Central Notes: Pacers, Rick Carlisle, Cavs, Pistons


The Pacers don’t appear to be tanking to improve their draft position and probably couldn’t put much of a dent in it even if they tried, wrote Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star.

But sitting out guard Tyrese Haliburton (knee), center Myles Turner (back) and point guard T.J. McConnell (also back) over the past couple games shows Indiana isn’t exactly in win-now mode, either, Dopirak added. All three of those players could likely play if it were a playoff series.

Either way, the Pacers’ younger players are gaining some invaluable experience, coach Rick Carlisle indicated.

“It’s just valuable for our young guys to get this kind of experience,” Carlisle said, via Dopirak. “Drew Nembhard needs this kind of work at the point position. He needs to play 35 minutes a game a few games playing the point position. He played 36 tonight. He did a lot of good things in both games. There’s a different rhythm to that position, a different flow.”


The Cavs are viewing guard Sam Merrill as more than just a perimeter shooter. Merrill has appeared in just one game with Cleveland but was signed to a multiyear deal on Tuesday.

“I think he was leading or near the top of the G League in taking charges, so he’s got a willingness to scrap, a willingness to help on the defensive end of the floor,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said, via Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “He can create shots and make shots.”

Merrill’s deal is for three years, sources told Hoops Wire. The final two are likely non-guaranteed.

  • In case you missed it, guard Donovan Mitchell and the Cavs say they are confident about their playoff chances. We revealed as much here.


Forward Eugene Omoruyi stands a decent chance to be signed for the rest of the season following the expiration of his second 10-day contract, noted James Edwards III of The Athletic.

“I always say a guy who has his Ph.D. — poor, hungry, driven — they’re going to make it in this league,” coach Dwane Casey said, via Edwards. “He’s hungry.”

Omoruyi signed his second 10-day deal Monday, and the Pistons will have to determine what to do after it expires. He started in their win over the Pacers later that night.

“When I started (playing basketball), defense and energy were the only things that got me on the court,” Omoruyi said, via Edwards. “I just built it from there.”

  • Forward Isaiah Livers is trying to make a case for himself as part of the Pistons’ long-term plans, Edwards wrote in a separate piece. “With (GM Troy Weaver) and Dwane Casey, there’s nothing but respect from me,” Livers said, via Edwards.

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