Pacers looking for new home for TJ Leaf
The Indiana Pacers are not one of the teams expected to be very active prior to Thursday’s trade deadline. Realistically, Indiana’s major “addition” was the return of shooting guard Victor Oladipo, who missed over a year due to a ruptured quad tendon.
However, the Pacers are seeking a trade partner for forward T.J. Leaf, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic:
Expect this to be a quiet deadline in Indiana, but the Pacers are looking for a home for 2017 first-round pick T.J. Leaf, who has struggled to crack the rotation in his third pro season. The forward from UCLA makes $2.8 million and is under contract for $4.3 million next season. While his deal could potentially be folded into the four-teamer with Atlanta, Houston, Minnesota and Denver, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards.
Leaf has seen limited playing time since the Pacers selected him with the No. 18 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. In fact, he is averaging the fewest minutes of his career this year (8.2) while making just 22 appearances.
The 22-year-old is capable of stretching the floor, and he was lauded for his footwork in the post during his time at UCLA. Unfortunately for Leaf, he simply has no place in Indiana’s loaded frontcourt.
Leaf certainly deserves to get more playing time, and he would likely come at a relatively cheap cost. There is a decent chance the Pacers can find a suitor before the deadline passes.