The Indiana Pacers Offseason, the anatomy of rebirth

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Leaf presser
Part of the youth movement, TJ Leaf takes questions on draft night. /

Step 2: Don’t absorb needlessly bad contracts

Spending $21 million a year on a starter that you think could blossom into an All-Star (Oladipo) is one thing, spending $21M on the fifth big man, in an effort to absorb a team’s bad contract, is another. It’s the surest way to ensure that your team is in the toilet for a decade.

Evidence? The archetype was the 2007 trade that sent Kevin Garnett to Boston. In return, Minnesota received: two first-round picks (wasted on Wayne Ellington and Jonny Flynn), Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff and Sebastian Telfair. The Wolves have not yet had even a winning record. It’s been a decade.

It’s imperative for a team in Indiana’s predicament to preserve future cap space, and it’s impossible to do so when some other team’s dead weight in pulling you down. Look at Portland.

With three young stars (Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic), along with two good draft picks (forwards Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan) Portland should be a contender in the West and be in a position to add a key free agent, rumors of interest in Carmelo Anthony notwithstanding.

But they can’t because they have $127.6M committed to Allen Crabbe, Evan Turner, Meyers Leonard, Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu for the next two seasons.

The Pacers do not have that problem. Indy not only has cap room going forward to add a future key free agent.