The Pacers' surprising success this season has perhaps sped up their timeline, but has it advanced enough to start swinging big trades for veterans?
That's the question that Blue and Gold fans are asking themselves after a report late last week from Adrian Wojnarowski that the Hornets are looking to deal Kemba Walker:
ESPN Sources: Charlotte making All-Star guard Kemba Walker available in trade talks. Story: https://t.co/4u3mLpmHcH— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 19, 2018
Walker is in the prime of his career, and comes at the bargain price of $12 million next season, but he's due a lucrative extension after that. He's averaged 20+ points per game in the last three seasons, and would be a long-term solution for the Pacers at point guard where they currently have stop-gaps Darren Collison and Cory Joseph on short-term deals.
But, what would be the price? The Hornets want what every team wants for established veterans: draft picks, young pieces, and a willingness to absorb a bad contract or two. The Pacers would almost certainly have to include this summer's First Round pick, but most of their young pieces (Oladipo, Sabonis, Turner) wouldn't be moved. I'd assume T.J. Leaf would be included as well. As for cap space, Indiana could easily take on a bad contract that Charlotte wants to shed.
There are some concerns about fit, considering that Walker needs the ball in his hands in a backcourt with Victor Oladipo, and if the Pacers can't get Walker to re-sign after 2019, wouldn't it all be a waste?
If the price is Collison, Jefferson, Bogdanovic, Leaf, and this year's #1 for Kemba and <insert bad contract here>, I'm good with it. However, I don't think the Pacers should push a bunch of poker chips into the middle on a guard - albeit a talented one - who might not work in this offense.