The Indiana Pacers have had a slow offseason for news in recent months. After Malcolm Brogdon was traded to the Boston Celtics, the Pacers made a swing to acquire Deandre Ayton. That was weeks ago.
Donovan Mitchell was traded from the Utah Jazz a few weeks ago and will now head east to a division rival, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Per Woj, the complete trade details are as follows: Mitchell to Cleveland for Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, Collin Sexton, three unprotected first-round picks, and two pick swaps.
Why does this matter to the Indiana Pacers?
Last season, Indiana made a trade with Cleveland to send out Caris LeVert, and in return, they received Ricky Rubio in addition to a lottery-protected first-round draft pick. The Pacers were expecting that pick to convey last season, as, at the time of the trade, the Cavs were a playoff lock.
With lottery-protected picks — the team that places the protection on the selection (CLE) will keep that pick if (CLE) doesn’t make the playoffs (therefore being in the NBA draft lottery). The receiving team (IND) then won’t get the selection and has to wait for the following season to see if (CLE) will make the playoffs. If the Cavs don’t make it for the second straight year, the first-round pick turns into two second-round picks, which the Indiana Pacers do not want to happen.
Mitchell makes the Cavs a better team, and they already have a talented group in Mobely and Garland. Mobley will likely take a jump this season after a remarkable rookie year and hopefully help lead Cleveland to a playoff birth. If a playoff birth is the outcome, the Pacers will get an additional first-round draft pick this season to go along with their projected lottery pick for 2023. So, plan on hoping for Mitchell to bring his All-Star talent to the Cavaliers this season. Indiana’s drafting future and rebuilding plans depends on that reality.
The Cavaliers making the playoffs would mean that Indiana has three first-round picks in the upcoming draft. One from Boston via the Malcolm Brogdon trade, one from Cleveland, and their own. This is a pretty good situation considering the state of this franchise. Even if the picks you get from Cleveland and Boston aren’t the greatest (likely), they can also be assets to move up in a draft or for another player. Indiana did this with Aaron Holiday by packaging him with a draft pick to move up and acquire the rights to Isaiah Jackson. That decision looks pretty good as it stands.
That may not be the end of the Pacers picks to be acquired this off-season. Myles Turner and Buddy Hield were in trade talks with the Lakers, which could net them a first-round pick in a few seasons. The Indiana Pacers hold firm on their value for Turner as it is known that they want at least a first-round selection for the 26-year-old big man.