The Indiana Pacers are going to be busy this offseason, especially after deciding to move on from head coach Frank Vogel. Larry Bird will have to figure out who to hire as the next Pacers’ head coach and then shift his attention to the NBA Draft and free agency.
Looking ahead at the upcoming free agent market, there is one player that sticks out as a player that Bird and the Pacers need to aggressively target.
Perhaps the biggest position of need over the last few seasons for the Pacers has been at the point guard position. Mike Conley is set to hit the free agent market and there are already media members that think the Pacers should target him. Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star wrote a long column about why the Pacers should pursue Conley in free agency.
George Hill has been a solid player over the past couple of seasons for the Pacers, but he is nowhere near point guard status. He is more of a scorer and has been unable to find the balance of being a scorer and a creator for his teammates. Conley has found that balance during his tenure with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Convincing Conley to leave Memphis won’t be easy for any team. He has grown to like the city and the franchise that he has played for. Playing alongside of Marc Gasol is also a draw for Conley, although the Pacers can offer him a chance to play with Paul George and Myles Turner.
Signing with the Pacers could be even more of an interesting idea to Conley, as he would be returning home. He was born in Indianapolis and played his high school basketball at Lawrence North High School.
Last season with the Grizzlies, Conley struggled through a season riddled with injuries. He ended the year averaging 15.3 points, 6.1 assists, and 2.9 rebounds per game. Conley shot 42.2 percent from the field overall and knocked down 36.3 percent of his three-point attempts.
If Bird wants to give the Pacers a chance to make a run at a championship, he has to be aggressive this offseason. George and Turner are the obvious top players on the team, with Monta Ellis and Hill being very solid supporting players. Outside of those four players, the Pacers are full of inconsistency.
Bringing in a legitimate point guard who can score and create for his teammates would fix the biggest hole that the Pacers have. He would immediately become a leader for the offense and would make both George and Turner much better. Other players like C.J. Miles and Rodney Stuckey could also feed off of playing alongside Conley.
There is no telling how much money it will take to sign Conley this coming offseason. Indiana isn’t going to be the only team with interest in stealing him away from the Grizzlies.
Expect to see the Pacers be very aggressive this offseason in their pursuit of free agents. Bird knows that the team can compete with the right roster and George leading the way. Indiana is going to be a serious threat in the Eastern Conference in the next year or two and it could all start by signing Conley.
Do you think the Indiana Pacers should aggressively pursue a deal with Mike Conley in free agency? Would he be the type of addition that could help power the Pacers back to the top of the conference? Let us know in the comment box below!
[AP Photo/Brandon Dill]