Indiana Pacers: Predictions for impending free agents

Indiana Pacers, T.J. McConnell (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Indiana Pacers, T.J. McConnell (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Indiana Pacers, Doug McDermott
Indiana Pacers, Doug McDermott – Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Indiana Pacers impending free agent: Doug McDermott

McDermott will be expensive and for a team that’s already over the salary cap, retaining him would put a dent in Indiana’s wiggle room outside of the Mid-Level Exception (MLE). The Pacers were roughly $3 million under the luxury tax in 2020-21 and historically have been a team that avoids the luxury tax. While the cap and luxury tax threshold are projected to rise up a bit in the 2021-22 season, re-signing McDermott in a vacuum will likely push Indiana over the tax threshold.

For a team that missed the playoffs and has major question-marks surrounding both their coaching and roster right now, that would be a difficult pill to swallow.

McDermott had a strong season in 2020-21 and has proven he’s a strong force for a bench unit and can start in a pinch. His ability to shoot a strong percentage from distance while also being one of the deadliest cutters in the NBA should allow him to be extremely malleable across systems, which means he’ll have suitors.

Next year will be McDermott’s age 30 season. I’d anticipate the low-side of his offers to be in the non-taxpayer MLE range (a little less than $10M) for 2-3 years, while the high-side could reach the $15M a year over 3 seasons.

I think the Indiana Pacers will worry about losing the asset and clears enough space to sign him. How they clear that space? That’s another question. Letting a solid rotational wing walk for a team that is already wing-deficient would spell major change incoming.