With the offseason in full gear in the NBA, its time to start looking at what every team could do. As a Pacers fan there are so many possibilities this summer, and while none of what I say here will likely happen, here are some ideas for what the Pacers should do this offseason.
My Dream Trade
Let’s start with my dream trade for the Pacers. Most fans have one, but they are unrealistic and blockbusters, this is neither. Pacers trade Sabonis and McDermott for Robert Covington and the 11th pick. Sabonis is a thriving young piece to put next to KAT, but the Pacers simply can’t afford to pay him after next season while Turner is still under contract. Neither are elite rebounders and play very similar roles, making them tough to play together. The Pacers are a smaller market team, and not being able to support a large tax bill, it is time to move on from Sabonis.
This trade brings in Robert Covington who has proven to be an ELITE defensive player that would fit coach McMillan’s philosophy. He thrives off-ball shooting which is good with Vic Oladipo and Aaron Holiday on the roster, and the team showing interest in another ball-handler like D’Angelo Russell. With two ball handlers, the Pacers will need more floor spacing and shooters on wing, making trading Sabonis for a 3 and D player even more important. Add in the 11th pick to make up for Sabonis’ potential. I’d even be willing to give them the 18th or a future 1st back if they needed.
First I’ll talk about that 11th pick that the Pacers won’t actually own, before diving into the 18th pick that the Pacers do own. The dream target for the Pacers might be Rui Hachimura especially if Sabonis is moved. Even if he is not moved, he is a free agent next year and the Pacers need to look towards the future. Hachimura is a great forward who can stretch the floor at PF while also being a good defender. He’s athletic with a jump shot that looks good. It seems less and less likely he will be available at 18, but at 11 the Pacers would likely be able to get him. If somehow he was gone, Cam Reddish or another would fall out and they could provide the Pacers with potential and a shooter.
Now looking at the 18th pick the Pacers still need to find players that will spread the floor with D’Angelo Russell. Nassir Little could be a steal with high upside but is not a great fit in Indiana. Tyler Herro could fit next to Vic, but if Russell or another ball handler comes, he would be pushed out and he is not a great defender. When in the game likely with Russell the defense would struggle and be a major issue. After Rui, the Pacers must look at Nickeil Alexander-Walker that could play off ball while being a strong defender. Romeo could be a popular pick as a hometown player but struggles to shoot and also thrives with the ball in his hand.
Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield both are slight reaches that make sense in Indiana. Grant helps stretch the floor and is a strong rebounder to pair next to Turner who sometimes struggles to rebound the ball. Schofield is big enough to play the 3 and a good defender. He shot 42% from deep and could work next to Vic, Turner, and a player like Russell.
Photo Credit: Indiana Sports Coverage
You will notice a lot of this article is about getting D’Angelo Russell and setting the roster up for that. Right now he does not fit the roster with 2 big men crowding the lane and not enough spot-up shooters for him and Vic to kick to. These are a few other names to look at if the Pacers miss on Russell.
Tyus Jones – In a lot of articles I write this summer you will see his name. Tyus has been stuck in Minnesota (which he loves) behind Rose and Teague. Just one year ago, with Teague out, Tyus along with the other 4 starters on the Wolves comprised the best lineup in the NBA. Just him instead of Teague in the lineup. With Teague in the lineup, they missed the playoffs. Tyus was an elite defender that year and has always made players around him. He won 4 state championships in high school and a national championship his only year of college, he was a part of the best lineup in the NBA, and just last year set the NBA record for assist to turnover ratio (6.9 to 1). It still baffles me he has not gotten a real chance. I know he is not the sexy starter many fans want, but he is a great pure point guard who makes everyone around him better.
Bring Back Bogey – Bojan Bogdanovic (also known as Bogey) was a very good player on offense after Vic got hurt, and his defense is improving. If Russell turns the Pacers down, adding a pure point like Tyus and bringing back Bogey could be the best option for the Pacers. Kemba has been a target in Indiana for years but that seems more like a pipe dream now.
Malcolm Brogdon – If the Bucks choose not to match him, he could be a good fit next to Oladipo. It would allow Vic to play on ball more and give him a great shooter next to him. Brogdon is a great defender, and if the Pacers are going to win defense is going to be crucial.
Khris Middleton – Another Bucks player. The Bucks are again likely to bring him back, but he is similar to Bogey on offense with much better defense. Could be a great fit in Indiana.
Thad Young – If the veteran is willing to come back cheaper to help build the team, he could be a great guy in the locker room and is able to stretch the floor enough in the modern NBA to help the team.
Rudy Gay – Gay would be a good 3rd option if Russell does not come. He could be a good scorer while Vic is out, and his competent on defense.
Danny Green – He will likely go to a contender, but the Pacers are a good team. He can shoot and play defense and I am sure you’ve noticed that’s what the Pacers really need.