What the Pacers would have to give up to get the No. 4 pick

If the Indiana Pacers are serious about trading up for the No. 4 pick, they’ll likely have to give up one of their best young players in the process.

The Indiana Pacers are rumored as a possible trade partner for New Orleans Pelicans for the No. 4 pick, according to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor. They are also in the hunt for Ricky Rubio, but more on that in later post.

If Indiana is serious about acquiring the No. 4 pick, it’s going to cost them almost undoubtedly one of their young centers and some draft picks. For the Pacers, trading a young and talented center — whether that’s Myles Turner or Domantas Sabonis — normally wouldn’t be something any team would want to do. But when you have two good young centers who deserve starting roles, you have a good, but none the less a problem on your hands.

Regardless of how often they share the floor and how much we want to believe in positionless basketball, the fact remains the results are mixed when it comes to them as a duo. The two paired for a positive net rating in the regular season, but it came at the expense of the offense. That lack of spacing provided by the two was horrifically bad in the playoffs this season.

That means one of them is expendable.

While Aaron Holiday or Doug McDermott might be attached to any given trade, only two players outside of Victor Oladipo that are under contract next season are likely to move the needle for the Pelicans. They may want another player, too, but the main part of any player-based deal would involve Turner or Sabonis.

Whichever is part of the trade, then Indiana might only have to give up one pick to get it done, especially if that center is named Turner.

That’s simply the cost of the 4th overall pick. We saw how tight the market is when the Pelicans got that No. 4 pick and everything else from the Los Angeles Lakers, so it isn’t surprising at all that Indiana would need to give up one of their centers to get talks started with New Orleans.

If Indiana thinks it can get R.J. Barrett, then it certainly sounds worth it. However, it doesn’t seem likely he’ll be there at No. 4. It’s more likely that Jarrett Culver is the best player available at that point. Still likely worth it, but less of a sure bet as far as the draft is concerned.

The only way Indiana could get ahold of the No. 4 pick without sacrificing one of their centers would be by turning over a boat-load of 1st round picks. Especially with Indiana’s knack for not being a lottery team, it doesn’t seem likely the Pelicans would accept any less than three of Pacers’ future first.

That would be a fair trade but at the expense of mortgaging their future. Even though Indiana couldn’t trade consecutive firsts, they could break them up over the next few years, though that doesn’t sound like something any team would be eagerly interested in — waiting a total of five years to get all their picks.

Which brings us back to the fact a package like Sabonis, Holiday, and Indiana’s own 18th pick would be required to make it happen.

Next: Matthes Manifesto III, Part I: The Pacers' summer plans

So if you have a particular affection for either of the Pacers centers, keep an eye out for any trades over the next 24 hours. Because if Indiana wants the No. 4 pick, it is very likely one of them won’t be here to play with whoever Indiana would take with it.

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