Free agency begins in just a few days and while the Pacers still have some fog to clear for their in-house roster decisions, it certainly appears that they'll try to be a player on the open market. So, who is available to them that could bring something to the table?
The IndyStar made a excellent, expansive list earlier today, but there are a few too many unrealistic (i.e. Kevin Durant) options listed on there. I tried to narrow the focus to both realistic and financially feasible options:
THE TOP CANDIDATES
Marcus Smart (restricted): He’s an elite defensive player and good passer, but he can’t shoot. There are going to be several teams interested (read: he's going to be expensive), so the Pacers have to be wary of an over-pay.
Will Barton: Eventually became a starter for Nuggets last season (41 starts in 80 games), and I doubt they’ll want to let him go. Averaged 15.7 points and 5.0 rebounds and shot 37% from three and might be a better long-term option than Collison or Joseph.
Aaron Gordon (restricted): Gordon is a fantastic athlete but his shooting isn’t great and it’s hard to define what his ceiling actually is. Strong statistically: 17.6 ppg and 7.9 rpg. Orlando can match any offer.
Tyreke Evans: Has always been known as a scorer (16.5 ppg), but has always done it on terrible teams. Struggles with health and needs the ball in his hands. To say he isn't known for his defense would be an understatement.
Jabari Parker (restricted): Can score (15.3 career ppg) and shoot (38% from three), however is health has been a concern - he’s played more than 51 games just once in four seasons.
Trevor Ariza: A perfect 3-and-D option for the Pacers or any team, which is the only reason he's listed here, but he’s 32 and wants a long-term deal for major money ($50-60M).
Julius Randle (restricted): The Lakers are going to want to clear cap, so it appears he would become a UFA. Randle averaged 16.1 points and 8.0 rebounds in 26.7 minutes per game last season, but he’s not a stretch candidate (only attempted 25 threes last year and is a career 25% shooter from distance).
THE BARGAIN BIN
Rudy Gay: He’s still an effective player - 11.5 points per game last season – although he seems to be declining. He was linked to the Pacers several times in the past.
Kyle O'Quinn: it's no secret that the Pacers lacked physicality in their frontcourt, which is why Trevor Booker was a welcome addition. O'Quinn is a solid backup big who has been a rotational player for bad Magic and Knicks teams. His career rebounds per 36 minutes is 11.5.
Nerlens Noel: He had a disappointing tenure in Dallas, but is just 24 so maybe there’s still some upside there. You can also buy really low on Noel and hope he turns back into a decent rotational player like he was in Philadelphia.