If the Pacers' medical staff clears Paul George to return to practice and games yet this season, then Indiana will be "re-acquiring" a two-time All-Star after the trade deadline, but no one else.
Though it turned out to be a far from quiet close to the NBA's trading deadline, 3 o'clock came and went for the Indiana Pacers. Per reports from Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Pacers were briefly seen as a possible landing spot for All-NBA Third Team point guard Goran Dragic, but with the Miami Heat, New York Knicks, and Los Angeles Lakers rumored to be on his wish list and his asking price reportedly far outside Indiana's price point no deal ever gained traction. Instead, the league's reigning Most Improved Player will be taking his talents to South Beach in a move that could greatly impact the "race" for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
In keeping with the team's tradition of attempting to mold backup combo guards into starters (i.e. Darren Collison, George Hill), Indiana later appeared to be setting their sights on Oklahoma City's reserve guard Reggie Jackson. By the deadline's eleventh hour, Wojnarowski reported that the Thunder had engaged Indiana -- who reportedly made a "serious bid" -- in trade scenarios, but, once again, the Pacers lost their man to a higher bidder, this time the Detroit Pistons.
The Pacers made a serious bid to acquire Oklahoma City's Reggie Jackson, but lost out to Detroit.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 19, 2015
As of now, there is no word as to what the Pacers would have been willing to sacrifice in order to acquire Jackson. Had a deal actually come to fruition, Indiana likely would have had to part with significant money ($14 million annual salary, per reports) this summer in order to retain him in restricted free agency.
By the close of the NBA's trade season, four starting point guards (Rajon Rondo, Goran Dragic, Brandon Knight, and Michael Carter-Williams) and two reserves (Isaiah Thomas, Reggie Jackson) swapped jerseys, but none of them will be donning the Blue-and-Gold this season.
Though Indiana appeared to have their eyes set on acquiring a point guard, there is no way to know exactly which deals may or may not have been on the table. However, with several Eastern Conference teams improving at least on paper, the Pacers' ultimate decision to hold onto their own first round draft pick may turn out to be a very prudent one. Which, in turn, may mean that no deal was in fact the right deal.
As things currently stand, the Pacers (21-33) are chasing the Detroit Pistons (21-33), who added Reggie Jackson while gutting their bench, the Boston Celtics (20-31), who added Isaiah Thomas, the Brooklyn Nets (21-31), who added Thaddeus Young, the Miami Heat (22-30) who added Goran Dragic, and the Charlotte Hornets (22-30), who added Mo Williams, for the seventh and eighth playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
Prior to today's moves, John Hollinger's playoff odds projected the Pacers to finish the season at 35-47 and miss the playoffs. Though in choosing to hold their roster together and with Paul George possibly returning for the stretch run of the season, in the words of Kevin Garnett, "Anything is possible!"
Unless informed to the contrary, the Pacers -- in their "move" to stand pat and potentially still attempt to push for the playoffs -- perhaps took a slight risk in choosing to hold onto David West and Roy Hibbert, both of whom have player options and could potentially walk at the end of this season.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts and observations on the 2015 NBA trade deadline in the comments section.