Kevin Pritchard has put together an Indiana Pacers’ team that is expected to compete in the Eastern Conference for quite a few years. After trading Paul George last offseason to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, the Pacers were not given much of a chance to have a successful 2017-18 season.
Despite the media’s predictions, Indiana won 48 games in the regular season and took LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in the first round of the playoffs.
Now, the Pacers are going to be one of the few teams with major cap space to use this offseason. Indiana could have a maximum contract to offer this offseason. It appears that they may also have their sights set on a big name that is in the restricted free agency market.
According to a report from ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, the Pacers are interested in signing Aaron Gordon this offseason. Gordon is a restricted free agent of the Orlando Magic, which means that they will have the chance to match any offer sheet that Gordon signs.
Gordon would be an intriguing pickup for the Pacers with Thaddeus Young likely to opt out of his contract. Assuming he does end up opting out, the Pacers will need a new starting power forward. Gordon would be that guy for the Pacers and would give them the stretch power forward that they have been wanting.
Last season with the Magic, Gordon ended up averaging 17.6 points per game to go along with 7.9 rebounds. He shot 43.4 percent from the field overall and knocked down 33.6 percent of his three-point attempts.
At just 22-years-old, Gordon would fit in with the young Pacers as well. Indiana is not “rebuilding” necessarily, but they have a good team built around young players. Gordon would be a much better fit than Young in that area.
Indiana shocked their fans by declining Lance Stephenson’s player option earlier this week. A report then broke that the Pacers were going to show interest in both Will Barton and Tyreke Evans this offseason. If the Pacers want to sign one of those two wing targets and Gordon, they will likely have to clear more cap space than they currently have, likely by releasing Al Jefferson.
Expect to see the Pacers end up being one of the most aggressive teams in free agency and on the trade market this offseason. Pritchard wants to build the Pacers into an NBA Finals contender and they are only a piece or two away from being just that in the Eastern Conference.
Gordon may not be the one piece that Indiana needs to win a championship, but he would certainly be a nice step in that direction.