The report that the Indiana Pacers will match the Portland Trail Blazers' offer to Roy Hibbert means the team will have their starting five back next season. Hibbert and George Hill were said to be the top priorities for the Pacers this offseason.
Now the team can focus on improving their bench. The Pacers have been linked to a number of free agents. Here’s a look at those that are still available.
O.J. Mayo is someone Larry Bird and the Pacers have tried to land before. The third pick in the 2008 draft would be an excellent replacement for Leonardo Barbossa. He would give the Pacers something they desperately need: a scorer who can create his own shot. He averaged 12.6 points per game last season, coming off the bench for Memphis.
The question with Mayo is, would he rather come off the bench for a winning team in the Pacers, or start for a rebuilding team like the Suns?
While Mayo would compete with Paul George for the starting shooting guard spot, he’d pretty much be given the starting shooting guard spot in Phoenix.
If he’s willing to be the sixth man, he would bring a big improvement to the Pacers bench.
Shortly after George Hill re-signed with the Pacers, he tweeted about fellow Indianapolis native, Courtney Lee: "Let's Try to get another hometown guy Courtney Lee home in that #Blue&Gold What y'all think"
The Pacers must've thought it was a good idea, as they reached out to Lee earlier this month. Like Mayo, Lee would most likely back up Paul George at shooting guard. Also like Mayo, Lee would bring a big improvement to the Pacers bench. He started 26 games for the Rockets last season, averaging 11.4 points per game.
The Pacers showed interest in former Clippers and Hornets center Chris Kaman before they re-signed Roy Hibbert. The knock on Kaman has always been his injury history. He started 33 games for the Hornets last season, averaging 13.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.
The Pacers are probably out of the running for Kaman after re-signing Hibbert, but Kaman would be a fantastic back-up center.
Elton Brand was amnestied by the 76ers, and the Pacers are said to be one of the teams interested in signing the former All-Star. Brand started 60 games for the 76ers last season, but his stats continued to decline. He averaged just 11 points and 7 rebounds per game.
Brand would provide more depth for the Pacers' frontcourt but, after re-signing Hibbert and considering Brand is 33 with declining skills, the Pacers may not be willing to spend too much on him.
Like Mayo and Lee, Green would likely replace Barbossa and back up George at shooting guard.
Former Spurs and Mavericks center Ian Mahinmi is another option the Pacers are looking at to strengthen their front court depth. Mahinmi averaged 5.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game for the Mavericks last season.
Even though the Pacers re-signed Hibbert and Hill, and as a result will have the continuity of a returning starting five, they need to sign one or two of these guys to strengthen their bench.
Follow Brian on Twitter @coldy4goldy.
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