Once expected to compete with C.J. Miles for Indiana's starting small forward position, Chase Budinger, 27, has reverted to being a fringe rotation player and is reportedly working with the Pacers to find a more "suitable situation," reports the Indy Star's Candace Buckner.
#Pacers staying active before trade deadline. I'm hearing Indiana shopping F Chase Budinger.— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) February 16, 2016
I’m hearing Budinger’s camp and #Pacers working to find a suitable situation for him.— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) February 16, 2016
After averaging 12.3 points and 4.2 rebounds while nearly putting forth a 50-40-90 effort over the last two months of the 2014-15 season, Budinger is shooting a career-low 29.5 percent from the behind the arc and has not appeared in eight of Indiana's last 10 games.
Adept at leaking out in transition and moving without the basketball, the former Arizona Wildcat leads the Pacers in average speed (4.28), minimum 500 minutes played. However, due to shooting woes and inconsistent playing time, none of Budinger's off-ball movement ever managed to translate into a breakout performance, only scoring 15 or more points once this season.
With Budinger unable to prove himself as a steady contributor, Glenn Robinson III was given the opportunity to earn minutes with the second unit. The Pacers are getting outscored by 5.7 points per 100 possessions with The Third on the floor, but that is in part due to the bench's overall erratic play in the absence of Rodney Stuckey. Struggling to pick his spots on offense, Robinson III has not exactly delivered a signature performance, but he is younger than Budinger and Solomon Hill and has a team option for 2016-17. The Pacers elected not to exercise Hill's fourth-year player option, and Budinger is on an expiring contract.
With Robinson III leap-frogging him in the pecking order and C.J. Miles returning to the second unit, the 7-year NBA veteran is unlikely to be reinserted into head coach Frank Vogel's 10-man playing rotation barring injury. As such, exploring the trade market is likely the best move for both sides.
Ranking 27th in the league in three-point shooting percentage since January 1, Indiana would be wise to be on the lookout for a sharpshooter before Thursday's NBA trade deadline. Say, Damjan Rudez...