The Indiana Pacers are carrying a 26-34 record heading into the All-Star break — a rather deflating win-loss card considering how well the team performed early on. Still, there are multitudes of reasons to remain optimistic, as the franchise is clearly on the way up moving forward.
Prognosticating what moves the front office should make in the offseason to better the team may be too premature right now, especially with the trade deadline having just lapsed, but the upcoming break should give the team a bird’s eye view on a potential summer blueprint, particularly as regards free agency.
Potential free agent target for the Indiana Pacers could command a hefty price tag
One of the upcoming free agents who make a ton of sense as a target for the Pacers is forward Grant Williams, who is turning in yet another solid season for the NBA-leading Boston Celtics. However, the 2022 NBA finalists may find it tricky to keep him in restricted free agency due to his rumored price tag, though they possess his Bird rights and can match any offer, to boot.
Williams, a pivotal rotation piece for Boston, is reportedly eyeing a deal in the neighborhood of $20 million annually akin to Keldon Johnson’s extension with the San Antonio Spurs this past summer. That is definitely a hefty ladder for any suitor to climb, as the defensive-minded tweener is a clear-cut role player despite his obvious strengths.
Indiana is projected to have practical cap space at around $38.5 million, which gives them the ninth-best spending power in free agency in a cap-rich summer, but the front office is unlikely to be grandiose spenders in view of Tyrese Haliburton’s looming — and deservedly expensive — extension. Nevertheless, the Pacers can still hypothetically play in the trade market and dangle one of their bigger contracts if need be.
Williams could be a quick fix to the team’s slew of problems — particularly on defense — but meeting his price tag could prompt the club to lose significant financial flexibility.
Ultimately, should the Indiana Pacers have the impetus to be willful spenders, the front office should arguably dream higher than just Grant Williams (no offense). After all, a franchise that rarely breaks the bank should do so for an uncompromising piece that can rise its ceiling much higher instead of a specialist.