The Pacers made an effort to trade for Bulls guard Garrett Temple, a source with knowledge of the negotiations tells J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (subscription required; hat tip to Blog A Bull). However, according to Michael, Chicago “showed no interest” in sending Temple to a division rival.
Temple has played a regular rotation role in Chicago this season, averaging 8.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 2.1 APG in 33 contests (28.4 MPG). While those numbers don’t exactly pop off the page, Michael notes that Temple is capable of guarding a variety of guards and wings, can knock down 3-pointers (.347 career 3PT%), and would provide the sort of veteran experience and intangibles that Indiana seeks. He’s also on an affordable $4.8MM expiring contract.
The Bulls and Pacers are currently neck-and-neck in the Eastern Conference standings, with matching 16-18 records putting them in a tie for the No. 9 seed. So in addition to being a division rival, Indiana is one of Chicago’s prime competitors in the playoff race, making the Bulls’ reluctance to make a deal unsurprising.
According to Michael, the Pacers initially weren’t planning on making any major moves before the trade deadline, and still may not — if Caris LeVert and T.J. Warren are able to return at some point in the second half, that duo is capable of making a bigger impact than just about any other deadline acquisition. Michael says that LeVert could be back before the trade deadline, with Warren’s return coming later.
However, after starting the season with eight wins in 12 games, the Pacers are just 8-14 since, and could be in the market for a proven veteran to help stabilize the defense. Michael points to Thaddeus Young as a player who would be an ideal fit for Indiana, but acknowledges the Bulls are probably even less likely to move Young than Temple.