Indiana Pacers trade T.J. Leaf to Oklahoma City for Jalen Lecque

T.J. Leaf - Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
T.J. Leaf - Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

The Indiana Pacers have moved on from their former first-round pick.

ESPN has reported that the Indiana Pacers have traded T.J. Leaf and future draft compensation to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Indiana will receive 2019 second-round pick Jalen Lecque as a result, providing them with another exciting athlete on the bench. Lecque spent last season with the Suns before being dealt to the Thunder as part of the Chris Paul trade.

Leaf never lived up to his first-round selection with Indiana, spending most of his time with the Pacers on the bench. He gets a new opportunity in Oklahoma City with a rebuilding team, which will give him a chance at significant playing time in his final year on his rookie contract.

For the Pacers, shedding Leaf’s contract this season allows them to fall under the luxury tax with a chance to sign another free agent under the Mid-Level Exception (MLE). Leaf was not going to pan out with the Pacers and the team has plenty of talent in the frontcourt without him.

The addition of Jalen Lecque is a low-risk upside acquisition that will bring excitement as he develops. Similar to the Pacers’ own second-round pick from 2020 in Cassius Stanley, Lecque is a superb athlete and still very young. At 20 years old, Lecque likely will not have a huge role with the Pacers.

Whether the Pacers give him minutes in the G-League or let him get some minutes with the second unit, he has a bit of development still to overcome before being an impact player. If fans want some energy and bounce, then maybe they can find that in Lecque and Stanley. Check out the hops on Lecque:

This move likely does nothing for Indiana in terms of production this season. However, it does pave the way for another move in free agency if they choose to do so.

Next. Pacers re-sign JaKarr Sampson. dark