clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Could the Pacers use the Grizzlies to get Kemba Walker?

The draft starts at 7 p.m. and here’s one hypothetical trade the Pacers could make early on in the night.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Charlotte Hornets
Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) looks to pass the ball during the second half against the Indiana Pacers at the Spectrum Center. The Pacers won 123-117. Credit: Sam Sharpe
Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Hypothetical trade for the Pacers:

Memphis gets: Bojan Bogdanovic, Darren Collison and 11th pick

Indiana gets: Chandler Parsons and Kemba Walker

Charlotte gets: Al Jefferson, TJ Leaf, 4th pick and 23rd pick

Why would the Pacers make this trade?

This trade would allow Indiana to sell high on Collision and Bogdanovic, both of whom had career-high years in 2017-18 that might not be repeated in 2018-19. Even if both players have great seasons they are still unrestricted free agents after this year.

But more importantly, the Pacers would get Kemba Walker, the best player in this trade. Walker has averaged over 20 points a game for three straight seasons. He’d instantly become the best point guard in Pacers history and would be the perfect compliment to Victor Oladipo.

Walker and Oladipo have similar skill sets because they both use their speed to score in the lane. Both attempted about a quarter of their shots inside three feet of the hoop.

Indiana was bad anytime Oladipo was off the court -- their net rating swung 13.7 points with him on the court versus off it. Charlotte had similar issues with Walker, recording a net rating swing of 11.3 points.

If Nate McMillan can figure out how to stagger both Oladipo and Walker, they’d have a real offensive threat on the floor at all times. Meaning the Pacers would have a real chance at creating one of the league’s better bench units.

Both Walker and Oladipo rely heavily on isolation to score but are also effective three-point shooters -- Walker shot 38 percent and Oladipo 37 percent last season -- allowing them to play off the ball at times and still force respect from defenses.

Walker and Oladipo can do a “his turn, my turn” with each player rotating on who dominates the ball on offense. In terms of the East’s best guard duos, Walker-Oladipo could rank somewhere between Toronto’s Kyle Lowry-Demar DeRozan and Boston’s Kyrie Irving-Gordon Hayward.

Why would Memphis make this trade?

The Grizzlies would be able to flip Parsons into two rotation players with expiring contracts. These new players would help them win now, all without trading out of the draft completely and still getting the 11th pick.

Memphis could try to win 45 games next year since they don’t own their first-round pick in 2019.

Why would Charlotte make this trade?

Al Jefferson is essentially an expiring deal that would allow Charlotte to clear $6 million in cap space. Before they made the Dwight Howard trade, I would have said they make this trade for two reasons: to stay under the luxury tax threshold and to flip Walker before he has the chance to leave.

Walker has only one year left on his deal and has expressed a desire to win. Even if the Hornets stay completely healthy and have a great year, the team would probably top off at 45 wins and the seventh or eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

The enticement of a max contract with moderate success might be enough to get Walker to stay. But instead of taking a risk, the Hornets could flip Walker for a building block in what will ultimately be a rebuild.

Why wouldn’t the Pacers make this trade?

Chandler Parsons -- or really, his contract -- is an albatross with one of the worst contracts in the NBA. Parsons is due $49 million over the next two years. He’s also had surgeries in both his knees and suffered numerous injuries to his right leg last year.

He played only 36 games last season.

If Parsons can play 45 games at his previous peak level -- which was about 15 points and 5 rebounds per game -- this deal might be worth it. Especially if he could play that way in the playoffs.

But he probably can’t anymore so it doesn’t matter.

The Pacers would also be giving up too many assets to acquire Walker, who could be able to walk in summer of 2019. Along with that the Pacers’ cap situation would take an even bigger hit if Myles Turner earns a massive contract, also in 2019.

However, if Walker left the only long-term asset Indiana would have given up is T.J. Leaf. If Turner does get a massive extension it’d be because he earned it, which is the best problem to have and likely means they’d be able to keep Walker.

But it is a risk for the Pacers.

How would the Pacers cap look?

Chandler Parsons: $24.1 million

Victor Oladipo: $21 million

Thad Young: $13.7 million (if he opts in)

Kemba Walker: $12 million

Cory Joseph: $7.9 million

Lance Stephenson: $4.3 million (if the option is picked up by Pacers)

Myles Turner: $3.4 million

Domantas Sabonis: $2.6 million

Ike Anigbogu: $1.3 million

Alex Poythress: $1.5 million

Monta Ellis: $2.2 (dead money)

Total: $94 million

Salary cap: $101 million

The Pacers can then use the extra $7 million in space and Bird rights to re-sign Glenn Robinson.