The Indiana Pacers can facilitate a blockbuster Russell Westbrook-Kyrie Irving trade

Myles Turner, Russell Westbrook - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Myles Turner, Russell Westbrook - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2022 NBA free agency may have essentially ended for the Indiana Pacers after their foiled Deandre Ayton pursuit, but the trade market is definitely far from reaching its conclusion this offseason. In fact, given their collection of assets and ample cap space, the team still has the capacity to be a major player.

Currently, the Pacers possess just a tad below $32 million in cap space, which should be enough to absorb a max contract at large. The only other team with this wiggle room is the San Antonio Spurs, which have pivoted to a full rebuild after trading Dejounte Murray and not adding to their payroll in free agency.

Hence, Indiana could help expedite some anticipated trades in the league, one of which is the rumored Russell WestbrookKyrie Irving swap that has infiltrated the rumor mill in recent weeks.

The Indiana Pacers could help make the Russell Westbrook-Kyrie Irving trade possible

The Indiana Pacers have a boatload of money to spare, but the free agent market has become all but dry for the franchise. As things currently stand, the team may be better off sticking with what they currently have, save for some anticipated moves regarding Myles Turner.

However, letting dead money just sit on their accounts for an entire year is not a good showing of asset management. This is what makes the Pacers such a good team that could help facilitate a blockbuster deal, like the Westbrook-Irving scenario.

Acquiring Westbrook may indeed be a jarring turn-off for many, but his albatross contract is an expiring one. Subrogating for Brooklyn and taking on the disgruntled star has no material benefit for Indiana, but it is a giant leverage for them to demand some rewards for volunteering to pay Westbrook instead.

To be exact, the Pacers should only be willing to expedite such trade if they will be incentivized handsomely with draft capital. Throwing in Turner makes the money work, and given that he’s a flight risk and a possible one-year rental, Indiana may not be able to exact a lot of assets anyway for his services.

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Two first-rounders with minimal protection, or just one of the unprotected variant alongside a young player may be a reasonable enough return for the Pacers that can entice them to help expedite the blockbuster proposal. In reality, their only competition in this regard is San Antonio.

The Indiana Pacers may not have the desired role in this proposed trade if it pushes through, but  there are really no long-term drawbacks for the franchise should they be willing to rent out their cap space. Headaches may ensue, but all those should be risks that the team should be willing to absorb if it means fortifying their collection of assets for the future.

Next. The Indiana Pacers find themselves in an awkward situation with Myles Turner. dark