Should the Indiana Pacers overpay for this restricted free agent?

Rick Carlisle - Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Carlisle - Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

Veering away from the NBA Draft commotion, the looming free agency has also been gaining steam recently, with one latest news possibly affecting the free agent pool for the Indiana Pacers this offseason.

With considerable cap space up their sleeve, the Pacers are projected to be a big player in the player movement front. In fact, the franchise can strike a golden opportunity in the following weeks with one particular club currently in a dilemma with its own prized restricted free agent.

Should the Indiana Pacers overpay for this RFA?

Shams Charania of the Athletic recently dished on the latest bit regarding the Charlotte Hornets and upcoming restricted free agent Miles Bridges, saying that there is some inhibition from the team to meet the forward’s potentially hefty demands.

"Rival executives expect Hornets restricted free agent Miles Bridges to command a maximum — or near-max — deal in July, and sources said there’s hesitancy from Charlotte to match a max sheet."

Following a Most Improved Player-esque jump in 2021-22, Bridges will certainly be an expensive get for any potential bidder. However, the Indiana Pacers have the means to make the Hornets brass sweat, perhaps even profusely.

A max or near-max deal for the 24-year-old, despite his breakout season, is essentially an overpay, as the ensuing big salary will be hinged on his steady rise. Capacity notwithstanding, whether it would be wise on Indiana’s part to absorb the risk and hope that the move pays off should automatically raise some question marks, as is with any overpay.

A bulk of the rationale to answer this question could very well be deduced from the Pacers’ NBA Draft selections. Should they be able to address their glaring frontcourt holes, then there is little incentive to overpay for Bridges.

However, if the front office picks someone like Jaden Ivey, Shaedon Sharpe, or Ben Mathurin, then breaking the bank for the forward would be more tolerable. After all, Indiana can afford to be a bit of a reckless spender in view of their core players still on rookie-scale deals.

Managing to find a take for Malcolm Brogdon and/or Buddy Hield will also free up even more cap space, a portion of which could be used to aggressively pursue Bridges and sign him to an offer sheet that will give the Hornets more inhibitions, especially with Gordon Hayward’s semi-albatross contract still in the fold.

There are natural risks associated with overpaying, but the Indiana Pacers have the rare flexibility in that they can be more lavish spenders this offseason. Betting much of their cap space to take a gamble on Miles Bridges, however, may be anchored on their moves in the following days, though tabbing him as the decisive player this summer for the franchise is a reach.

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