The Pacers were working on plans to land a free agent or two this summer to put around Paul George in the final year of his contract.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, point guard Jrue Holiday and sharp-shooting forward, Danilo Gallinari were among the top targets to alter the Pacers roster for the upcoming season. Woj mentioned this during a Paul George podcast with former Nets GM Bobby Marks.
That was until Paul George confirmed he wasn’t planning to see how next season played out and instead plans on opting out and leaving Indiana. The timing stopped Kevin Pritchard’s plans before they started.
WOJ: Now you’re (Pritchard) within days of the draft, your franchise player, who you were until that call, still trying to... One thing I do know the Pacers were trying to do, Bobby, was create some cap space and use it to get out on the market and get at Jrue Holiday, Danilo Gallinari — that was one plan that I do know they had. Not sure they were going to get very far down the road with it.
So was Holiday Plan B if the bidding for Jeff Teague went too high? Were the Pacers not planning to bring back Teague and instead go in a different direction with Holiday. Thanks to his wife, USWNT legend and former Ben Davis Giant, Lauren Holiday, Indy would be a viable destination for Jrue Holiday if the cash was comparable elsewhere.
As for Galinari, the oft-injured big man with the sweetest of strokes from behind the arc, cash would’ve been king. If such moves were being considered, it would be real interesting to know what plans were in store to free up some cap space. In particular, was there something in the works to move Al Jefferson and/or Monta Ellis.
But alas, now the Pacers are trying to deal Paul George and if they do things right, will not be signing any veteran free agents until they let a rebuild germinate for a couple of years (please just be a couple of years!).
As for PG, throughout the day on Monday, news of the Cavs, Rockets, Clippers and Lakers all considering deals this week emerged. The back-and-forth speculation between the interest from other teams forcing the Lakers’ hand and PG’s “people” (“people” avoid tampering) leaking assurances that will not sign with any team that trades for PG as a one-year rental.
Gee, thanks. Certainly, PG doesn’t want to play out the season with the Pacers, although Woj did say he thinks PG would prefer to do just that and that his team (agents, not Pacers) won’t help the Pacers make a move. It would be humorous if nothing happens and the Pacers just “Tinsley” Paul for the season and prepare for the gap in cap space.
Either way, summer free agent plans are shot and the rebuild is on.