This past offseason has been one that the Indiana Pacers and their fans would like to forget. They lost their second best player in Lance Stephenson to a three-year, $27 million offer from the Charlotte Hornets, and have been unable to make the big move that they were hoping to make. There were reports earlier in the offseason that the Pacers were trying to acquire Goran Dragic from the Suns, and there have been rumblings that Rajon Rondo could be a trade target a well.
It doesn’t appear that Larry Bird will be able to swing anything major, but there are still some quality veteran free agents on the market that could improve the roster. One of those players is small forward Shawn Marion, who will likely end up having to settle for a veterans minimum contract here in the next week or two. If the Pacers are serious about improving and staying in the championship hunt, Marion would be a very nice addition at this point in the offseason.
How would Marion fit with the current Pacers team? Quite simply, it would allow Paul George to slide back to his original position of shooting guard, and it would allow the Pacers to bring both C.J. Miles and Rodney Stuckey off of the bench. Marion might not be the star that he once was, but he is still a very serviceable player on both offense and defense.
Indiana runs a defense first type of system, and that would fit Marion’s skill set extremely well. He showed this past season with the Dallas Mavericks that he is still capable of making a difference, and would be a nice addition at a veterans minimum contract if the Pacers could convince him to sign. It is likely that he would take a lesser contract to play with a contender, and that would make Indiana a nice fit, and would also give him the opportunity to be a major player as well.
Marion ended up averaging 10.4 and 6.5 rebounds per game, and also chipped in 1.2 steals per game. He is a true veteran presence and would bring more winning and playoff experience to the roster. This type of move would not be as flashy as a Stephenson type of move, but it would add the type of stability to the lineup that Indiana will need.
Overall, this may not end up happening, but it would make a lot of sense for Bird to look at. Marion would fit very well in the Pacers’ system and would help stabilize the locker room which the Pacers needed badly last season. If he comes at the veterans minimum salary, don’t be surprised to see the Pacers express interest and try to get something done.