Pacers waive Rodney Stuckey

Pacers waive Rodney Stuckey

The Indiana Pacers have requested waivers on injured 6-5 guard Rodney Stuckey.

Stuckey appeared in 39 games off the bench for Indiana this season while averaging 7.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.

In a recent injury report, the Pacers said Stuckey will be out for the next 4-6 weeks. The 2017 NBA playoffs begin in around 2.5 weeks.

In his three seasons with the Pacers, Stuckey recorded averages of 10.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game over 168 appearances.

“We want to thank Rodney for his commitment to our franchise in his three years with the Pacers,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “He was a positive influence not only to our team but also in the community. We wish him nothing but the best in the future.”

The Pacers’ roster now stands at 14 players.

Here are the latest Indiana Pacers injuries:

Rodney Stuckey has a left patellar tendon strain and is expected to miss four to six weeks. He sustained the injury in Sunday night’s victory over Philadelphia.

Al Jefferson will miss at least two weeks with a sprained left ankle. He will be reevaluated at that time. He sustained the injury in Sunday’s win over Philadelphia.

Glenn Robinson III remains out with a left calf strain and will be reevaluated late next week.

From the NBA down to the D-League, players with Indiana ties were flashing their skills all over New Orleans on Saturday during the NBA All-Star weekend.

But let’s start with the show-stealing Glenn Robinson III, the Gary native and Indiana Pacer who blew away his competition to win the 2017 All-Star Slam Dunk Contest.

Robinson beat Derrick Jones Jr. of the Phoenix Suns in the final round. Robinson clinched the win with a perfect 50 on the final dunk of the night — going over three people for a reverse dunk and nearly touching his head on the rim in the process…

Robinson started with a dunk where he leaped over Indiana teammate Paul George, grabbing the ball from the All-Star before his slam that merited 44 points…

DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers and Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic were eliminated in the first round. Gordon finished second to Minnesota’s Zach LaVine in last year’s contest.

– Indianapolis Star

Pacers having rebounding problems

Here’s the Indianapolis Star with some insight on the Pacers, whose lack of size is probably hurting their ability to rebound the ball:

Roy Hibbert, David West, Andrew Bynum. None of those Indiana Pacers’ trees of yesteryear will come striding through the Bankers Life Fieldhouse doors anytime soon — at least not in a Pacers uniform.

But the truth is any one of them could help this team in one of their biggest areas of need: rebounding.

Entering Friday, the Pacers are 23rd in the league in total rebounding — averaging 42.3 per game — and have been out-worked on the glass in 10 of 12 games. That’s led to a differential of minus-4.7 per contest, the fourth lowest ratio in the league.

It should not come as much of a surprise to the Pacers or their fans that Indiana has struggled to pull down missed shots. With team President Larry Bird’s offseason emphasis on making this team a sleeker, faster unit, the roster was hit with an almost inevitable consequence.

Players got small. According to FiveThirtyEight.com, the Pacers entered the season the third-shortest team in the league.

Pacers sign Ben Bentil

Pacers sign Ben Bentil

The Indiana Pacers have signed 6-9 free agent forward Ben Bentil to a contract.

Bentil, who played collegiately at Providence, was a second-round pick (51st overall) of the Boston Celtics in the 2016 NBA Draft.

The Pacers this season are built around guards Jeff Teague, Monta Ellis and Rodney Stuckey, forwards Paul George and Thaddeus Young, and centers Myles Turner and Al Jefferson. George is the big star of the group.

Pacers waive Jeremy Evans and Julyan Stone

The Indiana Pacers on Sunday waived 6-9 forward Jeremy Evans and 6-6 guard Julyan Stone.

Evans appeared in two preseason games and did not score.

Stone played in five games, scoring one point while averaging two rebounds per game.

The Pacers’ roster now stands at 15.

Pacers exercise option on Myles Turner contract

The Indiana Pacers exercised their team option on center Myles Turner’s contract for the 2017-18 season.

This was an expected move. Turner is one of the team’s main young building blocks.

The 6-foot-11, 243-pound Turner averaged 10.3 points and 5.5 rebounds in 22.8 minutes per game last season as a rookie.

pacers

The Pacers signed veteran free agent forward/center Kevin Seraphin and rookie guard Nick Zeisloft today.

The 26-year-old Seraphin, 6-10, 278, was a first-round pick (17th overall) of the Chicago Bulls in the 2010 NBA Draft. Born in Cayenne, French Guiana, France, Seraphin was traded to Washington in July, 2010, and played with the Wizards for five seasons before playing with the New York Knicks last season. He has career averages of 6.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.

Zeisloft, 6-4, 185, played last season at Indiana where he averaged 6.5 points and 1.6 rebounds per game.

Pacers sign Julyan Stone and Alex Poythress

The Pacers signed Julyan Stone and Alex Poythress today.

