Who Can the Pacers Trade?

Carmelo is a Knick. Deron is a Net. Carl Landry is a Hornet. Someone named James Johnson is a Raptor. Yup … must be trade deadline week.

The Pacers now have a little more than 24 hours to complete a deal this season. Given their plethora of expiring deals, at least two of which belong to guys who I presume would be desirable to playoff squads, I have long expected them to do something before next summer to improve the roster. Then again, some of Larry Bird’s comments in regards to providing Herb Simon with as many options as possible and a “clean slate” could lead us to believe the team will stand pat unless an absolute gem of a deal is offered.

Regardless, if the Pacers are going to make a move (and Mike Wells expects them to call the now-fire-selling Utah Jazz about Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson), it would be helpful to know exactly what they have to offer. They of course can make every player on the roster available (*cough* Brandon Rush *cough*) and they still have all their future first round draft picks. You can envision as many possible scenarios as you want including picks and/or Rush, Tyler Hansbrough, Josh McRoberts and the other guys who almost certainly aren’t going anywhere (Danny Granger, Paul George, Roy Hibbert and Darren Collison), but here’s a quick look at the three guys most likely to be sent packing before Friday morning.

Mike Dunleavy, Jr.

Contract: Makes $10.6 million this year; becomes free agent this summer
2010-11 Stats:
29 mpg | 11.2 ppg | 4.8 rpg | 1.8 apg | FG: 45.7% | 3PT: 40.7%

Desirability Around the League: Lil Dun would seemingly be a great acquisition for any contender. He is posting career-high shooting percentages from the field and behind the arc while also rebounding well and not turning the ball over. He’s a savvy vet who could be a big offensive boost to any team’s bench. He doesn’t play defense but you already knew that.

Who Might Want Him: MDJ would be a perfect fit for San Antonio. SVG would love him on offense. Boston already has a lot of depth but I think they could find some minutes. The only problem is who is a contender willing to give up? And are they willing to give up anyone the Pacers want? The answers to those two questions are probably (1) no one of importance, and (2) no. Thus, Indy probably can’t get a ton of mileage out of the added benefit of Dunleavy playing well this year in addition to being an expiring deal. (This is why, in my view, they should have acted sooner here and tried to pry something away from a delusional team that thought they were close to contending last fall.) So they have to find a partner who just wants salary relief in exchange for a player on a longer-term deal. For example, if Bird wanted to target Millsap, they would likely have to take back a negative asset like the high-salaried Mehmet Okur. Perhaps something like this.

Jeff Foster

Contract: Makes $6.7 million this year; becomes free agent this summer
2010-11 Stats: 18 mpg | 6.8 rpg | 3.2 Orpg | Rebound Rate: 21.0 | Off. Rebound Rate: 19.9

Desirability Around the League: Jeff is posting the highest offensive rebound rate of his career and is generally just rebounding like an absolute fool now that he looks healthy again for the first time in a few years. He’s a pro’s pro and plays first-rate defense. There isn’t a coach in the NBA who wouldn’t want Jeff Foster on his bench.

Who Might Want Him: Trying to deal Jeff has the same problems as trying to deal Dunleavy Part II: Anyone who actually wants him as more than an expiring deal will not want to give anything up. Still, he is a big guy and desperate teams might do desperate things. The Spurs would seemingly love some extra size to go against the 21-foot front line of Pau/Bynum/Odom. Would they give up Gary Neal? Only in my man-crush fantasies where the NBA rules about salaries matching in trades don’t exist. (San Antonio is pretty much impossible for Indy to deal with salary-wise.) Again … tough to find a good partner here. Foster and Hansbrough for Millsap works.

TJ Ford

Contract: Makes $8.5 million this year; becomes free agent this summer
2010-11 Stats: They’re really, really, unthinkably bad. Don’t even look at them in the presence of children under the age of 13

Desirability Around the League: n/a

Who Might Want Him: Any team looking to shed $8.5 million in salary. HEY … Paul Millsap makes around that amount. Throw in Okur and have Indy throw in Foster plus a pick and let’s get the paperwork signed.

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Tags: Jeff Foster Mike Dunleavy Jr TJ Ford

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