Pacers guard labeled 'perfect fit' as potential trade target for East foe

Indiana Pacers guard TJ McConnell was recently listed as a "perfect fit" as a potential trade target for the Miami Heat.
Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, TJ McConnell, NBA Trade Rumors
Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, TJ McConnell, NBA Trade Rumors / Elsa/GettyImages

The Indiana Pacers are sneakily one of the deeper teams around the NBA. They have quality rotation players not earning minutes because of how much talent they have on the roster.

Daniel Theis has expressed his frustration with his lack of minutes. Jarace Walker was the eighth pick in the 2023 NBA Draft and has yet to see significant playing time. Jordan Nwora looked great for Indiana to close last season but hasn’t cracked this year’s rotation.

But perhaps the most surprising rotational cast-off this year has been veteran TJ McConnell, who head coach Rick Carlisle was very emotional about leaving out of the regular lineup.

This season marks McConnell’s fifth with the Pacers, and at 31 years old, he’s still a solid player. But if he doesn’t get regular playing time in Indiana, a trade could be the best outcome for both parties involved.

Max Marshall of All U Can Heat recently listed McConnell as a potential trade target for the Miami Heat who would be a “perfect fit” next to Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.

McConnell is a great playmaking guard, and throughout the duration of his career, has been one of the most reliable bench point guards around the association. He even led the league in total steals in the 2020-21 season.

As things stand, Kyle Lowry is the best point guard option in Miami, and after him, they’ve been turning to guys like Josh Richardson and Dru Smith to run the point.

Obviously, Tyler Herro handles the ball a lot, as do Butler and Adebayo, and all three have been playing well, but having an extra ball-handler in the rotation would be a nice addition for the Heat.

The tricky part of a potential deal is what the Heat would actually be willing to give up in order to land McConnell.

McConnell makes $8.7 million this year, meaning Miami would have to give up a large salary (likely Lowry or Duncan Robinson) and take back somebody else from the Pacers in addition to McConnell, or package together about four minimum contract guys.

Neither of those outcomes seems likely unless both teams were willing to do a trade along the lines of McConnell and Buddy Hield for Lowry, Nikola Jovic, and a first-round pick.

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But while the trade may not make sense from a financial standpoint in terms of matching salaries, McConnell would definitely be a solid fit on the Heat.