The Indiana Pacers are heading into an offseason of change with Larry Bird stepping down. Kevin Pritchard will be tasked with finding quality players to put alongside Paul George in order to keep the Pacers’ franchise player in town. It won’t be easy, but Indiana will likely be aggressive in free agency.
Looking ahead to next season, it will be interesting to see what the Pacers bring on board. Even though they were swept by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Pacers only lost by a total of 16 points. Now that the Cavaliers are blowing the Toronto Raptors out of the water, fans and the media can see just how underrated the Pacers were heading into the playoffs.
Indiana will have to make a few different decisions this offseason. One of the biggest will be whether or not to re-sign starting point guard Jeff Teague. C.J. Miles will also likely opt out of his contract, which would be a bit of a blow for the Pacers’ depth chart as well.
— IndyStar (@indystar) May 4, 2017
Despite the couple issues that the Pacers will have within their own team, they still have a talented group for next season. Myles Turner will have another offseason of hard work under his belt, Lance Stephenson is back home in his comfort zone, Thaddeus Young will get fully healthy again, and barring a surprising trade, George will be back after showing off his full superstar potential at the end of last season.
All of that being said, what five players could be potential 2017 NBA free agency targets for the Indiana Pacers?
Jeff Teague, Point Guard
Obviously, re-signing Jeff Teague will be a priority for the Pacers, so he belongs on this list. Pritchard made it fairly clear in his first press conference after Bird stepped down that he is a big fan of Teague. He may not end up coming back to Indiana, but the Pacers are certainly going to discuss a new deal with him.
Blake Griffin, Power Forward
That’s right, don’t be surprised if the Pacers try to set up a meeting with Clippers’ star big man Blake Griffin. Indiana is going to try to bring in another big name to play alongside George and Griffin would be an ideal fit. Los Angeles appears to be the front-runner to bring Griffin back, but the Pacers could target him.
— Hoops Rumors (@HoopsRumors) May 1, 2017
J.J. Redick, Shooting Guard
In the search for more shooting, the Pacers could look to sign shooting guard J.J. Redick this offseason. He may re-sign with the Clippers when everything is said and done, but there is also a chance that L.A. will be unable to afford him. Redick would be an ideal fit for the Pacers and would add the needed shooting that became an obvious weakness last season.
Gordon Hayward, Small Forward
George has made it clear that he would love to team up with Gordon Hayward, although it doesn’t seem likely that he will leave the Utah Jazz with the success they are having. Hayward is from Indiana, however, which could make a return home seem more interesting. Indiana will likely make a call to Hayward, but whether he will be interested in leaving Utah or not is the bigger question.
— NESN (@NESN) March 23, 2017
David West, Power Forward
After hearing Pritchard’s comments about wanting to bring toughness back to Indiana, is it too much to think that targeting David West might be an option? Larry Bird didn’t help the ending of West’s tenure with the Pacers, but after chasing a ring for two years, West could be an option for the Pacers. West would certainly add toughness and consistency to the second unit.
Expect to see the Pacers look to make some moves this offseason. Pritchard has always been viewed as an aggressive general manager and that won’t change now. Indiana needs to make some moves if they want to keep George in town and free agency is the place to make those moves.
Do you think the Indiana Pacers will make a big move in free agency? Which players do you think they should target? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Jae C. Hong/AP Images]