Indiana Pacers: The case against pursuing Zach LaVine in free agency

Zach LaVine, Indiana Pacers - Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Zach LaVine, Indiana Pacers - Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

With the Indiana Pacers having a boatload of money to spend in the offseason, the front office can definitely make a legitimate run at available top-tier free agents. That is why they can easily shove their way into the Zach LaVine sweepstakes should the two-time All-Star bolt Chicago in search of a more lucrative deal.

Since our last article on this front however, many fans have expressed their disapproval with the Pacers hypothetically pursuing LaVine. And given the circumstances around the explosive scoring guard, steering clear of him could actually be the right call for the front office.

The Indiana Pacers should avoid the short cut and veer away from Zach LaVine

While the franchise may never say it, the Indiana Pacers are in the early stages of a soft rebuild. Still, the team’s continuous goal to compete will probably resume as early as next season, making Zach LaVine seem like an excellent addition to help their winning cause.

However, in the grand scheme of things, breaking the bank for LaVine and his purported max contract value will severely limit the Pacers’ wiggle room to maneuver in the following years. Not only does Indiana have to account for the looming extensions of their young cogs like Tyrese Haliburton, but bringing him in will cut into the necessity of even having Chris Duarte on the roster.

Financial bothers aside, LaVine, for all the great things tied to his game, is not a viable primary scoring option on a winning team. He is also a one-dimensional piece, excelling on offense but falling behind as a defender. Thus, the Pacers would have to really love the combination of Haliburton and LaVine to solely banner the franchise moving forward, with only an add-on of whoever they acquire in the upcoming draft.

Thing is, Indiana can simply opt to seek more urgent additions than take the short cut and heavily pursue LaVine. While Duarte is not who the All-Star is right now, he is a rookie who has a great upside to his game on both ends of the floor. More importantly, he will only cost a fraction of LaVine’s perceived market price.

The itch for any franchise, especially the Indiana Pacers, to return to optimal competitiveness as soon as possible should always be tempered. After all, there is a good cause for cutting down on the present to build for the future. Going after Zach LaVine could help the Pacers get more wins along the way, but being devoted to their current track could net them more winning seasons moving forward.

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