The Indiana Pacers ended their 2018-19 NBA season in extremely disappointing fashion. After suffering through the heartbreaking season-ending injury that Victor Oladipo suffered, the Pacers were still able to win the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Unfortunately, the Boston Celtics ended up sweeping them in the first round.
Following that disappointment, general manager Kevin Pritchard made some bold statements in his closing press conference for the season. He made it clear that the Pacers are going to be very aggressive this offseason as they look to get back into contention.
Pritchard even went so far as to say that the Pacers, who hold the No. 18 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, are going to be looking to make some moves in the draft. He mentioned that the team could trade up or down, or completely out of the draft.
The future for Oladipo is unknown at this point. He is adamant that he will be back and better than before the injury, but there is no timetable for his return. Outside of Oladipo, the Pacers are projected to have around $45 million in cap room, which gives them the chance to be aggressive in free agency.
As for the 2019 NBA Draft, the Pacers have plenty of options. They can trade the pick in a package that takes on a players contract, or they could simply be aggressive and try to compile future assets.
All of that being said, let’s take a look at three reasons the Pacers should trade the No. 18 pick.
3. There Is No Need for A Mid-Round Talent
First and foremost, the Pacers have been vocal about their desire to get back into contention as soon as possible. Bringing in a mid-round talent isn’t going to get that job done. Indiana has young talents in T.J. Leaf, Aaron Holiday, Edmond Sumner, Domantas Sabonis, and even Myles Turner on the roster.
Indiana should go out and focus on bringing in key pieces around that core. Signing a first-round rookie isn’t terribly expensive, but the Pacers will need all of the cap room that they can get.
2. That Pick Could Help Net Them an Impact Player
Even though the pick isn’t extremely valuable, the Pacers could use it in a trade package for an impact player. One name that comes to mind that Indiana was interested in acquiring at the trade deadline is Memphis Grizzlies’ point guard Mike Conley.
If a deal for Conley does come to the table, the Grizzlies are going to want talent and picks. Indiana would likely have to flip Holiday and a first-round pick at the very least to get the deal done. With Memphis securing the No. 2 overall pick that will likely be Ja Morant, Conley could very well be available.
1. Moving Up or Down Is a Much Better Option
Pritchard has been known to be extremely aggressive on draft day throughout his history as an NBA general manager. Indiana could move up to get a better player or down to pick up more assets. Gaining more draft capital for the future could help in a big way when it comes to future trades.
Indiana has so many options to work with this year in the draft. It has been a long time since the franchise had this kind of flexibility from a cap perspective. Trading the pick may not make a lot of fans terribly happy, but it would be in the Pacers’ best interests to seriously gauge the market.