January 18, 2023, 12:23 am
GM: Mark Schindler, @MG_Schindler
Salary Cap: $95,535,731
Luxury Tax: $54,731,269
Cap Space: $28,119,269
• One of two teams with significant cap space (along with San Antonio)
• This could change if they re-negotiate-and-extend with Myles Turner
GOAL: Establish a direction. Obviously, Indiana has erred on the side of rebuilding, but it’s no longer a guarantee that Myles Turner will be traded. Assess the trade market, determine what’s best for franchise and the best way to build around Haliburton & Mathurin (and maybe Turner)
• If you renegotiate and extend Turner, that’ll eat into most of your cap space
o Turner can renegotiate and extend for up to 5/$215 million but that would be his max, which is unlikely Indiana will offer
• However, Keith Smith of Spotrac laid out the perfect scenario for a Turner renegotiate & extend:
• 2022-23: $37,096,550 (previous salary was $18 million)
• 2023-24: $24,000,000
• 2024-25: $25,920,000
• 2025-26: $27,840,000
• 2026-27: $29,760,000
• Total: 5/$144.6 million with $126.6 million in new money
• Projected to have close to $50 million in space this offseason, which could change depending what you do with Myles Turner, but try to retain flexibility unless you’re getting a premium asset to eat salary beyond this year
• Decide which direction you want to go: Do you want to keep retooling, or make a run at the play-in tournament?
o While you can retain Turner, it still is likely best to see this retooling of the roster through
• Use your cap space! Whether that’s for Turner extension, or eating salary in salary dumps to acquire additional assets
• Still gauge the market on Turner. Assess values of Buddy Hield, TJ McConnell, and Goga Bitadze
• Acquire any semblance of a wing
o OG Anunoby is the absolute dream (played college ball at Indiana)
o Gordon Hayward is a hometown kid, though he doesn’t exactly fit the retooling process
o Would you have enough to pry Isaac Okoro away from Cleveland?
o Saddiq Bey would be a great fit too, but he’ll cost a lightly protected FRP
o Matisse Thybulle
o Cam Reddish?
• Would NYK give Fournier, Reddish, and a first for Buddy Hield? If so, do you consider it?
Players to Dangle
Buddy Hield (2/$39.8)
o Salary: $20,864,529
o Would you want to shed this salary to open more cap space for the offseason?
o Could probably get some real value for Hield given the contract if you want to move him
Myles Turner (1/$18)
o Salary: $18,000,000
o Renegotiate and extend would eat into this year and next year’s cap space
o Need to at least hear offers on Turner, even though it seems like he’s staying put
o Would Raptors engage in an OG Anunoby offer?
Daniel Theis (3/$27.3 w/ TO in 2024-25)
o Salary: $8,694,488
o If you can get off this salary without attaching an asset, then you do it
TJ McConnell (3/$26.1 w/ partial guarantee in 2024-25)
o Salary: $8,100,000
o Not desperate to move off of him but if you can get value for him while clearing cap space, then you should highly consider
o Or you can flip him for a wing since you have so many guards
Goga Bitadze (1/$4.8)
o Expiring deal, move him for what you can get
o Salary: $4,765,339
• 2023 CLE 1st (lotto protected)
• 2023 1st
• 2023 BOS 1st (top 12 protected)
• 2024 1st
• 2025 1st
• 2026 1st
• 2027 1st
• 2028 1st
• 2029 1st
• 2023 2nd (31-32 Rockets, or least favorable of HOU 33-60, DAL, & MIA)
• 2024 2nd (least favorable of IND, CLE, UTA)
• 2025 MIA (protected 38-60)
• 2027 UTA
• 2028 2nd
• 2029 2nd
Mock Trades to Date (Feb 2 Deadline)
Jazz and Pacers swap former lottery picks
TRADE: Pacers trade Chris Duarte to the Jazz for Ochai Agbaji
For Utah, this trade was all about being competitive sooner rather than later. Despite being in just his second NBA season, Duarte is already turning 26 years old, and Utah felt his age fit the timeline of their roster well. Utah also felt that Duarte can contribute more than Agbaji can this season and next. Keep in mind, while Agbaji was included in the Donovan Mitchell trade post-NBA draft, Utah did not draft Agbaji. As a result, they flip him for a guy they think can contribute more in the short-term.
Similar to Utah’s rationale, Indiana’s reasoning is the preference of fit on the roster. Indiana’s GM, Mark Schindler, was looking for a more stout point of attack defender who can hit shots off movement and continue plays without needing to create. Furthermore, Duarte has struggled to fit into the Pacers’ high-paced movement offense this year. For these reasons, Agbaji fits the bill for what Indiana was looking for.
Pacers finally get their power forward
TRADE: Pacers trade Jalen Smith, Cavs 2023 1st round pick (lottery protected) to the Charlotte Hornets for PJ Washington and two 2023 2nds (least favorable of OKC and WAS and more favorable of DAL and MIA)
It’s one of the worst kept secrets in the NBA this season that the Pacers are in pursuit of a legitimate starting power forward. While guys like John Collins are available on the trade market, the Pacers opted for PJ Washington. Washington is going to be a restricted free agent this summer, so Indiana may need to pay him in the $17 million per year range to keep him, but he fits their roster well. The Pacers also have three first-round picks in 2023, so giving up Cleveland’s 2023 1st is not a big deal, as that’s a pick in the 20s somewhere. PJ Washington can stretch the floor alongside, as can Myles Turner, which will allow Indiana to play a five-out system and space the floor well. He can also play the small-ball five in spurts as well, demonstrated from his time in Charlotte.
For Charlotte, they realistically will have a tough time paying PJ Washington what he expects to be paid this summer, as they’re approaching LaMelo Ball’s rookie extension and may need to pay Miles Bridges at some point. Here, they got not only the first round pick they coveted for Washington, but a cost-controlled stretch four that does a lot of things similar to PJ Washington with Jalen Smith. Smith is on the books for just over $5 million next year and then has a player option of $5.8 million in 2024-25, which is a lot more palpable for the Hornets to stomach rather than paying PJ Washington this summer.