Stone is a 6-6 guard that is a three-year veteran of the NBA, spending time with both the Denver Nuggets and the Toronto Raptors. He has NBA career averages of 1.3 points and 1.1 assists per game. He also played in the D-League, where he averaged 4.7 points and 4.3 assists per game. He played collegiately at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).

Alex Poythress is a 6-8 forward from the University of Kentucky. Heplayed four seasons for the Wildcats and in his senior year he averaged 10.2 points and 6.0 rebounds. He also played for the Orlando Magic this past summer in Summer League.

Pacers sign Aaron Brooks

Pacers sign Aaron Brooks

The Pacers have signed veteran free agent point guard Aaron Brooks to a contract.

With Jeff Teague and Monta Ellis as the likely starters in the Pacers’ backcourt, and Rodney Stuckey usually getting big minutes off the bench, Brooks’ role will likely be minimal.

The 6-foot, 161-pound Brooks is an eight-year NBA veteran who has played with Houston, Phoenix, Sacramento, Denver and Chicago. He was a first-round pick (26th overall) of the Rockets in 2007 after playing collegiately at Oregon. Over his NBA career, he has averaged 10.7 points and 3.2 assists with his best season in 2009-10 when he averaged 19.6 points and 5.3 assists with Houston. In 2010, he was the NBA’s Most Improved Player.

“Aaron is a proven point guard in the NBA,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “He can create and shoot the three. He’s another scorer for our second unit who plays at a high level at both ends of the court.”

Pacers sign Al Jefferson

Pacers sign Al Jefferson

The Indiana Pacers have signed veteran free agent center Al Jefferson to a multi-year contract.

Jefferson’s deal is reportedly a $30 million dollar contract over three years.

This will be an interesting fit, as the Pacers were looking to play more up-tempo basketball, while Jefferson is best when the offense gets slowed down and he’s able to operate in the post.

The 6-10, 289-pound Jefferson spent the last three seasons of his 12-year NBA career with Charlotte. Drafted by the Boston Celtics in 2004 (first round, 15th overall) out of Prentiss (Mississippi) High School, Jefferson was with Boston three seasons before being traded to Minnesota. He spent three years there before being traded to Utah, where he played for three seasons. He then signed as a free agent with Charlotte in 2013.

“We want to welcome Al to the Indiana Pacers,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “Al is a good, solid, veteran player. We know what he brings to our team, scoring, rebounding and he’s a handful down in the post. Not only do we think he’ll help us a lot on the court, we think he will be a good mentor for Myles Turner. He’s a proven player in this league and we are very confident he will help us in many ways.”

Jefferson has career averages of 16.7 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. He averaged a career best of 23.1 in points in 2008-09 and a career best 11.1 rebounds in 2007-08. In 2014, he was a third team All-NBA selection.

Mavericks trade Jeremy Evans to Pacers

Mavericks trade Jeremy Evans to Pacers

The Dallas Mavericks have acquired the rights to center Stanko Barać from the Indiana Pacers in exchange for forward Jeremy Evans, the rights to guard-forward Emir Preldžić and cash considerations.

The 28-year-old Evans is a six-year veteran who was with Utah his first five seasons and the Mavericks last season. He has career averages of 3.5 points and 2.6 rebounds and was the 2012 NBA Slam Dunk champion. The 6-9, 200-pound Evans played collegiately at Western Kentucky and was the 55th overall pick (second round) by Utah in the 2007 NBA Draft.
“Jeremy is big and athletic,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “We’re anxious to get him here to put him through our strength and conditioning program. We know he’ll be a good fit with the players we have.”

Evans (6-9, 200) was signed as a free agent by Dallas on July 31, 2015.

Barać (7-1, 280) is a Croatian center who last played for Pallacanestro Olimpia Milano (Italy), averaging 6.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 17 games. He helped Olimpia win the Italian Cup in 2016. Barać has also played professionally in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Spain, Turkey and Croatia.

Preldžić (6-9, 220) last played for Darüşşafaka Spor Kulübü (Turkey) and averaged 6.4 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 31 games.

jeff teague

The Atlanta Hawks have acquired the draft rights to Taurean Prince, the 12th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, from the Utah Jazz as part of a three-team trade, it was announced today by General Manager Wes Wilcox. As part of the deal, the Hawks will send guard Jeff Teague to Indiana and the Jazz will receive guard George Hill from the Pacers.

“Taurean has many of the qualities that we value in our program…we are excited to add his competitiveness, toughness, versatility, and desire to improve,” Wilcox said. “We would also like to thank Coach Scott Drew and Baylor Basketball for their help throughout the scouting process. Taurean is eager to get started and we look forward to beginning his development with our coaches and athletic performance team.”

“I would like to thank Jeff for his seven years with the organization, and our three years together,” said Hawks President of Basketball Operations/Head Coach Mike Budenholzer. “Jeff developed into a key contributor and played an integral role in the team’s recent success. We wish him well in the next chapter of his career.”

