Evaluating potential star trade options for Pacers and whether or not it's necessary

The Indiana Pacers have struggled as of late, so should they consider trading for a second star to play next to Tyrese Haliburton.
Indiana Pacers, NBA  Trade Rumors, Tyrese Haliburton, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam
Indiana Pacers, NBA Trade Rumors, Tyrese Haliburton, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Following a hot start to the season, the Indiana Pacers have gradually come down to Earth. Following a 6-3 start in their first nine games and flirting with a top-three seed to start off, Indiana has gone 4-5 in the nine games since.

This sometimes resulted in losses in extremely winnable games, like the one on Monday against Portland and most recently, on Thursday against Miami, where they had as much as a 13-point lead only to lose by double digits in the fourth quarter.

This recent downward trend after a hot start has started to beg the question of if the Pacers should just gather all their assets and make a trade for a second star next to Tyrese Haliburton.

Going into the season, Bennedict Mathurin was projected to be that very star, but with him underperforming and Myles Turner's impressive scoring simply not being enough to pair next to Haliburton on certain nights, the call has been made by many Pacers fans to perhaps look elsewhere for help. Perhaps even before 2024 free agency.

In the past couple of weeks, there have been a few Pacers fans to come out of the woodshed and suggest a trade is what this team needs to get them to playoff contention. Mind you, this team is still very young, with an average age of 24.9 and only four players on the team being older than 25 years old.

Coincidentally, these four players have been the most active in trade talks for fans, although Myles Turner has recently escaped trade talks after signing an extension in January, being replaced by Bennedict Mathurin, of all people.

While some of Pacers fans' concerns are very much valid, such as the need for a better scorer alongside Haliburton and a defender, particularly at the power forward position due to Jarace Walker still not cracking the rotation, I have to question some fans' patience.

This Indiana team is still clearly young and is dropping off a bit from a historic offensive start. Bennedict Mathurin, in particular, has struggled on both ends of the floor, swapping efficient scoring and defensive flashes for inefficiency and defensive lapses seemingly every other night.

A trade would help this team get to where they need to be faster, but most of the players Pacers fans are going to be free agents anyway.

Two names that have come up more frequently than any other have been Toronto forwards Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby. It is without question that Siakam and Anunoby's talents would help the Pacers majorly, whether it be this season or the next, but there is a caveat.

Siakam is set to be a free agent this upcoming summer, and Anunoby has a player option on his contract that he could decline in the offseason. With that being said, and the obvious being that the Pacers can only pick up one of these guys, the question arises of whether it is worth it to give up assets for a player you could just sign in the offseason.

The prospect of a Siakam trade will come with his looming free agency and the possibility of him being only a half-season rental.

Another name that has popped up recently is Mikal Bridges of the Brooklyn Nets. I have to say, this is my favorite trade target of the bunch. With Bridges' combination of scoring and elite defensive ability, he would be a seamless fit with his ability to score on all three levels and lock down the opposing team's best perimeter player.

Brooklyn is also rebuilding, so it may also be possible for Indiana to get Bridges without gutting the entire roster. Perhaps Andrew Nembhard and a haul of first-round picks would be enough to get the 27-year-old, perhaps not. Either way, it is still worthwhile for the Pacers to take a look and give Brooklyn a call to see what their asking price is.

Finally, perhaps the most popular option for Pacers fans is Paul George. George has expressed regrets on how his Pacers tenure ended and seems to be very close with Tyrese Haliburton.

With the Clippers possibly on their way to another underachieving playoff run and George having a player option, it is possible he will decline said option and give it another go in Indiana. In recent years, Pacers fans' opinions on George have gradually softened, and most fans are fully on board with a reunion with the 33-year-old.

Only time will tell whether the Pacers make a quick trade to fast-track their journey to contending. In my opinion, OG, Pascal, and George are more worth waiting for until the offseason to sign outright, and the best trade target I have seen for the Pacers has been Mikal Bridges by a long shot.

Next. 3 Pacers trade targets to fix this season’s biggest problem. 3 Pacers trade targets to fix this season’s biggest problem. dark

Either way, there is no doubt that either of these four would give the Pacers exactly what they need and would be a perfect fit alongside Tyrese Haliburton. I'm just not sure if a trade is exactly the way to go here.