The Indiana Pacers want to improve their roster around Tyrese Haliburton. He is taking the next step, and fans saw a glimpse of what Haliburton can do as he led the Pacers to the In-Season Tournament finals. The 23-year-old is hungry for his first taste of the playoffs, but the Pacers must upgrade around him to have a shot at a serious run.
They could attempt to improve on the margins by adding a role player or take a shot at a star. The Pacers have been linked to Pascal Siakam, who appears more likely to be dealt after the Raptors traded OG Anunoby to the Knicks.
Siakam is a two-time All-Star and would be a massive talent upgrade for the Pacers at the four, but he is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2024. Marc Stein reported on Jan. 1 that Siakam will likely explore the open market if he gets dealt (subscription required). The small-market Pacers cannot run that risk and should explore these options instead.
5. Jerami Grant
Siakam is a better player than Grant. Nobody is questioning that, but it comes down to cost control for the Pacers. They are likely trading for five months of the two-time All-Star. The 76ers and others will be waiting with max contracts in free agency, and it will be tough to fully integrate Siakam on the fly. If he is unwilling to sign a long-term deal in Indiana, the Pacers would be way better off with Grant and his five-year $160 million contract on the books.
The 6’7 forward is still in his prime and has proven he can play any role his team needs. Grant has scored over 20 points per game in three of the last four seasons. He is a plus-shooter and versatile defender, who would fit nicely in Indiana next to Myles Turner and Haliburton. Grant can be the team’s number two scorer and fill their hole at the four.
The Indiana Pacers can grow that core together over the next half-decade and make multiple runs. Haliburton is still improving, so adding a rental makes little sense, especially one with an eye towards free agency.