The Indiana Pacers are expected to have just north of $20 million in cap space to work with next weekend when the NBA Free Agency period starts. Should the team pursue either of the Charlotte Hornets’ Marvin Williams or Courtney Lee?
The Indiana Pacers were a better team than what they were a week ago, thanks to team president Larry Bird‘s savviness on the trade market.
In a mere two days, Bird had the Pacers involved in a three-team deal with both the Utah Jazz and Atlanta Hawks — the Jazz would receive guard George Hill and the Pacers would receive Hill’s replacement in Jeff Teague.
The next day, Bird was able to rid the team’s 20th selection and a future 2nd-round pick in last week’s draft to the Brooklyn Nets for forward Thaddeus Young.
In essence, the Pacers just acquired two players who will make an immediate impact on the team and that fans can expect to be in the starting rotation come day one of the upcoming season. The Pacers haven’t even spent a penny in free agency yet — which starts on midnight July 1st.
many experts and media have gone on to say that Bird in fact ‘robbed’ the Nets and Hawks with the trades, which is what it looks like on paper.
A few have been critical of the fact that Bird ridded the team’s first-round selection in the draft, but there is logic to the move, however.
At first glance, the 2016 draft class looks rather weak outside of a few notable players. What sense would it make for the Pacers to draft and develop a young talent to which they don’t know whether or not the player will make an immediate impact on the team, or an impact at all? The Pacers get a player in his prime in Young, that can make immediate contributions to the team and help them win moving forward.
back to the topic of free agency, it is unlikely that the Pacers will be able to lure in any big-name free agents now given the recent trades have shrunken the team’s cap space. But, there are two names that stick out on the free agency market that are attainable for the team.
An Indianapolis native out of Pike High School, Lee would provide the Pacers with a reliable shooter at guard who can help space the floor and create looks for his teammates. Lee’s current contract that is set to expire next week is a four-year deal worth a little over $21 million — resulting in the 30-year-old player making over $5 million each year. Given his age and what he earned last season, it’s not likely that Lee will be making big bucks next season, so he could be more than attainable for Bird to sign this summer.
A fellow Hornet just like Lee, Williams signed a two-year, $14 million contract with the team in 2014. As a power forward, Williams averaged 11.7 points and 6.4 rebounds while shooting 45% from the floor last season. William’s ability to knock down shots from beyond the three-point line make him a valuable asset to any team, as he shot 40% from beyond the line last year. With Myles Turner likely moving to the center position next year, Williams could be a viable asset to go alongside Young whether it be as a role player off of the bench or as the Pacer’s starter at the four. Like Lee, it isn’t likely that Williams will command a high number this summer, thus making his acquisition a real possibility for the Pacers.
Whether or not the Pacers sign either of these players this summer remains a mystery. Signing Lee would be more of a realistic possibility for the team given the fact that Bird may already have his starting power forward in Young. Whatever happens though is surely set to be interesting and something to keep an eye on come the start of the free agency period.
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