The Indiana Pacers started the 2016-17 NBA season off with high expectations of competing with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, Nate McMillan’s squad did not start the season off the way they were expected to.
Indiana got off to a slow start, which drew frustration from superstar forward Paul George. He expressed unhappiness over the team and also was frustrated with the fans’ frustrations. Since then, however, the Pacers have gotten back on track and are beginning to look like a team that can contend in the East.
Larry Bird made massive changes to the Pacers’ roster this past offseason. He acquired Jeff Teague from the Hawks for “Hometown Hero” George Hill, while also trading the Pacers’ first-round draft pick for Thaddeus Young. Al Jefferson was signed in free agency soon after, and the Pacers immediately became one of the winners of the offseason.
Now that the Pacers are turning things up a bit, it is time to look at how they can improve. Indiana does not have top-notch trade chips, but they have enough ammunition that they could pull off a deal at the NBA trade deadline.
All of that being said, which five players could the Indiana Pacers in trades at the deadline?
Serge Ibaka, Power Forward, Orlando Magic
One player that the Pacers have been linked to is Serge Ibaka. Acquiring a talent like Ibaka would be a huge step in the right direction for Indiana, who would be adding extra scoring, rebounding, and especially defense. Ibaka has plenty of suitors, but the Pacers could make a push to acquire him.
Wilson Chandler, Small Forward, Denver Nuggets
Indiana could choose to go with another wing player to help take more pressure off of Paul George. Wilson Chandler could start at the small forward position, with George sliding down to shooting guard. He is averaging 15.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game this season and would be a nice addition for the Pacers.
Courtney Lee, Shooting Guard, New York Knicks
If the Pacers want to upgrade their shooting guard position, Courtney Lee might be the answer for them. He brings top-notch defense and three-point shooting to the lineup. Lee has averaged 10.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game this season and would likely welcome a return to the city that he grew up in.
Wesley Matthews, Shooting Guard, Dallas Mavericks
Dallas may not be interested in trading Wesley Matthews, but if they are, the Pacers need to show interest. Matthews is another player that would upgrade the shooting guard position for Indiana, with three-point shooting and defense. He has averaged 15.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game for the Mavericks this season.
Leandro Barbosa, Shooting Guard, Phoenix Suns
Indiana acquired Leandro Barbosa at the trade deadline a few years back, and he would be an intriguing pickup once again this year. Barbosa would add energy and offense off the bench for the Pacers, which is something that they desperately need. He has said multiple times that he enjoyed his time in Indiana and perhaps a reunion could benefit both parties involved.
Expect to see Bird and the Pacers active in trade discussions as the trade deadline draws closer. Indiana has a very talented roster, and another piece or two could make them a threat in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. One of these five players could be the missing piece that the Pacers have to find.
Do you think one of the players mentioned above should be targeted by the Indiana Pacers? Do you have another player in mind that isn’t listed? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Jim Mone/AP Images]