It wasn’t an overly busy trade deadline for the Pacers, who were involved in a handful of rumors but only ended up making one small deal. Indiana took on Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin from Houston along with a second-round pick, eating some salary in exchange for an asset.
Once Stauskas and Baldwin are officially waived, the Pacers will be in position to sign Wesley Matthews, who was released by the Knicks on Thursday and quickly reached an agreement with Indiana.
Speaking to J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star, Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard couldn’t directly address the Matthews signing, since the veteran swingman remains on waivers. But Pritchard explained the thinking behind the trade with the Rockets, talked a little about whether the Pacers considered additional moves, and looked ahead to the rest of the season.
Here are the highlights from Pritchard, via Michael:
On why the Pacers were willing to take on Stauskas’ and Baldwin’s contracts:
“I wanted to start getting a little bit more asset-rich. We had the opportunity to pick up a second-round pick. I wanted to get a second-round pick out of this trade deadline for the future. I want to continue to do that so when we get into other trading deadlines we have multiple assets. We haven’t had that. I want to make that a full complement to how we acquire players.”
On whether the Pacers had any other potential deadline activity in the works:
“There were more inbound calls to us than outbound calls. Other executives thought there was a chance that we could blow it up. We cut that down very fast. We want to compete. We’re in third place in the East right now. It’s hard for me to walk into that locker room and say, ‘Guys, we’re going to trade four players and we’re going to look to the future.’ That’s not fair to these guys. … Players send messages in different ways. I know the last two games, at least the one before (a 42-point win over the Lakers) was sending a message.”
On the Pacers’ outlook for the rest of the season:
“When Victor [Oladipo] went down you could easily justify, ‘Let’s take it back, let’s look to the future.’ I don’t like ‘tank.’ I don’t like that word. We could’ve looked at that. That never got off anybody’s tongue. We never thought about that. … I spoke to the team today. I always speak to the team right after a trade deadline. The truth is I couldn’t be more proud of this team. This team is competing their butts off. Maybe we’re not the most talented team in the East but I can see it in their eyes. They feel like that they can compete with anybody.”
On whether the Pacers will make another signing after adding Matthews:
“I don’t think there’ll be another. I’m not opposed to keep looking at that. There’s going to be one and I think we’re going to like the one.”