The Indiana Pacers went into the All-Star break with a need to make a roster move around superstar forward Paul George. After watching the struggles through the first half of the season, Larry Bird might be ready to make that deal happen before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
As the deadline draws closer, it seems that the Pacers may be zeroed in on at least one player in particular.
According to a report from NBA analyst Peter Vecsey, the Pacers are trying to acquire Brooklyn Nets’ star big man Brook Lopez. It was a bit of a surprise to hear that the Pacers were interested in acquiring a center, although Lopez could fit nicely alongside of second-year big man Myles Turner.
Lopez has had yet another great season for the Nets. He has averaged 20.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game. In addition to those numbers, he has shot 47.0 percent from the field overall and has knocked down an impressive 34.4 percent of his three-point attempts as well.
Indiana has been looking to add more offense all season long, but they also need to address rebounding and defense. Lopez wouldn’t add a lot on the glass, nor would he be a lockdown rim protector. That being said, Lopez would be exactly what the Pacers need on the offensive end of the court.
Giving up Al Jefferson and Rodney Stuckey would be a high price for the Pacers to pay, but it would be well worth it. Stuckey has been unable to stay healthy over the last couple of years, while Jefferson has been a liability on the defensive side of the court. Even with those issues, they have been key parts of the Pacers’ second unit this season.
Bird has been more aggressive on the trade market than normal this year, which could be because of Paul George’s increased frustration. Keeping George happy is the Pacers’ top priority. Adding another star might be exactly what George needs to see from the Pacers to prove that they are committed to winning a championship with him leading the way.
At 28-years-old, Lopez still has another season on his contract after this year. Indiana could build around a “big four” of George, Lopez, Turner, and Jeff Teague.
The NBA trade market is heating up after the blockbuster trade that sent DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans. Seeing that kind of a deal can make plenty of teams pull the trigger on big trades of their own.
This will not be the last trade rumor that the Pacers are attached to. George has seen his name mentioned in plenty of rumors over the last couple weeks. Those rumors don’t appear to be true, although crazier things have happened.
While Lopez may not be exactly what the Pacers’ fan base was hoping for the team to get, he would be a big upgrade. Having that kind of offensive threat at the center position would take a lot of pressure off of George, Turner, and Teague. Don’t be surprised if Indiana makes a big trade, whether Lopez ends up being the player acquired or not.
Expect to hear plenty more trade rumors over the next few days. Indiana is one of the most aggressive teams on the market and Bird will likely do anything to keep his superstar happy.
Do you think the Indiana Pacers should make a move for Brook Lopez? What other players do you think the Pacers should target? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by David Zalubowski/AP Images]