After getting swept by the Celtics, the Pacers head to the offseason with more needs than a healthy Victor Oladipo. The last month of the regular season and the playoffs exposed the thin margin of error the Pacers have on offense even with Oladipo, which becomes an outright struggle against good teams without him.
The Pacers were looking for someone to step up down the stretch in each game of the series with Boston, while the Celtics had players taking turns making winning plays to finish off the Pacers in all four games. Kyrie Irving and Al Horford provided the base problem for the Pacers and had plenty of help at different times from Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier.
When Indiana focused on covering Irving, he forced the Pacers D into a whack-a-mole game with a different guy always popping up, open and knocking down key shots. On Sunday, Marcus Morris and Gordon Hayward popped open and took advantage of the opportunity.
So now what?
It’s go time for Kevin Pritchard and friends in the Pacers front office. Seven players have expiring contracts and aside from Bojan Bogdanovic, it doesn’t feel like any of the other six are in line for a raise from the 2018-19 salary. If not re-signing those players, the Pacers will need to release them this summer to clear the salary cap clogging cap holds.
Most likely candidates for this type of move would be Cory Joseph, Tyreke Evans and Darren Collison. Aaron Holiday will be in the point guard rotation, but losing CoJo and DC forces point guard solutions to the forefront. Wesley Matthews doesn’t have a big cap hold but is also unlikely to return.
But the biggest decisions revolve around Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic which will likely be determined by the market for each player. The Pacers need more shooting not less, so if possible, Bogey would be the priority.
Also, along with Holiday, can the Pacers expect Edmond Sumner and/or Alize Johnson to be part of the playing rotation. Getting rotation minutes out of those guys would be huge for the Pacers because of their salary, allowing more to go toward starting-caliber players. Both players are the same age as Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis so the clock is ticking.
These topics just scratch the surface (Myles/Domas?) of what should be an active offseason.
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