Offseason Outlook: Indiana Pacers

Guaranteed Contracts


Non-Guaranteed Contracts

Free Agents (Cap Holds)

Draft Picks

  • 1st Round (26th overall)

Cap Outlook

  • Guaranteed Salary (including options): $35,407,329
  • Non-Guaranteed Salary, Cap Holds: $28,124,627
  • Total (not including draft picks): $63,531,956

Pacers president Larry Bird took home Executive of the Year honors this season, and for good reason. No NBA team got more bang for its buck this year than the Pacers, who finished third in the Eastern Conference with one of the league's lowest cap figures. Indiana had so much free cap space that the club was able to absorb Leandro Barbosa's $7.6MM salary at the deadline without sending any salary the other way, and still had plenty of breathing room below the cap.

While the Pacers head into the summer with only about $35MM in guaranteed money committed to next year's salaries (assuming Dahntay Jones picks up his player option), that cap flexibility will be tested a little. Roy Hibbert and George Hill are facing restricted free agency, and both players figure to be attractive commodities. The Pacers have plenty of room to match offers for both players, but if Hibbert receives a $10MM+ contract and Hill's exceeds $5MM, that won't leave much remaining cap space for outside free agents.

That may not be a problem for the Pacers, who are typically restrained when it comes to free agent spending. Last offseason's David West signing represented the team's largest free agent investment in recent years, and his deal was a modest two years for $20MM — already this season, it will become an expiring contract. Still, if Pacers fans are hoping their team makes a major play for someone like Steve Nash, they may be disappointed. Unless the team decides to part ways with Hibbert or Hill or trade Danny Granger, it's unlikely the Pacers will be able to bring another major free agent aboard.

Still, with plenty of players on rookie contracts, such as Paul George, Tyler Hansbrough, and Darren Collison, the Pacers have plenty of options. Indiana could choose to shop some of its young players in trade packages, or simply lock them up and commit to building around them. Hansbrough and Collison will both be eligible for extensions this offseason.

Holding a late-first-rounder once again in this year's draft, the Pacers are unlikely to find a star at 26th overall, but the team has drafted well in recent years, and this year's draft class is a deep one. Indiana could target a talented prospect whose stock has slipped in recent weeks, such as Quincy Miller or Royce White, and should be able to add another affordable rotation player with the pick.

With a number of affordable rotation players on board already though, I expect the Pacers to at least explore the possibility of a major trade. Under Bird, Indiana has avoided making huge splashes, electing instead to make modest moves like the West signing or the trade for Hill — moves that improve the team incrementally. But it's unclear if the Pacers will be able to hang with the Eastern Conference elite if Granger is their best player. As good a scorer as he can be, he lacks the star power of a LeBron James, Derrick Rose, or even a Rajon Rondo. The Pacers' style certainly doesn't call for a Carmelo Anthony-esque isolation player, but an elite scorer that could be trusted with the ball in his hands in the last two minutes of the game would certainly help. I'm not sure that such a player is out there for a package centered around Granger, but it's worth a look.

Ultimately, I anticipate a relatively straightforward summer for the Pacers. Hibbert and Hill should be retained, and perhaps another free agent or two will be added to the nucleus using remaining cap space or exceptions. The Pacers have been patiently building their core for a few years now, and aren't about to blow things up after their most successful season yet. Whether or not another modest addition or two will be enough to challenge for the Eastern Conference title is up for debate, but I expect Indiana to try to find out.

Storytellers Contracts and Sham Sports were used in the creation of this post.


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