With the 2023 NBA Playoffs nearing its most climactic point, teams on the outside looking in have their sights set on bolstering their rosters in the upcoming offseason. The Indiana Pacers are harping on the same tune, with the front office widely expected to venture out and seek external help to mitigate the team’s issues, primarily in the forward positions.
However, one recent report revealed that the Pacers actually almost got that help they badly needed a few months ago during the trade deadline which could have had major implications on their competitive stance to end the regular season and potentially, the postseason picture.
The Pacers reportedly almost traded for forward Rui Hachimura before going to the Lakers
Jake Fischer, a Senior NBA Reporter for Yahoo! Sports with a very credible track record, recently mentioned that Indiana was actually one of the teams which aggressively pursued a trade for then-Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura, who eventually ended up on the Los Angeles Lakers.
"For any clues to rival teams that could throw an offer sheet Hachimura’s direction, Indiana and Phoenix were considered strong suitors for him back in February, sources said, and nearly completed deals with the Wizards for him."
At the midseason point, the Pacers remained in the postseason hunt and were looking to balance out their roster by bringing in more reinforcements in the frontcourt. They ultimately stood pat in that regard and ended the trade deadline with the Jordan Nwora and George Hill acquisitions.
Meanwhile, the Lakers sent Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks for Hachimura, who eventually turned out to be a vital piece in LA’s late playoff push and ended the season as a projected part of their core moving forward following a very solid postseason performance for the Purple and Gold.
Anyhow, Hachimura, the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, is set to enter restricted free agency. However, the Lakers are widely expected to match any offer sheet sent his way, whose salary wish is reported to have a $15 million per season floor.
The Pacers are anticipated by many to primarily address their forward position woes through the draft, but should they not trend in that direction, the front office will have more than sufficient ammo to make a play for Hachimura, as they are one of the few teams with substantial cap space this summer.