Pacers team to ‘closely monitor’ in trade race for 23-year-old defensive ace

The Indiana Pacers could look at a potential trade for Cleveland Cavaliers wing Isaac Okoro.
Indiana Pacers, Isaac Okoro, NBA Trade Rumors
Indiana Pacers, Isaac Okoro, NBA Trade Rumors / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

For the entirety of the season, the Indiana Pacers have struggled on the defensive side of the ball. They’ve laid claim to the best offense in the league for a long while, but the other end of the court has been a serious issue.

In spite of that and the multitude of injuries Indiana has dealt with, they’ve managed to keep themselves in the race for the postseason, led by Tyrese Haliburton and newcomer Pascal Siakam.

Their trade for Siakam should help their defense in the long run, but just because they made a blockbuster move already this season doesn’t mean they’re necessarily done yet.

In fact, recent reports have indicated that the Pacers may actually look into making more trades ahead of this year’s deadline, likely in an attempt to improve the defense further.

One guy they could target is Cleveland Cavaliers wing Isaac Okoro, as Michael Scotto of HoopsHype recently reported that the Pacers are a team to “closely monitor” in the potential trade race for the 23-year-old.

“With that in mind, Okoro is expected to draw interest at the trade deadline,” Scotto wrote. “The Knicks, Hawks, Pacers, Suns and Bucks are all teams to closely monitor as all are known to have interest in acquiring a two-way wing, league sources told HoopsHype.”

Throughout his young career, Okoro has struggled with consistency on the offensive end, but defensively, he’s been a very impressive talent, helping the Cavaliers on that side of the ball.

So far this season, Okoro is averaging 8.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game while shooting 49.2% from the field and 37.2% from behind the three-point line. He’s playing 26.3 minutes per contest.

In Okoro’s defense, the 23-year-old has improved his three-point shot a bit in each of the last three seasons, but he’s still only taking 2.5 per night.

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Okoro is in the final year of his contract, as he didn’t reach a rookie-scale contract extension with the Cavaliers this past summer. Scotto also noted that if the Cavaliers want to keep their core together moving forward, retaining Okoro could be difficult unless they are okay with going deep into the tax.

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