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Grading The Pacers’ Moves So Far This Summer

Malcolm Brogdon #7 of the Indiana Pacers handles the ball during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum on December 15, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

 

The Indiana Pacers have made several significant moves during the NBA’s ongoing free agency period.

Who would’ve thought Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard and co. would make this much noise so far?

One of Indy’s most active free-agency periods in recent years has fans of the Blue and Gold all pumped up.

Here’s the best part: it seems the Pacers aren’t done yet.

Let’s look back at Indy’s moves during the current free-agency period and grade them based on how they will affect the team’s long-term future.

 

Pacers Trade Malcolm Brogdon To The Boston Celtics On July 2

Even way before the 2022 NBA Draft, some experts felt Malcolm Brogdon‘s days in Pacers Blue and Gold were numbered.

Sure enough, Indy traded the oft-injured Brogdon to the Celtics on July 2 for Daniel Theis, Aaron Nesmith, Juwan Morgan, Nik Stauskas, Malik Fitts, and a 2023 first-round selection.

To start things off, Morgan, Stauskas, and Fitts are long-shots to make the squad.

If Nesmith somehow pans out, Indy technically gets three players (Theis, Nesmith, and the 2023 first-rounder) for Brogdon.

That remains a huge if – it all hinges on Nesmith improving his shooting and defense.

Nesmith joins a Pacers shooting guard/small forward corps that includes Chris Duarte, Oshae Brissett, and Buddy Hield.

T.J. Warren‘s recent departure to the Brooklyn Nets gives Nesmith a golden opportunity to strut his wares.

On the other hand, the Pacers get a good backup center in Theis – a bruiser who sets excellent screens in halfcourt sets.

With Brogdon gone, starting point guard Tyrese Haliburton is now clearly one of the franchise’s cornerstones.

Haliburton, who averaged 17.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 9.6 assists in 26 games for the Pacers last season, will become an All-Star in the next year or two.

In hindsight, the trade was neither great nor bad for Indy.

Grade: C+

 

Pacers Re-Signed PF Jalen Smith On July 6

Initial reports indicated Smith re-signed with Indy for two years and $9.66 million this week.

However, it turned out he re-signed with the Blue and Gold for another three years including a player option for the 2024-25 NBA campaign.

Smith made it clear the Pacers are the best long-term fit for him.

He has a point – after Indy acquired him for defensive specialist Torrey Craig, he more than doubled his previous scoring average with the Phoenix Suns.

Smith averaged 13.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks in 22 games with Indy in 2021-22.

His re-acquisition is highly reminiscent of David West signing with the Pacers in 2011.

Indy hasn’t had a stellar track record in terms of signing big-name free agents in recent years.

Smith is the latest addition to that list.

Smith is an athletic, 6-foot-10 stretch-4 who can score in halfcourt sets, in transition, and from the perimeter.

He can also deflect passes and block shots.

Smith can also see some time at center and play behind shot-blocking phenom Myles Turner.

Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle proclaimed Smith his starting power forward for 2022-23 and beyond.

Without a doubt, Smith is a valuable asset in the Pacers’ rebuilding and future postseason aspirations.

Grade: A

Overall Grade: B




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