Ladies and gentlemen, it is finally that day. February 8, 2024, is the official trade deadline for the NBA season and the end of trade season in general. For the Indiana Pacers, this represents a crossroads that they are well used to.
Of course, who could forget the massive trade deadline move in 2022 to bring Tyrese Halibruton to the Pacers in exchange for two-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis, a move that we are approaching the two-year anniversary of? Or, how about the year before, when Indiana finally pulled the plug on the Victor Oladipo era, dealing him to Houston in exchange for Caris LeVert from the Brooklyn Nets, who they would end up trading the following year anyway?
Long story short, Indiana has been pretty active at the deadline in recent years, which is especially uncharacteristic considering their history. This year was no different from the last few, except this time, Indiana made a splash earlier than expected.
Following frustration with the Toronto Raptors front office and severed talks on an extension, Pascal Siakam was put on the trade block by the team and the Pacers slowly but surely crept to the top of the list of potential destinations.
What initially felt like a standoff between Indiana and Toronto based on the Pacers' refusal to give up any of their young players quickly turned into shock as Toronto dealt Siakam to Indiana on January 17, far before the deadline and before anyone expected Siakam to be traded. Furthermore, the Pacers would end up keeping all their young pieces, with Toronto settling on a package built around Bruce Brown and three first-round picks.
With the Siakam trade happening earlier than anyone expected, the door remained open for Indiana to potentially make more moves, and the focus quickly set to two players, Buddy Hield and Obi Toppin, as well as the potential return Indiana could look for in a deal.