With a projected practical cap space of nearly $40 million for the following season, the Indiana Pacers are one of the better-equipped teams to be key players during free agency — a luxury enjoyed by the franchise for the second straight summer. Hence, the upcoming free agency will be a big opportunity for the club to cash in and hopefully reel in some potential game-changers along the way.
Another team with substantial cap space heading into the summer is the Los Angeles Lakers, which are touted to carry a tad more than $32 million to throw at free agents. LA will always be an attractive option for basically anyone, but here is how the Pacers can play big spoilers to their otherwise expectedly eventful offseason.
The Indiana Pacers can be a thorn to the Lakers during the offseason by targeting this free agent
Following a breakout game, Austin Reaves has been a hot customer in news panels in the last couple of days, with all eyes now on how his impending free agency could transpire. Both him and the Lakers are reportedly pretty interested on re-upping, but money talks during the offseason. There will always be one or two teams which will turn a seemingly easy yes into a deafening maybe.
The Pacers can be that team, as they can realistically hash out an ofer that can make LA sweat and eventually debilitate their financial flexibility for their other more glamorous targets — both in-house and from the outside.
Latest reports seem to indicate that Reaves could demand a four-year, $50 million deal during the summer. That’s quite the investment for a role player, but the undrafted guard has shown more than enough this season to deserve a bit of an overpay — ceiling and actual product considered.
Averaging 12 points, three rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game on 51.8/38/85.4 shooting splits this season, Reaves has been one of the steadier hands for the rather inconsistent Lakers this season. His offense, turbocharged by a high free-throw attempt rate recently, can be average, but he has fared very well as a secondary release valve — either as a spot-up shooter or playmaker. His defense, while overstated, is better than most of his teammates’.
Indiana is quite loaded on the backcourt, but the team can always choose to streamline in that regard and retain only those who can viably make them better in the long-run. Tabbing Reaves as a panacea of some sorts is a mistake, but at that price range, the franchise could be hard-pressed to find a better solution to solve their woes on defense and secondary playmaking.
Ultimately, the Indiana Pacers will be much better off worrying about themselves in such a pivotal offseason. However, nothing precludes them from being party poopers as long as an imminent reward exists — such as Austin Reaves.