Pacers Ready to Contend in the East?


Nothing is official until July 6th, but the Indiana Pacers have been making some significant noise around the league since free agency opened on Sunday.

A sign-and-trade agreement was reached between Indiana and the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday evening that reportedly sends restricted free agent G Malcolm Brogdon to the Pacers for a future first-round pick and two future second-rounders. Brogdon will make $85 million over four years with this new contract.

Change of the (point) Guard

Brogdon, who was drafted 36th overall out of Virginia by the Bucks in 2016, won Rookie of the Year for the 2016-17 NBA season, and was selected to the 2016-17 All-Rookie first team. The 26-year-old guard has averaged 12.8 points (48% FG, 41% 3PT, 90% FT), 3.6 assists and 3.5 rebounds over the course of his three-year career. This past season, Brogdon was a member of the 50/40/90 club, shooting 50.5% from the field, 42.6% from three and 92.8% from the foul line.

This move gives Indiana its new starting point guard and strengthens the Pacers’ backcourt, which is still without star swingman Victor Oladipo.

A torrent of rumors had surrounded the Pacers and free agent PG Ricky Rubio earlier in the week, but at 6:33pm on Sunday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Rubio signed a three-year, $51 million deal with Phoenix, minutes after the Brogdon announcement was broken by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The other big move of the day for Indy was the signing of former Hornets guard Jeremy Lamb. The deal is worth three-years, $31.5 million and was a surprising pickup to many. The Pacers must have been impressed by Lamb, who averaged 15.3 points and 5.5 rebounds for Charlotte last season. Lamb, who was traded on draft night from Houston to Oklahoma City in the infamous James Harden trade, will be suiting up for his third NBA squad.

Several Departures

Lost among the additions for the Pacers on day one of free agency were two substantial subtractions. Starting SF Bojan Bogdanovic and starting PF Thaddeus Young both agreed to free-agent deals elsewhere on Sunday. Bogdanovic agreed to a four-year, $73 million deal with the Utah Jazz, while Thad Young signed with the Chicago Bulls for three years and $41 million.

Upon the close of day one, Indiana still had five pending free-agents in Cory Joseph, Wesley Matthews, Kyle O’Quinn, Davon Reed and restricted free-agent Edmond Sumner. Since then, all but one (Davon Reed) have reached agreements. Below is a detailed list of those aforementioned:

  • Cory Joseph – Signed a 3-year, $37 million contract with the Sacramento Kings
  • Kyle O’Quinn – Signed a veteran-minimum contract with the Philadelphia 76ers
  • Wesley Matthews – Signed a veteran-minimum contract with the Milwaukee Bucks
  • Edmond Sumner – Signed a 3-year, $6.5 million contract to remain in Indiana

Most recently, the Pacers also signed former 76ers guard T.J. McConnell to a two-year, $7 million deal, adding additional grit to this fiery backcourt.

Regardless of Brooklyn signing three accolade-heavy stars, Boston adding Kemba Walker, or Milwaukee stealing Wesley from us, the Pacers are ready to contend.

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About Patrick Carmody

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