The Indiana Pacers are looking to move TJ Leaf by Thursday’s trade deadline. With not much on his resume, what is the power forward’s worth?
Just this past offseason, the Pacers picked up the fourth-year option on the forward, which to some, indicated the organization’s desire to keep him around to develop.
This was even further solidified at the start of the season.
The Pacers showcased their faith in Leaf by giving him a role in the starting lineup on November 1st against the Cleveland Cavaliers due to an injury to Myles Turner.
But with time, comes change.
This was before the coaching staff knew exactly what JaKarr Sampson could bring to the table. Since then, Leaf has been unable to get things going.
In his 22 appearances so far this season, Leaf has only scored in double-digits twice. It’s safe to say it has been a lackluster season so far for the forward.
Due to changes in the rotation and the emergence of Sampson as a viable option off the bench or when injuries are a factor, Leaf has unfortunately fallen out of the team’s rotation.
This has left Leaf as the most logical piece to be moved during this current trade period.
There is no questioning his commitment to be a professional and great teammate. The Pacers are simply looking to move Leaf to give him the opportunities he deserves.
There is still some potential there for the forward, he just needs minutes to take his game to the next level.
Therefore, it leaves Pacers fans to question what the team could acquire in exchange for Leaf. Unfortunately, at this time, it may not be much.
The Pacers could acquire a late second-round pick for Leaf which is still valuable for an organization that has excelled in evaluation and development.
Another option may be cash considerations due to Leaf being currently under contract for next season. This could help the organization long-term with maneuvering finances to adhere to the rest of the roster.
Not much money, but it’s something
It will be interesting to see what the Pacers’ front office decides to do between now and Thursday’s 3 pm deadline.
Many fans wanted the Leaf project to work out in Indiana but in order to place the organization in the best position to succeed, the Pacers may have to move on from the 22-year-old.