Indiana Pacers: 5-step plan for a perfect offseason

Indiana Pacers (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Indiana Pacers (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
2 of 6
Doug McDermott and TJ McConnell, Indiana Pacers
Doug McDermott and TJ McConnell, Indiana Pacers – Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Step 1: The Indiana Pacers should re-sign McDermott and McConnell

The Indiana Pacers have six players entering free agency this season. Two of those, three-point marksman Doug McDermott and playmaker TJ McConnell, have been key components of the Blue and Gold for two seasons already. With that in mind, the front office shouldn’t hesitate to ink them to new deals.

While Indy is over the cap, the team possesses Bird rights for both players, meaning that they can go over the cap to re-sign them. The asterisk is that the organization has been so keen to avoiding the luxury threshold that even a small uptick in their market value may prompt them to pump the brakes on handing out extensions, which shouldn’t happen.

For small markets, being conservative shouldn’t be a reality, but a mere inclination. To compete in the NBA, you need to have a well-rounded supporting cast and those players don’t come cheap. McDermott is instant center of gravity when he’s on the court, and the second-unit’s offense is largely predicated on his actions with Domantas Sabonis. Meanwhile, McConnell is a legitimate sixth man who is pesky on defense, rarely commits mistakes, constantly pushes the pace and elevates the IQ of the team. He’s easily a keeper.

The bench has been one of the team’s bright spots this season. What separates good teams from great ones is the talent beyond their key cogs, and with the Indiana Pacers constantly on the receiving end of maladies and injuries, sustaining the second-unit as a potent weapon should be high on their priority list.