Discover more from Fieldhouse Files with Scott Agness
My week with jury duty and a roundup of Pacers news
Last week was newsy — with several league announcements, plus updates to current and former Pacers.
It’s been quite a week, hasn’t it?
For me, I was quieter than normal on here because I was summoned for jury duty for the first time. And, as a reporter, I was both excited and fascinated to participate.
I received the bright yellow letter in the mail twice before, but both times I wasn’t needed. And thankfully, this one requested my presence two weeks after the Pacers’ season was finished.
In Marion County, it no longer goes down inside the City-County building, which is just a few blocks north of The Fieldhouse. Now, there’s a year-old building about 10 minutes east of downtown Indianapolis. And I wanted to give the process its proper respect, so I showed up in a suit and tie. Oops. Among maybe 300 others summoned (for multiple cases), I was the only one.
And it’s probably among the reasons I was approved by the plaintiff and defense attorneys to serve. (Most potential jurors were dressed comfortably, in jeans and a hoodie or jacket. No need to dress business or even business casual for this, y’all.)
I’m obsessed with process, the way in which things happen and why, so this was an eye-opening experience. And what made this opportunity memorable was the judge and the jurors with whom I served. Only one of us had before — and she said it was roughly 40 years ago.
It was a diverse group — age, gender and background — and let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised (and proud) with how seriously everyone took it. Seriously.
Nobody was checked out, bored or trying to hurry through the process. The best part was going around the table so each juror could share their perspective on the case several times, collaborating and then uniting to make a decision.
We weren’t all in agreement immediately and that was fine. But when it was time for the verdict, there were zero doubts in the room. (We were required, by law, to reach a unanimous decision.)
That reminded me of the motto Kevin Pritchard repeats often — “We agree, disagree, and then unite.”
That’s what this experience was like.
It was a criminal case that took several days. I felt sorry for those involved, sorry for the nurse, officer and detective who were called to the stand to answer questions about this September night and how they did their job. It’s not an exaggeration to estimate at least 50 lives being impacted by this one incident.
I could go on and on about the experience, but that's not why you’re here. (If you have any questions, though, feel free to reach out.) I share this because, like me, you may be curious. There were no cameras in the room, but the judge said that would be returning on May 1.
As April concludes, all but one first-round playoff series have been resolved. That’s Warriors-Kings with a Game 7 to be played on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET. And with either result, it will lead to an intriguing second-round series against the Lakers.
And with that, let’s get into it — a rundown of many news items that unfolded over the last week. Several of the subjects will become larger stories themselves.
✍️ New CBA Ratified
The NBA and National Basketball Players Association reached agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement earlier this month and last Wednesday, it was ratified. So it was approved and finalized.
And the seven-year deal takes effect on July 1, the start of the NBA’s fiscal year.
The pages and pages of the new CBA are being written up and are not yet public. But there’s many changes that will come from this, like stricter penalties on teams repeatedly over the tax, an additional two-way slot, new in-season tournament and other new ways to go about business.
Did you know that Ted Wu, the Pacers’ VP of Basketball Operations and Cap Management, helped write the previous CBA? He was a guy teams would call to get clarity on a situation or whether a move was allowed. That’s a huge asset to have in the front office.
Once the new CBA is out, all front offices will dig into it and plan accordingly.
🕘 NBA Finals Tip Times Bumped Up 30 Minutes
The league also announced a change to the upcoming NBA Finals schedule. Instead of starting most games at 9:00 p.m. ET, they will be moved up to 8:30 p.m. ET. Games 2 and 7 (if necessary) will be at 8:00 p.m. ET.
This is a positive step, both for current fans and in attracting a new audience. With games starting after 9 p.m, how many kids are even up by the time this marquee event tips off? Certainly not very many in the Eastern Time Zone, like Indiana.
Already this postseason, Lakers-Grizzlies and Warriors-Kings have been two of the featured matchups and they’re having games end after midnight on the east side of the country. I’d love to see that improve. This is a start.
All Finals games air on ABC.
🌵 And Then There Was One…
NBA team without a G League affiliate.
The Portland Trail Blazers, one of two teams without a G League team, were approved to operate a team — and they plan to do so at the Chiles Center on the campus of the University of Portland beginning next season.
The only NBA franchise without one is the Phoenix Suns, who are now under new ownership with Mat Ishbia taking over in February. He’s already been bold and shown his willingness to spend money in acquiring Kevin Durant at the trade deadline, so I’d be surprised if they don’t establish their own G League affiliate by this time next year.
The G League is now up to 31 teams, including the G League Ignite and Mexico City Capitanes.
📺 Lloyd Pierce On NBA TV
It was a pleasant surprise to see Pacers assistant coach Lloyd Pierce on my television during the playoff games on Wednesday. He appeared on the NBA TV studio show, which originates in Atlanta — where Pierce lives and previously coached the Hawks.
He’s well-spoken and in one segment, he discussed defensive changes made that were having a positive impact on the game. I’d like to see more of LP during the postseason.
🤕 Oladipo Undergoes Surgery
One week ago, former Pacers guard Victor Oladipo went down clutching his left knee in a playoff game against the Milwaukee Bucks. He had just played 26 minutes in the previous game and while he’s not the player he once was, he was having an impact.
And now he has another setback.
Oladipo, who turns 31 years old this week, suffered a torn patellar tendon in his left knee and underwent surgery on Thursday in New York. It was done by Dr. Jonathan Glashow — the same doctor who performed Oladipo’s second surgery on his right quad tendon (on May 13, 2021) after the first one, by a different doctor, was ultimately unsuccessful.
To be clear, this injury was to his other knee, not the one he suffered his first major injury to while with the Pacers. It’s another blow for a player who once thrived on his speed, sharp movements and ability to stop quickly.
The good news: Oladipo re-signed with the Heat last summer and after originally agreeing to a one-year deal, they stretched it to a two-year deal. That player option for next season is worth $9.45 million.
💨 Guess Who’s Back, Back Again?
Lance is back. And true to his nickname, Born Ready, Stephenson arrived in Puerto Rico on Friday and finished with 29 points, eight rebounds and four assists in his first game playing for Leones de Ponce.
🏀 Fever, WNBA Open Camp
Sunday, the final day in April, marks the start of the WNBA season. The Fever and other teams open camp.
It’s a new era for the Fever. New head coach (Christie Sides). The No. 1 pick (Aliyah Boston) for the first time in franchise history. And they’re finally back inside The Fieldhouse for good.
While $360 million in renovations were completed to the building over the last three Pacers offseason, the Fever were left without a home. Last season, they had home games at THREE different venues in town: Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Hinkle Fieldhouse and Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Now they are settled into their quarters at the north east end of The Fieldhouse. And with all games are in one spot, it makes it easier on the team and fans alike, and it allows for them to establish a true home court again.