Depleted free agent big man crop could spell doom for the Pacers

Myles Turner, Bobby Portis - Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Myles Turner, Bobby Portis - Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The much-anticipated 2022 NBA Free Agency commenced last night, and teams got off to a very fast start. In fact, a total of 39 players agreed to new deals with their old or new clubs on the first day, shaving a huge chunk from the crop of available players. The Indiana Pacers, however, were a notable exception.

Unlike most teams, the Pacers stood pat yesternight, remaining idle despite the transaction panels ranging from free agent signings, shell shocking trade demands, and notable overpays. Unfortunately, one area where Indiana badly needs reinforcements was already depleted, possibly spelling doom for the team.

The Indiana Pacers are now looking at a depleted list of free agent big men

Available frontcourt players who made sense for the Indiana Pacers quickly inked deals after the free agency period began. Bobby Portis, for example, was believed to be a flight risk, but ultimately re-upped with Milwaukee on a four-year deal. Even Marvin Bagley III, who was previously mentioned here as a potential high-reward reclamation project for the Pacers, remained with Detroit.

Notable names like PJ Tucker, Nic Claxton, and Chris Boucher quickly signed relatively more lucrative deals. Even free agent centers Mo Bamba, Isaiah Hartenstein, JaVale McGee, Andre Drummond, and yes, even Deandre Jordan, were able to snag new contracts on the first day of free agency.

Now, the Pacers are looking at a shorter list of possible frontcourt additions. Deandre Ayton tops the list, and his situation will be heavily monitored throughout the league. Luckily, Indiana is one of the only teams that can truly strike a deal for him. Alternatively, they can engage Phoenix in a sign-and-trade to retain some cap space to spend.

Another name worth mentioning is Jalen Smith, who remains unsigned. There are a handful of teams that make more compelling cases for him as a landing spot due to financial and basketball reasons, but the Pacers should at least have an outside shot at retaining him on a discount as a prelude to a more pricey pay in the following offseason.

Here are the other notable frontcourt players who are still available for plucking in free agency:

  • Kevon Looney
  • Jusuf Nurkic
  • Montrezl Harrell
  • Thomas Bryant
  • Mitchell Robinson
  • Bol Bol
  • Serge Ibaka

Ultimately, the Indiana Pacers should still be capable of filling their void in the frontcourt, though extracting from the list above, they will have to score big or risk settling for a not-so-inspiring crop of available players.

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