Friday night during a team USA nationally televised scrimmage Paul George suffered a terrible leg injury, it required surgery and he will most likely be out for the season and using the Kevin Ware similar injury for a precedent he probably won’t be back to being the PG-24 we’ve grown to love for at least six months after that.
If you are Indiana what do you do? Your team as currently constructed was built to win now and that was largely predicated on the expected growth into superstardom of George. Already having lost Lance Stephenson to free agency the Pacers are now down their two best offensive threats from a team whose Achilles heel was their ability to consistently score. With this roster the absolutely best case scenario would be an low seed in the playoffs and an ugly first round exit.
There are only two real choices here for the Pacers. They can make a deal in hopes of improving this year’s non-existent chances, or hit the proverbial reset button; making deals to acquire assets and draft picks that will help make them a viable team by the time George is back and physically ready to lead.
The latter option seems to make the most sense seeing as this year’s team already was on the outside looking in as far as being a real contender. A starting line-up of George Hill, Rodney Stuckey, PG, West and Hibbert was already enough to make you sip your tea, replace PG with say, Chris Copeland and you have a recipe for an Off Eff % nightmare.
The problem comes in what deals can you actually make, with the departure of Stephenson the only real trade assets Indy has are David West, Roy Hibbert and George himself. Hibbert and West both have 2 years left on their respective deals with player options after next season. With the way Hibbert played for most of last season his 14.9 million dollar contract is viewed as a “Stay-away” by most of the league.
If they do want to go the former route though, because of the nature of George’s injury the Pacers can apply for a Disabled Player Exception which will in essence give them another full Mid-Level exception, an extra 5.3 million in cap relief. unfortunately unless Larry Bird gets creative the free agent pool now has very slim pickens.
Now might not be the best time to make moves because Indy would seem desperate and smart teams will take advantage of any perceived weakness’, but if Larry Bird takes an honest eye to the landscape of the NBA and his own roster he will see the best move would be to blow it up and stock pile assets with hopes to make a run for the 2016 season. – Glass