The Indiana Pacers remain near the top of the Eastern Conference as the NBA season nears the All-Star break. At just 14-13, the Pacers are fourth in the East and just four games back of the top spot. However, they are also just three games ahead of the 11th-place Chicago Bulls.
Indiana has been up and down this season as they battle injuries and rotation questions. Their current record places them in a prime position in the East but don’t let that distract you from the fact that they are beneficiaries of a poor conference thus far.
Should the Indiana Pacers make a splash at the deadline?
We have seen the limitations of this team throughout this season and even last. Injuries will forever be a concerning factor that can’t go unnoticed when assessing the ceiling of this current squad. That said, the Pacers could still be in the market for another big trade this season if they decide to switch things up.
We’ve already seen the front office make one splash, sending Victor Oladipo to the Rockets in exchange for Caris LeVert, which has slowed down the team’s momentum up to this point. I think that was a great trade and one that the team had to make, but the immediate repercussions split some fans.
While Indiana waits for T.J. Warren and Caris LeVert to return, could they shock us all once again with another massive trade? With plenty of teams underperforming and potentially selling, Indiana might be in the market.
Some big names could be on the market, including Washington’s Bradley Beal or Detroit’s Blake Griffin. Beal would require an enormous package to bring in, and rightfully so. The 27-year old guard is averaging over 32 points per game this season and is the lone bright spot on an otherwise grim Wizards team.
Out in the Western Conference, things are much different. The Warriors currently hold the eighth seed with the same record as the Pacers. There are essentially 14 teams that are still in the playoff mix with the Timberwolves being the only team to be significantly out of it.
If someone wants to sell in the West, then the Pacers could come calling with offers of draft picks and/or young assets. Goga Bitadze, who plays sparingly as it is, or Aaron Holiday could offer the youthful upside that rebuilding teams desire.
Dallas’ Josh Richardson and Dorian Finney-Smith could provide wing depth for the Pacers at a reasonable cost at the deadline. P.J. Tucker of the Rockets is another veteran to consider as a frontcourt defender with the experience that this team needs in the second unit.
But none of these are true blockbuster trade options. If the Pacers want to go all out, they would have to include Warren, Sabonis, Turner, or Brogdon in a massive haul for another star or a substantial package of younger players, which would not make sense right now.
Aside from a deal for Beal, the Pacers would not have many options in that regard. Maybe a swap that sends Atlanta’s John Collins to Indiana, but he is due for a massive extension.
Verdict: No. The Pacers may make a smaller move but they won’t do anything crazy.
The Pacers have never been the team to make a big splash in the middle of the season. Given that they’ve already done it this season, I have a hard time seeing it happen again before the trade deadline passes.
Instead, Indiana will bank on Warren and LeVert returning before the season wraps up, giving them the depth they need in the playoffs.