As the recent All-Star explores free agency this summer, should the Indiana Pacers consider trying to sign D’Angelo Russell with their cap room?
It’s no secret Indianapolis isn’t a top free agent destination. Aside from David West, who had much different priorities than most NBA players, the Pacers haven’t been very successful in landing A-level free agents. Honestly, B-level players can often be hard to come by… that is, until they exceed expectations in Indy, a la Bojan Bogdanovic and Darren Collison.
Playing in Indianapolis doesn’t mean access to amazing nightlife or a large market to build a brand, but the team who’s appeared in the playoffs 24 of the last 30 seasons can offer the opportunity to contend in a system around improving young players in a basketball-focused environment. The team’s motto is literally “We grow basketball here.”
“We don’t have the mountains, the ocean, and the big city, but if you want to be about basketball, (Indiana) is a great spot,” Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard said in a post-season radio appearance on 1070 The Fan.
Various reports have linked the Pacers to a few of the association’s more talented point guards, including Kemba Walker, Jrue Holiday, and Mike Conley. The latter two would need to be acquired through a trade, but the point is the urgency to add a second scorer and creator this summer, to pair alongside Oladipo, became more evident as the season progressed after Indiana’s star went down with a season-ending knee injury.
Last week, The Athletic’s (subscription require) Shams Charania wrote that the Indiana Pacers are expected to explore signing Brooklyn Nets point guard, D’Angelo Russell.
As Collison and Cory Joseph enter unrestricted free agency, it’s almost certainly a new starting point guard will be in the lineup come October. Many Pacers fans would agree whoever fills that role needs to be Robin whenever Indy’s Batman returns from the season-ending knee injury he suffered last January.
With only a few viable options to fit that description, Pritchard and his regime will need to do their due diligence on what Brooklyn’s point guard could bring to Indianapolis.