The Pacers took a step in the right direction with their roster moves before the NBA trade deadline on Thursday. It wasn’t a leap or even a big stride, but certainly a positive step forward.
On Thursday evening, the Pacers confirmed the details that were reported in parts earlier in the day on a very busy trade deadline around the NBA.
The Indiana Pacers announced today the team acquired forward Jordan Nwora, guard George Hill, center Serge Ibaka and three future second-round picks from the Milwaukee Bucks – as well as cash considerations from the Brooklyn Nets – as part of a four-team trade that included the Milwaukee, Brooklyn, and the Phoenix Suns. As part of the trade, the Pacers sent the draft rights to Juan Pablo Vaulet to Brooklyn.
So the Pacers helped Milwaukee dump some salary for their deal to add Jae Crowder. While the Bucks altered their roster to shore up their rotation for a deep playoff run, the Pacers used this opportunity to look ahead by landing a young forward in Jordan Nwora who still has another year on his contract and will help fortify the team’s dearth of front court forwards. In addition, they added three future second round picks and will absorb the roughly $7 million in expiring salary from George Hill and Serge Ibaka which will open up that same amount of cap space over the summer.
The Pacers also released Goga Bitadze, Terry Taylor and James Johnson to make room for the new players. However, there are reports that Serge Ibaka will be released soon, so James Johnson could be back on the Pacers bench in a few days.
The role George Hill plays in all of this will be interesting to follow. There isn’t any room in the playing rotation for Hill that won’t impact young players that the Pacers SHOULD prefer to play at this point in the season. He could certainly be a mentor for the young guards on the roster in a veteran role similar to Johnson. Of course, he could also play a role similar to Ricky Rubio and just finish the season on his ranch in Texas.
However, with his local roots and the positive reaction by fans to the move, seems like both sides could find a valuable role for Hill to remain with the team for the rest of the season. GHill played in 35 games for the Bucks this season, averaging 5 points, 2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.