For the second straight year, the Indiana Pacers should remain a key team to watch in the offseason. With their litany of draft picks and substantial cap space, the franchise is well-adorned with the assets necessary to drastically improve the roster and facilitate their expected rise in the Eastern Conference.
That being said, the Pacers have to address a elephant in the room that could very much decide the trajectory of their offseason: what do they do with Buddy Hield? The veteran sharpshooter has been turning in a very solid season for Indiana, but objectively speaking, should he remain in their plans moving forward?
What should the Indiana Pacers do with Buddy Hield in the offseason?
Having braved through numerous rounds of trade rumors, Hield’s retention in the Circle City is out of pure intention from the Pacers’ brass. Indiana’s offensive sheen this season has banked heavily on his three-point shooting, and trading the NBA’s leader in three-pointers made on astounding efficiency is simply malpractice from a basketball sense.
That being said, the basketball sense is typically more silent during the offseason, where teams become more conscious of the long-term picture, especially for franchises like the Pacers that are currently on the building stage. And this is where Hield’s standing on the team could become quite shaky.
To be quite frank, there will probably be no right answer as regards the keep or trade dilemma with Hield. Both perspectives have a ton of merit behind them, but are also not bereft of risks. Ultimately, it could be the franchise’s direction and desired timeline that could settle it once and for all.
Should Indiana land a marquee player via trade or free agency, then Hield (if he’s not the one trade in case of the former) will be an easy keep. In this era of offensive explosion, there’s virtually zero reason to not see the veteran as an ideal complementary piece notwithstanding his role.
On the slip side, if the Pacers go the more modest role and instead remain on the youth-centric team-building ethos, they should perhaps do their due diligence and resume feeling out the market for Hield, which should easily be a robust one. Given Indiana’s need to trim their roster overlaps, it could benefit them more in the long-run if they try to leverage him for a better-fitting player — like a bona fide forward, for example.
No one will be envying the Indiana Pacers as they are slated to make a tough choice on Buddy Hield in the offseason, but fortunately, they should pretty much be well-served by whatever decision they make. This sheer flexibility, however, needs a resolution as it would give the front office a clearer blueprint toward a more productive offseason.