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Report: Pacers in discussions to acquire Toronto’s Cory Joseph

The 25-year-old would be a low-risk, cost-effective option for the rebuilding Pacers at point guard.

Toronto Raptors v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

With Jeff Teague agreeing to a three-year, $57 million contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Pacers are in discussions with the Toronto Raptors to acquire Cory Joseph, reports Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders.

The 25-year-old, who averaged 9.3 points, 3.3 assists, and 2.9 rebounds while shooting a career-best 35.6 percent from three, is set to earn $7.6 million this season and has a $7.9 million player option for 2018-19, which he would likely decline to pursue more lucrative offers. The move would be a salary dump for Toronto, so his acquisition cost would also be low.

However, Joseph’s starter versus bench splits are somewhat telling as to how he would handle a larger role over a full season. Notice, for instance, that he shot 29.3 percent from three in the games where he replaced Kyle Lowry in the starting lineup as compared to 40.3 percent when he came off the bench.

Even so, it’s evident that the young combo guard isn’t sloppy with the ball in either setting and is a pesky defender — two skills which could be useful on a rebuilding roster.

For instance, Joseph’s tenacity against the point of attack would prevent Myles Turner from having to stray 30-feet from the basket to hedge against ball-handlers. Instead, the 21-year-old rim protector could hang back in the high paint and still be in position to protect the rim, if need be. Here, notice how Joseph is relatively undeterred by Bradley Beal’s ball-screen for John Wall.

There’s also evidence that some of Danny Green’s ability to provide a last-line of defense at the rim may have rubbed off on his old teammate. Joseph, obviously, isn’t the transition shot blocker that Green is, but he can alter shots without fouling.

Below, rather than reaching and grabbing at Kemba Walker as he makes his way to the basket, Joseph retreats and jumps backward. Expecting to play through contact, Charlotte’s guard ends up missing an awkward shot.

Overall, though he and Point Lance would ideally both play the same position off the bench, Joseph is a young, nearly zero-risk option capable of shouldering some of the the team’s guard duties in a transition season. Talks between the two teams have yet to progress beyond the phase of discussion.