For a team without much in the way of spending power, one of the biggest offseason pieces fell into place at the start of free agency, as 3-and-D wing and makeshift power fauxward Justin Holiday reportedly agreed to a 3-year, $18.1 million deal to remain with the Pacers, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
In his first full year in Indiana last season, Justin posted his lowest usage rate, best effective field goal percentage, and highest three-point frequency, while wearing a variety of hats for the Pacers, including sparring against opposing fours off the bench.
As an off-ball mover and shooter capable of defending multiple positions and providing weak-side help, the 31-year-old floor spacer not only makes for a strong fit within a system that fixes to be built around morphing between defenses, emphasizing the three-point line, and creating opportunities with disruption; his skill-set also represents a difficult facsimile to reproduce in a diluted free agent market without the full mid-level exception.
That said, while Justin is certainly capable of denying passing lanes in a zone scheme or swallowing up space away from the ball, whether switching or trailing through a maze of picks, he gives up length and heft against bigger fours, which has a tendency to put the team in a precarious position around the basket and on the glass in the absence of other options when forced to collapse or double.
On Thursday, the Pacers declined to tender a qualifying offer to Alize Johnson, making him an unrestricted free agent, which means the team currently has one less option at the four spot with 13 players under contract, not counting second-round pick Cassius Stanley. Consequently, with extremely limited remaining cap space, any mobile heft added to the roster will likely have to come by way of minimum contracts, development players, or as part of a trade.
According to SNY’s Ian Begley, there were some decision-makers with the Knicks earlier this month who were interested in adding Holiday as the steadying, veteran presence he’ll now continue to be for the Pacers, as well as so much more.