The Indiana Pacers are performing far better than virtually everyone anticipated. In fact, they currently have a win-loss record of 18-17. With that slate, the Pacers are tied for sixth in the Eastern Conference with the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat. As of this writing, the Pacers have also won three of their previous four games. The easiest way to put it is that this squad has exceeded expectations. Tyrese Haliburton has been fantastic for Indiana, while Bennedict Mathurin, a rookie, has also had a significant impact. However, as the trade deadline draws near, there are still several questions the Pacers must answer. Here we will look at a few 2023 NBA Trade Deadline predictions for the Pacers.

The Pacers have been playing winning basketball recently. This success can be attributed in part to the efforts of Haliburton, Mathurin, and even three-point artist Andrew Nembhard. The Pacers have also shown strong rankings in both offensive and defensive efficiency, which suggests that they are a well-rounded team.

Despite this, the biggest question they have left unanswered is this — are they going on a full rebuild or are they simply going to retool for a playoff run? Keep in mind that they already traded away several veteran players in the past. These included Domantas Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert, and Justin Holiday. We all thought doing was a sure sign that the Pacers were blowing everything up. However, we haven’t really seen that this season — at least not yet.

Instead of starting from scratch, it might be more beneficial for the Pacers to focus on retooling their current roster in order to make a playoff run this season. This approach would allow them to compete for a championship while also maintaining some continuity and stability. However, the Pacers will need to consider the future of certain players. One such player is Myles Turner, who will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. Another is Buddy Hield, whom the team may be eager to move in order to open up more playing time for rookie sensation Mathurin.

Ultimately, the Pacers’ decision on whether to rebuild or retool will depend on their short-term and long-term goals. If they believe that a playoff run is possible this season, then retooling is the best course of action. A current core of Turner, Haliburton, and Mathurin would arguably be good enough to get this team to the postseason. It may also be enough to keep Turner next offseason and attract other talents to round out their rough edges.

On the other hand, if they feel that a full rebuild is necessary in order to eventually construct a championship-caliber roster, then they may need to make some tough decisions in the coming months.

Now, let’s discuss a few way-too-early predictions for the Pacers at the 2023 NBA trade deadline.

1. Pacers get a complementary wing player

The Pacers’ current performance has led them to consider buying players who fit the timeline of their young core at the trade deadline. Shopping around for a complementary wing player might be what the doctor ordered.

One player who may be of interest to the Pacers is Saddiq Bey of the Detroit Pistons. Sure, he has struggled with his shooting this season, but he has also shown potential as a three-point shooter in the past. If Bey can regain his shooting touch and find success with the Pacers, he could become a key building block for the team.

Two other guys who could be on Indiana’s shopping list are Moses Moody of the Golden State Warriors and Cam Reddish of the New York Knicks. Both also have the potential to be valuable three-and-D players for the Pacers, though they have been inconsistent so far in their careers.

Live and breathe the NBA?

🚨 Get viral NBA graphics, memes, rumors and trending news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch Newsletter.

Still, at least on paper, any of these wing players could potentially complement the skill sets that Haliburton and Mathurin already bring to the table.

2. Pacers keep Myles Turner

Indiana big man Myles Turner is currently having a career year. He is averaging career highs in points, rebounds, field goal percentage, and even three-point percentage. He has also expressed his desire to earn All-Defensive First Team honors and be recognized as an All-Star. Turner has also indicated that he sees himself as a part of the Pacers’ rebuild going forward.

However, as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2023, Turner is seeking an annual salary of over $20 million. That may be a significant commitment for the Pacers. As a result, the team must decide whether they are willing to pay Turner that kind of money long-term or trade him before the February deadline.

We believe that Turner is worth that kind of deal. Yes, letting him walk for nothing could have significant consequences for their future plans. However, that’s why it’s important for the Pacers to explicitly show their vote of confidence in Turner. They must do whatever it takes to keep him on board.

3. Pacers deal Buddy Hield

Now, if they do decide to make a move by the trade deadline, one guy they can ship out is Buddy Hield. As of this writing, he is averaging 17.7 points per game and shooting 41.9 percent from three-point range. Another guy whom the Pacers can package in a trade deadline deal would be Jalen Smith. He is averaging 10.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.0 block per game.

Why would Indiana do this? They need a complementary frontcourt scorer to partner with Turner. The Pacers already have their backcourt covered with the excellent combo of Haliburton, Mathurin, and Nembhard. Now, they need to shore up the frontline help around Turner. Aaron Nesmith just won’t cut it, and for sure Jalen Smith also doesn’t fit the bill.

This is where someone like Atlanta’s John Collins can come in. Collins would be a strong candidate to add to the Pacers’ roster at power forward. He is still young enough to fit the timeline of the team. He would also provide valuable outside shooting and lob-catching ability when playing alongside Turner. The Hawks may be willing to part with Collins, and a potential trade could involve the Hawks receiving Hield, Smith, and maybe a pick in return.