It wasn't a surprise Indiana's moribund was the singular focus of Indiana's offseason, with short deals allowing the Indiana Pacers plenty of wiggle room in case what happened last year happened. With Gerald Green and Ian Mahinmi's contracts aside, nearly everyone on Indiana's bench (plus either Danny Granger or Lance Stephenson), went into the offseason needing a new deal, with five total Pacers reaching the free agency market in one fashion or another.
After the obvious resigning of David West, the Pacers simply opted to move in a different direction with their other free agents, signing C.J. Watson, Chris Copeland, and Donald Sloan to help round out a roster where the return of Granger drafting of Solomon Hill, and hopeful emergence of Miles Plumlee, leaving the four other Pacers to move on in their own directions after a brief qualifying offer on Tyler Hansbrough was rescinded after the West signing.
D.J. Augustin became the third free agent Pacer to land on his feet, scoring a one-year deal with the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors were able to land Augustin on a $1.26 million contract, pretty reasonable all things considered, even if he was none of the things he was brought into Indiana last year to be. The Raptors in need of a point guard got a good bargain on Augustin, who may have actually been the best option available (enter your own debate here) short of Nate Robinson, who's a point guard in size only.
For Augustin, it's another golden opportunity to show he's worth sticking in the NBA. It can't be a good sign when a guy in a contract year has a chance to shine on a championship contender doesn't bring up anything, and I wasn't even entirely sure he was a lock for an NBA roster this season (though, again, looking at the PGs available, it should've been pretty obvious someone was going to give him a look).
Augustin will join up with Pacers teammate Tyler Hansbrough in Toronto, who, in search of more playing time, went north of the border to join a Raptors team that appears to be playing next season by ear in whether to go for a potential playoff spot or hope for a favorable lottery bounce in the Andrew Wiggins & Friends Sweepstakes. It's a good fit for Hansbrough, who has a potential starting role in Toronto, and while he's not exactly a guy who's entirely reliable on a team focused on winning, he's capable of putting up numbers when he gets the minutes.
Jeff Pendergraph was a surprise signing by the San Antonio Spurs in the sense that Pendergraph came on late last season to find a role in Indiana's rotation, appearing to be, with Sam Young, the only back up free agents worth considering for a return. But maybe enough was put into Pendergraph's performance in the postseason to not pursue him in the offseason, but with assistant coach Jim Boylen, he'll also be in a solid position to offer the Spurs a lot on and/or off the floor as San Antonio will aim to chase another title next year.
So don't cry for the dearly departed 2012-13 bench. Not that you were going to anyway, but they've landed on their feet in places they can prove themselves at and if the team had any say in the matter, Green won't be long for this bench either. Young and Ben Hansbrough remain the only free agents left on the market however, neither with any chance of returning to the blue and gold, not after Hill and Sloan's additions to the roster anyway. Hansbrough will likely find a big uphill battle to land on an NBA roster next season, despite playing on Indiana's summer league squad, but one would think there could be a place somewhere in the league for Young, who's proven through his career that he can step in and provide valuable minutes from time to time.
Any predictions for how the bench free agents will do on their new teams? Or whether Young and Lil Hans will have one?