5 trades the Indiana Pacers should make

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The Indiana Pacers are fast approaching the NBA trade deadline. They recently came to terms with center Myles Turner on a two-year $60 million extension. This is good news for Pacers fans as it keeps their longest-tenured player around. And it removes the question of ‘what will the Pacers do with Turner’?

It does, however, remove a trade piece for the team. The Pacers are in an exciting position. Currently, they are the 10th seed in the play-in tournament. However, a couple of weeks ago, they were as high as the sixth seed. Their seven-game losing streak has put a big dampener on the team’s season. 

That losing streak also coincided with Tyrese Haliburton’s injury. It reminded everyone just how far away this team is from contention. The Pacers are in a position where they can be both sellers and buyers at the upcoming trade deadline. The team is young and has a lot of cap space. Also, they may be just a player away from making the playoffs.

Here are 5 trades the Indiana Pacers should make before the trade deadline.

Mutually beneficial — Chris Duarte for Jonathan Isaac

These two teams have a surplus of players of the same build. The Pacers have five guys that are listed in the six-foot-five to the six-foot-six range that play valuable minutes. Meanwhile, Orlando, ironically, has five guys that are listed as 6-foot-10 or taller that play valuable minutes. 

The Pacers are in need of a bigger wing player and Orlando could better utilize an actual wing player. As opposed to running out either an undersized guard or an oversized wing. It’s with this in mind that the Pacers send out wing Chris Duarte in exchange for Jonathan Isaac. 

This move is a bit of a gamble for the Pacers as Isaac has just returned from being injured over the past two seasons. However, prior to his injury, he was on his way to being one of the most devastating wings. The team would most likely bring him along slowly but his skill set and talent would be a great fit for this team.

Buyers — Chris Duarte, Daniel Theis, TJ McConnell for P.J. Washington, Kelly Oubre

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The Pacers could be buyers at the trade deadline and make a run for a higher seed and deeper playoff run. With a healthy team, they could be dangerous lower seed in the playoffs. And what’s an NBA trade deadline without a Charlotte-Pacers trade?

Here the Pacers trade Chris Duarte, Daniel Theis and TJ McConnell for the expiring contracts of P.J. Washington and Kelly Oubre. Washington fills the Pacers’ need for a versatile big wing. And Oubre adds another shooter who is capable of playing defense on the wing. These two make the Pacers deeper and provide a good look if the team should decide to re-sign either one in the offseason.

For Charlotte, they get three players who are under contract for the next couple of seasons. They also get an upgrade at their backup point guard spot and a versatile wing player. Theis can be another tradeable piece or get some valuable minutes for Charlotte.

Sellers — Jalen Smith for Moses Moody, Patrick Baldwin Jr.

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If the Pacers decide that the best direction for this team is to look for the future, they don’t have to target first-round draft picks. They can instead keep their options open and either ask for draft picks or young players who may not have established themselves. Similar to what they did when they traded for Jalen Smith from Phoenix. 

The Pacers could engage the reigning NBA champs in a trade that can better help each other. Golden State has an impending salary cap dilemma, and Draymond Green is set to be a free agent after this season. Here they receive Jalen Smith. He provides them with a player who has shown he can play the center position and stretch the floor with his ability to shoot. His addition will also allow them to have a bigger presence. 

In exchange, the Pacers get back Moses Moody and Patrick Baldwin Jr. Moody hasn’t been able to carve out sustainable minutes in the rotation. And there is a legit concern that the team may no longer view him as part of their plan. Now, he is another 6-6 wing so now exactly what the team has been in need of. He does play bigger than his size. 

The team also gets the 6-9 Baldwin who prior to his final collegiate season was considered one of the top players coming out. He is a project but considering the Pacers are building for the future he’s a high-upside player they can take a chance on.

Sellers — Buddy Hield, Jalen Smith for Luke Kennard, Amir Coffey, 2023, ’24 second-round picks, ’28 first-round pick

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Since the overall direction of the team, at least from the fans’ perspective, is to target the future, here is another trade where the team is a seller at the deadline. This trade involves the Pacers and a team from Los Angeles. Only, it’s not the more accomplished LA team.

The Pacers strike a deal with the Clippers, where they send Buddy Hield and Jalen Smith. In exchange, they receive Luke Kennard, Amir Coffey, 2023 & 2024 second-round draft picks, and their 2028 first-round draft pick. For the Pacers, they get younger although not as an accomplished shooter. Coffey would be given a chance to carve out a role on the team.

For the Clippers, they get some added depth in the front court and a better shooter coming off the bench. They are competing for a championship and right now their draft picks aren’t necessarily as important to them as the chance to win the Larry O’Brien trophy. 

Blockbuster — Headliners: Indy gets Obi Toppin, Herbert Jones, Pelicans get Evan Fournier, Knicks land Buddy Hield

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Here we get to the biggest trade idea. It’s a three-team deal involving the Pacers, the New Orleans Pelicans and New York Knicks. The reason this deal has to involve all the teams is that both New Orleans and New York have some tight salary cap constraints.

In this deal, the Knicks receive Buddy Hield and Jalen Smith from the Pacers and Daluton Hommes and Jonas Valanciunas from the Pelcans. The Knicks get some more shooting to better help space the floor and a much more available big man.  They also get to get out of a bad contract too.

The Pelicans receive Evan Fournier and the Boston Celtics’ first-round pick from Indiana. The Pelicans need shooting help, and Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson struggle to stay healthy. Fournier gives them another shooter and the draft pick gives them some more ammo in the draft.

For the Pacers, they receive Obi Toppin from the Knicks and Devonte Graham and Herbert Jones from New Orleans. Graham would get an opportunity to find an opportunity to get some playing time, but mainly his contract needed to be moved in order for New Orleans to get Fournier. 

Toppin and Jones are the real prizes for the Pacers. Toppin is an athletic big who should thrive playing with Haliburton. And Toppin’s game has shown some progress. Jones is the versatile big-wing defender the team has been sorely lacking. Both players are young and fit with the Pacers’ current timeline.

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