After the Pacers used part of their MLE on the Dahntay Jones deal, they are left with about $3.4 million to spend on another free agent. They also have $1.9 million on a bi-annual exception and $2.7 million on a trade player exemption.
The Pacers will most likely use the remaining $3.4 million on resigning Jarrett Jack. It would also make sense for the Pacers to use their $1.9 million bi-annual exception on Josh McRoberts. The bi-annual exception only allows a team to sign a player for up to 2 years, which would be a fair deal for McRoberts. Should the Pacers resign Jack and McRoberts, they would have 13 players under contract, with only 12 of them being active (Jamaal Tinsley is currently inactive). They are left with one more dollar amount to sign any number of players they desire.
The Pacers could renounce their $2.7 million traded play exception for cap space, or they use it to sign a player or players who are currently under contract. The Pacers are already over the cap, so none of the exceptions count toward their team's salary. As a result, renouncing their remaining $2.7 million does not help them get below the cap. If the Pacers use the exception to sign a free agent, it would have to be done under a sign-and-trade.
So, the question becomes: What's next? Who can the Pacers get with their exception? Below, is a very short list of players who could be of service to the Indiana Pacers at the cost of $2.7 million (in alphabetical order of NBA team).
Walter Herrmann (UFA), Detroit Pistons - At 6-9, 225 pounds, he would be an excellent back up to Danny Granger at the 3 spot. He's only been in the league 3 years, so he's still raw. He had a great first season in Charlotte, averaging 9 points shooting 46% from behind the 3 point line in 19.5 minutes per game. He was traded to Detroit mid season the following year where he was never given much time to play - dropping his mpg average to 10.
Marquis Daniels (UFA), Indiana Pacers - He would be taking a pay cut to come back to play for the Blue and Gold. But, if cannot command any value from other teams around the league, he may not have much of a choice. The Pacers are well aware of his skills and would only further strengthen a now deep wing position.
Jamario Moon (RFA), Miami Heat - At 6-8, 200 pounds, he's a poor-man's Shawn Marion. He's only been in the league 2 years, so he's still a work in progress. Moon is a high-energy guy who can do little bits of everything (8.5 PTS/6.2 REB/1.2 AST/1.0 ST/1.4 BLK his rookie season). He's an unrestricted free agent, so the Heat would have a chance to match any offer the Pacers throw at him. But, with the Heat being rumored as a team interested in acquiring Allen Iverson, $2.7 million may be too high a price to keep Moon.
Ramon Sessions (RFA), Milwaukee Bucks - He would make Point Guard #4 (counting Tinsley) on the Pacers, but he would make life easier on the Pacers in concers with keeping Ford past the summer of 2010. Sessions showed last year he is a legit NBA point guard who can penetrate and dish. He needs to improve his long-range shooting, but for a player who's only been in the league 2 years, he has time on his side. Like Moon, Sessions is a restricted free agent, so the Bucks can match any offer the Pacers put on him. Sessions is high on the list of priorities for the Bucks, so it would be a long shot for the Pacers but certainly a player with the tools to be an elite PG.
Rodney Carney (UFA), Minnesota Timberwolves - A native of Indianapolis, Carney would be a high-energy player off the bench for the Pacers. He has freakish athleticism and can get to the rim with ease a la Fred Jones. Carney and McRoberts together would bring quite a bit of local flair to the Indiana Pacers. They would certainly be a fun tandem to watch with the second team offense.
Maurice Ager (UFA), New Jersey Nets - Ager is another Guard/Forward who would be asked to play about 10 minutes a night and bring intensity and energy from the bench. He's only played 3 seasons and has never been given much PT (his highest mpg was his rookie season at 6.7). Watching highlight films, you can see he's definitly a player who gets the fans off their seats. The Pacers may be overpaying if they used the exception on him.
Chris Wilcox (UFA), New York Knicks - An NBA veteran, Wilcox would be taking a pay cut to sign with the Pacers at $2.7 million, but he may not get that much from any other ball club. Wilcox adds experience and depth to a young front court. With extended minutes, Wilcox can put up points. But, with the Pacers, he would only be asked to play 20-25 mpg. He'd bring a solid dose of 10 and 7 almost regularly. He would be an ideal replacement for Jeff Foster shold the Pacers opt not to resign him when his contract expires in two seasons.
Matt Barnes (UFA), Phoenix Suns - Here's another solid role player who can play any of the guard or forward positions. The Pacers would be getting a player with a similar skill set of Marquis Daniels. He proved the past two seasons for Golden State and Phoenix that he can be instant offense off the bench. The Suns have already said they don't intend on resigning Barnes, so the price may be right for Barnes to don the Blue and Gold.
Ime Udoka (UFA), San Antonio Spurs - Known more for his defense, Udoka would give the Pacers another defensive specialist to partner with Rush and recent free agent signee Dahntay Jones. The offense is already in tact, so Udoka would not be asked to carry the load for the team. His skills are similar to that of Trevor Ariza's. He hustles, plays strong defens, and can hit open jumpers when called upon.
Anthony Parker (UFA), Toronto Raptors - Parker is probably one of the most underrated shooting guards in the NBA. He can carry a team offensively and can play lock down defense when asked. He would be taking a serious pay cut to play with the Pacers, but as trends have shown this offseason, many players are being forced to do so due to the reduced salary cap. He's started in Toronto the past three seasons, so he would be in competition with Rush as the Pacers starting 2 guard. But, if asked to come off the bench, Parker would be the scoring option with the second team and could become the NBA's 6th man winner come season's end.
Which player listed above should the Pacers target?