The Phoenix Suns are trading T.J. Warren and the No. 32 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft to the Indiana Pacers, a league source told ESPN.
The Pacers will send cash to the Suns, according to a league source. Phoenix wanted to unload the three years and $35 million remaining on Warren’s deal to create salary-cap space.
Wojnarowski stresses the deal will not be finalized until July 6. Clearly, it was a cap-space-clearing move for the Suns, who wanted to unload the three years and $35 million left on Warren’s contract. For their part, the Pacers will have roughly $30 million in cap space remaining once the deal becomes official.
Let’s break down the three reasons why T.J. Warren will become a tremendous asset for the Indiana Pacers.
Make no mistake about it, TJ Warren will boost the Pacers’ offense in the 2019-20 NBA season. He shot 43 percent from the 3-point line in 2018-19. This is a marked improvement from his 28.3 percent 3-point shooting clip in his first four years with the Suns. Warren averaged a respectable 18.0 points for Phoenix in 2018-19.
Warren isn’t just about jacking up threes, though. He can score in a variety of ways – he can spot up for the mid-range jumper and drive to the basket, whether it’s a halfcourt set or a fast break. While Warren’s physique resembles former Pacers first-round draft bust Shawne Williams, he plays more like Danny Granger. Warren should remind Pacers fans of Granger, who played in Indy from 2005 to 2014.
Complement to Victor Oladipo
Pacers fans can’t wait for Victor Oladipo to take the court once again in the 2019-20 NBA season. However, with several unrestricted free agents, Indiana needs somebody who can take the pressure and scoring load off Oladipo next season. TJ Warren fits the bill perfectly.
If the Pacers lose both Bojan Bogdanovic and Thaddeus Young to free agency, they will lose serious scoring punch at the forward spots. Bogdanovic, who averaged 18.0 points per game in 2018-19, was Indy’s best player in Oladipo’s absence. If the former signs elsewhere, Warren helps offset that loss.
If the Pacers cannot lure Khris Middleton or Julius Randle to help make up for the possible departures of Bogdanovic and Young, Warren should help build a solid long-term foundation. In fact, Warren can become an instant starter for Indy. Oladipo kicking the ball out to Warren for an open jumper will become a common sight in Naptown.
The 25-year-old Warren, a former ACC Player of the Year with the North Carolina State Wolfpack, never tasted playoff basketball in his five seasons in Phoenix. If Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard makes the right moves in the offseason, Indy should remain a playoff team. That bodes well for the hungry Warren.
Indiana has lost four consecutive first-round playoff series. It’s about time the Pacers make some headway in the postseason. The last time they went past the first round was in 2014. That year, they lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Warren’s shooting and intensity should help Indiana get over that frustrating playoff hump. His glaring downside: his health. He sat out the Suns’ final 33 games in 2018-19 due to an ankle injury. He also suited up in just 261 out of a possible 410 games during his five-year stint in Phoenix, per 1070TheFan.com.
If Warren can maintain a clean bill of health in Indianapolis, he will become a huge factor in the Pacers’ title push.