Indiana Pacers reportedly interested in signing starter away from NBA contender

The Indiana Pacers will head into the 2023 NBA Draft with three first-round picks then roll into NBA free agency with more than $25 million in projected cap space. As the organization looks to build around its All-Star point guard, priorities are emerging for the summer.

Indiana has already been connected heavily to the trade market, with NBA trade rumors swirling regarding the team’s interest in OG Anunoby. Furthermore, the Pacers have also been tied to other forwards expected to be available this summer.

Related: Indiana Pacers eyeing ‘high-level’ player in trade for No. 7 pick

While many recent mock drafts have the Pacers drafting a small forward with the No. 7 pick on Thursday night, another possibility is emerging. Indiana could prioritize experience, wth its eyes on snagging one of the top veterans from the Sacramento Kings.

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Pacers have interest in pursuing Harrison Barnes in free agency with All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton and head coach Rick Carlisle the most in favor of adding him this summer.

“League sources say that the Pacers have interest in Kings free agent-to-be Harrison Barnes, thanks at least in part to two rather prominent Barnes fans in the organization: All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton and Pacers coach Rick Carlisle.”

Marc Stein on Indiana Pacers’ interest in Harrison Barnes

Not only do Haliburton and Barnes have a good relationship, but they also have important on-court chemistry from their time together with the Kings. Additionally, Carlisle coached Barnes with the Dallas Mavericks from 2016-’19.

Indiana’s interest in Barnes is a promising sign regarding the organization’s stance on Haliburton. With the 23-year-old firmly established as a franchise player, the Pacers are now looking for players who both complement his skills and can have chemistry with him.

While signing Barnes wouldn’t make Indiana a viable contender in the Eastern Conference next season, his experience would be a valuable addition to a young roster. Barnes likely won’t have a strong market in free agency, with Sacramento looking for an upgrade, meaning the Pacers won’t need to overpay to land him.

Related: Sacramento Kings rumors

Entering his age-32 season, Barnes is likely looking at a contract length between two to three years as he heads into the latter stage of his NBA career. Based on his familiarity with Carlisle and Haliburton, Indiana could have a strong shot at signing the one-time NBA champion.

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