At 12:01 a.m. Saturday morning, the 2017-18 NBA season is officially underway, along with the start of free agency. While the Pacers do not appear to be big spenders in free agency this year, they will need to bring in some young talent to fill the void that will be left behind by Paul George when he gets traded. They will also need some veteran presence to carry the team through this transitional phase the team is about to go through. With that being said, here are some guys i’d like to see the Pacers target.
1) Tim Hardaway Jr.
Hardaway Jr. fits the bill for a young, talented player that the Pacers need badly. He also has shown promise in developing into a volume scorer. He’s above average in shooting the 3, and can slash and get to the rim and finish. Hardaway Jr. is a restricted free agent, which means that whatever a team offers to him, the Atlanta Hawks have the opportunity to match. This protects that Hawks from simply losing him to any team on a low offer, and it makes it more difficult to snatch him away. If the offer is high enough from the Pacers however, they could get him and have a starting 2 guard for the future (only 25 years old) and for right now.
2) Otto Porter Jr.
Porter would provide instant help in the wing position that they will need once George is gone. He is 24 years old, and already has 4 years of experience under his belt. Last season, Porter averaged 13 points per game, as an overlooked piece to a good Washington Wizards team. He shot an exceptional 51 % from the field last season, and 43% from 3. Defensively Porter has the potential to be a solid wing defender as well, averaging 1.5 steals, and .5 blocks per game last season. With a youth movement under way, Otto Porter Jr. makes perfect sense for the Pacers
3) Aaron Afflalo
To help out a young team, the Pacers will need a veteran presence to show them the way. Right now, the Pacers do not have that. Aaron Afflalo can fill that need. Afflalo has been a solid NBA player for over a decade, and can still fill a void for a couple years as a scorer off the bench.
4) Jeff Teague
Sometimes, keeping you own is the best option for the team. The Pacers desperately need a point guard, and Jeff Teague quietly had a very good season last year, 17 ppg, 6 assists. Teague has been rumored to be interested in going to the Knicks, but do not be suprised if the Pacers push to keep him around. Getting Teague to stay in Indiana would possibly be the biggest win of the offseason for the Pacers, aside from what happens with Paul George. Teague is still relatively young, is a proven starter in the league, and is a hometown guy the fan base can rally behind.
The Pacers have a lot of work to do in order to reload from the fallout of the Paul George saga, and that work will begin this Saturday with the start of free agency. Look for a couple pieces to fall (Hayward signing), then we will see Paul George dealt to whichever team has the best offer for the Pacers. Then it will be time for Kevin Pritchard and co to get to work on signing free agents.
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