The Pacers Buy Pick #36, Draft Orlando Johnson

Since the new Collective Bargaining Agreement that raised the financial penalties for teams that exceed the “luxury tax” salary spending threshold, there has been much speculation about whether or not the Pacers will continue to be willing to spend money on players. Some have even speculated that Larry Bird stepped down as team president because the owner is now prioritizing fiscal responsibility.

Last night didn’t exactly tell us whether or not this is the franchise’s new course. But it did perhaps offer evidence both towards and against that hypothesis.

On the one hand, the Pacers bought second-round draft pick Orlando Johnson from the Sacramento Kings. With straight cash, homie. This willingness to spend in order to acquire a player they liked when they didn’t have a pick illustrates that the team isn’t putting dollars and cents before team building. This seems to contrast the style of other spend thrift teams (like the Phoenix Suns, for example) that have been on the selling end of draft day talent just to save a few bucks.

On the other hand, this may also signal that the team is looking for cheaper options than free agency and trading for veterans to fill out their roster. I can’t claim to know much about Orlando Johnson, but his profile makes it seem like he is a guy the team hopes can play the role of Leandro Barbosa off the bench. And he will be doing it for about 1/14th of Leandro’s salary on an non-guaranteed contract.

Or it might mean nothing.

Really, the only thing it does tell us is that the Pacers now employ one more young player who they like.

  • Ronal Eugene is Right!!

    Trade Him!!!

  • Chris D.

    He’s a justifiable pick at 36 but the odds are against any 36 pick being in the league three years from now. I’m still trying to figure out why, if we wanted a big in round 1, we didn’t take O’Quinn.

  • Peter

    Question: Does the money the Pacers gave the Kings to acquire the pick count against the cap?

    With respect to acquiring extra picks by buying them, I like the policy. Teams like the Blazers and Spurs have acquired players in the past to fill needs at a fraction of the cost of a free agent. But the players generally only workout out if a player fits a specific team need, and the team understands and manages the player’s limitations.

  • Tim Donahue

    No, the money doesn’t count against the cap. However, the new CBA limits the amount of total cash a team can send out in trade to $3mm PER YEAR, instead of $3mm per trade. (Technically, the limit is $3mm of the 2011-12 salary cap year, and increases $100k per year.)

    However, this salary cap year ends tomorrow, so they will have the $3.1mm available to include in a trade starting Sunday, though they’ll probably want to hold it for draft day next year.

  • gregor t.

    Chris D. I heard Kyle O’Quinn measured 6’8 230lb. in Chicago workouts. I like that kid too. But i dont think he fit the bill size wise for a PF/C to back up Hibbert and West.

  • Joe B

    This guy should push Lance and AJ Price for time next season. It will be interesting to see how this player adjusts to NBA speed. The Pacers buying this pick points to him making the roster barring some unforeseen issue. Sounds like a well-spoken, serious, dude. His college stats reveal a player who can score in bunches, rebound well for his position (almost six a game), and can shoot from distance (sixth all-time in his school’s history, which might not be saying a whole, whole lot, but it does say something). I like the Pacers draft this year. Fulfilled the need for a backup center with Plumlee and scooped a potential sixth-man either next year or, most likely if he stays in the league by showing he can score at the NBA level, down the road.

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