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Around the Realm: Pacers have a new coach, Rockets aren’t blowing it up yet

Today's top news is the Pacers hiring Nate Bjorkgren from the Toronto Raptors.

Welcome to Around the Realm, where we look at the top news stories from around the league. If I missed any notable stories, feel free to discuss in the comments!

The Pacers have a head coach

The Indiana Pacers hired Nate Bjorkgren as their new head coach, as first reported by Shams Charania.

Bjorkgren comes from the Toronto Raptors where he as an assistant coach for Nick Nurse. It's hard to take issue with hiring from a successful franchise like the Raptors, but Bjorkgren comes as a bit of a surprising hire considering the Pacers had considered bigger names like Dave Joerger, Mike D'Antoni, and higher profile assistants like Chris Finch and Becky Hammon.

This leaves just Houston and New Orleans as teams without a head coach. Right now the Van Gundy brothers appear to be front runners for the jobs, with Jeff Van Gundy having met multiple times with Houston and Stan Van Gundy interviewing for the Pelicans job.

The remaining question mark for the Pacers is whether or not this move will make Victor Oladipo happy. There are rumors that he may be unhappy and seeking a trade.

Lakers request injury waiver for Luol Deng's salary

The Los Angeles Lakers requested that Luol Deng's salary be taken off their books due to career-ending injury.

If approved, it would clear $5 million per year from the Lakers cap sheet. The Lakers initially agreed to a buyout with Deng and stretched his salary in 2018 working out to $5 million per season. If the Lakers hadn't stretched Deng his contract would have been off the books this season but they wouldn't have had the cap space to acquire players who ultimately helped them win a title.

Fertitta says they aren't blowing up the Rockets

Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta attempted to put to rest the speculation that the Rockets will begin dismantling the team following the departures of Mike D'Antoni and Daryl Morey. Via the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen:

“You have James Harden and Russell Westbrook and you have almost 90 percent of your salaries tied up in them and Eric Gordon,” Fertitta said in his weekly CNBC appearance, “But anytime you have players like Eric, P.J. (Tucker), James and Russell, there’s no reason to blow up your roster.

It will be interesting to see if Fertitta sticks to this if the Rockets have any sort of slow start to next season.

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Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
1 month ago

Lakers should be denied that injury waiver for Deng. They gave him a ridiculous contract, cut him and THEN HE WENT AND PLAYED IN MINNESOTA! He played after they cut him!

If he never played again after they cut him then fine, but you can’t claim an injury waiver on a player that played in the league after he left you team. The league had better not grant that waiver.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
1 month ago
Reply to  Adamsite

So I did some digging on this. The Lakers are attempting to use some rule that says they can apply for injury waiver if a player plays no more than 25 more games in their career once they are waived. Deng went on to play 22 games for Minny THE NEXT SEASON.

The catch here, is Deng had effectively been benched in LA, by none other than Luke Walton. Deng and the team agreed to a buyout a month before the 2018-19 season even started. This was described as a mutual parting of way over a disagreement over playing time. A career ending injury was not part of the reported reasoning for Deng being cut.

Deng then went on to sign with Minny just days after being cut by the Lakers, where he went on to play 22 games before Tibs was fired and Deng was effectively benched 59 games into the season. Deng actually had a mini resurgence for the T-Wolves and showed little to no effects of an apparent career ending injury. By all accounts, Deng’s game and physical attributes just fell off a cliff in terms of production.

Lakers are going to have a hard time proving Deng suffered a career ending injury while he was with them, but he went on to play a role in Minny, whom he also passed a physical for before being signed.

Fuck the Lakers.

RORDOG
1 month ago

This isn’t really a current thing apparently, but when did Jeff Siegel go to Klutch Sports? His website, Early Bird Rights, was my favorite site to understand the cap situation heading into free agency. I went there to see if there was any info about the deadlines to exercise various team options, and found out it was shut down. Obviously, I’m sure being Klutch Sports’ in-house capologist is a much more lucrative endeavor, but now I need a new site for cap stuff. Spotrac is okay, but they’re adding a lot of paywalls, and I don’t care about this stuff that much.

Otis
1 month ago
Reply to  Greg

You guys use the updated ShamSports at all?

Wonderchild
1 month ago

I don’t think it’s completely normal for an owner to have to publicly state he isn’t blowing up his roster. Trust me, I know NBA disfunction. I’ve lived it for the better part of this millenium.

1 month ago
Reply to  Wonderchild

it would be detrimental for trade talks when an owner is openly saying those kind of things.

Sacto_J
1 month ago

Interesting choice for the Pacers, I’m curious if it was more of a financial move to not have to pay big dollars for a top tier, proven coach. Is Larry Bird still the GM/president, because that’s not a very Larry Bird type hire, historically speaking.

In regards to Deng and his previous employer’s attempts to curtail their budgetary constraints:
Fuck the Lakers.

The Rockets have made an extremely difficult situation for themselves; Despite all the talent those 3 players bring, that team has plenty of holes to plug before they’re viable championship contenders, and any GM / coach they bring in is going to have to concede to a play style they may not be comfortable with, possibly for a season or two (which we can definitely relate to, minus the all star talent.)
If they were offering James Harden for a maxed Fox and filler, anyone?
(for me, personally, that’s a HELL no but I’m curious…)

AirmaxPG
1 month ago
Reply to  Sacto_J

I’m pretty sure there’s some kind of rule about McNair not being able to trade with his former employer for a year or something.. but I could be wrong.

Even then, I think it would be really difficult to find any kind of mutually beneficial deal to be made between the Kings and Rockets. Their asset cupboard is pretty bare in terms of prospects and picks.

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