The Indiana Pacers had a disappointing season. They had a solid roster coming into the year but ended up dismantling it. Domantas Sabonis was traded to the Kings for Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield, while Caris LeVert was dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the injured Ricky Rubio. Now, they have Haliburton, Hield, Myles Turner, Malcolm Brogdon, and Chris Duarte to build around. They will likely attack the postseason, but they still need help. While the high pick in the draft will help them somewhat, they need veteran reinforcements in the offseason. Thus, let’s look at three early trade targets for the Pacers in the 2022 NBA offseason.
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Early Pacers trade targets in the 2022 offseason
3. John Collins
Trading away Domantas Sabonis in this manner meant that the Pacers lost a part of their frontcourt depth. Now, only Turner remains in terms of some great big men on the Pacers roster, so they might look to bolster that. If that is the case, they should look no further than the Hawks and their John Collins situation. Collins has been good for the Hawks in the last few seasons, although he has slowed down from his best season two years ago. Still, he is a good two-way option for any team to have, and with the Hawks potentially missing the playoffs this year, we could see them trading away Collins.
In that case, the Pacers should be on the phone with the Hawks, since a player this good does not usually come up in trade talks. Collins is obviously not perfect, but he still would fit well in the system of the Pacers. His offense di lui is good, as Collins is an efficient player around the basket. This season, he averages 52.6% from the field on 11.9 attempts, which is solid enough to rely on the forward to get his team some easy points. Additionally, he also shoots threes effectively, connecting on 36.4% of his 3.3 attempts per game this season. It is not perfect, but Collins is a reliable offensive weapon that the Pacers can pair up with Haliburton in the half-court offense.
2. Jerami Grant
The Pistons refused to ship Grant at the trade deadline, but there is no doubt that Grant does not fit the overall picture of the Pistons’ future. He is a great player with two seasons straight averaging over 19 points per game. He is also 27, which is not ideal for a rebuilding team that is looking to build for the future. Thus, a Jerami Grant trade seems like the obvious option for the Pistons this summer. That is an opportunity that the Pacers should use, especially due to the fact that TJ Warren is a free agent. With Grant on the roster, the Pacers would be able to field an incredibly potent offensive lineup.
Grant does not bring a ton of things to any roster in the NBA. In the grand scheme of things, he is just a scorer, and an inefficient one at that. However, at this point, the Pacers would be able to utilize him well, as wing scoring is their huge issue coming into next season. Even if they grab a wing in the draft, waiting for him to develop does not really fit the Pacers’ plan of a fast rebuild. Thus, even if it costs them some offensive efficiency, the Pacers should be looking to add Grant through a trade. He is a talented scorer and someone they can rely on to get them easy points when the team is struggling in that segment of the court.
1. Christian Wood
Speaking of talented wings on poor teams, the Houston Rockets have Christian Wood on their roster even though it does not make too much sense. Wood is a late bloomer, as he only came into his own di lui in the 2019-20 season, playing for the Detroit Pistons. When next season rolls around, Wood will be 27 and he just does not fit the roster of the Rockets centered around younger guys like Jalen Green. He is also going to be out of contract by the summer of 2023, so the Pacers can simply move on if he does not work out. It just seems that, since the Pacers need frontcourt upgrades, going for Wood is the prime option.
Christian Wood mostly brings offense to the Pacers, but he also brings a lot of versatility. Wood is an excellent rebounder, as he has averaged 9.6 and 10.1 rebounds per game in the last two seasons. Additionally, his length of lui can be an asset on the defensive side of the court as well, even though that was usually not Wood’s calling card in the NBA.
One thing that might set Wood aside as a trade target for the Pacers is that contrary to Collins and Grant, he is fairly efficient. While it fell off somewhat this season, his first season in Houston is proof that he can be highly efficient, connecting on 51.4% from the field on 15.6 field goal attempts. If the Pacers decide to go for Wood and he can replicate that season, the Pacers would have a great scorer on the wings, something they sorely lack at the moment.