The NBA trade season tipped off on Dec. 15 when free agents signed by new teams became eligible for trade scenarios. So from now until the NBA trade deadline in mid-February teams around the NBA will be looking for ways to move their various assets to prepare for a playoff run or prepare for the future.
Don't expect the Pacers to jump into the trading fray until the deadline nears. The direction the front office takes will depend on how the team fares over the next two months. Of course, the killer variable in all of this is the health of Danny Granger.
Granger's return is currently slated to be right around the time of the trade deadline. If the Pacers continue to play well and remain main in the mix for a six through four or three seed, then BOOM, adding Granger is like making a deal for a difference maker for the remainder of the season. No assets required.
But if the Pacers begin to struggle and are just trying to hold on for an eighth seed in the East, the team may want to cut their losses and look forward. That puts David West and Tyler Hansbrough in the mix to be dealt as players on the last year of their contract. West in particular would be coveted by any playoff team looking to add real pro depth.
Man, that would suck. At the same time, in the proper circumstances, moving West would be a smart move by the Pacers. Let's just hope it doesn't come to that this year.
Hansbrough may be a player to deal regardless of the circumstances assuming the Pacers don't plan on a hefty extension for the power forward coming off his rookie deal. His improved play of late could end up making him even more valuable if it continues. At worst, a team looking to clear cap space may want to acquire Hansbrough and say, D.J. Augustin as a way to finish out the season and move a player on a multi-year deal.
But really, can anyone think of a plausible deal that would land a player to help the Pacers? No, seriously. Work the trade machine and offer up some options for the Pacers at the trade deadline for either scenario mentioned above (cut your losses or tweak for a playoff run).
This is a dynamic situation but feel free to lay out where you think the Pacers season is headed and then lay out your best options in the comments for a trade between now and the trade deadline.