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Pacers reach agreement with Kyle O’Quinn, cap off solid offseason

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In reaching agreement with Kyle O’Quinn, the Pacers upgraded another position on the roster without sacrificing flexibility.

NBA: Miami Heat at New York Knicks Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers have reached agreement on a one-year, $4.5 million deal with free agent center Kyle O’Quinn, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

O’Quinn, who posted career-highs in points (7.1), rebounds (6.1), and assists (2.1) while shooting a career-best 58.2 percent from the field, will most likely slot into the role previously occupied by Al Jefferson — or, less preferably Trevor Booker depending upon T.J. Leaf’s growth on the defensive end.

By comparison, O’Quinn is a more mobile defender in drop coverage than Jefferson.

Notice here, for example, how the bearded backup center backpedals with the ball at a depth where he can also keep the roller in front of him, in this case Trevor Booker.

Compare that to Jefferson, who momentarily gets caught in 2-on-1 purgatory before putting out a welcome mat for Damian Lillard to glide unabated to the rim.

Watching Al Jefferson punk Joel Embiid and Jarrett Allen on the block was fun and all last season; however, O Quinn’s most used action last season with the Knicks was rolling (25.7 percent), which, in addition to his 45.7 percent conversion rate from mid-range, makes him a more natural as well as efficient (1.209 points per possession) match for the league’s most prolific pick-and-roll offense.

As for Ike Anigbogu, due to his limited shooting range and post arsenal, anything he chips in on offense is a bonus and he had tendency to get exposed on the other end of the floor with Fort Wayne when he wasn’t blocking shots (1.8 per game).

He’s only 19, so it’s too soon to overreact about his recognition and awareness defending the pick-and-roll looking every bit his age. However, even if it’s assumed that fixes to those types of team-defense flubs will come with maturity, the ease by which he got left in the dust by big men off the dribble last season is at least moderately concerning in terms of his ability to provide emergency depth next season.

Even if he were ready to be the next man up at third-string center, he’s currently sidelined from playing with the team’s summer league squad after undergoing offseason knee surgery and it’s possible he may not be ready for training camp.

As such, with O’Quinn, the Pacers (again) managed to upgrade a position on the roster — or, at the very least fill a need — without sacrificing long-term financial flexibility.

Anigbogu is under contract for $1.37 million next season, but only $650,000 of that figure is guaranteed if the Pacers waive him before July 15, which is two days before the conclusion of Summer League tournament play.