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Pacers, DJ Augustin

One signing the Indiana Pacers need to make in free agency

Victor Oladipo only appeared in 13 games for the Indiana Pacers this season, and yet the team was still able to win 39 games before the campaign was suspended due to the coronavirus crisis.

Oladipo, the Pacers’ All-Star shooting guard, missed the majority of the season recovering from his knee injury. The team was looking forward to the high-flyer catching his rhythm just before the start of the 2020 playoffs, but COVID-19 prevented that from happening and now there’s a chance the entire season may get canceled.

In the games he appeared in, Oladipo averaged 13.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists for the Pacers in 25.9 minutes per contest. He shot 39.1 percent from the field.

Oladipo was close to knocking off all the rust and regaining his star form. Unfortunately, the season got suspended, though the hiatus is allowing the Maryland native to rest his knee and fully get comfortable with his body again.

If the 2019-20 season ends up getting canceled, the Pacers will have to wait to see how dynamic Malcolm Brogdon and Oladipo can truly be as a duo. However, since Brogdon has proven to be injury-prone in his career, Indiana would be wise to sign a dynamic point guard in free agency who can run the second unit or start if Brogdon (or Oladipo) is hurt.

Orlando Magic point guard D.J. Augustin would be a good fit for the Pacers. He becomes an unrestricted free agent this offseason and has played for Indiana before.

Augustin averaged 4.7 points and 2.2 assists in 76 games during the 2012-13 season with the Pacers. The team made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to LeBron James and the Miami Heat. Since his one-year with the franchise, Augustin has averaged 10.1 points and 4.0 assists over 498 regular-season games.

The 32-year-old NBA veteran is a career 37.9 percent shooter from beyond the arc. Indiana can run its offense through one of Myles Turner or Domantas Sabonis if Oladipo is out of the game and then have Augustin spot up from the perimeter when Turner and Sabonis get double-teamed.

More often than not, Augustin is going to make the open 3. Brogdon is the superior player and shooter, but he has dealt with numerous injuries the past two seasons. Having Augustin in a dual-threat role where he can start or come off the bench seems optimal for both sides: the Pacers get a veteran to run the second unit and score when needed, while Augustin gets to play a significant role for a likely contender.

In the 2019-20 season, Augustin had been coming off the bench for the Magic since the franchise started former No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz. Orlando will try hard to re-sign Augustin because he’s the perfect veteran to mentor Fultz and bring a sense of calmness to the offense when things are getting out of control.

If the Pacers want Augustin, they’ll likely have to offer a deal that pays him $9 or $10 million a year.

Since making his NBA debut in 2008 with the Charlotte Bobcats, Augustin has tallied career averages of 9.9 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 4.0 assists in 856 regular-season games. The Texas product has played in 33 postseason matches and always had a low turnover rate — a stat that is important since the Pacers need a high IQ guard to control the pace of the game.