Prince, a four-year letterman at Baylor, averaged 15.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals in 34 games as a senior while garnering First Team All-Big 12 honors. The 6’8 forward was also named Second Team All-Big 12 as junior as well as the league’s Sixth Man of the Year after recording 13.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.3 assists in 33 contests. Prince owns career averages of 10.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists while shooting .460 from the field, .376 from three-point range and .718 from the free throw line in 129 games.

Teague, an Indianapolis native, comes to the Pacers from the Atlanta Hawks as part of a three-way trade. The Pacers send guard George Hill to Utah and the Jazz send the 12th overall pick in June’s NBA Draft, Baylor’s Taurean Prince, to Atlanta. Young was acquired from Brooklyn in exchange for the Pacers’ first-round pick (20th overall) in the June draft, Michigan’s Caris LeVert.

“We want to thank George for his five seasons with us,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “He’s a great guy who did a lot for the community. We wish him nothing but the best. With Jeff, we think he brings something we haven’t had in a true point guard. We think he fits in with what we’re trying to do. He has speed, the ability to create for others and he can score. We look forward to working with him.

“Thaddeus is a long, athletic power forward who can defend multiple positions. He was a 15-point scorer last year and averaged nine rebounds a game. We think he’s a good fit between Myles (Turner) and Paul (George).”

Teague, 28, grew up in Indianapolis (Pike High School), played collegiately at Wake Forest and was a first-round pick (19th overall) of the Hawks in 2009. In seven seasons with Atlanta, Teague averaged 12.0 points and 5.0 assists. Last season, he averaged 15.7 points and 5.9 assists per game. In 2015, he was named to the NBA All-Star team.

Hill (6-3, 188, IUPUI) appeared in 74 games (73 starts) for the Pacers this season, averaging 12.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting a career-high .408 (128-314) from three-point range in 34.1 minutes of action. Hill’s seventh-seeded Pacers then pushed second-seed Toronto to seven games as he averaged 13.6 points on .481 (13-27) three-point shooting.

Originally selected in the first round (26th overall selection) of the 2008 NBA Draft by San Antonio, the 30-year-old guard has appeared in 550 career games (325 starts) over eight seasons with San Antonio and Indiana, and owns career averages of 11.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists and .376 three-point shooting in 28.8 minutes. His teams have made the playoffs in seven of his eight seasons and he has appeared in a total of 75 playoffs games (64 starts) averaging 12.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.1 steals and a .371 three-point percentage. Hill helped the Indiana Pacers to two straight Eastern Conference Finals appearances in 2013 and 2014.

Prior to the NBA, the Indianapolis native played four seasons at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (2004-08) where he was named The Summit League Player of the Year (2008) and All-Summit League First Team twice (2006, 2008). For his collegiate career, Hill appeared in 94 games and averaged 17.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 33.4 minutes.

He will wear uniform #3 for the Jazz.

Nets trade Thaddeus Young to Pacers

Nets trade Thaddeus Young to Pacers

The Brooklyn Nets have acquired the draft rights to Caris LeVert, the 20th pick in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft, along with a future second round pick, from the Indiana Pacers in exchange for forward Thaddeus Young.

LeVert (6’7”, 205) played four seasons at Michigan and helped the team to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including trips to the National Championship game in 2013 and the Elite Eight in 2014. In 103 career games (70 starts) for the Wolverines, LeVert averaged 10.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 26.4 minutes per game. As a senior, the Columbus, Ohio, native posted averages of 16.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 30.9 minutes per game while shooting .506 from the field and .446 from 3-point range in 15 games (14 starts) during an injury-shortened season. He earned 2014 All-Big Ten second-team and 2014 NCAA Midwest Regional All-Tournament team honors following his sophomore season, when he averaged 12.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 34.0 minutes per game in 37 games.

Young played in 101 games (93 starts) with the Nets after joining the team via trade from Minnesota on February 19, 2015, averaging 14.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.5 steals in 32.0 minutes per game. A nine-year NBA veteran, Young has appeared in 665 career games with Philadelphia, Minnesota and Brooklyn, holding averages of 13.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.4 steals in 30.6 minutes per game.

Report: Nets trading Thaddeus Young to Pacers

The Nets finished last season with a 21-61 record, the third worst in the league, ahead of only the Lakers and Sixers. A Brooklyn rebuild is clearly in order, which is difficult when a team has traded lots of first round draft picks away. But they have reportedly taken a step in the rebuild direction today, as reported by Woj/Yahoo Sports:

Brooklyn has traded forward Thad Young to the Indiana Pacers for the 20th pick and a future 2nd rounder, league sources tell @TheVertical.

Young, a power forward, averaged 15.1 points and 9.0 rebounds per game last season and now gets to play alongside star Paul George.

Both the Nets and Pacers could make more moves soon. It’ll be interesting to see if the Nets deal center Brook Lopez, who is their best-remaining commodity.

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