Larry Bird and the Indiana Pacers are entering an important offseason for the future of their franchise. After deciding to let Frank Vogel walk away, the Pacers have to figure out a way to give new head coach Nate McMillan a roster that he can compete with. That is where free agency will come into play.
Indiana has not been a popular free agency destination over the years, but they have lured a couple big names over the past few years. David West was the first one, and bringing Monta Ellis on board last offseason was a huge move as well.
Looking ahead at the upcoming offseason, there are a few big names that the Pacers could be targeting.
Mike Conley is the biggest name that comes up in most conversations, while others believe that Rajon Rondo could be the point guard of the future. Al Horford is another name that has come up in rumors.
While all three of those players would be big additions for the Pacers, Al Jefferson is a name that the Pacers should target. He would pair nicely in the front-court with Myles Turner and could help mentor the young big man.
Over the past couple of seasons with the Charlotte Hornets, Jefferson has slowed down a bit. He has not been the dominant post scorer that the Hornets needed him to be. That being said, the system that is being run is not the best for him, either.
Last season with the Hornets, Jefferson ended up averaging 12 points, 6.4 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game. He shot 48.5 percent from the field overall and knocked down 64.9 percent from the free-throw line. Those numbers may not look amazing, but he would add a much needed dynamic in Indiana.
At 31-years-old, Jefferson still has a few good seasons left to play in the NBA. Indiana could get him on a discounted contract for the next couple of years.
Turner is a defensive-minded big man with an all-around offensive game. He showed the ability to knock shots down consistently from the mid-range and also step out to the three-point line. One area that he did struggle a bit with was in the post, which is the strongest aspect of Jefferson’s game.
Jefferson would slide in as an immediate offensive option for McMillan and could help teach Turner the post moves needed to succeed at the NBA level.
Looking ahead at the upcoming offseason, there will be a few other teams who are interested in signing Jefferson as well. Indiana can’t afford to get into a major bidding war for him, but they will have a decent amount of cap space to work with. Bird is going to try to make something happen that would be bigger than a Jefferson signing, but finding a way to bring in Jefferson along with a bigger name would be ideal.
All of that being said, it will be an entertaining offseason for Pacers fans. Rumors have already started coming out about Paul George being pursued by many different teams via trade. Bird likely won’t move his star player, but nothing can be counted out with him.
Expect to hear Indiana being rumored to be pursuing many different names in free agency. Jefferson may never come up as a target for the Pacers, but he should be. His game could be exactly what the doctor ordered for the Pacers’ offense.
Do you think that Al Jefferson would be a good fit for the Indiana Pacers? Who do you think the Pacers should target in NBA free agency? Let us know in the comment box below!
[AP Photo/Duane Burleson]