Just hours before the 2019 NBA draft, the Indiana Pacers made a splash by trading for Phoenix Suns forward T.J. Warren. They will also receive the No. 32 pick in tonight’s draft.
While the NBA draft isn’t slated to start until 7 p.m. EST tonight, the Indiana Pacers got a headstart on shaking up the roster just hours before.
In an effort to shed salary, the Phoenix Suns traded T.J. Warren and his 3-year, $35 million deal to the Pacers along with their No. 32 pick in tonight’s draft.
As nearly always, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news.
What did the Pacers send? Cash.
The Pacers are getting a serviceable wing on an even more serviceable contract in Warren. The forward put up a solid 18 points and 4 boards last year, a slight dip from his 2017-18 campaign (19.6 and 5). He’s owed about $12 million a year over the next 3 years — an incredible deal for a player that can create his own shot.
Speaking of his shot, Warren made a gigantic leap in his three-point shooting last season. In his first 4 years with the Suns, he took under 2 threes a game at a dismal 28% clip. 2018-19 was a significant departure in both volume and efficiency: Warren took 180 threes before his season was cut short in January due to an ankle injury, and he sunk almost 43% of them.
180 threes isn’t exactly a small sample size, but it isn’t definitive proof of a lights out shooter either. Warren is certainly a risk with some of his downfalls (his defensive rating was among the league’s worst and he won’t make the players around him much better), but if his three-point stroke is here to stay, then the Pacers have found a scarce resource on their roster: a player who can create (and make) their own shots at a high level.
All on a great contract.
That contract also doesn’t put a huge dent into Indiana’s salary sheet, as the Pacers should have around $31 million to play with (assuming all free agents are renounced).
It’s still too early to speculate what this move could mean for the futures of Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic, but tonight’s draft may provide some clarity. For now, Pritchard secured himself an interesting role player on a great deal, not to mention more firepower (early second round picks are a great combination of good prospect/good contract) for tonight.
We’ll see what’s to come very soon.