After a disappointing 25-win season for the Pacers, Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star contends that the team should continue to reshape its roster this offseason, with a focus on building around a core duo of Tyrese Haliburton and Myles Turner. Doyel thinks that 2021 first-round picks Isaiah Jackson and Chris Duarte should be in the conversation for the starting lineup next season, but shouldn’t be considered locks by any means.
Doyel would also like to see Indiana part with Malcolm Brogdon and Buddy Hield, and not bring back free agent T.J. Warren, who only played four games over the past two seasons (zero in 2021/22) while recovering from consecutive stress fractures in his left foot.
The draft will be key, Doyel notes. The Pacers have a 42.1% chance of landing a top-four pick, and will own the Cavs’ first-round pick if Cleveland beats Atlanta and advances as the No. 8 seed (the Cavs keep the pick otherwise). Indiana also owns a couple of second-round picks from Houston (No. 31) and Phoenix (No. 58).
Here’s more on the Pacers:
- Haliburton said he had a humbling experience as a teenager when he faced off against another future NBA player, according to James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. “I think my biggest one would be Tre Jones from the Spurs,” Haliburton said. “I don’t know if he knows this, but we played each other when I was like 16. He killed me. Oh my God, he killed me. I left that day like, ‘Oh my God, I’m not cut for this. I’m just probably not that good.’ So being able to play against him in the NBA, it’s crazy how it comes full circle.”
- The offseason will be a big one for Jalen Smith, who will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time, writes Joel Lorenzi of The Indianapolis Star. “This is a huge offseason, and a scary offseason,” Smith said. “Obviously, as a young player, you don’t want to make the wrong decision. … This offseason is gonna come down to a lot of thinking. A lot of late night conversations with my agency, my family, just trying to figure out the right path for me.” The Pacers will be prohibited from offering Smith a starting salary higher than $4.67MM, the amount of his 2022/23 option that was turned down last fall.
- Boyd and Nat Newell explore the team’s offseason on the “Pacing the Pacers podcast,” per Clark Wade of The Indianapolis Star.