As the trade deadline approaches and teams look to make moves that fit within their financial restraints, the Pacers have an asset no other club has — over $14MM in cap space. Indiana president Larry Bird plans to take advantage of that flexibility, telling Conrad Brunner of NBA.com that he's exploring moves to improve the team.
"I'm not afraid to make another move now to strengthen our bench or maybe even (add) one or two guys," Bird said. "We're still out there looking and whatever we can do to make this team better, we're going to do…. It could be a trade, but it's probably going to be picking up somebody off another team just so they can get some money off (the salary cap). We've got a lot of calls in, talked to a lot of people and we're going to try to continue to strengthen this team."
As I outlined Wednesday when I discussed some of the trade rules under the league's Collective Bargaining Agreement, most trade restrictions apply to over-the-cap teams, so the Pacers are in an enviable position. They have about $14.27MM in cap room, meaning they could absorb one or more players' salaries without sending any players back in return. For instance, the Pacers are a logical destination for Chris Kaman and his $14.03MM cap figure, since no other team could acquire the Hornets' center without sending back salary.
Bird's comments indicate the team doesn't intend to compromise its long-term plan or make changes to its core. I'd expect any deal the Pacers pull off before March 15th would see them giving up no more than a future second-round pick or perhaps a protected first-rounder.