The Indiana Pacers are at risk of losing incumbent small forward Bojan Bogdnaovic to the Utah Jazz, reports Shams Charania and Tony Jones of The Athletic.
“He’s important for us,” Kevin Pritchard said on draft night. “On July 1st, we have a few calls I think we are going to have to make at midnight. He will be a priority. You don’t know. I will say this, I think there’s going to be some high competition for him. I think the way he ended the year, kind of took the load offensively for us, the league has gone to such an offensive league in scoring and shooting, especially with his size, he’s going to have some offers. But we are going to do our best to keep him.”
Per Jones, the Jazz are expected to have a competitive offer on the table as early as today (and the interest isn’t entirely one-sided), though he also noted earlier in the evening that the Pacers were in the lead to sign him.
More willing to put the ball on the floor, Bogdanovic added shadow and contour to his already existing ability to flip expectations to his advantage when flying off screens by tailoring the depth of his attack to the coverage. In addition to converting 55.8 percent of his looks around the rim in the half court, Bogdanovic posted one of the highest field goal percentages in the NBA on all shots 10 feet and out, minimum 500 attempts. He also played in 81 of 82 games while taking on increased usage from Victor Oladipo, averaging 20.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.9 assists while shooting 41.1 percent from three in the wake of the two-time All-Star’s season-ending injury.
Bogdanovic looked less like a primary option in the playoffs against increased defensive attention, especially when Boston baited him into stagnant one-on-one play, but Oladipo’s eventual return would restore him to his more comfortable secondary, or perhaps tertiary, role. The 30-year-old forward would also provide crucial floor spacing and much-needed off-ball movement for a double-center frontcourt with shoot-last guard Ricky Rubio widely expected to sign on to run point.
If Bogdanovic walks, and with Sabonis expected to play “a lot of four,” newcomer T.J. Warren would likely step-in as the sharpshooter’s replacement with Doug McDermott and Edmond Sumner providing additional wing depth.
Free agency officially opens at 6:00 PM EST.