The Indiana Pacers have made several big moves during the NBA’s ongoing free agency period.
Who would have thought that Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard and co. would make as much noise until now?
One of Indy’s busiest free agency spells in recent years has Blue and Gold fans pumped up.
Here’s the best part: It looks like the Pacers aren’t done yet.
Let’s take a look back at Indy’s moves during the current period of free agency and rate them according to how they will affect the team’s long-term future.
Pacers trade Malcolm Brogdon to Boston Celtics on July 2
Even long before the 2022 NBA Draft, some pundits believed 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.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 1, 2022
For starters, Morgan, Stauskas and Fitts are nowhere near the team.
If Nesmith somehow gets his way, Indy technically gets three players (Theis, Nesmith and the 2023 first-rounder) for Brogdon.
It remains a huge if – it all hinges on Nesmith improving his shooting and defense.
Nesmith joins a pre-Pacers shooting/small body guard that includes Chris Duarte, Oshae Brissett and Buddy Hield.
The recent departure of TJ Warren for the Brooklyn Nets gives Nesmith a golden opportunity to strut his stuff.
On the other hand, the Pacers get a good backup center in Theis – a bruiser who sets up excellent screens in half-court sets.
With Brogdon gone, starting point guard Tyrese Haliburton is now clearly one of the cornerstones of the franchise.
Haliburton, who averaged 17.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 9.6 assists in 26 games with the Pacers last season, will become an All-Star within the next year or two.
Looking back, the trade was neither good nor bad for Indy.
Pacers re-signed PF Jalen Smith on July 6
Initial reports said Smith re-signed with Indy for two years and $9.66 million this week.
However, it turned out that 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 that the Pacers were the best long-term solution 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 reacquisition is strongly reminiscent of David West’s signing with the Pacers in 2011.
Indy hasn’t had an outstanding track record of signing big-name free agents in recent years.
Smith is the latest addition to this list.
#Pacers Coach Rick Carlisle:
“One thing that (Jalen Smith’s parents) both said about Jalen’s experience with Indiana is, ‘It was great to see him smile again.’
“Indiana has become a very warm place for him and his family, and he’s signed up here to be our starting PF.”
— James Boyd (@RomeovilleKid) July 6, 2022
Smith is an athletic 6-foot-10 who can score in half court, in transition and from the perimeter.
He can also deflect passes and block shots.
Smith can also see time at center and play behind shot-blocking phenom Myles Turner.
Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle has proclaimed Smith his starting point for 2022-23 and beyond.
Without a doubt, Smith is a valuable asset in the Pacers’ rebuilding and future playoff aspirations.
Overall rating: B