The growing sense among rival teams is that the 23-19 Pacers could be a buyer, rather than a seller, at this season’s trade deadline, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.
Fischer acknowledges that Indiana’s trade deadline outlook could certainly be altered if Tyrese Haliburton‘s foot injury causes him to miss an extended period. Fischer also adds a caveat to the team’s potential status as a buyer — the Pacers won’t be in the market for short-term veterans like Jae Crowder or Bojan Bogdanovic, but will have an eye out for players who could be long-term fits.
According to Fischer, power forward is the spot the Pacers would most like to upgrade. Indiana was high on Keegan Murray prior to the 2022 draft, and while the club was happy to ultimately land Bennedict Mathurin at No. 6, missing out on Murray means the power forward position remains a priority going forward.
If they want to get aggressive, the Pacers will have a couple extra 2023 first-round picks to dangle in trade talks, having acquired Cleveland’s and Boston’s first-rounders. Additionally, while Indiana viewed Chris Duarte as off limits at one point, multiple front office sources tell Fischer that the team has been more willing to discuss him in recent talks.
Here’s more on the Pacers’ plans:
- Indiana has had internal discussions about the possibility of pursuing Hawks power forward John Collins, according to Fischer, who notes that Duarte and draft capital might appeal to Atlanta. The Hawks previously pitched the idea of trading Collins to the Pelicans for Trey Murphy and a first-round pick, Fischer explains. The fact that the Pacers could absorb Collins into their cap room without sending out matching salary could also intrigue the Hawks, who are right around the luxury tax line.
- The Pacers and Myles Turner‘s representatives at CAA continue to discuss a possible renegotiation-and-extension for the veteran center, sources tell Yahoo Sports. Fischer suggests that the four-year, $133MM offer sheet Indiana gave Deandre Ayton in July would be an “obvious benchmark” for Turner’s side to use in contract negotiations.
- Trade rumors involving Turner have slowed down as of late, Fischer observes. Teams like the Hornets, Pelicans, Mavericks, and Lakers have been viewed as potential suitors in the past, but don’t appear to be targeting Turner at this point. If the 26-year-old ends up back on the trade block, the Knicks, Raptors, and Clippers could be fits, Fischer writes.
- The most likely Pacers center to be traded is Goga Bitadze, according to Fischer, who hears from sources that the club would be willing to work with Bitadze’s representatives to find him a new team. Daniel Theis is due back from injury soon and Bitadze hasn’t had much of a role even with Theis out. The fourth-year center also hasn’t been interested in accepting an assignment to the Pacers’ G League team in Fort Wayne, says Fischer.