Should the Indiana Pacers consider trading TJ McConnell in the offseason?

Indiana Pacers, TJ McConnell - Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers, TJ McConnell - Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /

In the last couple of years, the Indiana Pacers have been very fortunate to have one of the best backup point guards in basketball gracing their second unit. However, the script has not been the same this season for TJ McConnell, whose third season donning the blue and gold has been far from eventful.

With a wrist injury sidelining him for all but 24 games in the current campaign, the sneaky floor general has been a relatively forgotten figure on the court for the reeling Pacers. And with the addition of Tyrese Haliburton and the ever-clarifying role of Malcolm Brogdon giving Indiana a solid 1-2 punch in the backcourt, is there enough room for McConnell to prosper in a reduced role?

With a more limited role in the cards, should the Indiana Pacers look into trading TJ McConnell in the offseason?

Barring a very unlikely trade between them, Haliburton and Brogdon will be the Indiana Pacers’ starting backcourt moving forward. With their minutes easily going into the mid-to-high 30s, the approximate opportunity for TJ McConnell to see the court ranges from 16-20 minutes per game.

While Rick Carlisle has long favored dual point guard sets, giving McConnell some leeway to play with one of Haliburton and Brogdon, only opens up a negligible amount of court time, especially when factoring in the fact that the Pacers have very solid shooting guards who warrant ample minutes in Chris Duarte and Buddy Hield. Keeping up with the compromise of playing them as undersized small forwards is not a tenable plan for the following campaign.

What should Indiana do with McConnell then? Well, a trade should not be out of the woods. While it should not be atop their priority list, his contract, which has three years remaining on a mean of $8.7 million per season, could prove to be more valuable to another club given the Pacers’ shift in direction. It may not age well.

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If the Pacers do make him available, they should be in line for a slew of interested teams. Few point guards boast the kind of playmaking stability and perimeter that he has off the bench, despite his lack of a three-point shot. Some teams in need of a bench playmaker or an upgrade include Cleveland, Atlanta, New Orleans, and the Los Angeles clubs.

Also, Indiana must be assertive in getting something of immediate value in return, as they already have a slew of draft picks this season alone. McConnell is a win-now cog, and his worth could even eclipse the Pacers’ expectations by virtue of his reasonable contract. Getting someone who can play both forward positions is ideal.

Ultimately, looking into trading TJ McConnell is far from an urgent matter. However, with the Indiana Pacers clearly entering a new phase in roster-building and direction, the fiery playmaker’s value to the team may have shed a layer or two.

Personally though, I’d much rather have him prove me wrong.

Next. 3 options to replace TJ Warren in free agency. dark