Monday, June 11, 2007

What Indiana should do during the offseason

Like the Sacramento Kings, the Indiana Pacers had a disappointing season and missed the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade (1996-97 was the last year they failed to make it). A major trade occured part way through the season for the Pacers in which Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington were traded to the Golden State Warriors for Mike Dunleavy, Jr. and Troy Murphy, a deal the Pacers probably regret now. Jackson and Harrington were key in leading the Warriors to the playoffs and Dunleavy and Murphy never really did make up for what was lost in the trade. Indiana collapsed late in the season and fell all the way out of the playoffs.

Unfortunately, they didn't even get their lottery pick, which was eleventh overall. That pick goes to the Atlanta Hawks as part of the Al Harrington deal. Jermaine O'Neal is rumored to be going to the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason and the Pacers may get a first rounder out of it. If they do, I suggest that they take the best available player because they will have no star power if O'Neal goes. The Lakers first round pick is ninteenth, so someone good could potentially slip to that spot. Maybe they can take Brazilian center Tiago Splitter with that pick. Then they could have a big man for the future.

They offseason will likely be very interesting for the Pacers with O'Neal's potential trade. I expect the Lakers to give up a combination of Lamar Odom, Kwame Brown (who is entering the last year of his contract), Jordan Farmar, Andrew Bynum, and first round picks. I don't see the Lakers willing to give up Bynum and I don't see them parting with Odom unless absolutely necessary, but the Lakers will do anything this offseason to keep Kobe Bryant happy. The Pacers could get a decent deal, but O'Neal could also get dealt to a team like the Knicks and knowing Isiah Thomas, he'll give the Pacers David Lee and multiple first rounders.

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