While the rest of the world is still trying to digest the Chris Paul to LA Lakers trade that never was but may still yet happen, the Pacers have been busy trying to reshape their own roster.
One of the first things they will do is re-sign Jeff Foster to a one year contract so that he can hopefully finish his career in Indiana, where he belongs. Very classy move by the Pacers. Jeff won’t do as much on the court as he used to, especially at his age (he’ll be 35 in January) and with the mileage on his meter, but he’ll be a stabilizing force in the locker room and help the Pacers’ young players develop and keep their heads on straight.
Reports are also suggesting that the Pacers will cut ties with Mr “Three Pointers Only” James Posey, who did not appear at training camp. The Pacers would like to send Posey and his fat contract packing, but are thinking of ways to avoid using the valuable amnesty clause on him. Maybe they can work something out, but at this stage of his career, Posey’s past glories are not going to be as attractive to other teams as they used to be. Posey helped the Pacers less than he hurt them last season in my humble opinion, at least on the court, so it will be a smart move to let him go.
Lastly, the Pacers appear to have sadly given up on acquiring Nene, whom I felt was the best option amongst David West and Carl Landry. The New Jersey Nets apparently offered the max $15 million, which I think would have been overpaying him by a significant amount, so it’s the smart economic decision to make by the Pacers. Now they focus on the risky West and the questionable Landry, both of whom would help the Pacers but aren’t as good fits as Nene (I reckon).
The Pacers’ current roster looks like this (signed players only):
PG: Darren Collison
PG/SG: George Hill, AJ Price, Lance Stephenson
SG/SF: Paul George, Dahntay Jones, Brandon Rush
SF/PF: Danny Granger, James Posey*
PF: Tyler Hansbrough
C: Roy Hibbert
*will most likely be gone before the start of the season
Free agents who are gone or are unlikely to return: Mike Dunleavy (Bucks), Solomon Jones, Josh McRoberts
Free agents likely to be signed or re-signed: Jeff Foster (PF/C), Jeff Pendergraph (PF)
If the Pacers go ahead and sign Foster and Pendergraph and cut Posey as expected, that puts their roster at 12, with enough players to play but looking slightly flimsy on size and experience up front. There are also far too many guards/undersized small forwards.
Chances are the Pacers will find ways to make more changes, including adding an experienced big man and a reliable scorer to pair with Granger. The obvious trade-bait guys are Dahntay Jones, Brandon Rush and AJ Price (if we assume no one will take Stephenson), but none of these guys will exactly get any GMs around the league excited, so it’s probably best not to get too excited at this stage.